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Fantasia — Page 4

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After some investigation, I have concluded that this print is indeed the '56 General Release Version. I am considering a release in the SuperScope format, even though it’ll make everything short and fat, as it were.

Saying that, however, I do know a guy who’s working on restoring the roadshow version in HD. I don’t know where he’s going to find the missing audio, but we might be able to help him out a bit.

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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The “it’ll make everything short and fat” didn’t seem right. I thought that, at worst, it would be pre-cropped for widescreen format, after expansion. Anyway, to check it out, I came across these Widescreen Museum: SuperScope pages with some interesting tid-bits.

Superscope was conceived and developed by Irving and Joseph Tushinsky. Their process was created in the laboratory rather than the camera. It was their contention that Superscope anamorphic prints could be generated from straight 35mm negatives, or from double frame (VistaVision) or other wide area negatives.

Photography in the Superscope process was generally no different than normal non-widescreen films.

While the first few 3 strip Technicolor films were released by RKO, all color product up until 1946 was produced by the independents like Walt Disney, Merian C. Cooper and Jock Whitney.

Superscope was used in nine RKO Technicolor productions from 1955 thru 1957, and a few re-releases of older films including a bastardized conversion of Walt Disney’s Fantasia which featured the original optical Fantasound system adapted to four track magnetic stereo.

Of course by now you know that no movie was ever photographed IN Superscope. Instead they may have been photographed FOR Superscope.

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I’ve only seen one Superscope movie, The Day The World Ended and it was obvious from my old fullscreen copy it was simply cropped in theaters. You can compare shots in the trailer to letterboxed stills.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELFA1fdNAbw
http://bmoviefreak67.blogspot.com/2013/03/day-world-ended-1955.html

The only scant evidence widescreen was planned for Fantasia in 1940 is a very murky shot of a mixing session, at the bottom of this page:
http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/sound/fantasound1.htm

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Well, the frame opens and closes to and from the full frame to the centre, so some sort of squeeze lens was used… I’ll have to confer with those who have seen the 1956 print.

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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Alright, it looks… well, I’ve shrunk the frame to its intended size, and it looks like this:
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Pastoral Symphony

So… um… I’m not entirely sure where to go with this now! Do I render the whole thing in 4:3 with the curtain effect untouched, or…?

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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SilverWook said:
The only scant evidence widescreen was planned for Fantasia in 1940 is a very murky shot of a mixing session …

Thanks for that reminder (same website, too)! It looks like the “widescreen” Superscope was released, and to bad reviews:

Curator’s Note:
Buried in the tons of historical materials written about Fantasia is an infrequent mention that Walt Disney planned to show the film in a wide screen format. Figure 14 may give us evidence that those statements were true. The aspect ratio of the projection screen illustrated here is 2.14:1. In the early 1950s, Disney released the film in a Superscope version with four channel magnetic sound. The critics panned the cropping of the film, which may have been a sloppy job, pretty atypical of anything that Mr. Disney was associated with.

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FrankT said:
So… Do I render the whole thing in 4:3 with the curtain effect untouched, or…?

Coincidentally, I worked up a demonstration of the above referenced Superscope picture (from the Fantasound studio) to show how the original 4:3 photography was cropped in this particular shot (other shot compositions would be different). Keep in mind that such instances of extreme zoom/crop would look grain-awful:

If your source is an actual Superscope print, all you would do is confirm that the entire frame (black bars and all) is in it’s widescreen projected size. The characters would look normal (no squash or stretch). Everything else, zooms, crops, bars, regardless of when they show and when they don’t, is as what they wanted (again, the critics panned it).

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Are you telling me this print is zoomed and cropped?

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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Only as it shows, without any weird squash or stretch characters. I’ve never seen it, so I have no idea where the original Fantasia was cropped and/or zoomed to get to widescreen. It may not be all widescreen-imaged (parts left at the original 4:3) for all I know.

BTW, you can know for sure by comparing it to the regular releases (everything except the Superscope).

If you find differences, please mention them here for we curious minded. .
Actually, if you find no differences, that would be of value to know, too. .
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As a matter of fact, there is more image information in this print than is seen on the Blu-ray - as can be proven by this image: the print with the BD overlayed on top.

Not exactly the same frame, but definitely the same background.

Though that’s probably a given.

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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That’s an interesting comparison Spaced Ranger, but in the photograph it looks like Stokowski’s arms are at his sides and he’s casting a shadow on the right side of the screen, so it’s not the same shot at all.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Maybe I’ll release a version with widescreen and one without. Then maybe someone can make a seamless-branching BD out of it or something, I dunno.

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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FrankT said:
… this image: the print with the BD overlayed on top.

FrankT said:
Maybe I’ll release a version with widescreen and one without.

The entire Superscope film is 4:3 for the Fantasia picture area? Wow. That kind of defeats the whole purpose of Superscope. (And what of those critics who viewed the “widescreen” Fantasia?)

