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Recommended Editions of Disney Animated (and Partially Animated) Features

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Recommended Editions of Disney Animated (and Partially Animated) Features:

Some of these may be subjective and I'm completely open to debate on all picks.

I'm also hoping that education of the differences might improve demand and availability of proper versions.

A NOTE ABOUT V.2: It turns out that starting with the 1994 release of Snow White, Disney started restoring their films in a manner that completely eliminates all of the qualities of the original painted cells, Xerography and/or film medium.  They are essentially reanimating their films.  In many instances they have performed this process even more aggressive a second time in 4k for their Blu-ray releases.  When I'm aware that a release is a Franken-film (reanimated) I will NOT make it my primary recommendation.

The Sleeping Beauty featurette from 2003 explaining the new 'restoration' process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-z0o26HD40

The results of this method can appear unnatural and separate subjects from the light sources and/or background.  In this article: http://colorfulanimationexpressions.blogspot.com/2008/06/thinking-about-digital-restoration-of.html under the section "Removing the grain of history" is a good explanation of just what is wrong with doing it this way.

Many films listed below will now have a 'Purist' suggestion, which will be the most accurate representation of the original film regardless of the quality (LD, VHS, etc.)  When there is a 'Purist' recommendation, I will also attempt to give an 'Acceptable Alternative' for those that are a bit less picky.  The AA will be a higher quality digital format that may include anything from minor color changes and clean up to Disney's full-on Franken-film digital crime, as long as there is nothing glaringly terrible about it.

Some other facts...

In general, the first wave of DVDs were transferred poorly from old film prints usually under the banner "Limited Issue/Edition".  While less digitally marred than later releases, the age of the film source, vertical blurring to thicken lines to prevent interline twitter, increased contrast and/or saturation and/or other tweaking to accommodate the technological limitations of sharing a master with VHS releases and standard definition 4x3 CRT TVs.  Quality is usually poor.

"Gold Edition/Collection" and "Special Editions" frequently provided an upgrade, but could also share a master with a previous release.  These are usually a better alternative.

"Platinum Edition" DVDs are a mixed bag.  At this point digital restoration is in full swing, but is often more carefully done.  This could be because the technology was fairly new, or that the people in charge were more respectful of the films.  These DVDs also present a more subdued image with whites that aren't bright.  This may be to compensate for the bright default settings of more modern TVs.

"Diamond Editions" are struck from HD 4k masters and re-restored using more aggressive techniques.  This is likely to accommodate a new generations' taste and because HD revels more artifacts.

When VHS is suggested, I don't tend to have a lot of information.  It helps to know that the best ones tend to be the so called "Black Diamond" tapes, but are actually the "Masterpiece Collection".

And, a frequently asked question about Laserdiscs:  Many releases came in both a CAV and CLV format.  The best way to think of it as long play and short play speeds.  The CAV format could only fit 30 minutes on a side.  As a result the quality was superior but it took more discs to accommodate a movie.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937): First 'fully restored' by Lowry in 1994.  This is also when the Masterpiece VHS and laserdiscs came out.  As far as I am aware there is no home video format that has not been reanimated.

The 2001 Platinum Edition DVD is bright and likely inappropriately so.

Purist recommendation: Film reels(?)

Acceptable Alternative: The 2009 Diamond Edition Blu-ray or 2009 2-Disc DVD.  Over restored, but they likely represent the closest to the original color palette.

Platinum vs Diamond screenshots: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?s=c7e0fe56be745fb231c352c02bef1dbb&p=6882905&postcount=124 

Pinocchio (1940): Color timing issues are the concern in the digital restorations and a negative impact on lighting depth.  There IS a chance the restoration is correct.  The problem is a lot of people feel that it is accurate to the cells but not how the animators expected it to look once transferred to film.

Purist recommendation: The 1987 CAV Laserdisc/1985 VHS (no DVDr preservation available).

Acceptable Alternative: The 1999 Limited Issue/2000 Gold DVD (which was the same disc repackaged and the same transfer as the 1993 CAV Laserdisc).  It does contain some ghosting artifacts from digital noise reduction, but is generally clean and vivid.

1999 DVD vs 2009 DVD/BD comparison: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews44/pinocchio_blu-ray.htm

1987 LD (1985 VHS), 1993 LD (1999 DVD), 2009 DVD(BD & 2003 PAL DVD) downloadable screenshot comparisons by drsd2kill: http://www.mediafire.com/download/chwc9xvdrb7zp0a/Pinocchio.htm

Fantasia (1940): Concerns are censorship of a black centaur during the Pastoral Symphony segment as well as the loss of the original narrator.

Originally released at 125 minutes, the movie was trimmed for various releases.  The cuts persisted for so long that when Disney sought to restore the original runtime, the Deems Taylor audio was in an unusable condition.  All narration was redubbed by Corey Burton."

The laserdiscs were the last release to still have the Deems Taylor's narrations.

DVD and BD (2000 and 2010) have the restored runtime, but with new narration by Corey Burton.

A reconstruction project with Deems Taylor and the 1982 Kostal RE-recording of the music is being worked on by ww12345: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Fantasia-1982-Soundmix/topic/13353/

While it is unclear how much digital restoration was done when this film was taken to Blu-ray, the 2010 releases do show a significantly better image.

Purist recommendation: 2001 60th Anniversary DVD (also available as a 2000 Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 box).  At this point we can be pretty sure Disney did not use the worst of their restoration methods on Fantasia.  A safe bet for the finicky.

Acceptable Alternative: The 2010 BD/DVDs (that come with Fantasia 2000).  Exhibit much better image quality, but like all BD releases have a chance of having been aggressively restored.

Ultra Purist recommendation: If you want Deems Taylor you'll want the shorter running laserdisc.

If you want the uncensored scenes you're currently out of luck.

The Reluctant Dragon (1941): "Walt Disney Treasures: Behind the Scenes at the Disney Studio: A Glimpse Behind The Studio Magic" (2002) contains the full theatrical film with a restored transfer.  There are a 2007 Disney Movie Club and a Disney Movie Rewards Exclusive release.  It is unknown if they are the same restored transfer.

There is no reason to believe the restoration was anything more than a bit of cleanup.

Dumbo (1941):  The 2001 60th Anniversary DVD and 2011 70th Anniversary BD and DVD are both wrong for different reasons.  http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews50/dumbo_blu-ray.htm

The 60th Anniversary Edition has colors that range towards pastels and is over bright. It is also very grainy and unrestored.
The Big Top Edition still shows some grain, is soft dark and dull.  It looks nothing like a Technicolor film.
The 70th Anniversary DVD & BD has been restored to death.  No grain, repainted, dull whites, plastic looking and questionable liberties taken with colors.

Purist recommendation: 1995 Laserdisc may be the best.  The 1982 Laserdisc source print was beat up, but is reported to have very accurate colors.

Acceptable Alternative:  Gah!  Look at the comparison screenshots and pick the one that doesn't make your eyes melt or head explode.

My screenshot comparison of 60th vs Big Top vs 70th: http://www.mediafire.com/download/qjz2ow0yvqp2wyw/Dumbo.htm

Interesting puff piece about the 70th Anniversary restoration: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/308674-disney%E2%80%99s-restoration-of-dumbo-and-efforts-to-preserve-their-film-library/

Bambi (1942): The Diamond Edition (2011) BD and DVD is marginally better than the 2005 Platinum Edition, but also much more aggressively restored.

