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Dracula 1979 - The original theatrical color version

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For a while now I've been searching for a complete full color print of the Frank Langella starring Dracula from 1979.

Directed by John "Wargames" Badham it boasted some amazing photography by Gilbert Taylor. However in 1991 John Badham issued a widescreen color timed version on laserdisc which drained all the original color out of the film, turning it virtually black and white. Ever since then this has been the only available version on any format and the original seems to be lost in the vaults of Universal.

I've seen old VHS copies of this on ebay but I'm after a decent pre 1991 laserdisc print or a solid TV broadcast.

Has any body out there got a copy they'd like to share?
It's not what you know, it's who you kill.
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Thanks.

If I were to get this Laser disc how whats the process to burn to DVD?
It's not what you know, it's who you kill.
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Buy a nice Laserdisc player, and get a capture card. There are tutorials scattered about this site and the internet.

FE<3OT

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Yes, we have many members who are experienced with capturing laserdiscs and transferring to DVD. Have a look at some of the threads in the technical help forum.

Just a random thought: would the ideal version be the widescreen image run through that AviSynth colour-matching filter (histograms created from the p&s version)? Or is the colour too far gone for that?

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I did think of using a software filter to bring out the color but the film is has been reduced practically black and white with nothing to go on. And its a shame as the original color photography was some of the best I'd ever seen.
It's not what you know, it's who you kill.
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InvisibleWolfMan said:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Dracula-LD-Frank-Langella-Laurence-Olivier_W0QQitemZ160221340632QQihZ006QQcategoryZ381QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem
This is the only laserdisc I found on ebay which does not have the 1990 Universal logo on it, so it SHOULD be what you are looking for (the text graphics scream 1980's). It's got a BUY IT NOW option. Hope this helps you.

Since it was so cheap, and has sat there for a couple of days, I just went ahead and bought it. If you like, I can try to do the transfer myself (I have the equipment but only an average LD player). At that price I thought there was no point to letting it get away. If the OP wants to do a transfer, he can buy it from me for the same $8.99 I just paid. I remember it being a nice-looking movie when I saw the real color version on cable a couple of years ago... interestingly, I've not ever seen the more common "faux black & white" version.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Alucard - read the rules please.

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Wow you scored that cheap, I've seen it go for $30 on up.
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Update... just to let y'all know, I received the disc and will try and start taking a look at it tomorrow. I don't expect to start a transfer until sometime in June, but that won't stop me from reviewing the disc ahead of time.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Finally got around to transfering the LD to my hard drive.  I'm going to just encode it straight, without any postproduction, so anyone who wants to try and fix it up will know what it looks like raw.  This thing isn't going to win any awards... my player obviously isn't the best.  Image is pretty soft.  Color is ok, though, and not too much noise.

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It's done, and fits on a DVD-R.

The transfer is pretty awful - grainy and low-res, with lots of contrast problems.  It was obviously a very poor transfer to begin with.  But the color is there and I think that was the whole point of the effort.  Nice atmospheric movie, with one extremely creepy scene in the sewer.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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I felt the desire to make this six year old thread come back to life because, frankly, this film deserves to be restored to its original lush, vibrant brilliance.  The recent Universal Blu Ray was the muted version, and so, I don't foresee us getting an official restoration.  Did you ever make any headway or grab any stills from this version, Puggo?

-NJM

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You know you could use the color from the LD capture and incorporate it into the B&W image from the bluray for the best clarity.  This process has even been done professionally to colorize old Dr Who episodes.

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Last night I was tinkering around with Photoshop, and came up with this piece of work.  I altered a still from the official DVD, and matched it up with a still from the HD trailer (which has the original color timing).  The result was the image in the middle.  With some patience and attention to detail, a fairly accurate restoration could be done from the existing transfer.

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Nicholas J. Michalak said:

Last night I was tinkering around with Photoshop, and came up with this piece of work.  I altered a still from the official DVD, and matched it up with a still from the HD trailer (which has the original color timing).  The result was the image in the middle.  With some patience and attention to detail, a fairly accurate restoration could be done from the existing transfer.

This looks promising. I could rip the blu-ray and do an adjustment in a professional color grading program like DaVinci Resolve to try to restore the movie to what I remember.

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