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rsortor

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2-Jul-2009
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16-Oct-2017
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76

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Post
#1115465
Topic
The Bride with White Hair bluray regrade w/ stereo audio
Time

My favorite movie, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR was recently released in a limited-edition blu-ray in China. An MLIFE exclusive, the set included the terrible sequel on a separate disc and an 84-page booklet with color frame grabs from the films. There were two different covers with slipcases limited to 300 copies of “type A” and 200 of "type B."
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You can still find it on eBay, where I got my copy, but it’s expensive. THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR never had a decent transfer to DVD, most of them being letterboxed standard 4:3 frame. A French release was 16:9 but had no English subtitles and the transfer was again, sub-par. No DVD had the stereo audio except a German release that I have not acquired. While the new blu-ray was a BIG improvement on every other presentation, the transfer is much too bright, overall color is hued greenish, English subtitles are sloppy and the audio tracks (Mandarin and Cantonese) are mono down-mixes. I had yearned for an HD transfer (or better yet, a chance at a 35mm screening which will likely never happen) for decades and finally it arrived but the damn thing is flawed. I have the tools, skill and dedication so here’s my Special Project for the movie:

  • Color/exposure correction
  • Syncing the stereo Cantonese audio from the Tai Seng Laserdisc
  • New subtitles placed within the lower matte. The subs are “burned in” for this project, a choice I made for various reasons.
  • Fixing a few digital anomalies, namely this little frustrating oddity.

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See the dot near the top center of the frame? It’s there for three shots and was distracting enough to fix, which wasn’t easy because the camera drifts around slightly.

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Looks like they tried to mask out something from the master. These little spot masks are often used to cover dead pixels. The editor grabs a tiny section near the offending spot and slides it over to cover it.
I only made one change to the film itself: Brigitte Lin’s character introduction. In the original edit, she flies in screen right which collides with the rest of the scene’s set-ups so I mirrored that shot so that she appears from the left at 23:22. While color timing this transfer, which was almost shot-by-shot, I was constantly in awe of the craftsmanship on display in this film. Even though THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR was the huge prestige film from Hong Kong in 1993, lavished with a much higher budget than typical productions, it was still made for a fraction of what ordinary Hollywood features were afforded. I’m speculating here but it seems like the scan of the source received no color correction at all! I also have to wonder if the release prints themselves were photo-chemically timed to lean toward the cyan for that bluish palette so common in HK films of the early ‘90s. If there were blue gels on the lights or blue camera filters, I wouldn’t see so much natural color that’s coming out from this HD transfer. Granted, many scenes do indeed have a lot of blue lighting such as the wrap-around scenes in the snow, night scenes, etc. An attempt to imitate the look of those theatrical prints resulted in an ersatz, digitalish blue hue that was unacceptable so I concentrated on subduing that green tint on the blu-ray without affecting the overall color scheme. This was a bigger challenge than correcting the transfer’s brightness levels! I’m grateful that it’s overexposed rather than too dark because the blacks would be crushed. As it is, I’ve only noticed one shot that had the brightness blown out and it was a quickie during the climactic transformation flashbacks. Another culprit for the varying levels within scenes is that doggone atmospheric smoke on-set that had to be a major annoyance for the cinematographer! The smoke would diffuse the light to varying degrees. It seems to have dissipated during a single scene’s shots & set-ups. It was probably impossible to maintain any kind of lighting continuity with that crap wafting around.
All that said, this version is still rather bright due to the source and the soft, hazy cinematography. Dropping the exposure in the shadows too much crushed the detail. Another thing I noticed was that the Blu-ray transfer seemed to be a bit squished horizontally, so I transformed the image vertically. The aspect ratio is probably closer to 2.15:1 but nothing got cropped from the Blu transfer, which compared to the laserdisc, is already cropped on the top and sides. I also raised the image a few pixels to accommodate the subtitles, a la’ the old Tai Seng laserdisc. Here are some before & after pics: (Laserdisc TOP, raw Blu-ray MIDDLE, my regrade BOTTOM)
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One exception to my subtitles is the opening scroll. On the Tai Seng releases, that’s how it appears on the theatrical prints, so I assume that’s how the director intended it. On subsequent DVD releases, it’s just a dull screen of the snow flying around during the narration with video subtitles.
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I took a little artistic license with some of the subtitle translation. My old VHS (the first time I saw it) is transferred from a Mandarin theatrical print with much different linguistics. Some phrases are almost poetic. I’m not multi-lingual so I studied each translation for the lines to be as concise and sensible as possible. Also, I opted not to include subtitles for the lyrics of Leslie Cheung’s end credits song. The same translation appears on every disc that includes subs for it and to me, they seem awkward. I even looked at the French DVD and was ready to enter the French into a translator, but they didn’t sub the song either! Internet searches returned zero results for a different translation of the lyrics. I found two different titles for it though! “The White-Haired Beauty” and " Red Cheek, White Hair."
A few more comparison frames: (Raw blu-ray TOP, my regrade BOTTOM)
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This was the worst offender, a shot that clearly was run through an optical printer to get the freeze-frame and fade out.
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The project is finished and available on the 'spleen. I compressed it as H.264 so the file size is 8 GB.