There is a screen cap comparison half way down the page here: http://www.dvdizzy.com/bambi.html

The colors are also fairly close: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare9/bambi_.htm

Downloadable screenshot comparisons by drsd2kill: http://www.mediafire.com/view/lfb1kcq99jreiy9/Bambi.htm

Purist recommendation: 1990 Laserdisc.

Acceptable Alternatives: The 2005 Platinum Edition is less heavily restored and contain colors consistent with the 1990 LD.  The 'teleporting raccoon', a production error Disney wasn't able to fix, is corrected in this release.  This edition may exhibit the so-called 'crawling fur' artifact of film grain removal.

The Diamond Edition is considered one of the least destructive of Disney's Blu-ray transfers.  Original effects such as ripple glass water are preserved.

Note: The 1997 LD is the only edition to have the original RKO logo, which has been replaced on all other release.  Unfortunately, because of color timing and brightness 1997 is NOT recommended.

Saludos Amigos (1942): There is censorship of Goofy smoking.  "Walt & El Grupo", the 2008 documentary DVD contains "Saludos Amigos" uncut as a bonus feature in Academy ratio with a Dolby 5.1 audio mix.

Victory Through Air Power (1943): Walt Disney Treasures - Walt Disney on the Front Lines (only release).

The Three Caballeros (1944): 2001 DVD is preferred if it's cheaper because of a slightly higher bitrate.

The 2008 release has an improved 5.1 audio mix that isn't drastically different.  It shares disc space with "Saludos Amigos" which is unnecessary if you got "Walt & El Grupo".  Either way.

Make Mine Music (1946): Censored. The Martins and the Coys segment is removed as is a brief sideboob. Laserdisc or PAL DVDs are uncensored ('All The Cat Join In' segment is still censored in these editions).

Recommended: The Doctor M Restored Edition.

Song of the South (1946): Song of the South - Br'er Preservation Edition v1.1 (includes a second disc of bonus features) or ww12345 NTSC conversion.  Both are sourced from BBC broadcast capped by Mentor.  ww12345's used more modern filters and color correction but may have unnecessarily applied slow down to the audio track(?)

A preservation from a 16mm print is being worked on: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Song-Of-The-South/topic/4346/

Fun and Fancy Free (1947): One DVD release, no issues.

Melody Time (1948): Pecos Bill smoking is censored. R2 or R4 PAL DVDs are not censored.

Recommended: The Doctor M Restored Edition.

So Dear To My Heart (1948): One DVD release, no issues.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949): One DVD release, fair quality.

Cinderella (1950): 2005 and 2012 BD/DVD releases have severely altered colors and some fine detail has been scrubbed from the image.

Purist: VHS or 1995 CAV Laserdisc.  There is a LD preservation by Molly, the "Non-Lowry Version" synced to the Platinum Edition mono track available on TPB, but I don't recommend it (see below).  An updated preservation is being discussed.

Acceptable Alternative: The 2012 Diamond Edition DVD or BD.  The damage is done at this point so the improved detail and light levels make the 2012 release preferable to the 2005 Platinum release.

It should be clear that there are trade-offs to the restored releases.  Lines have that licked candy stick appearance that over processing brings.  Some detail has been scrubbed, but other detail is now visible from the improved definition.  Some of the lost detail may partially be an illusion because of the lack of vertical blurring in the new transfers.

Here are my comparison screenshots of the Non-Lowry LD2DVD, Platinum Edition DVD and Diamond Edition DVD: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Recommended-Editions-of-Disney-Animated-and-Partially-Animated-Features/post/653541/#TopicPost653541

The take away from my screen shots is that while the VHS and LD releases have more accurate colors and some detail that has now been lost, the currently available LD2DVD release fails to articulate that detail.

Other comparisons:
1992 Laserdisc vs 2005 DVD Screenshots: http://www.dvdizzy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16200
VHS 1997 vs 2012 BD Screenshots: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?s=c7e0fe56be745fb231c352c02bef1dbb&p=6399775&postcount=1

Alice in Wonderland (1951): The 2000 Gold Edition is vibrant, contrasty and short on image detail.

The 2011 Blu-ray, while quite vibrant and attractive looking, is reported to be overly digitally altered.  Original effects, such as ripple glass for water have been removed and replaced with digital substitutions.

Lowry restored the film in 2004.  These DVDs run slightly towards the duller/less saturated side, but still fairly good.  The extent of the digital changes in this restoration, if any, are unclear.

Purist: 2000 Gold Edition.  Digital and predates the Lowry restoration.

Acceptable Alternative: The 2004 Masterpiece Edition OR 2010 Un-Anniversary Edition (both have the same transfer with original mono and a mild 5.1 mix).  The only difference is the extras.  The 2010 disc was released to coincide with the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland theatrical release.

Note: The 2011 Blu-ray/DVD combo comes with a DVD that is still the same transfer as the 2004/2010 releases and NOT the same master as the Blu-ray.

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare9/alice_in_wonderland_.htm

Peter Pan (1953): Restored by Lowry around 2007 for the Platinum DVD release.  The colors were altered to be warmer than previous releases and so much detail was scrubbed that even old analog versions have better detail.

The 2013 Diamond Edition exhibits colors somewhere between the pre-restoration look and the Platinum Edition and is no longer blurry.  Unfortunately, effects like Tinkerbell's glow and fairy dust are damaged by the rotoscope method of restoration.

Pre-restoration releases, especially the 2002 Special Edition, have been described as "cold" colored.  To my eye the newer releases have done terrible things to anything that was blue.

Purist: 1991 Laserdisc/1990 VHS(?) boast some unique colors that are different from all other releases.  The accuracy is unclear though. This release also contains fine detail in the artwork and more complexity in the backgrounds than in any other release.

Acceptable Alternative:  The 2002 Special Edition is the sharpest, better colored edition before the unfortunate 'restorations' found on newer discs.  This DVD is cooler colored and has some halo artifacts from edge enhancement.

The 2013 Diamond Edition BD/DVD isn't recommended, but may have more accurate colors... or not, just avoid the Platinum Edition DVD.

2003 DVD vs 2007 DVD vs EU BD vs US BD: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=6858529#post6858529

Screenshot comparisons of four versions: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Disneys-Theatrical-Animated-Features-Best-Sources-List/post/644110/#TopicPost644110

Downloadable screenshot comparisons by drsd2kill: http://www.mediafire.com/download/qykmip45y9xmzpx/Peter_Pan.htm

Lady and the Tramp (1955): Produced in both Cinemascope and Academy Ratios with different animations for each.  Digital releases claiming to contain the Academy Ratio are a lie and actually pan and scanned Cinemascope prints.

Academy Ratio: You would need a 1998 VHS or LD.  Molly may be working on a preservation.

Purist: 1999 Limited Issue.  Softer image, non-animorphic letterboxed and far from perfect quality.  Contains only a remixed 5.1 audio track.  At least it predates Lowry's work.

Acceptable Alternative: The 2006 Platinum aka Special aka 50th Anniversary Edition shows much more detail but has some hallmarks of being over processed.  The 2012 Diamond Edition BD/DVD has an even better picture than the Platinum DVD.  Unfortunately, I cannot find comparison screenshots to judge if the restoration is better or worse.

