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Nicholas J. Michalak

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Members
Join date
22-Apr-2010
Last activity
3-Jun-2020
Posts
213
Web Site
http://www.ravensfilm.com/

Post History

Post
#1010865
Topic
Searching ...
Time

I can’t believe this was suggested a year and a half ago, and there’s still no search option. I came here tonight to search through the forum about a particular, possibly unique topic that is not likely to be found just by browsing. The forum used to have a search feature, but no more. I’ll have to go elsewhere to find answers. I hate starting a topic without first searching to see if it’s already been tackled before. Saves me a lot of time.

Post
#728754
Topic
Dracula 1979 - The original theatrical color version (Released)
Time

Last night I was tinkering around with Photoshop, and came up with this piece of work.  I altered a still from the official DVD, and matched it up with a still from the HD trailer (which has the original color timing).  The result was the image in the middle.  With some patience and attention to detail, a fairly accurate restoration could be done from the existing transfer.

Post
#728477
Topic
Dracula 1979 - The original theatrical color version (Released)
Time

I felt the desire to make this six year old thread come back to life because, frankly, this film deserves to be restored to its original lush, vibrant brilliance.  The recent Universal Blu Ray was the muted version, and so, I don't foresee us getting an official restoration.  Did you ever make any headway or grab any stills from this version, Puggo?

-NJM

Post
#649096
Topic
Star Wars Prequels: The NJM Edits (* part finished project *)
Time

MrInsaneA said:

....why did this die

Simply a matter of tme and interest.  I've been dedicating myself to my independent filmmaking endeavors on and off since this.  Also, when I realized how utterly irreconcilable the plots of these movies were, and how many plot holes existed, it kind of took the ambition out of the project for me.  That's what I get for writing a nine page long review of "The Phantom Menace."  I can tighten things up, add/delete scenes, and restructure the story, but the problems with the stories are beyond mere editing fixes.  They are at the conceptual stage, and I think it wil require an Adywan style extensive task to revamp these films from the ground up to resolve those problems I have with them now.

All of the files are still on my hard drive, sucking up dozens of gigabytes of space, and so, it's not gone nor impossible that it won't see further progress.  I just don't see it happening anytime soon.  Plus, my YouTube account got hit with copyright strikes from the clips I posted up from my edit.  So, I would have to be more careful where I upload previews of this stuff.

-NJM

Post
#637435
Topic
How many times have you bought the movies?
Time

Nice thread!  I just did a whole video detailing my complete Star Wars home video collection: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akNXMEsAXt0

In short, this is what I have:

• 1992 P&S VHS Box Set (my first)
• 1992 Letterbox Collector's Edition VHS Box Set
• 1995 THX Widescreen Edition VHS Box Set (my favorite)
• 1997 P&S Special Edition VHS Box Set
• 2000 Widescreen Special Edition VHS Box Set Re-Release
• 2004 Widescreen DVD Set
• 2006 Limited Edition Widescreen DVDs

That's not the order in which I bought them.  I got the THX Widescreen set two years ago, and just got the 1992 letterbox edition set last week.  I also have the 1995 "From Star Wars to Jedi" re-release with the FACES box art.  I also have all of the prequels on DVD in addition to The Phantom Menace widescreen VHS collector's set.

-NJM

Post
#632146
Topic
Star Wars Trailers
Time

If it helps at all, I have all of the trailers from the DVDs on my Forever Cinematic Trailers YouTube Channel.  Obviously, it's nothing rare here, but just for ease of reference.  They are all available here in at least 480p high quality.  I pride myself on uploading the very best quality possible.  Here's the Star Wars playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA88AFC9DF7EC3FBA

-NJM

Post
#608455
Topic
Which version/release of the Star Wars movies do you watch and why?
Time

For the record, these are the official release versions I own:

All three films recorded off of ShowTime in the 1980s.
1991 VHS Pan-and-Scan Box Set
1995 THX Widescreen VHS Box Set
1997 SE Pan-and-Scan Box Set
1997 SE Widescreen VHS Box Set (2000 Re-Issue w/AOTC preview)
2004 Widescreen DVD Box Set
2006 Limited Edition Widescreen Box Set

The THX VHS set is the last one I obtained, which was last year, and I do regularly prefer that.  I have two VCRs, but one has better picture while the other has better audio (the lesser one has only a single RCA audio output).  Sometimes, I'll just get a little tired of the VHS quality, and put in the 2006 DVD theatrical versions.  For "The Empire Strikes Back," I will sometimes watch Adywan's restored version.  Sometimes, I just prefer watching the movies with that nostalgic film or VHS grain, though.

