The Wizard of Oz-transition to Technicolor

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ScottR, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I know that some people here on the forum don't think that stencil priniting was used in the initial release prints of Oz for the moment the film goes from sepia to color. Two things jump out at me:

    1. In the Cutting Continuity script, several scenes were missing because special effects for those scenes were being worked on. The shot of the inside of the door was one of these scenes, indicating that it may have been undergoing some sort of effect, ala stencil printing.

    2. The effect is briefly mentioned in The Wizard of Oz: 50th Anniversary Pictorial History.

    Also, I've heard that when MGM was working on The Women that they used the same stencil technique for the floor show that they used for Oz.

    The effect looks a lot better and more seamless in the 1999 disc, then on the current one. Hopefully, for the HD release, they can make it look more like the 1999 version.
     
  2. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There may be confusion here between different formats.

    The Women was printed in black & white with an overlay filling in a clear matte with Technicolor.

    Oz, in every early print that I've ever seen, was sepia up to the transition. The actual shot of the transition was Technicolor, but with the entire set, as well as stand-in sepia colored. The effect worked perfectly.

    RAH
     
  3. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Thanks, RAH. I presumed (maybe wrongly) that they did indeed paint the set sepia, and that Garland's stand in wore a brown and white dress. I was just wondering that maybe they took it one step further as they were finishing the film. I'm so glad we have you here at the forum to clear up confusion, where possible!
     
  4. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    One other minor issue. There are a few moments on the new disc where part of the frame is slightly out of registration. But it's not the entire frame. Would this have been a flaw in the original filming, or in the restoration process? Two examples are Judy Garland's first moments in Technicolor, as she is walking out of frame, and when Glinda leaves Munchkinland in the bubble.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm not RAH, so he'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I would think it has more to do with Technicolor and the technical shortcomings of the dvd format.





    Crawdaddy
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Possibly I didn't make my point properly.

    The set WAS painted sepia.

    The stand-in's costume was sepia.

    The entire interior set was sepia.

    RAH
     
  7. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    My post was misunderstood. I think it is quite obvious that the inside of the door was painted sepia. I just thought that maybe the process was taken one step further with stencil printing. But since you have viewed early prints and found that to not be the case then the subject is moot. However, what about the registration issues I mentioned, is this a case of shrinkage and minor misalignment during restoration?
     
  8. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Screenwriter

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    These registration problems to which you refer are FAR more pronounced on the 1999 disc than the newest one. I'm surprised you seem to disagree.
     
  9. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    What does it mean for the frame to be "out of registration"?
     
  10. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Duplicate post - please delete.
     
  11. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    One or more of the three color records are mis-aligned to some degree creating "fringing" effects on edges. If the three color elements shrink differently over time, this can be unavoidable. The process that WB has been using on select titles digitally corrects for differential shrinkage to achieve near perfect registration - in many ways better than what could have been achieved with contemporaneous release prints.

    Regards,
     
  12. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Don't misunderstand me. I think the film, for the majority of its running time, looks absolutely beautiful...much better than the 1999 disc. I'm just stating that there are a couple of shots in which PART of the frame is misaligned. I was just wondering if this had to do with shrinkage.
     
  13. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Mr. Harris is right- It's Judy Garland's double Bobbie Korshay who opens the door in a sepia-tinted costume, and then backs away. Then you see Judy and Toto in full-color outfits leaving the house to enter Munchkinland. A very clever trick when you think of it, giving the idea of a magic transfer from sepia to Technicolor.
     
  14. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Just a slight digression: I caught some of The Wizard of Oz when it played on TCM this week (July 3-4). The TCM version looks better on my plasma than the DVD -- why would this be the case? The colors were more saturated, and the edges were sharper without halos.
     
  15. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    Ken, Thank you. That is exactly what I wanted to know.
     
  16. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    And very jarring, in old video transfers where the transition was from B & W to colour rather than sepia to colour. I was reminded of this seeing Schindler's List in theatres; you knew the scenes with the red dress were coming because the film stock would suddenly change to accomodate the red.
     
  17. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    The misalignment I mentioned is evident on part of Garland's face (her chin) and the flower behind her, just as she is leaving the frame. It's not in the same place it was on the '99 disc, which had a bad registration problem in the cut to the next shot. When Glinda leaves Munchkinland, the right side of the frame goes out of registration for a split second.
     
  18. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I just want to say that this release is 99.0% perfect. And I trust that WB did everything they could to make it so. For the few of you who haven't picked it up yet, do so..you're in for a treat!
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    A restored film is much like a Navajo blanket.

    No matter what one does, and how much effort goes into making something as perfect as possible, there will ALWAYS be slight imperfections.

    The difference between achieving 97% and 99% can double a budget.

    That's simply the nature of the beast.

    RAH
     
  20. Mark B

    Mark B Supporting Actor

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    Since that is a process shot, couldn't the misalignment be a result of that and "unfixable?"
     

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