It should be noted that the restored original 3.0 audio track contains dialog in all 3 front speakers.  The enhanced mix uses the more modern style of anchoring dialog in the center channel only.  You may want to avoid the new mix.

Screenshots of Limited Issue vs Platinum Edition vs R2 Special Edition: http://whiggles.landofwhimsy.com/writings/dvdimage-tramp.html  NOTE: The images are resized to match and inaccurately make it look like the Limited Issue has more image detail.

This post has been edited.

Dr. M

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Sleeping Beauty (1959): Aggressively restored in 2003 as seen in the YouTube video previous linked: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-z0o26HD40
Even more aggressively restored in 2008 for the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD and Blu-ray, colors are much more vibrant and it restores the original 2.55:1 aspect ratio.

Purist: The 1987 CAV full frame Laserdisc has the most accurate colors, but is pan and scan.  The 1997 CAV Widescreen Laserdisc (non-anamorphic (of course) letterboxed 2.26:1) is a bit over bright with duller colors.  Both predate the aggressive restoration.

Acceptable Alternatives: The 2008 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD and BD, while more re-animated in its restoration, contains a better brightness/contrast balance and the most accurate colors.  Probably not recommended if over processing annoys you.

The 2003 Special Edition DVD has colors similar to the 1997 laserdisc release (that is to say over bright and dull), appears to have more image detail than earlier editions, but is still overcropped at 2.35:1 (anamorphic).

All edition comparison screenshot: http://imageshack.us/a/img801/5023/t4o6.jpg

2003 vs 2008 Screenshots and review: http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/34969/sleeping-beauty/
Downloadable screenshot comparisons by drsd2kill: http://www.mediafire.com/download/o93x5onn8thm1kv/Sleeping_Beauty.htm

During the Xerography era from 1961 to 1981 the original aspect ratio of Disney's animated features is unclear.  The films were animated at 1.33:1 with TV broadcast in mind but matted to widescreen for theatrical release.  Most early DVD releases of these films are unmatted 1.33:1 but some newer ones are being re-matted wide (about 1.75:1).  These films are denoted with "OAR?".

The Xerography system also causes the original pencil lines to be transferred to the finished feature.  An artifact of the method and easily lost by over digital cleaning (which pretty much covers all Diamond Editions).

101 Dalmatians (1961): OAR?  Only available 1.33:1.  Available on BD only outside of the U.S.

Purist: The 2001 DVD.  It's sourced from an older unrestored film print.  Colors are somewhat off as a result of age.

Acceptable Alternative: There is nothing egregiously wrong with the 2008 Platinum Edition, but it has been restored and some odd creative choices have been made.  http://colorfulanimationexpressions.blogspot.com/2008/08/color-in-101-dalmatians-2-in-different.html

The Sword in the Stone (1963): OAR?  The first two DVD releases are 1.33:1 and the 2013 50th Anniversary Edition is 1.75:1.  The 2008 45th Anniversary Edition is a slightly better transfer than the previous edition.  If there was a new restoration between the 2008 Anniversary and 2001 Gold edition, the differences are minimal.

The 50th Anniversary Blu-ray disc, like other Disney films from this era on Blu-ray, looks like an amateur photoshop job.

Everyone: 2008 45th Anniversary Edition DVD for the slight image improvement over the previous disc and some bonus features.

For HD try to get the HDTV release alps(?) posted on a.b.hdtv or the de-logo-ed version by DON.  iTunes previously had a similar transfer, but has since replaced it in August of 2013 with the newly 'restored' version.  1080p rips of the old version are still circulating.

HDTV vs iTunes (old version) vs BD: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Recommended-Editions-of-Disney-Animated-and-Partially-Animated-Features/post/651739/#TopicPost651739

Mary Poppins (1964): OAR? Imdb lists 1.66:1 as the proper ratio, but it is more likely 1.75:1.  The Gold DVD was 1.85:1 and post-restoration versions have incorporated cropping and vertical bars to achieve 1.66:1.  It should also be mentioned that while pre-Lowry releases have had various height, Lowry is the first to vary the cropping on the left and right sides.  The Lowry left/right cropping is uneven and results in changing the composition of scenes.

Reports also indicate that Lowry has 'cleaned up' some special effect matte lines, wires, etc.

Purist: The 2001 Gold Edition is 1.85:1 non-anamorphic and predates Lowry's work on the film.  For a more accurate aspect ratio, I believe you would need to track down the Japanese laserdisc.

Acceptable Alternative: 2009 45th Anniversary Edition is a much cleaner transfer, but digitally restored by Lowry.  As stated above the image has been oddly reformatted to achieve 1.66-ish:1.  The 2004 40th Anniversary Edition is likely the same transfer as the 45th with different extras. It is also possible that the DEHT audio mix contains modern sounds effects to sweeten the track.

I personally find the Lowry releases to be overly edge enhanced with halo artifacts, but I have found no online review that agrees with me.

The Jungle Book (1967): OAR? The 1997 laserdisc used the same master as the Limited Issue 1999 DVD.   Both show muted colors and fair image quality.  Presented in 1.33:1, it should be the open matte full cell image, but there appears to be cropping on the left and right sides when compared to the 2007 Platinum Edition release.

Conversely, the 2007 Platinum Edition (1.75:1) shows some chopped elements from the top/bottom matting.  The 5.1 remix has been called 'gimmicky' by DVDizzy.com, but mono is available.  The colors are greatly improved and range closer to the 1992 laserdisc's more saturated palette (which had too much contrast).

Purist: Not great, but the 1999 Limited Issue DVD is unrestored.

Acceptable Alternative: 2007 Platinum Edition.

Downloadable screenshot comparisons by drsd2kill: http://www.mediafire.com/download/gaepmf7q1pp3997/The_Jungle_Book.htm

The Aristocats (1970): OAR?  The 2001 Gold Edition is 1.33:1, but again we see some cropping on the left/right in addition to the open matte at the top/bottom.  The 2008 Special Edition at 1.75:1 with added image on the left and right. 

The 2012 BD is also called a Special Edition (like the 2008 DVD), is 1.66:1 (a strange compromise AR) with fairly distinct color changes from previous releases.  It also presents excessive cleaning.  The included combo DVD is the 2008 1.75:1 transfer.

DVDizzy.com says: "Aristocats and other Disney 'toons from this era had kind of a raw, scratchy look to them, with animator pencil lines somehow featuring in the final product.
We get mere glimpses of that here (on the 2012 BD), in certain single frames of moving characters. The movie looks better cleaned up, but one wonders if the scrubbing in a way betrays the original presentation. You can always hang on to the Gold Collection DVD for its relatively rough 1.33:1 transfer."

Purist: 2001 Gold Edition.  A not at all terrible looking DVD for its age.

Acceptable Alternative: While it varies by scene, the 2008 Special Edition most frequently mimics the Gold Edition's colors, has sharper detail and contains more film grain than any other release.  Not nearly as drastically altered as the BD release.

2001 Gold vs 2008 SE screenshots: http://www.dvdizzy.com/aristocats-specialedition.html

DVD 2000 (Gold) vs. DVD 2008 (Special Edition) vs. HDTV vs. BD 2012 vs. BD Trailer: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=6130587#post6130587

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971): All DVDs contain 22 minutes of reinserted material, some of much lower quality, some needed redubbing and not all of which was done by the original actors.