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SilverWook said:
… in the photograph it looks like Stokowski’s arms are at his sides …

My search couldn’t find a closer shot. But I did get one where the view was far enough back to still have the frame covering the old picture, when the frame was reduced to match the conductor’s size. Any way for someone to find the very same shot?

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As far as the live action segments go…

Undoctored shot

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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Hmm … curious. Live action squeezed (for eventual expansion) and animation at academy size for … what?

I found this on Wikipedia, which indicates no widescreen version was ever released. Why then Superscope? Some funny aspect ratios as widescreen on the cheap? Or is this some Alice-In-Wonderland-induced hallucination?

"I wanted a special show just like Cinerama plays today … I had Fantasia set for a wide screen. I had dimensional sound … To get that wide screen I had the projector running sideways … I had the double frame. But I didn’t get to building my cameras or my projectors because the money problem came in … The compromise was that it finally went out standard with dimensional sound. I think if I’d had the money and I could have gone ahead I’d have a really sensational show at that time."
Walt Disney on the widescreen release in 1956.[91]

[91] Barrier 2008, p. 162
Barrier, Michael (2008). The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-25619-4

If you’d like to review a few pages of the book starting there, read it on Google Books - The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney and click Page >> to expand to full pages.

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I know he said that, I read it in John Culhane’s book on the film. Hmm… again, I’ll have to ask someone who’s seen it in 1956. If anyone knows that someone, let me know what they say.

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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By the way, can someone let me know what shots had their colours altered on the Blu-ray?

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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The Superscope prints themselves were not cropped. This is how it worked.

The print itself had all the animation sequences full frame, and the live action sequences squeezed. The exception is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence, which was also squeezed.

The print was then screened with a supercope lens, similar to a cinemascope lens.
This resulted in the full-frame animation sequences looking all stretched horizontally. The thinking at the time was that no-one would notice if the animation was squashed, but they thought everyone will notice Mickey looking short and fat, as they would any live action, so they were printed in the squeezed format, so that they would come out looking normal when projected.

It was a horror show, but thankfully the print itself didn’t have the animation cropped, so it is a good thing for us.

I can’t say much more at the moment, but I wouldn’t spend any more time on restoring Fantasia, a work is in progress that is going to be very, very good, and not too long away.

FrankT, personally I’d concentrate on Alice as your first one to restore, it is a lot easier, and was the scan you originally requested. Lessons learned on that less gargantuan effort for restoration would then be put to good use on any future, more difficult project.

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You are correct, of course. If this were actually the roadshow version, we’d be having a different conversation. For now, I’ll put all my efforts towards Alice.

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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FrankT said:

By the way, can someone let me know what shots had their colours altered on the Blu-ray?

well, i think all of it has altered colors.
i would be particularly interested in this (and similar scenes from the end of the first segment, where we had a dark backgound) because the change was so radical.
in vhs and dvd versions it’s like this:
https://s27.postimg.io/jwh2v5qb7/dvd_snapshot_00_09_03_2014_06_22_20_26_06.png

but in the bluray it’s like this:
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRC0WvR4Y-bRbEcy_q_1-Xo6oBNLxdHZDDRA2KzC2AiLNVhpqZa

i thought the first made more sense. (the light coming out of the darkness)
how is it in the print?

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Last summer, the MoMA screened a 35mm I.B. Tech print of Fantasia… twice. Naturally, I attended both screenings knowing it’d be forever until I’d see the film in that format again. x)

Before going to either screening, I went in ready to take mental notes in order to properly compare the color palette from the 35mm print to that of the Blu-ray. (I believe somebody on the Blu-ray.com forums pointed out that same 1990/2010 shot comparison, titanic.)

On the 35mm I.B. Tech print, that Toccata shot was extremely close to what is seen on the Blu-ray. No darkened backgrounds, all blue. In addition, most all of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Dance of the Hours, The Nutcracker Suite– all nearly identical to the Blu-Ray. Hardly anything was difficult to make out and the colors were incredibly vibrant. The other segments, Rite of Spring, The Pastoral Symphony, A Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria, I swear were somewhere in between the 1990 and 2010 restorations. Some shots looked like the BD, others more like the murky 1990 print. I can’t explain it, but that’s exactly what I remember thinking after walking out of both screenings. (God, I wish there were pictures of what I saw readily available!)

Now, does this mean that the Superscope print, therefore, should line up exactly w/ what I saw last summer? Not necessarily. Especially considering the print I saw was from 1969, and I don’t know enough about the Technicolor process (or what the original Fantasia negatives even looked like) to call out an “accurate print” when I see one. But I’m just throwing this all out there for anybody who perhaps heard of the screening and was unable to attend for whatever reason. In any case, the Superscope stills posted so far all look incredible and I can’t wait to finally see this print in full.