This post has been edited.

Post
#599592
Topic
Puggo Strikes Back!
Time

Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

The audio on rsortor's print is NOT the 16mm mix.  What is the easiest way for me to determine whether it is a foldown of the 35mm or the 70mm?

 On Page 32, post 794 (sorry, can't figure out how to do a quick link to the post)

none said:

it may have been closer to the original then Puggo Grande was.  So would this have been made for a more official capacity, like the supposed army or airline prints?

This makes the most sense to me.  My print is a reduction of a well-worn 35mm theatrical print, has the lab reel-change cues and the 35mm mix.  Jaxxon's print is clearly much closer to the original source w/ better contrast and detail.  Maybe at some point in that short window of time between the 70mm release and all the tweaking for the 35mm versions, this 16mm hybrid got rushed out for a specific venue?  We can only guess...

Post
#466271
Topic
Stjärnornas Krig - Swedish 16mm print
Time

Thanks for the disc, Puggo!  Have to agree with the above responses.  While not as presentable as Puggo GRANDE, it still had it's own dog-eared charm.  Looked on par with the Super-8 Puggo Edition with some crushed whites and blacks but overall perfectly watchable.  I only noticed one "fart" subtitle and it wasn't either of the above frame examples.  I admit to cracking up as well! Strange that the subs would take a break for a couple of lines sometimes.   (something I wish contemporary subtitlers would take a cue from, too much extraneous text in domestic releases of many foreign films)

The Maniac was cute.  Reminded me of some of my own grade-school super-8 efforts!

I was kinda surprised at the on-screen special-thanks credit, but I appreciate that Puggo!  I didn't really contribute much so it'll be considered a TIA for the inevitable Puggo STRIKES BACK! ;-)

Post
#439241
Topic
Stjärnornas Krig - Swedish 16mm print
Time

Yep, the ESB print countdowns are different for Reel 2.  Reel 1 and 3 are identical and look like this:

Reel 2:

A couple more oddities only on Reel 2:

 

The frame says "REEL 3" referring to the third reel of the theatrical print.

 

Post
#437673
Topic
Stjärnornas Krig - Swedish 16mm print
Time

Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:


So now I am beginning to wonder if it is customary, for some reason, for 16mm sets of prints to have a different countdown for reel 2 as they have for reels 1 and 3 ??

I'll make a mental note to check this on the ESB print next time I screen it; (which will be next Wednesday night, most likely)

Looking forward to the Swedish transfer if only to finally see the splices and whatnot that we heard bumping on PG!  I enjoy tactile little things like that.. ;-)

Post
#436649
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

The original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE was also shot on 16mm and looks fantastic on blu-ray!  http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews41/the_texas_chain_saw_massacre_blu-ray.htm

Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

It bugs me when I see a cheap-ass transfer on a great classic.

Couldn't agree more.  A couple of my favorite movies spring to mind that have never been 100% perfectly transferred for DVD.  For instance,  SUSPIRIA has been released many times, including a new Blu-ray this year in Europe but nobody seems capable of getting it right!  They keep coming oh-so-close, but still no cigar.