Purist: Pre-1996 laserdiscs or VHS tapes are your only source for a theatrical version.

Acceptable Alternative: 2001 30th Anniversary Edition is better for extras than the 2009 identical transfer Enchanted Musical Edition (which dumps some extras for what are essentially infomercials).

Robin Hood (1973): OAR? The 2001 Gold Edition is 1.33:1.  The 2006 Most Wanted Edition is 1.75:1.  The 2006 disc may be slightly less sharp (either from less clean-up, less edge enhancement or both), but shows some color improvements.  It also sports a new 5.1 mix that is a minor enhancement of the mono-only track found on the 2001 disc.

The 40th Anniversary Blu-ray has the same overscrubbed look of all Blu-ray releases of Xerography era Disney films and isn't recommended.  It has a compromise aspect ratio of 1.66:1.

There are not enough differences between the DVDs that you shouldn't let your AR preference guide your choice.

Based on comments around the net though, I think I'd give the edge to the original 2001 Gold Edition for everybody, not just purists.

Screenshots comparison here: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=7866819#post7866819

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977): Based on reviews and limited screenshots, the 2007 Friendship Edition is best.  The 2002 25th Anniversary Edition is not quite as good a transfer, but there's nothing really wrong with it either.  Both are presented with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio which presents the most image.

The 2013 Blu-ray is cropped slightly top and bottom to provide an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 that is a compromise between the intended theatrical and TV ratios.  This disc shows signs of over restoration and is also over bright.  Um, the audio mix is supposed to be good(?)

There's no real indication that Disney even bothered with any digital restoration for '02 or '07.  A good reason to give the nod to the 2007 Friendship Edition for everyone.

Comparison screenshots: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=6975309#post6975309

The Rescuers (1977): I recommend the 2012 Rescuers/Rescuers 2 BD/DVD combo since it has the best image.  It is unclear if the included DVD is the same master as the BD or the poor quality 2003 Gold Edition.

Honestly, this film is so overlooked by Disney and fans, I couldn't even tell you if any digital restoration was done for the 2012 release.  All I can tell you is the Gold Edition is supposed to be fairly ugly.

Pete's Dragon (1977): 35th Anniversary Edition BD is best.  Missing are the 2001 Gold Collection's "Man, Monsters, and Mysteries" short and the 2009 High-Flying Edition's three demo recordings and four 70's pop versions of songs.

There is little apparent difference in transfers between the three DVD releases though.  BD is better just because it is HD.

The Fox and the Hound (1981): OAR? 2001 Gold and the very very slightly improved 2006 25th Anniversary DVDs are both 1.33:1. The 2011 BD/DVD combo with Fox and the Hound II is 1.66:1 (matted top and bottom, BUT expanded with more image left and right. (There are some apparent artifacts in the newly revealed right side region.))

Purist: The 2006 25th Anniversary DVD is a good, and probably unrestored since it is almost identical to the 2001 release.

Acceptable Alternative: The 2011 DVD/BD provides the best image available.  I've found nothing weird reported as far as colors are concerned, but it has been aggressively cleaned like much older titles.

The Black Cauldron (1985): This is another film largely ignored by Disney and fans so details are sketchy.

Purist: 2000 Gold Collection is non-anamorphic with an aspect ratio of 2.20:1.  The quality is not great, but it's unlikely to have been drastically altered either.

Acceptable Alternative: 2010 25th Anniversary DVD appears is anamorphic in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio with an improved transfer.  It's not definitive proof of excessive restoration, but DVDizzy says: "The film's backgrounds are especially impressive, so much so that at times the characters look a bit flat and disconnected from their spectacular surroundings."

The Great Mouse Detective (1986): The title screen for this film was modified for the 1992 re-release to "The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective".  The original aspect ratio is (maybe) 1.85:1.

The 2010 Mystery In The Mist Edition and 2012 MitM BD are probably the same restoration.  These discs have fairly different colors than the 2002 release.  While that doesn't always mean wrong, it just usually does where Disney is concerned.  This edition also has the original "Great Mouse Detective" title screen and is anamorphic 1.78:1 (closer to the original AR).  That said, it is not recommended.  The image is over scrubbed and occasionally soft.

All editions appear to only carry a remixed 5.1 track.

Recommended: The original 2002 DVD is a matted anamorphic 1.66:1 presentation and has the revised "The Adventures of..." title card.

The 2010 and 2012 releases have that washed-out ink line appearance common to the over filtering process.  I don't find the AR change or original title card enough of a benefit to outweigh how awful the lines look.  That's why they are not being called an acceptable alternative.

One comparison screenshot halfway down the page: http://www.dvdizzy.com/greatmousedetective.html

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988): Censored: Betty Boop nipple slip, Jessica Rabbit's underwear(?), Baby Herman flipping the bird.  Additional censorship in Roller Coaster Rabbit short.

Purist: Check out the preservation combining French HDTV airing and English audio track: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Who-Framed-Roger-Rabbit-uncensored-HDTV-airings/topic/15223/

Acceptable Alternative: If you don't mind censored the 2013 BD/DVD Combo is good, as is the 2003 Vista Series.

Oliver & Company (1988): 2009 20th Anniversary Edition is the same transfer as the 2002 DVD with aspect ratios of 1.66:1.  The 25th Anniversary BD/DVD combo has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which may be more theatrically accurate, but is achieved by cropping the animation.

The 2013 Blu-ray sports the overscrubbed zero grain look that negatively impacts xerography based animation.  It also has a new audio mix that may be overcooked.  You can always fall back on the 2.0 track.

Recommended: The 2009 20th Anniversary Edition or 2002 Special Edition.

20th Anniversary vs 25th Anniversary: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=7874343#post7874343

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The Little Mermaid marked the start of the Disney Renaissance Era and also the first limited use of a new digital ink and paint system called CAPS (Computer Animation Production System).  CAPS, developed with the fledgling PIXAR, was subsequently used for the entire production of Disney 2D films starting with The Rescuers Down Under and ending with Home on the Range.  With this new system, films were made at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and then later matted for their theatrical run.  As such 1.66:1 is often considered the OAR, but 1.85:1 is the format that would have been seen in theaters.

BDs and DVDs of later films made with this system are produced directly from the CAPS computer, are pristine, have few issues and are unlikely to have undergone damaging restoration.  This should be true of the earlier films, but doesn't seem to be.

The Little Mermaid (1989): With the 2006 Platinum Edition came changes in colors, a new Enhanced Home Theater Mix (the loss of any theatrical tracks), a relocated hand and censorship of a man's knee(!)

The restored transfer is said to have been approved by the directors, but the new colors are mostly considered inaccurate.  There is also a lot of other restoration apparent including repainted regions, fixes of animation errors and correction of out of focus or misaligned elements.  It is anamorphic and cropped to 1.78:1.

The 2006 DEHT mix is considered good by some and a travesty by others.  The folks at Home Theater Forum said:  "The techs who cooked up this DEHT mix are nothing but tone-deaf, MP3-listening junkies who wouldn’t know a holographic soundstage if it bit them in the ass."

Theatrically The Little Mermaid had analog audio either as Dolby Stereo or 70mm 6-track.  The 1997 re-release utilized a new Digital mix based on the original analog sources.

