I'm kind of surprised that everyone favors the laserdisc regrade. Is it because of the skin tones?
Speak of the devil and he shall appear ;-)
Funnily enough I saw yet another iteration of Alien yesterday, a DCP which appeared similar - but not the same - to the BD colouring. It was quite pleasingly balanced, though perhaps still a little cool for some tastes.
Anyway, having seen this film theatrically three times in its original version (twice on celluloid), I personally favour the laserdisc colouring as the overall truest, albeit with the occasional wobbles. Perhaps a next step would be to obtain a copy of this book if you don't already have it:
Subject to the limitations of the printed page, it gives a good flavour of what an original film print would have looked like (the short version is it's much like the laserdisc, only pushed slightly further towards green).
As far as versions go, I'm an original theatrical man all the way (for both films). It's your project of course, but that would be my suggested starting point, which could then extend to other versions.
Anyway, let me know if I can help in any way. I've no shortage of (otherwise) useless knowledge and opinion on this subject...
Thanks for the help Jonno. I have also seen an 35mm print but its been so long I can't remember the look.
Do you have that book Jonno? If so can you maybe send me a couple of pics from it. It looks like a good guide for this project. Especially, the problem areas. I'm not only looking for the coloring but the dark/contrast. I assume the skin tones are warm like the LD and not pale like in the DVDs and BDs?
This will definitely be a theatrical cut. Besides Jetrell Fo and Doombot are working on a Director's cut preservation via the D-theater which I myself am looking forward to.
The laserdisc colors look the best by far. I definitely recommend using that as the primary reference, since not only is it the most pleasing to the eye, it is much closer in 'feel' to what movies back then looked like, generally speaking. If it is the closest to the appearance of film prints, as Jonno says, then that makes a great deal of sense for why it feels right.
You shouldn't necessarily adhere to it slavishly in every detail, of course; after all, old home video masters are not known for perfect accuracy in color or contrast. But get it looking pretty close to that and I for one will be very, very pleased.
Thanks hairy_hen. Going to try to get as close as possible but definitely won't be slavish to it. I might just grade to both sources and maybe release both.
I for one would happily welcome the theatrical "Aliens" in its original colors! The CBS cut does sound like a nice compromise between the theatrical and the extended cuts, but for the sake of preserving the original film, I'd advocate for the theatrical. At least to begin with ... :)
Aliens will be theatrical first. Not sure what I will do after that but theatrical first. I'll post some of those pics tomorrow.
I agree that the laserdisc colors are the best overall for Alien, although I think you can give yourself a little latitude here and there. And I really like the idea of having the original 70mm audio track as an option, as I missed that particular laserdisc.
Regarding Aliens, I think that you should definitely start with the theatrical because I think that it would be worthwhile preservation (was the AC-3 track on that last laserdisc edition also the 70mm track?). That said, I think it would be a great idea to re-create the ABC cut.
The Alien 70mm is a pretty great mix. Very bass heavy. I don't know if the AC-3 on Aliens is the 70mm mix. The Alien LD is very specific about it being the 70mm but no mention the Aliens LD. That doesn't mean that it isn't either. Old LDs sometimes had the 70mm mix without indicating it, like the AC-3 LD of Die Hard. Anyone know if Aliens was split surround?
Was it ABC or CBS? I can never remember.