This post has been edited.

Post
#436085
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

SilverWook said:

Did you take any pics of the ending? That's where the visual differences from the 70mm are supposed to be.

The Photobucket album represents about half of the shots I took.  Discarded ones were either kinda redundant, blurry, exposed too long and caught multiple frames or I forgot to turn the flash off & got a mostly white screen!  Kinda ran out of steam at the end but I assure you, it's not the 70mm version.  Leia says, "I know where Luke is," the Falcon dish is there when Luke falls and there are dissolves between the shots of Luke and Vader during the "Father" & "Son" exchange.  Darn it..

Another thing I noticed, this print is a smidgen dark, which virtually eliminates all the garbage mattes!

Post
#435968
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

Okay folks!  I screened the film again last night and took lots of screenshots. 

There are fifty more pics in the Photobucket album here: http://s321.photobucket.com/albums/nn388/sixpakcinema/ESB%2016mm/

#2 and #3 in the album are video clips that are playing back pretty herky-jerky on my computer for some reason.  All were taken with an old Canon A530 digital camera while the film was projected on an eight-foot wide screen in my living room.  None have been photoshopped 'cept the image above which I cropped and resized. 

Post
#435962
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

skyjedi2005 said:

 ...are these foreign prints with the english audio re-recorded from laserdisc or DVD.

The seller told me that the original owner who sold him this print was from the U.S.of A.  The sound is optical so unlike super-8 mag stripes, it can't be dubbed over.  The print is in English, btw..

The only real print i know of that is authentic is the derann films super8mm release as they had the rights to produce them for a limited time from Lucasfilm.

I didn't know Derann offered ESB but ANH was exclusive through them for awhile.  Only one of those super-8 ANH prints has been sold on eBay in the past two years that I know of.. 

Classic Home Cinema in  the UK used to offer a super-8 'scope print of ESB sourced from the German version that they re-dubbed into English but the opening scroll was still in German.  I tried to obtain a copy of  this print, which I was informed was still available last year on a special-order basis but apparently they've stopped production altogether. 

..there is no guarantee if the stock is Eastman pre-lpp

There are ways of identifying film stock.  Here's a webpage that offers a useful guide: http://www.paulivester.com/films/filmstock/guide.htm

Post
#435719
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

SilverWook said:

Somebody here does know where the Ebay print ended up. See above...

 

Oh. My bad.   And I agree that the discussion of the value of something like this seems to be out of whack.  As if anyone can go down to their neighborhood film store and pick up a 'scope print of ESB for the going rate!  I've checked eBay film auctions weekly for over two years and this was the first time I'd ever seen one available!

This post has been edited.

Post
#435513
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

Cool Puggo!!  While nobody knows where the eBay print ended up, (and there hasn't been any feedback there yet for it) I'm pretty sure my print would suffice for PSB!  There's not really any "damage" that would need to be cleaned up.  Certainly not of the level of the PG prints!  From what I gather from my correspondence with the seller, I'm the third owner of this print.  Both previous owners upgraded to 35mm prints!  (something I can promise won't happen with yours truly!)  It was printed in the mid-90's on what I believe to be low-fade Kodak reversal stock.  There are a very few emulsion scratches here & there as well as one or two minor splices; all of which may have been on the source print.  I've only screened it once and didn't take the time to examine these spots individually.  But I did carefully rewind it by hand, gently cleaning it and didn't feel any physical splices..  (btw, my cleaning cloth didn't pick up much.. the previous owner really must have pampered this print!)  It's on three 1600' reels and the reel-change burn marks are there along with the usual speckling for a couple feet before and after;  again, from the source theatrical print.

So if and/or when you decide to tackle PSB, I'm sure with this print it would be a walk in the park compared to PG!  It's just as well that you've got a full plate with the Swedish print and the Puppies (which I'm anxious to see!) because I want to screen this print a few more times before letting it leave the nest ;-)

Post
#435135
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

Yes Guy, it's Ronnie!  I almost hate to  gloat about my private little 30th Anniversary screening but almost nobody around here would appreciate it..  Maybe I'll take some screenshots  next time I  screen the print.   