Downloadable screenshot comparisons of 1990 Laserdisc, 1999 DVD and 2006 DVD by drsd2kill: http://www.mediafire.com/download/0eb1209t913t4mx/The_Little_Mermaid.htm

Purist: The 2001 Limited Issue DVD which uses an identical master to the 1998 laserdisc.  It is OAR 1.66:1 letterboxed widescreen, contains the 1997 theatrical re-release Dolby 5.1 track and lacks the digital revisions made to the Platinum Edition.  On the down side it is non-anamorphic, and has what is either bad mosquito noise or an early digital noise reduction that leaves crawling grain around edges.

There was also supposedly a 2001 Limited-er DTS edition, but this may be more rumor than fact.

Acceptable Alternative: Doctor M's Restored Theatrical Edition uses the PE video transfer with a digitally restored knee and the 1997 theatrical 5.1 audio mix.  Colors and other digital changes were not addressed.
http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Hold-onto-your-old-Little-Mermaid-discs/topic/6757/

While anamorphic and cleaner than the Limited Edition, the noise reduction has had a negative impact on overall sharpness and detail.

Tentatively Acceptable Alternative:  The 2013 Diamond Edition Blu-ray has received shockingly positive reviews for not being over scrubbed and the preservation of some film grain.  It is available in a 3D post-conversion that is apparently unimpressive.  Colors seem fairly close to the 2001/1998 home video releases.  It is cropped to 1.77:1.

The preacher's knee is again censored, but other alterations made for the Platinum Edition have been reversed.  This includes the return of actual animation errors.

This is one of the few Diamond Editions that carry no original audio mixes.  The only track is a new DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and reviews range from good or vibrant to unnatural, weak or diappointing.  Apparently there is something to disappoint everyone.

Most important to note is that the initial release contains several errors including mis-timed opening credits, mixed up shots and a weird black line.  Disney is offering an exchange program.  Which bits are being fixed remains to be seen though.  A compilation of errors and alterations can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_4135981063&feature=iv&src_vid=Ft642v9AioM&v=qXpk-YHH03o  (Note: Some of these supposed alterations shown are reversions to the theatrical state.)

The Rescuers Down Under (1990):

Purist: 2001 Gold Collection.  Not pretty, but from the looks of it, unlikely to have been restored.  That doesn't necessarily make this right either.  (Not enough info available.)

Acceptable Alternative: 2012 BD/DVD combo containing the Rescuers 1 and 2.  Beautiful transfer with less noise and artifacts.  Preserves some of the natural film grain.  I can't say the restoration is wrong, but there are color differences versus the 2001 release.

Gold DVD vs BD: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=6494451#post6494451

Beauty and the Beast (1991): With the IMAX Re-release and Platinum Edition DVD came the addition of a new song, a corrected stuttered line, touched up animation and repainted backgrounds (a clean castle) to accommodate the continuity of a newly inserted song ("Human Again") and an added sound effect to explain the mysteriously re-dirty castle.  The repainted portions (incorrectly) appear in the 'theatrical' versions of all DVDs and BDs.  Again, the OAR is 1.66:1 but DVDs are 1.78:1 and BDs are matted to 1.82:1.

It is suggested the animators, new to the CAPS system, weren't sure what the final colors would look like.  So what is 'accurate' would be in doubt.  It sounds to me like a cop out considering this is the third animated feature to utilize CAPS and plain common sense leads me to believe they could probably see what they were doing as they went along.  Regardless, that is the excuse for each release having it's own color palette: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=7120019#post7120019

The 2010 Diamond Edition uncorrects the Beast's stutter on the soundtrack but contains additional new 'enhancements' to the artwork and is available with a 3D post-conversion.  There has also been discussion that the "hierarchy of lines" surrounding characters and objects have all been thinned to a uniform thickness on the BD to accommodate the 3D conversion.  May or may not be true.

Purist: The CAV Laserdisc (for quality) or VHS (for lighting).

A LD to DVD transfer was released by Molly with the correct aspect ratio, color and original theatrical version.  nirbateman has resynced Molly's release to the Diamond Edition restored audio track.

Also, the Work In Progress version of the film was changed between the laserdisc and DVD incorporating some Special Edition elements.  A laserdisc rip is available on TPB.

Acceptable Alternative: If you MUST go digital, the 2002 Platinum Edition is probably the most representative of the original theatrical version (even with the color changes, IMAX repainting, and crowding of 3 versions of the film on one disc).  It is also, good if you want to have "Human Again".

Many have stated that the 3D version on the Diamond Edition has the closest to accurate colors and that generating a 2D version from it is the best color palette available (at the expense of the artwork being 'enhanced' twice).  I see little similarity between the LD and 3D colors.  I leave that decision to you.

Aladdin (1992): The only digital release of this film includes censorship of a line of lyrics and a misunderstood line of dialog.  Like Beauty and the Beast there is also substantial reanimation done in anticipation of an IMAX release that never happened.

According to TheDigitalBits:
"The 1992 film, which has been off the market entirely for 10 years, has been newly restored for its inaugural digital presentation and 5.1 surround sound and enhanced home theater sound mix. To accommodate the sharper DVD image quality, more than 20% of the original artwork has been enhanced, with some characters redrawn to add more facial detail, and background colors in many scenes touched up for color and for detail. Stars in the sky presented perhaps the biggest challenge, with a total of 92 star scenes reworked to be more believable on the TV screen."

HomeTheaterForum points out that the stars in at least the "Whole New World" sequence twinkle when they did not before.

Purist: CAV/LBX Laserdisc.  1.66:1 so probably OAR.  The opening song still has one line censored, but no animation has been redrawn and the "Good Kitty" line is still present.

Acceptable Alternative: ADigitalMan's Restored Edition incorporating the original audio from the CD soundtrack and LD sources into the Platinum DVD.

The Lion King (1994): The issues: reanimation of several scenes, color changes, and censorship of a 'sex' dust cloud.  Once again changes were made for the IMAX release including insertion of a new song.

The DVDs and BDs advertised as containing the theatrical version are a lie:  http://www.dvdizzy.com/thelionking2.html

Purist: 1995 Deluxe Edition Laserdisc for the original palette and true original theatrical animation.  The AR is 1.85:1 so proper for theaters, but some animation has probably been matted.

Acceptable Alternative: The 2011 Diamond Blu-ray/DVD is a well reviewed transfer and sports an improved color palette over the DVD.  I'm not aware of any additional alterations beyond the 2003 release changes.  "Morning Report" is only a bonus feature on this edition.  Also available with a 3D post-conversion.  The aspect ratio is cropped to 1.78:1.

The 2003 Platinum Edition at 1.66:1 is your only choice for digital with OAR.  Has the option to watch with "Morning Report" via seamless branching.

Pocahontas (1995): Although there is an early Gold Collection version of Pocahontas with a different color palette, the 2005 10th Anniversary Edition was a direct digital to digital copy from the CAPS system.

Sporting an improved anamorphic 1.66:1 transfer (but actually measures 1.70:1), the colors are good and both the theatrical cut and an extended one with a new song "If I Never Knew You" are present.

The 2012 BD/DVD combo is 1.78:1, and may be further improved.  Only contains the theatrical version of the film.

Recommendation:  The 2012 BD (and possibly DVD) may contain a slightly improved version, but this is one case where the added song is an improvement.