On my iPod, I have the 2004 edition of "A New Hope," Adywan's "Empire Strikes Back" restoration, and the 2006 DVD theatrical version of "Return of the Jedi."  A strange set of choices, but they serve me well enough when I need some Star Wars on the go.

-NJM

Post
#608451
Topic
New Petition
Time

If you are going to launch a new campaign, I would suggest taking the next six months to create and coordinate it.  By then, the dust will have settled, and we'll have some better idea of what Disney plans to do with the franchise.  Hopefully by then, as well, any restructuring will be complete, and we'll know exactly who to contact.  There's too much uncertanty of where everything stands at this point, and far too much conjecture and news running rampant to risk having a new campaign get lost in it all.

There is still a hardcore fan base for the preservation of the OOT, but I think there is a segment of fandom that's just stopping caring.  They've put so much effort into these petitions and campaigns to little pay-off.  If a new campaign is to be developed, it has to be a damn good one that will energize those fans who are just sick and tired of the same old LucasFilm bull.  It might have new owners, but people need to be rallied for any of this to be successful.

-NJM

Post
#503908
Topic
The Prequel Radical Redux Ideas Thread
Time

TV's Frink said:

darth_ender said:

Well, I'll be honest.  I have far too little time, skill, finances, or motivation to work on any sort of edit.

Take it from someone who used to think the exact same way - these things don't have to be barriers.

#1 and #4 go hand in hand in my experience.  I juggle a full-time job and two kids, so I assumed I never would have time.  But once I discovered my motivation, I realized I could make the time if the motivation was strong enough.  And it was.  Sleep is overrated, btw ;-)

#2 is something you can learn over time.  I used to think editing would be a horribly complicated mess but it's not as bad as you might think.  And there are tons of free resources out there, including members of this forum.

#3 is tricky but you can get decent programs like Womble or Vegas Studio for $50-$75.  And decent computers aren't very expensive anymore either.

It is a difficult thing.  I did start edits on all three prequels last year.  I got a lot done on AOTC with a little on TPM & AOTC, but time goes on and other things pull your interest away.  I just had to get back to producing my own films.  I'm a self-taught editor since the mid-90s from QuickTime to Adobe Premiere and now Final Cut Pro.  So, yes, it is indeed a skill to be honed over years, but I started out just editing music videos and trailers from favorite movies and TV shows.  I both love and hate editing.  I love the art of it, and the pride I feel when it's all finished and works beautifully.  The hated part is just the technical scrutiny I have to put myself under to achieve the great results, and the tmes when something just isn't working and you have to fight with the footage to make it work.  But it all starts with the will and motivation to do it.  It took a long time for me to put myself into the right mindset to finally move forward with becoming an independent filmmaker.  It started with me deciding that I have to make it happen for myself, and make do with what little I had.  I'm working with an eight year old Mac G4.  So, even with a terribly outdated computer, you can still make it all work (just takes longer with my 128 MB video card).

Indeed, time is probably the biggest factor on these fan editing projects.  Once you get started, you just want to keep chipping away at it, but it's very time consuming in making choices, implementing your ideas, and finding ways to make it all work.  Add to that having to learn the editing program and develop your skills, and it does become a long, rough road.  Plus, you have a life to live, a job to pay the bills (hopefully), and maybe, a family to take care of.  So, as I also say to anyone in independent filmmaking, how bad do you want it?  How much does it mean to you to see this idea/project of yours completed?

For me, there are just not enough hours in the day, days in the week, or so on, to do all that I desire, on a creative level.  After nearly a year in hiatus, I am slowly working on my prequel fan edits, again.

-NJM

Post
#500104
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

I find it hard to believe that it was THAT hard to shoot in HD back in 2003.  "Attack Of The Clones," Michael Mann's "Collateral," and several Robert Rodriguez films were shot in HD a few years before or at the same time Empire of Dreams was released.  The tech already existed, and was being used by some pretty hefty filmmakers at the time.  I hardly think Rodriguez would've been shooting HD if the technology and hardware were so cumbersome.  He's all about streamlining the process, and was talking about the ease of shooting and producing films in HD back in 2003.  And TV shows looking to cut costs (such as Star Trek: Enterprise) were beginning to shoot in HD at this same point in time.  Maybe for the regular consumer, it was not possible, but for professional production studios and filmmakers, it was clearly possible very early on in the last decade.