Darth Mallwalker, Rolla is about 100 miles north of me...

As for 16mm = 1080p, film  is film and video is video.  There are some very good looking Blu-ray transfers out there, and you can definitely see more detail in the image when it 's say, telecined in HD from the original negative.   But I'd rather see a projected film over video any time there's a choice.

This post has been edited.

Post
#435051
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

I should probably start a new thread somewhere, but thought I'd start here.  Long story short:  I just received and screened a 16mm low-fade 'scope print of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK that came from a collector in France who spotted another post I'd made at the 8mm film forum about that eBay auction.  He'd had this print available for sale since May of this year and for a helluva lot less than the auction ended for!   (Jean-Marc, if you're reading this, you rock!)  Another collector had dibs on both the ESB print and the same seller's JEDI print so they were "on hold" for awhile.  Lucky for me, this person backed out and I assume, only took JEDI. (go figure..)   Granted, it wasn't cheap!  But man oh man, what a beauty!   I was hoping that it would somehow turn out to be a reduction print from the 70mm version, but it's the 35mm original theatrical version reduced to 16mm cinemascope.   Colors are rich and contrast is striking unlike the slightly faded print for PUGGO GRANDE.   My offer above was kind of in jest, but Puggo, if you're ever so  inclined to do a PUGGO GRANDE II, lmk..   Meanwhile, if anyone ventures through my neck o' the woods here in the Ozarks wanting a private screening, I'd be delighted!

Post
#428586
Topic
STAR WARS and ESB 16mm scope prints on eBay!
Time

Both are supposed to be complete features and of course are very expensive.  ESB is on LPP which is a low-fade film stock.  I'm tempted but don't have an extra $3000 laying around at the moment..

Here's the URL for ESB:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200503779487&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT 

The same seller is offering the STAR WARS print.

 

This post has been edited.

Post
#384316
Topic
Starcrash: ReVamped
Time

Greetings everyone!  Recent exposure to all the wonderful STAR WARS fan edits has inspired me to create something of my own.  I have quite a bit of DIY filmmaking experience and consider post-production the best part of the process!  Naturally, fan-editing has turned out to be a blast!

This project is a hybrid fanedit/perservation effort since STARCRASH is still not officially available.  I first obtained a copy from Amazon under the alternate title, FEMALE SPACE INVADERS as a cheapo VHS-ripped DVD release from what I consider a gray-market distributor.  The source for this particular project is the OOP French 2-disc special edition region-free  PAL DVD.  Unlike the full-screen knock-offs that show up in North America occasionally, this version is uncut and 16:9 enhanced for it's 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The print is a bit worn but it's the best game in town at the moment. 
For those of you familiar with this legendary (20 years ago, I might have used the word "notorious") film, don't expect miracles!  As the old saying goes, you can't polish a turd, but I sure gave it the old college try!  My original intent was just to trim Christopher Plummer's loquacious face-time.  That performance was like William Shatner on xanax.  What a wind-bag!  I was having so much fun with Womble that I ended up tightening many other scenes.  The dogfight scene is a little less wonky in my version, for instance.  However, I left quite a bit of the awkward, eccentric Mise-en-scène that gives so many European genre films their charm.  More editing choices were considered, but I love STARCRASH too much to try to give it a total facelift.  Some of my cuts weren't exactly seamless, but neither were some of the transitions in the source print.  Even long-time fans of the film might be hard-pressed to identify which abrupt or mis-timed edits are mine and which are original..
For the rest of you who haven't had the pleasure of seeing this 1978 STAR WARS rip-off, you're in for a treat!  Especially if you appreciate grindhouse-era B-movies like GALAXY OF TERROR or BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS to be underrated pieces of high art as I do. ;-)  Director Luigi Cozzi (who's a huge sci-fi fan himself and now manages Dario Argento's "Profundo Russo" bookstore in Rome) insists that STARCRASH was green-lit months before STAR WARS was released but studio demands obligated him to make changes that reflected the big Hollywood blockbuster's influence.  Blame the studio's meddling or lack of talent from the cast & crew, no one can deny that the final product was a very poorly edited mess.  But despite all the B-movie shortcomings, STARCRASH is enormously entertaining!  It's fast-paced and has enough kitschy panache to knock all the STAR WARS prequels out of the ring with one arm tied behind it's back, IMO!  The actors have tremendous screen presence and chemistry even though they have to spew terrible dialog like: "Time for a little robot chauvinism!" or "You can drop the riffle ray.." or "First you gotta catch me you dirty cop!" And I'd be remiss not to mention the too-good-for-this-b-movie score by John Barry.  If I've sparked your curiosity, check out the user comments at imdb and the trailer at YouTube.  Heck, even many of the worst critics have to admit that STARCRASH is, above all, fun!
My finished fanedit version is about 7 minutes shorter than the 93 minute uncut version.  No complete scenes were totally excised but the ridiculous sequence of the emperor (Christopher Plummer) commanding his ship to halt the flow of time got trimmed by about 80%.  Using Womble's DVD Menu template, I included that entire scene as the only "deleted scene." Also included is the original theatrical trailer extracted from a different source.  I researched the possibility of converting it to NTSC but decided to leave it as-is.  So many DVD players are PAL-compatible out of the box these days.  I tested it on my X-BOX which played it beautifully as did my Philips and a couple of cheap-o portable players.  PS2 & PS3s do not support PAL, unfortunately. 
I don't expect a lot of demand for this title so whoever wants to see it, PM me and I'll burn a few copies to ship out.  Sorry, I haven't the first clue as to uploading a torrent or posting it on a newsgroup.  Hopefully one of you good people might volunteer...

