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Frankenstein (1931) Audio Preservation

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Hello, I was curious if anyone has considered preserving the audio for Frankenstein (1931). For starters I am quite displeased with the audio mix on the BluRay since IMO it is a bit flat and muffled. Also theres portions of the sound track missing. This is also the mix used on every DVD release since 2004.

About two years ago I had sent someone the audio tracks from the VHS’ of Dracula and Frankenstein which he was going to sync up to the BD. I messaged him a few times and he said he was working on it and finally said it would be ready by Halloween 2014. As far as I know the project wasnt completed and I havent heard from him since (if you the one Im speaking of are reading this, understand Im not calling you out since I know people get sidetracked with other projects).

Which brings me to here. After doing some comparisons, I realized that my 1991 VHS copy while a bit hissy sounds crisper than the BD. However the VHS may not be the best source. The copy was only viewed once or twice by the time it was digitized so it still came out pretty good but some scenes may have some VHS crackle and there was one minor glitch in one scene which actually isnt all that noticeable but might stand out when trying to sync to the BD. I noticed that the VHS is actually going at a somewhat faster pace than the BD. The exact fps I do not know. I believe the guy who was working on this said he was having a bit difficulty with the syncing. Please keep in mind Im no expert when it comes to syncing audio tracks which is why I seek everyones help.

So perhaps another source is in order. Does anyone by any chance have the 1987 ‘restored’ Laserdisc and might consider digitizing it? Since the 1987 ‘restored’ VHS uses the same print as the 1991 VHS, maybe the Laserdisc would be the best source. A headsup though. This ‘restored’ print is missing the line ‘Now I know what it feels like to be God’, a line that was restored circa 1999 and hence on the BD. Whether to restore this line to the Laserdisc mix or just leave the line censored will have to be discussed.

Anyways below are two comparison videos I made some 2-3 years ago. The first I wanted to point out that I feel the VHS sounds crisper while the other points out the missing bits. Leave some comments and hopefully we can make something of this. Understand that I respect all opinions so lets be on the same page everyone.

https://vimeo.com/56206935

https://vimeo.com/57318682

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Count me in as someone very interested in the restoration of this audio.

Though the 1987 LD seems to be the most likely primary source to cull audio, it may be worthwhile to see how the audio is, on the original DiscoVision releases. Apparently, both Frankenstein and Bride were transferred from original nitrate prints; if anything, the video should make for an interesting preservation.

They’re available on eBay now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Frankenstein-Discovision-Laserdisc-Movie-1931-Used-/331678656927?hash=item4d3996a99f:g:tVMAAOSw~bFWGfOF

http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Bride-of-Frankenstein-Discovision-Laserdisc-Movie-1935-Used-/321914897717?hash=item4af39f8535:g:HVoAAOSw5VFWPrPp

I would definitely vote to reinstate the omitted dialogue, down the line. No reason I can see to leave the line censored.

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Keep in mind though that the DiscoVision print would have the censored cut of the film that removes other scenes, notably when the Monster throws the little girl in the water. These scenes weren’t restored until 1986.

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crissrudd4554 said:

Keep in mind though that the DiscoVision print would have the censored cut of the film that removes other scenes, notably when the Monster throws the little girl in the water. These scenes weren’t restored until 1986.

Ah! That’s very true. In all honesty, the restored 1987 LD should have better audio than the Discovision.

But, of course, by that same logic, the restored Blu-Ray should have the best audio of all! In the scenario that the audio of the Discovision is at all useful, the missing audio could be patched with another source, even the VHS audio, which, now having listened to your videos, sounds surprisingly good!

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Yep I do find the VHS version pleasing. As I mentioned the tape I had digitized was viewed only once or twice so it came out a bit better than expected. Funny I didnt start noticing the audio differences until afterwards and was actually amazed how IMO the VHS sounded better than my DVD. The missing bits I pointed out in the second video have been missing since 2004. When Universal announced for its 100th anniversary that it would be doing a major restoration overhaul on many of its titles, including Dracula and Frankenstein, I was hoping this would finally be fixed. It was not to be. They again used the same flawed track thats been in use since 2004. Very sad. On the other hand, I give them a thumbs up for what they did visually with the film. I will say the BD is probably the best Frankenstein has ever looked.

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I can still provide the VHS audio should we ultimately decide to take that route.

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We may also want to consider the 1993 LD which is NTSC and has digital audio.