-NJM

Post
#499834
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

msycamore said:

You have a couple of sub scenes from Jedi in there which seems to use a pretty good source:

Other than that it's not good looking. What Lucas' official story is, doesn't really matter anyway, he just don't want these versions out there. Plain and simple.

And that is clearly not the GOUT because the subtitles are not burned into the frame.  They are just a separate subtitle track on the disc.  So, the footage was sourced from something other than the 1993 Laserdiscs.  Whatever that source might be, they did get a print that was not used on the official DVD transfers.

-NJM

Post
#499753
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

zombie84 said:

The EOD documentary was basically outsourced to a bunch of documentary filmmakers. My guess, and one that others have made, is that they simply captured the Laserdiscs or used the GOUT master. The footage is actually not very amazing quality. Has anyone ever done a side by side with the GOUT?

I doubt it since people have said that Empire of Dreams was broadcast in HD.  No one in their right mind would take a laserdisc non-anamorphic image, and up-res it for a HDTV broadcast.  It would look horrendous.  While the footage isn't like brand new, it definitely looks better than the GOUT DVD.  Some of the footage looks like it was sourced from an old print that, while in presentable quality, definitely hadn't had any real digital remastering done.  Dirt and scratches on some frames, for example.  Again, the footage has no blue color timing which was there in the '97 SEs (the 2004 DVDs just manipulated the coloring further).

-NJM

Post
#499546
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

I watched "Empire of Dreams" last night.  Am I wrong, or did they use extensive footage from the original theatrical releases in that?  Even Jason Wingreen's voice appears as Boba Fett.  The stuff from the original Star Wars looked dodgy in places, but for Empire & Jedi, I believe it was really good quality from the original theatrical editions.  The lightsabers aren't all screwed up, and the color timing looks to be pre-97/04.  That begs the question of where did they get those good prints from if Lucas insists the films are in irreparable condition?  Can someone with a sharper, more educated eye double check this?

-NJM

Post
#498561
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

For fuck's sake, if Kevin Smith was able to afford a full-on clean-up, enhancement, and restoration of "Clerks" with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, George Lucas can afford to restore "Star Wars."  If "Dawn of the Dead" (a film just about as old as SW) could be given a four-disc DVD release with three different cuts of the film on it, there is no excuse for Star Wars, Empire, & Jedi not getting the same respect.  I wish Lucas would just stop with the lame "excuses," and just be honest about it all.  Is he afraid of alienating fans?  Why?  You're already making up excuses to not give them what they've been demanding for years.  I'd have a little more respect for him if he just spoke the truth.

I don't like being a complainer, but it's the people out there that drive me to become one.  I'm also not a fanatic as I don't wholly loathe the updated editions, but there's enough in there that I don't like (and some stuff that I grossly detest), that make me desire the original theatrical editions.  I imagine that is the case for numerous people.

By now, it's also part preservation.  I am an independent filmmaker, and I know what it's like to be unhappy with a film made under tight restrictions.  You don't have the best tools to make the film everything you desire it to be, but even then, I am a slight bit of a pack rat.  I wouldn't suppress a fully released film of mine in favor of a revised edition (not that anyone would notice with my lack of exposure).  So, I do believe that multiple versions can co-exist.  Ridley Scott doesn't care for some of the cuts of "Blade Runner," but he can see the other side of conversation.  He approved putting those alternate cuts out there for completist sake, and because he knows there are people who prefer a version that he doesn't.  He's fine with that because the version he is fully satisfied with is out there.  Whether other people agree with it or not is not an issue with him.  It's sad that George Lucas can't perceive art in the same way.  Having the OOT shouldn't diminish whatever satisfaction he has for his personally approved, updated versions.  And for as much of a "cash grab" and merchandising mentality he has, it's that close-minded artistic viewpoint which overshadows his desire to cash-in on releasing something which is in such high demand.  Thus, it is purely and simply ego we are combatting in this matter, and I've dealt with a few egomaniacs over the years.  It's a tough fight to win.

-NJM

Post
#497626
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

Yeah, I'll never buy that reason for it being young Anakin at the end of ROTJ.  Doesn't make any sense at all.  Anakin was never at peace with the Force, let alone himself or anyone else, until moments before his death.  Not to mention, they did such a half-assed job of adding Hayden in there, but I ranted about this in another thread last year.