(If nobody can tell by this point, Fantasia ranks as my absolute favorite Disney film, so this entire project means a great deal to me. Major kudos to everybody involved. ^-^)

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Thank you very much for the info.
Wow, i had never thought that those shots had indeed a sky blue backgound.
i was so used to the dark-almost black background and it also made sense narratively…

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titanic said:

Thank you very mnuch for the info.
Wow, i had never thought that those shots had indeed a sky blue backgound.
i was so used to the dark-almost black background and it also made sense narratively…

Anytime! I’m happy to help anyway that I can. ^-^

I swear I’m NOT trying to turn this into a Beauty and the Beast color discussion, but I can certainly empathize with finding a color choice (or discrepancy) making more sense in the body of the narrative. Remember how in the VHS version of BatB the Beast was almost silhouetted in both the prologue and his introduction scene in the castle den? I LOVED that. It made it far more menacing to leave the details of his body mostly to the imagination, save for his white teeth and the sclera of his eyes.

Likewise, that darkened background in that Toccata shot certainly gave the abstract imagery more focus. =D

EDIT: I… think my TV from way back wasn’t properly calibrated or something, 'cause I just went back to both of those scenes and the Beast is very clearly seen. Disregard everything I just said. xD

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TonyWDA said:

Last summer, the MoMA screened a 35mm I.B. Tech print of Fantasia… twice. Naturally, I attended both screenings knowing it’d be forever until I’d see the film in that format again. x)

Before going to either screening, I went in ready to take mental notes in order to properly compare the color palette from the 35mm print to that of the Blu-ray. (I believe somebody on the Blu-ray.com forums pointed out that same 1990/2010 shot comparison, titanic.)

On the 35mm I.B. Tech print, that Toccata shot was extremely close to what is seen on the Blu-ray. No darkened backgrounds, all blue. In addition, most all of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Dance of the Hours, The Nutcracker Suite– all nearly identical to the Blu-Ray. Hardly anything was difficult to make out and the colors were incredibly vibrant. The other segments, Rite of Spring, The Pastoral Symphony, A Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria, I swear were somewhere in between the 1990 and 2010 restorations. Some shots looked like the BD, others more like the murky 1990 print. I can’t explain it, but that’s exactly what I remember thinking after walking out of both screenings. (God, I wish there were pictures of what I saw readily available!)

Now, does this mean that the Superscope print, therefore, should line up exactly w/ what I saw last summer? Not necessarily. Especially considering the print I saw was from 1969, and I don’t know enough about the Technicolor process (or what the original Fantasia negatives even looked like) to call out an “accurate print” when I see one. But I’m just throwing this all out there for anybody who perhaps heard of the screening and was unable to attend for whatever reason. In any case, the Superscope stills posted so far all look incredible and I can’t wait to finally see this print in full.

(If nobody can tell by this point, Fantasia ranks as my absolute favorite Disney film, so this entire project means a great deal to me. Major kudos to everybody involved. ^-^)

Hi. About IB prints, it’s important to note that this print might date from several generations and since then, the color maight have been manipulated several times (among othe factor). At this point, I don’t think we’ll be able to get it 100% accurate with all the elements we have (I might be wrong, though).

On the Deems Taylor vs. Corey Burton’s voice work, It’s sad that some parts are missing/dammaged, but at least we got something. The things they could have put more efforts to are: 1) Chose a better sounding actor that could have sounded more like Taylor (Burton doesn’t hold a candle on that, but then, Disney decided the cheaper/easier way. 2) The sound editor(s) could had put more effort on the accountic to sound more ancient (for authenticity’ sake with the original elements). After all, it’s a 1940 movie, even restaured, make it sound as such without travesting it to something else it’s not, and I don’t think most of the targeted public would mind that, anyway.

Now, on this project, who’s doing what and what’s the update on this ? Sorry to ask, but it got a bit mixed up along the way and I haven’t been here for a while for personnal maters.

Thanks to answer

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monks19 said:
Hi. About IB prints, it’s important to note that this print might date from several generations and since then, the color maight have been manipulated several times (among othe factor). At this point, I don’t think we’ll be able to get it 100% accurate with all the elements we have (I might be wrong, though).

Oh, of course! I’m well aware that the '69 print I got to see was several generations away from the original 35mm elements (could’ve sworn I pointed that out somewhere in my last reply). Still, there were one too many times during both screenings I attended last year where the color palette was strikingly similar to what we ended up getting on the 2010 restoration. Again, this doesn’t for a second mean that the Superscope print should therefore look the exact same way. Accurate to the original color timing or not, I just found it so fascinating that what I saw at the MoMA was so close to what’s on the Blu-ray.

Also, even though I’d hoped desperately for the magnetic stereo track, I was still blown away by the quality of the optical monaural mix. Completely dry and not nearly as hissy as I was expecting it to be-- noise levels were extremely low and the dynamic range was very good, too. The LaserDisc has the same mix on the analog tracks, and while it’s totally listenable it still has noticeable reverb. Kinda wish Disney had just cleaned up the optical mono, put it on the LD and left it at that. Ah, well…

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Hi, have all the cut scenes been restored and released? Separately? Thanks.