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RUNAWAY BRAIN - 35mm 4K Restoration (WIP)

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 (Edited)

CURRENT PROGRESS

Stabilization - 48%

De-flicker - 0%

Dirt and scratch removal - 0%

Color correction - 0%

Final checkup and polish - 0%


Hello!

After posting about this project on Twitter, I was directed here for a possible release hub, and I’m realizing now that it’d be a good place to centralize all updates and info on the restoration.

Basically, a friend and I got our hands on a 35mm print of Runaway Brain, after my frustration at not being able to find the short in anything other than DVD quality. There’s the Movies Anywhere release, but it is quite literally the DVD master with less MPEG2 compression.

My friend got the reel scanned last week, and the restoration efforts (which fall solely on me) have started.

Here are some captures from the raw scan:

Right now, I’m doing a 4 step process:

  • Stabilize
  • Remove dirt, dust and scratches
  • De-flicker, using the lightest touch possible
  • Color correct

This is very new territory for me, but I have a background in editing and light VFX, as well as having graded some Super 8 film that I shot and got scanned. If there’s any general guidance/tips or beginner traps to avoid, let me know!

I will post more tidbits as I advance through this project (such as the challenge of color correction and how this print seems to be a different “version” of the short than the one eventually released on home video), but for now, I hope this topic spreads the word more, as well as hopefully keeping me motivated to see this through.

Thanks for reading! Let’s get this beautiful short the release it deserves!

(PS, I was also advised to release this on myspleen, but I have no account nor an invite to it. Would it be worth seeking out? What exactly are the benefits of releasing thru a private tracker, I guess other than avoiding too much public attention?)

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Nice work so far (although it would look even better color-corrected)!

Assuming the audio track on that print is 5.1 (or Dolby Stereo Digital, as it was billed back then), do you plan to capture it that way?

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Hey, I saw the Twitter post about this! Good luck with this, it’s good to see someone take the initiative Disney seems to lack.

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WaltWiz1901 said:

Nice work so far (although it would look even better color-corrected)!

Assuming the audio track on that print is 5.1 (or Dolby Stereo Digital, as it was billed back then), do you plan to capture it that way?

I’m a complete newbie when it comes to audio, but I think the audio on the print is stereo.
However, the DVD release of this short includes a 5.1 track, so I’m planning to mux that into the final! I’ll also include the print’s original track for completeness’ sake.

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leogarcia said:

WaltWiz1901 said:

Nice work so far (although it would look even better color-corrected)!

Assuming the audio track on that print is 5.1 (or Dolby Stereo Digital, as it was billed back then), do you plan to capture it that way?

I’m a complete newbie when it comes to audio, but I think the audio on the print is stereo.
However, the DVD release of this short includes a 5.1 track, so I’m planning to mux that into the final! I’ll also include the print’s original track for completeness’ sake.

There is a way to know for sure.
Print audio
If your print has a grey area between the sprocket holes labelled with the Dolby Double-D logo in the middle like the picture above, then that means that the print has a Dolby Surround track.

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leogarcia said:

However, the DVD release of this short includes a 5.1 track, so I’m planning to mux that into the final! I’ll also include the print’s original track for completeness’ sake.

Whatever you do, make sure both video and audio are running at the same frame rate, or one will drift out of synchronization with the other over time.

If you plan to release your scan running at the original 24fps, then convert the DVD audio— which runs at 23.976fps— to run at exactly 24fps. You can convert the runtime easily by using eac3to. Assuming the short was properly scanned at 24fps, you should have no issues marrying the video and corrected DVD audio together. If the opposite is true— video running at 23.976fps out the gate— then just rip the DVD audio and sync it to the film scan. Again, shouldn’t be a problem.

In the event that you need help correcting either the video or the DVD audio using the aforementioned software, lemme know. I’d be more than happy to help.

“You missed! How could you miss-- he was THREE FEET in front of you!”
– Mushu

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Avatar_Emil_Borg said:
If your print has a grey area between the sprocket holes labelled with the Dolby Double-D logo in the middle like the picture above, then that means that the print has a Dolby Surround track.

I’ll ask my buddy to check! The reel is currently in his possession since he just got it scanned.

TonyWDA said:
If you plan to release your scan running at the original 24fps, then convert the DVD audio— which runs at 23.976fps— to run at exactly 24fps. You can convert the runtime easily by using eac3to. Assuming the short was properly scanned at 24fps, you should have no issues marrying the video and corrected DVD audio together. If the opposite is true— video running at 23.976fps out the gate— then just rip the DVD audio and sync it to the film scan. Again, shouldn’t be a problem.

Thanks for this info - the print was scanned at 24fps so I’ll definitely need to make that adjustment. Thanks for offering help too, I’ll make sure to reach out should I encounter any roadblocks!

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Amazing work! I have been supporting and keeping up with a lot of fan remasters that have been popping up recently and it’s great to see one of my favorite Disney/Mickey shorts get a 4K restoration! Hope to see more soon!

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 (Edited)

Hi everyone!

Quick update: I’ve been on hiatus from this due to work and other factors but hopefully will be back on it in the coming weeks.

In my off-time, I purchased a copy of the only DVD this short comes on to mux the 5.1 Dolby Digital track onto the final transfer. I plan to include Leonard Maltin’s intro briefly explaining the short as a bonus feature. I also want to include the subtitles straight from the DVD but unsure if people would be turned off by their very “DVD” appearance:

I could always just transcribe them to more nice-looking ones, but I’m kinda charmed by the old look. We’ll see.

I also bought a couple of children’s books that include screen captures of this short sourced from I’m assuming internal Disney materials, as they look nothing like the color grade for the DVD. I bought these books specifically for color reference, but some of the pictures on them definitely seem over-saturated.

I think the final grade will be a combination of all the sources I have available to me so far. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Anyway, sorry that I don’t have any progress on the actual restoration, but I’ve been swamped this past month and doing this supplementary research has been a lot easier on me, and ultimately helps the final product. I do want to get back on the horse soon, though!!

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Never knew there were children’s book adaptations of Runaway Brain! Which books are those pages from?

Out of curiosity, does the print you’re working with have the Dolby logo in-between the sprocket holes? If it does, maybe you can get someone to make a transfer of the 5.1 soundtrack on the print.

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WaltWiz1901 said:

Never knew there were children’s book adaptations of Runaway Brain! Which books are those pages from?

Out of curiosity, does the print you’re working with have the Dolby logo in-between the sprocket holes?

The children’s books are Disney Scary Storybook Collection (of which apparently there have been many, and only one of them has the story in it) and Mickey Mouse: My Life in Pictures.

As for the Dolby logo on the print, my buddy who currently has it is apprehensive about taking the print out of its packaging for fear of damaging it, as when he checked if it had the logo on it a few weeks ago, he got some lint and cat hair on the part he unrolled. He said he didn’t see the logo, but he also admitted he didn’t have a lot of time to look because he got anxious about the whole ordeal. I have reassured him the print is fine, but I won’t force him to look again if it makes him uneasy. Since it’ll be a while before the reel is in my posession, I don’t foresee getting the Dolby track off of the print anytime soon, if it has one.

Either way, the 5.1 Dolby track on the DVD is more than adequate for muxing.