-NJM

Post
#497605
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

I feel we all have pretty valid complaints about what this set will potentially (likely) be.  The blue cast over the films has been there since 1997.  I still have both my original pan-and-scan VHS set, and the widescreen re-release.  The blue colors are there.  So, Lucas has been fine with that look for the last fourteen years (the same age as my car).  However, where my car is a broken down piece of junk that I'm ready to excise from my life, I'm sure Lucas has no aversions to the current look of the original trilogy films.  Yes, further color alterations were made for DVD, but that likely only further re-inforces the issue.  Hell, he personally presented a screening of the 2004 print of "The Empire Strikes Back" in Chicago last year for the 30th anniversary.  We all hope that this will be a proper restoration, giving the films their original brilliance back.  However, LFL has yet to release anything about this set, in either video footage, stills, or tech spec details, to convince us that it will be anything but the same old thing.

Now, I have a 500+ DVD collection.  That includes sets like the Alien Quadrilogy, Blade Runner 4-disc set, the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions, Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition, and two releases of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  Aside from all of these titles having multiple cuts of each film available (either on the same release, or on a separate release), they are all very comprehensive in their special features.  Commentaries, feature length documentaries, vintage galleries, featurettes, and more.  "Empire of Dreams" was good, but proved a little light with the latter two films (especially ROTJ).  Now, it's not even included here.  There should be dedicated documentaries on both "Empire" & "Jedi."  AOTC & ROTS never got that treatment, either.

I also have "From Star Wars to Jedi" on VHS.  I had purchased the one with the "Faces" cover believing it would be digitally remastered like the 1995 releases, but it was not.  I would indeed love to have that in a restored quality in HD.  That's the only vintage documentary I've ever seen on the saga, and would indeed love to see more.

So, I do agree that the special features here are very underwhelming next to these other sets I mentioned, especially the Blade Runner and Alien sets.  Both of which are as definitive as could possibly be imagined.  You can tell that a huge amount of time, effort, and care went into those releases.  I want to love this Star Wars set, but I'm not convinced of it being worth its price tag.  Especially since I don't personally own an HDTV, Blu Ray player, or a home theatre system that is DTS compatible.  So, they need to do a MASSIVE effort for me to even try to make that kind of upgrade/overhaul.  Granted, Lucas needs all these multiple releases so he can continue to have a hefty income to continue funding his projects, but it's gotten real tired.  After 30 years of constant re-releases and re-packagings with all kinds of digital restoration, manipulation, screw-ups, missteps, and so forth, we deserve something we can call "definitive."  This Blu Ray set, so far, has not earned such a distinction.  Maybe we can be proven wrong come September, but we shouldn't have wait that long to gain confidence in this release.

That's just my opinion.  Agree or disagree as you desire.

-NJM

Post
#496567
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

Baronlando said:

Isn't there too much stuff on that last disc for it all to be HD? The thing about spoofs alone is 90 minutes long.

The Ultimate Cut of "Watchmen," which runs 215 minutes long, fits on a single dual-layered Blu Ray disc.  Even with that 90 minute doc, you've still got over two hours of space left, depending on the bit rate used (which would likely be a good deal less than a film as visually dark and dense as "Watchmen").

-NJM

Post
#496513
Topic
HI-Res Poster Art
Time

none said:

Yes that's the artwork of the Trilogy set, those are covers of the Rowman or Editdroid sets. 

But i'm interested in the side with the quote.  Which is in silver and done script style, as if written by GL.  People seem to have scanned the front, but not the sides.  This VHS set had fold out wings, which i've also never seen scanned.

 

Here's a low res version:

Would love a 600dpi so i can do an adequate vectorization of it.  Might have to settle working with this version.

I haven't been visiting the forum for a long time now.  So, sorry for the late response.  I have this VHS set, and a scanner.  If you still want this, I can make a scan of it for you.  Let me know.

-NJM

Post
#496376
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

Baronlando said:

Eh, the cover's ok. If they were going for the paint-y look, wish they used:

Other than that I have nothing to add to this converstion.

THAT would be a sweet piece to use as the cover art.  Don't tempt me, anymore.  I already have too much work as there is without a spontaneous custom cover art crusade on my hands.

-NJM

Post
#496300
Topic
Star Wars coming to Blu Ray (UPDATE: August 30 2011, No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Time

Nerfherder said:

Now I've seen a higher res version of the OT cover I have to agree it looks awful - pity I thought it showed promise in the smaller pic. Yet another quickly photoshop'd cut and paste job (Jesus I am getting tired of cheap-ass looking bluray artwork these days!), instead of either using the original iconic film posters, or getting someone to do a decent painting for the cover.

Very cheap looking alas :(

Yes, indeed.  Drew Struzan gotta eat!

-NJM