If the interviews are to be believed, "If I Never Knew You" was removed very late in production after test audiences appeared bored during the song.  The fact is, the movie seems much more complete with the song restored even including a reprise later in the film.  A 'pop' version was even in the credits of the theatrical release.  A purist may argue it isn't theatrical, but that's a quibble that might make you miss a better version of the film.  Get the 2005 10th Anniversary Edition if you can.

Gold Edition vs Blu-ray: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=6537500#post6537500

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996): The 2002 DVD is 1.85:1 and is acceptable, but shows some compression artifacts.

The 2013 BD/DVD Hunchback 1 & 2 combo is improved and unmatted to 1.77:1.  Be aware, the 2013 BD combo include a DVD version that is the same transfer as the 2002 DVD and not an upgrade.

Hercules (1997): The Limited Issue DVD and 2000 Gold Collection are the same transfer and extras.  No apparent issues.  Disney doesn't seem to care enough about this film to mess with it or re-release it.

Mulan (1998):  The 2004 Special Edition sports an improved anamorphic 1.66:1 transfer with no issues.  The 2013 BD/DVD Mulan 1 & 2 combo is also good but has the benefit of HD.  The DVD included in the combo is a new pressing and lacks the extras found on the 2004 release.

There is little visual difference between the Special Edition DVD and the BD as you'd expect with Disney's ability to make direct digital copies from the CAPS system: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=7208351#post7208351

Tarzan (1999): The 2001 Collector's Edition contains a second disc of extras.  The 2005 Special Edition lost the second disc just before release and only boast the addition of a minor 5.0 to 5.1 upmix of the audio.  Either edition is fine depending on what you can find and your preferences.

Fantasia 2000 (1999): No apparent issues.  The 2010 Blu-ray combo with the original Fantasia is a nice choice.

Dinosaur (2000): The 2001 2-Disc Collector's Edition of this CG film is really good since it is a direct digital copy from the computer.  Also available as a 2006 Blu-ray.

The Emperor's New Groove (2000): There is a single disc and 2-disc Ultimate Groove 2001 release, as well as a 2005 New Groove Edition.  All use the same master.

Out on Blu-ray May 2013 it is another of Disney's recent releases to come as a 3-disc combo with Emperor's New Groove 1 and 2 on BD and DVD.  And again you'll find more extras on the 2-disc DVD release.  There is no reason to believe the bundled DVD is a new transfer.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001): The 2002 DVD is available as a 1 or 2 disc edition.  No apparent issues.

Out on Blu-ray June 2013 it is another of Disney's recent releases to come as a 3-disc combo with Atlantis 1 and 2 on BD and DVD.  You'll find more extras on the 2002 2-disc Collector's Edition.  There is no reason to believe the bundled DVD is a new transfer.

Lilo & Stitch (2002): 2002 DVD may be the same transfer as the 2009 Big Wave Edition DVD.  The latter having a second disc of extras including a partially completed version of the original hijacked plane ending that was scrapped after 9/11.  No issues with either disc.

Out on Blu-ray June 2013 it is another of Disney's recent releases to come as a 3-disc combo with L&S I and II.  You'll find more extras on the 2009 2-disc Collector's Edition.  There is no reason to believe the bundled DVD is a new transfer.

Treasure Planet (2002): 2003 DVD is barebones.  The 2012 10th Anniversary BD/DVD combo has more extras and the DVD version is similar to the 2003 disc. No issues.

Brother Bear (2003): The original theatrical presentation started with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio that expanded across the screen to 2.35:1 after 24 minutes.  On DVD and BD this is awkwardly achieved by postage stamping the beginning of the film with black borders on 4 sides.

Both the 2004 2-Disc Special Edition DVD and the 2013 BD/DVD Brother Bear 1/2 combo pack contain a DVD of the 'Family Friendly' version that is entirely pan and scan at 1.66:1 with a cropped image. 

 For BD there is only the 2013 release.  If you want DVD, only the 2004 DVD contains an OAR version of the film.  Both releases contain the worlds greatest commentary track.

Home on the Range (2004): The 2004 DVD has an aspect ratio of 1.66:1.  The 2012 BD/DVD combo has the movie on both discs at 1.78:1.  No other apparent issues. 

 

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Dr. M

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Disney, now focused on CG based films retired the nearly 20 year old CAPS in 2006.  For 2D films that follow, a customized version of Toon Boom Harmony software with special plug-ins was used to simulate the old CAPS system.

While only two films have been produced with this method for Walt Disney Animation Studios, it is also used by DisneyToon Studios which specializes in direct to video, TV specials and minor theatrical features.

Chicken Little (2005): Available as a 2006 DVD, a 2007 BD and a 2011 edition with various 3DBD/BD/DVD combo packs.  No apparent issues as the transfers are from an all digital source.  The film is natively 3D unlike any earlier Disney films, which when available as 3D, are post conversion.

Meet the Robinsons (2007): Available separately as a 2007 BD or DVD. There are also 2011 3DBD/BD/DVD combos.  No apparent issues as the transfers are from an all digital source and the film is natively 3D.

Enchanted (2007): One release in 2008 as BD and DVD.  No issues.

Bolt (2008): Available separately as a 2009 BD or DVD. There are also various 2011 3DBD/BD/DVD/DC combos.  No apparent issues as the transfers are from an all digital source and the film is natively 3D.

The Princess and the Frog (2009): One release in 2010 as BD and/or DVD.  No issues.

Tangled (2010): One release in 2011 in various combos of DVD, BD, 3DBD and DC. No apparent issues as the transfers are from an all digital source and the film is natively 3D.

Winnie the Pooh (2011): One release in 2011 in various combos of BD/DVD/DC.  No issues.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012): 2013 combos of DVD, BD, 3DBD and DC. No apparent issues as the transfers are from an all digital source and the film is natively 3D.

Currently not in circulation that the community would probably appreciate revivals of: Cinderella LD Preservation, Beauty and the Beast LD Preservation and Lion King LD Preservation.

Feel free to comment, question or scrounge on this thread.

Final thoughts: Is it necessary that Pixar films be included on this list?

Are films such as the Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful and John Carter Disney animated films in the same was as Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks in that they have fully animated characters?  Does the lack of music withdraw them from the Disney animated/live action category?

Thanks to Chuck Pennington / dresd2kill.  His screenshot comparisons on DVDizzy.com forum are provided here as downloadable HTML files because a change in the forum broke the code and removed the images.

 

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Dr. M

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Excellent reference thread.

One comment, you say that the 2002 DVD of Notre Dame is acceptable, however I remember reading that the bitrate is too low to handle the level of grain in the picture. This leads to some nasty compression artefacts. The R2 DVD appears to have been DNR'ed, so although the grain is missing the video has compressed better and doesn't show the extreme levels of mosquito noise. But it does have the 4% speed up which some find objectionable...

Found review here:

http://www.videophile.info/Review/Hunchback/Hunchback_01.htm

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Interesting.  I had to go through 8 other reviews before I found anyone else complaining about compression artifacts in Hunchback.  Most gave the video a 4/5 or B rating.

Seeing those screenshots, I cannot disagree though.  It is artifact-y.

I'll probably be watching Hunchback again this summer on a really large TV.  Should be interesting to see what is visible.