Post
#374814
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

Thanks Ripplin!  The film box actually holds an old TV print of HERCULES UNCHAINED.  I made the fake label myself and customized it with some coffee & soy sauce.  A real print of STAR WARS would be out of my price range!  So in case anyone was fooled by the label and might be wondering, I'm not "Jaxxon," the one who supplied Puggo with the prints..

Post
#374793
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time
TMBTM said:
... possible grindhouse fanedit of SW! ;) ...

I did not see the Puggo grande yet. I'm waiting for V3. :)

 

Oh boy!  Are you in for a treat!!! ;-)

 

Post
#374766
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time
TMBTM said:

 ...can't we use the colors of the Puggo grande on 95% of the scenes of Star Wars revisted? Perhaps even on a HD version of SW?

 

Your heart's in the right place, but unfortunately, 90% of 16mm prints made before 1982 were on Eastman stock and have faded over time.  See P. G. reel #2 for a typical reproduction of what a 30ish year-old 16mm film print looks like these days.   Reels 1 and 3 of the Puggo GRANDE were very well preserved, judging from their color and contrast, (they may have even been Eastman LPP, a much better "low fade" film stock) but they had faded a bit as well and a true representation of brand new prints from 1977 are probably gone forever.

Post
#374738
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time
Jonno said:

Anyway, who's going to step up and make a cover for this lovely disc?

Here's an appropriate idea I had for the cover.  Just a quick mock-up of a work-in-progress really.

I'm not savvy enough with graphic art programs to come up with a final, but if someone likes the idea and wants to flesh it out, I'll be happy to provide full-resolution pics...

 

This post has been edited.

Post
#373625
Topic
Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration
Time

Wow!  Puggo GRANDE was everything I'd hoped it would be!  The 16:9 snafu was easy to fix.  It seems a bit bass-ackward, but I set the player to display 4:3 with my Sanyo Z3000 1080p projector still set at "full" and it filled my 92" screen beautifully!  Puggo's right about the unique optical sound from 16mm film prints.  There's nothing like it.  Somebody may take the time to marry this version with a surround track, but it just wouldn't fit the picture.  It was so great not to be distracted with LFE during "I find your lack of faith disturbing" for instance!  The force rumble is there but it's more subtle, and to me, more effective.  My hat's off to Puggo for an awesome job!   Adywan worked wonders on his SW REVISITED, but in the future when I get a hankerin' for Episode IV, it'll be the Puggo GRAND that gets played!  A thousand thanks, Puggo!!!

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