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Have a listen to this and tell me what you think. I took your comparisons, isolated the vhs audio and slowed it down to where it would sync, and applied careful noise reduction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDv-EZa_us


… And they had ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, the fifth of the four Star Wars films. He is fucking with us numerically, isn’t he! “Children, count up to ten.” “Four, five, six, one, two, three, ten”. No, it goes, four, five, six, one, two, three… No, it goes: four, five, six. One… Two and three have not been made." “Two and three have not been made! What should they be?” “What should they be? We do not know. All we know is that there will be a big floppy character in it that goes, squawk squawk squawk… who needs a punch up the bracket!” - Eddie Izzard, “Circle”, 2000

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Leonardo said:

Have a listen to this and tell me what you think. I took your comparisons, isolated the vhs audio and slowed it down to where it would sync, and applied careful noise reduction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDv-EZa_us

I like this a lot. Better then the BluRay anyways. Might wanna adjust the pitch if you can although I assume that that was a result of you getting the synching right. Still nice job! Fortunately Im in talks with someone over at FanRes.com to capture the audio from the 1993 LD from Japan so hopefully I’ll have that soon. 😃

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I thought the pitch was correct, I must’ve messed something up if it isn’t.
I’ll probably be joining FanRes very soon.


… And they had ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, the fifth of the four Star Wars films. He is fucking with us numerically, isn’t he! “Children, count up to ten.” “Four, five, six, one, two, three, ten”. No, it goes, four, five, six, one, two, three… No, it goes: four, five, six. One… Two and three have not been made." “Two and three have not been made! What should they be?” “What should they be? We do not know. All we know is that there will be a big floppy character in it that goes, squawk squawk squawk… who needs a punch up the bracket!” - Eddie Izzard, “Circle”, 2000

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Just giving an update for those who are interested. I’ve sent out an LD to a member on FanRes.com to be captured so hopefully the results of that will be ready in a week or two. 😃

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The LD arrived at the FanRes guys location. Hopefully we’lol have results in a few days! 😄

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Sorry for the lack of updates. However this is still being worked on. This project has pretty much moved over to FanRes where the user jerryshadoe has been doing the sync work over the past few months. He was hoping to have it done by May but that wasn’t to be. I think his last update was for the end of the summer but I haven’t heard from him in about a month now. Below is a link to the project thread on that site for those who would like to catch up with this project.

http://forum.fanres.com/thread-712.html

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Jerryshadoe over at FanRes says he should have updates soon so keep checking back. For those who don’t know, Universal is releasing Blu-ray sets for the Frankenstein and Wolf Man sets next month. Perhaps an effort was finally made to cleanup the audio mix for the original Frankenstein. However considering the same mix has been in use since 2004 I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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No updates just yet. In the meantime, I did have a related project idea which I pitched to FanRes. Figured I’d pitch it here but since the purpose is somewhat small rather than start a new thread I figured I’d pitch it here. Anyways back in 2012 when Universal released its first batch of Universal Monsters on BD, two sequences, one from Frankenstein and the other from Bride of Frankenstein, were tweaked. The issue with Bride has been discussed sporadically among some fans since the BD’s release (http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku…_MSfSMrKCQ). I only a few months ago discovered something with the first Frankenstein.

First with the latter. The sequence of Henry and Fritz wheeling the slab with the corpse up the hill toward the gallows early in the film has been tweaked. Originally about midway through the sequence, just as they pass under a pointed rock formation in the foreground, it cut to them closer to the gallows. Either something was cut or missing here. For the BD the sequence has been repositioned so the scenery passes by seamlessly however the two men and the slab jumping forward is all more noticeable than it had been previously. Here’s two GIFs to demonstrate what I mean (syncing’s not perfect).

First shows the original edit.

Frankenstein1

Second the BD edit.

Frankenstein2

Next Bride. This IMO is a bit more distracting then the edit to Frankenstein. It’s the shot of the Monster approaching the hermit’s cabin. It previously consisted of two shots, the first being farther away than the second. For the BD the first part of the sequence has been blown up to match the second part so the sequence looks more complete. However the editing is a bit jarring and a tree branch that was missing in the second half now magically ‘disappears’. Below are GIFs to detail this change as well (syncing’s not perfect).

Original

Bride1

BD (recreation)

Bride2

Why these changes were made who knows?? Are they bad?? Not necessarily but it would be nice if they had been left alone. Perhaps this is a nitpicky topic but hey we need those from time to time right?? Anyways would anyone by any chance be interested in attempting to restore the original edits to the BD versions?? I’m no master of upscaling and such so I won’t be much help. The availability of the original edits isn’t much a challenge. Any pre-2012 DVD release will have them. It’s possible maybe the iTunes versions may have them since I remember renting an HD version of Frankenstein off iTunes a year or two before the BDs had been released that wasn’t the BD print (obviously). Also there’s an HD version of Frankenstein for free on OnDemand in the TCM section until tomorrow which has the original edit of the hill sequence if anyone would like to capture it. My capture device cannot record HD or I would do it myself. They also have an HD Bride of Frankenstein but its the BD print. Anyways let me know what you guys think.

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Hello. Long time no speak. Sadly I still have no updates on this project. The user on FanRes who was working on this hasn’t been around much lately suggesting he’s either focusing on other things that hasn’t given him time to work on this or perhaps he’s just abandoned the project indefinitely. Hopefully he’ll give us an update in the near future. In other news this link was shared over there.

https://m.ebay.com/itm/FRANKENSTEIN-35mm-feature-motion-picture-movie-print-1931-RESTORED-VERSION/273065857659?_mwBanner=1

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