I see the guy at videophile also said he prefers the R1 disc just because R2 PAL speedup is a bigger deal.  I can't say I disagree.

I updated to mention the grain in the guide, but I'm not sure it effect the 'best version'.  BD > R1 DVD unless someone decides they want to release a custom disc.

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Dr. M

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Good job on the thread, Doctor M! Might I suggest a few things?

Snow White- Leonardo has a pre-restoration bootleg VHS with perhaps the most accurate colors (substantially different than any post restoration version, though I agree BD appears to be the best of a bad bunch)

Pinnochio- I have the CLV 1980s version that has the best colors- I may try to transfer this when I'm not busy (read: in about a month) and sync the restored track

Fantasia- confused about the various LD releases- Can someone explain this? (Are the CAV and CLV different "masters"?) Was there ever a release VHS, CED, or LD of the 1980s version?

Beauty and the Beast- Gonna have to debate you here. :) The 3D BD version has more accurate colors (at least closer to the LD, Beauty's hair is the right for here, not red-tinted, as in both the 2D BD and the Platinum Edition)- also closer to the theatrical version albeit with more tweaks

A revival of the ADM Aladdin preservation would also be appreciated if anyone still has it...

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The Aluminum Falcon said:

Snow White- Leonardo has a pre-restoration bootleg VHS (unfortunately in widescreen)

Allow me to correct you on this, the tape is in the correct academy ratio, it only goes to widescreen in a few shots. These are shots where you would have on screen text, like the queen's magic book, or the dwarves' beds with their names on, and these little shots have italian text in them and they're widescreen inserts because they were taken from a widescreen rerelease.

with the most accurate colors...

...supposedly. The only thing we know is that this was a telecine from a Technicolor print.


… 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:

Allow me to correct you on this, the tape is in the correct academy ratio, it only goes to widescreen in a few shots. 

So sorry! Didn't realize this. My bad, Leonardo. Apologies!

...supposedly. The only thing we know is that this was a telecine from a Technicolor print.

Fair enough...  though the optimist in me suspects it is more accurate, just as the Pinochio LD is. Even so, added a disclaimer in my post.

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The Aluminum Falcon said:

Leonardo said:

Allow me to correct you on this, the tape is in the correct academy ratio, it only goes to widescreen in a few shots. 

So sorry! Didn't realize this. My bad, Leonardo. Apologies!

no problem, man :)


… 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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The Platinum Edition of The Little Mermaid supposedly has issues with ink lines being thinned (possibly by the degraining algorithm?)

This image is kind of compressed and badly resized, but look at the comparison.

But in other instances, more ink line detail shows up in the Platinum transfer. Lighting effects also seem to be more "blown out" in the old transfer, not sure whether or not that's theatrically accurate? We know from Pinocchio and BATB (and the lightsabers in the 2004 ESB/ROTJ) that high-contrast lighting effects are sometimes dulled or flattened in modern transfers.

Steve Worth claims that in the modern BD transfer of Alice in Wonderland, double exposures, ripple glass effects and other effects animation are digitally ruined or replaced. He also says optical fades were altered, characters were separated from and regraded separately from the backgrounds, and the backgrounds were digitally frozen in place and lack any film weave.

In fact, Mr. Worth insists that many modern transfers of classic Disney animation have radically altered colors and all sorts of Lucasian digital alterations, rather than just being scanned, regraded and degrained. He said the same thing about Bambi. (In that case, he says every release since 1997 has some kind of digital alterations - in which case, the 1990 VHS/laserdisc would be the only straight film transfer.)

The BD of Dumbo has a couple bizarre color changes:

Notice that the three guys on the right have absolutely no line detail. It looks like they just laid a solid color mask over their uniforms. I have no idea why this was done.

Also, I thought I still had Molly's Cinderella preservation on my external hard drive, but it turns out I deleted it after I burned my copy.

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Great thread Doctor M, but I do have to agree with The Aluminum Falcon about BATB.

The platinum edition's colors are very bland compared with the LD, and it is riddled with compression artifacts due to all 3 versions being crammed on one DVD.

I do have Molly's first preservation and have synched it to the diamond DVD 5.1 soundtrack if anyone's interested.

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Excellent thread, Doctor M. Keep up the good work!

Considering that your suggestions range from LDs to BDs, it would make sense to choose DVD as the format most appropriate for a preservation series of all of Disney's animated theatrical features.

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I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

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It's still likely going to be my approach.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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The Aluminum Falcon - Snow White pre-restoration sounds interesting.  I'd love to see some screenshots for comparison.  I'm not sure what to make of it after reading Leonardo's response though.

For Pinocchio I wouldn't mind seeing some new screenshots of the '87 release.  If the ones I previously linked are accurate, it is extremely washed out and I suspect resaturation would make it look almost identical to the first Limited/Gold Edition DVD.

I did see someone post screenshots of the BD tweaking the colors and they were able to bring out the missing lighting depth.  I'm curious to see if someone with some good color correction skills will try to take it on.

Fantasia, yeah, I'm a bit vague on the LD's myself.  CAV is 'short play' (about a half hour per side).  Usually better quality as you'd expect.  I don't know if there were different masters for different discs.  ww12345 is probably the guy to ask about this.

Beauty and the Beast, I have heard from others that the 3D version converted to 2D is a better color palette (as such the guide has been updated to reflect this), but from the screenshots I've seen they look nothing like any version other version, even the LD.

Considering Disney has repainted this movie twice (for IMAX and the Diamond release), monkeyed with the outline thickness in the artwork, and I've seen indications they've moved objects around to improve the 3D presentation,  I have trouble recommending it even if the color was spot on.  In my mind it's no longer the same movie made by the original animators.

Aladdin - I had offered to revive ADM's release on the Vaultbreaker's thread and there was little interest at the time.  I'll see what I can do when I get some time.

TServo2049 - The Little Mermaid was a tough call.  I never noticed the thinner lines before, something I just called out BatB for doing.

That said, the original DVD is quite awful.  It's non-anamorphic, there are blurry and misaligned cells and some questionable colors there as well (which may be accurate).  It really looks like it was rushed out.

I actually pulled my DVD and couldn't believe those screenshots were right, but there's nothing untoward going on there.  That's a fair comparison.

My release always was a compromise for people who wanted improvement over the Limited Edition if they could handle the color changes.

The guide is updated to reflect line thinning and DAMN YOU I'VE NOW DEMOTED MY OWN PRESERVATION.  XD

I'm glad to see he explains some of the Peter Pan issues in that link.  Those missing paint strokes disappeared as far back as between '91 and '97.

Finally, is Bigshot/Mr. Worth really knowledgeable?  He blasts the restorations of Dumbo, Bambi and Alice In Wonderland and sounds tinfoil hat-y.  (And a lone voice).

If anyone can confirm this I'll gladly update the guide and demote the BD recommendation for those films as having digital modifications to effects and animation.

Mercifully he seemed to have no issue with the Snow White BD.

Should I assume that by limiting his complaints to BD that he has no issue with the prior DVD releases of those 3 films?  Otherwise I don't know what to recommend.

nirbateman - Beauty and the Beast:  I never called the Platinum DVD my first choice, only that it's the closest digital option to the theatrical version of the film.  The LD is still first place and HELL YES PLEASE SHARE YOUR RESYNCH!

I know the Beast's stutter has been restored on the Diamond track, but is the noise indicating the re-destruction of the castle removed as well?

Short of someone using the laserdisc to digitally color correct and restore the modified areas on the BD, your disc is probably going to be the final ideal release.

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Dr. M

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Usually the CAV and CLV versions of the same edition are the same master, não?

Oddly, I seem to remember a Buena Vista plastered edition of Cinderella, but none of my sources are like that.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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The re-destruction of the castle isn't on the DVD track, so yeah, it's pretty accurate.

It's not a disc, but a MKV file, with the video remuxed from the disc, and the sound added from the DVD.

I tried to do the same thing with  the DTS track from the Bluray, but there was a sync issue somewhere which I couldn't fix.

I used audacity, which is a very simple tool, merely to cut the Diamond edition opening and add the original fanfare and hoped for the best, and it worked.

BTW, how should I share it? Myspleen doesn't allow Disney, and while I could upload to a service like Sendspace, how should the links be spread, other than PM'ing?

Same goes for all preservations.

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I want to float something regarding the 'thinning' of lines.

I've just spend a LOT of time comparing screenshots and reading discussions and I'm starting to suspect the fat lines we are used to is wrong.

Older transfers that have these thicker lines also lack a LOT of fine detail (check out the comparison of the Gold Alice in Wonderland.  Almost half the image is gone.)

Now I'm not saying this is true for all transfers.  Cinderella is overscrubbed, period.  The Platinum Peter Pan is crazy soft to the point that fine detail previously present is absent.  There are other offenders as well.

What I AM saying is I think the people making the old transfers for home video didn't necessarily have pristine prints and they were probably aware of the limitations of the medium they were going to.

For example, that Little Mermaid picture.  What troubles me is about how perfectly matched up the two images are, even though the DVDs were drastically different.  The first is letterboxed 1.66:1 (with some distortion IIRC) and the other is 1.78:1 anamorphic.

So somewhere in there, somebody did resizing and stretching with some method we don't know just to get those images the same aspect ratio and size.

BUT, if you are transferring a not so great source to a non-anamorphic DVD for standard definition TV and probably sharing a master with a VHS release?  You'd probably boost the contrast so the image comes through and hit it with some sharpening or edge enhancement.

Quick and dirty test:

I don't want to say this gives a pass to all new Disney transfers, but the fact of the matter is with clean masters, DVD and/or HD only releases, and 7 years of changes in hardware and compression methods, you now have some breathing room for subtlety when you fine tune an image.

And yeah... that Dumbo image didn't show up when I first saw TServo2049's post.  Those new colors are just ugly.  But again, I'm troubled.  What's the source of the image on top?  The DVD bundled with the 70th anniversary release is supposed to be from the same master (isn't it?) The 60th Anniversary Edition is full of grain.  Is it the 2006 Big Top Edition maybe?  If so we have a winner.

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Dr. M

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@nirbateman:  Did you re-encode the video or did you mux the mpeg2 into an MKV container?

Is Audacity lossless when working with AC3 tracks or does it re-encode the entire track when you make the edit?  I've heard people claim it losslessly can edit mp3's and that's been proven to be false.  Womble's programs are still about the only ones I know that lets you edit AC3 (nearly) losslessly.

As far as sharing... that's a good question.  I've been testing the waters of using MediaFire, WinRar'ing into <200mb pieces, and putting the links in a .dlc file (encrypted links readable with jdownloader).  Dunno if that's good bad or whatever though.  (Is this comment still within site rules?)

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Dr. M

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The video has not been re-encoded, but remuxed.

The audio was exported with the AC3 codec in 384 KBPS, which is the bit rate used on the DVD, so it probably was re-encoded, but it does sound a lot better than the lossy stereo originally used.

As far as sharing goes, using dlc is an option, but how is the dlc file to reach everyone as we can't share it on this site?

At first I thought of an invite based forum, similar to Myspleen but with links, instead of torrents, if anyone has the know how to create such a site.

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@nirbateman: I PM a link to the DLC.  FanEdit.info already provides a simple site that keeps .dlc, .torrent and .nzb links.   They might accept preservations.

For BatB:  I just checked again, yeah, audacity re-encodes lossy formats.  It probably wasn't the right tool for the job.  I'd love it for the video track, but I'd probably just resync the audio again and reauthor to DVD if I had it.  I'm thinking it should be redone if you could.

@all: At the moment I'm considering re-instating my Little Mermaid preservation as first choice after seeing what a contrast adjustment did.  Those lines no longer seem messed with to me from the restoration, just a difference in the transfer.  Thoughts?

After looking at Bambi, Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland: I'm hoping for some more input.

I'm leaning towards recommending the Dumbo Big Top Edition, which while flawed, just seems more right than the 70th Anniversary, but that's just my gut. 

If Alice is truly as digitally altered as stated, the Masterpiece and Un-Anniversary editions have a lot of color and detail and make a good replacement.

For Bambi I did some more review combing and found mention that 'imperfections' have been sparingly cleaned, but this may be brushstrokes or original blemishes in the cells or film they removed.  The previous edition is still pretty good without the changes, but there seems to be no solid answer.

I guess what I'm saying is that if anyone has seen these Blu-rays, has read anyone else besides Mr. Worth(?) commenting on them, or just has an opinion, please help settle this.

Dr. M

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I have the french PAL laserdisc of Fox and the Hound, that was never released on laserdisc in the US... I guess if this version is the same of US DVD/BD, or could be uncensored...

The Pinocchio Box Set laserdisc should not show any ghosting artifacts due to digital noise reduction, if this probem is not in the master but only due to DVD compression...

[spoRv] projects: released | in progress | future | homepage: blog.spoRv.com| fan preservation forum: fanres.com|

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Doctor M, your hypothesis about "thinned" lines not being some kind of digital artifact is interesting.

I can't find the site/forum, but I remember someone complaining that there was DVNR artifacting in the Vista Series DVD of Roger Rabbit. The lines indeed look thin and wispy, but the Blu-ray and the French HDTV broadcast seem to have the same line characteristics.

I'm betting that RR had hair-thin inking to begin with, so the characters would better blend into the live action - the cels I've seen seem to bear that out.

Also, does anybody else think the "Mystery in the Mist" transfer of The Great Mouse Detective looks a tad TOO warm? I won't argue that it's a better transfer than the old DVD, but there's an original 35mm print from 1986 on eBay, and the blues actually look blue. (Or is that just due to the white balance on the digital camera capturing the projection?)

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@_,,,^..^,,,: What was censored in The Fox and the Hound?

I would think DNR is applied to the the source.  I don't believe mpeg2 compression can cause ghosting.

Dr. M

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Doctor M said:

@_,,,^..^,,,: What was censored in The Fox and the Hound?

This is only an hypotesis... as some other Disney classics were "restored", maybe also Rox&Roury (the french title of The Fox and The Hound" is the "improved" version... to be sure, it must be captured and compared scene by scene with the DVD... and I'm sorry I have not it, so I couldn't do the comparison (yet)!

I would think DNR is applied to the the source.  I don't believe mpeg2 compression can cause ghosting.

I wrongly explained myself, sorry... what I wanted to mean is that maybe the DNR is applied to the source used for the DVD, so the laserdisc *could* be DNR free.

[spoRv] projects: released | in progress | future | homepage: blog.spoRv.com| fan preservation forum: fanres.com|

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