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TonyWDA

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2-Jul-2013
Last activity
27-Nov-2021
Posts
56

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Post
#1454467
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

CourtlyHades296 said:

Are there plans to make an Uncensored Ultimate 1990 Edition?

That is the project’s objective, yes: an uncut “general release” version of the film using the best visual and auditory elements currently available— and I do mean the very best. I may or may not have some big news to share before the year wraps. For now, that’s all I can say. Hoping to update here very soon. 🙂

Post
#1434656
Topic
Fantasia's 'Fantasound' Manual Recreation (WIP)
Time

4throck said:

Those are the 3 original channels that were manually panned towards the speakers.

Yes and no. The audio on subsequent mag prints is a copy of the nitrate source material, yes, but it’s a premixed version of those optical tracks, which, by themselves, had no panning information hard baked into them whatsoever. So, what you’re hearing on stereo mag prints is not a 1:1 transfer of how the audio was printed on the nitrate optical tracks, but a faithful reproduction of how they were presented in roadshow runnings of Fantasia, sans “back house” surround effects.

4throck said:
Just to be clear, those 3 channels are not L, C and R. They are 3 discrete arbitrary sound channels.
The mix would direct them to whatever speaker combination was desired.

Again, this was only true of the first generation nitrate optical tracks, which had no specific house “horn” assigned to them and could be manually (and later automatically) panned to any given speaker over the course of the program. But on the magnetic 35mm prints of the film, you can safely refer to the individual channels of audio as L, C, and R because, when Disney and RCA conducted the wide-band phone line transfer to save the nitrate print in 1955, they also used the only remaining Fantasound reproducer to do it, which allowed them to preserve the original dynamic range and effectively steer each optical audio track to the left, center, or right of the front stereo field as they were intended to be presented. Thus, successfully generating a final left, centre, and right channel for the 35mm stereo reissues. This is the very same mix you can hear today on the stereophonic LPs, reel-to-reel tapes and cassettes, CDs, VHSs, LaserDiscs, and the 2000 DVD release.

So, yes, they were just unassigned “arbitrary” optical tracks on the original nitrate release prints, but discrete and correctly labeled left, centre, and right channels on mag prints because of how that surviving nitrate audio was mixed, transferred, and preserved on magnetic tape in later years. Therefore, there is no need to recreate the panning effects heard in the front of the sound stage; Disney did that before the 1956 reissue. The only effects missing now would be the aforementioned “back house” surround effects which, as you’ve also mentioned, would essentially mirror “front left” to “surround right”, and vice versa, as the film plays.

Post
#1422639
Topic
RUNAWAY BRAIN - 35mm 4K Restoration (WIP)
Time

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.

Post
#1416919
Topic
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie - 35mm Re Creation (a WIP)
Time

FWIW, I attended the same 35mm screening at the SVA Theatre that @bslatky brought up some time ago. Before I move forward, I want you to strongly consider the source: I’ve watched and rewatched this movie on DVD with reckless abandon when I was a kid— lines of dialogue, the character’s inflections, incidental music and, yes, even the color timing are practically burned into my psyche. Subsequent viewings as I got older did little to help. So I went into that screening well prepared to point out any (IF any) differences between an original 2004 35mm print and the digitally-sourced home video releases I’d involuntarily committed to memory.

I remember my first and final impressions as if the screening took place merely yesterday, and it can’t be stressed enough: the movie looks no different on 35mm than it does on home video. At least, on this print it didn’t. Frankly, it felt like watching a blown-up version of the DVD/Blu-ray transfer with occasional scratches and dirt marks peppered throughout. Color wise, I couldn’t think back to one instance after the screening where the print didn’t match what was already on home video. I had an identical reaction after a screening of an original 35mm “Iron Giant” print at the MoMA in 2009: point blank, what’s on 35mm is what’s on the pre-Signature-Edition DVDs. So, while I generally admire and fully appreciate the effort to restore/preserve the 35mm film aesthetic where it’s sorely missing, I question exactly what this particular project aims to “restore” to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie that wasn’t already there in the first place. Trailers aren’t always, if ever, a good reference source because the presented color timing was either not final or adjusted during editing to achieve a desired, albeit temporary look. A theatrical camrip isn’t dependable, either. In the theater, where you sit, how bright the projected image is, the condition and color of the screen that the image is projected onto, and the bulb used in the projector all factor into how you see the displayed image. Add to this equation a consumer grade video camera that likely didn’t faithfully capture just what the film looked like on the screen, and you have the least reliable visual reference for a full-fledged restoration project.

Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not poo-pooing your project. I think it’s pretty cool, actually. I simply believe that a different use of terminology would better suit what you’re aiming for here, which is more of a regrade of the approved color timing than a “restoration” in the traditional sense. Strictly in the interest of regrading, any trailers and publicity photos that are to your liking are perfect references for a regrade, and I can’t recommend the color matching tool created by OT’s very own Dr. Dre enough for a project like this. If you use it well, your regrade will look almost dead accurate to whatever reference(s) you choose; provided the colors in both the source and target images aren’t too different from each other, and even then the accuracy of the tool can surprise you. I’ve used it several times for personal restoration/regrade tests and projects. It works like a charm.

Godspeed.

Post
#1413132
Topic
Fantasia's 'Fantasound' Manual Recreation (WIP)
Time

Starbond9 said:
The center channel (if a true center not just a mix of L+R) seems to have been lost

The “centre” music channel, as it was originally presented, does exist on the magnetic stereo releases. I was given three discrete audio tracks— left, centre, and right— when my print was captured. It’s why the 2000 and 2010 home video releases also have discrete centre channels. Disney didn’t artificially generate that with some plug-in or standalone software, it’s always existed, and it does contain information unique to that channel; it’s not just a cheap sum of the left and right signals.

Starbond9 said:
For example, apparently the church bells at the end of the Bald Mountain came from the back of the theater, for example.

Check out John Culhane’s book on Fantasia from 1982. He was fortunate enough to attend the original roadshow release at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, which employed the use of an automatically-steered Mark X unit. He confirmed somewhere in the book that when the bells began to chime towards the end of Bald Mountain, the sound did, in fact, come from the back of the room. It startled everyone.

Post
#1406172
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

That bridge will certainly be crossed once there’s a clearer picture of how this preservation project will be cut together. There’s nothing I can just slap the LaserDisc tracks over at the moment, and odds are the video will not be in perfect sync with the audio to the 1990 release anyway, so I’ll have to do all of the patch work myself if I decide to include those audio tracks. All in due time.

Post
#1405633
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

There’s been a misunderstanding. The extended audio I was referring to was the humming still heard even after the fade to black on the DTS 7.1 mix.

In regards to the chorus, the only conclusion I can draw from the volume differences in the mono to stereo mix is that, again, when Disney prepared the downmix for wider distribution in 1941, the opportunity to play with the original elements to prioritize different elements of the score, once again presented itself, and they did just that. What’s heard in the stereo mix is essentially what was heard on opening night-- the mixing on the mono track was prepared after the fact, and its mixing is completely unique from the final stereo. Therefore, not originally what was heard on November 13th, 1940. Ave Maria isn’t the only segment in mono with striking mixing differences from its stereo counterpart. In The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, a cymbal clash is placed right over Mickey’s second dive into the water after he wakes up from his dream. In A Night on Bald Mountain, an almost muted but sharp, sinister brassy note can be heard just as Chernabog begins to play with hellfire. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies from Nutcracker? Just try lining up the mono mix to the original stereo track. Two completely different takes. Those are the few that come to mind. There’s plenty of other mixing minutiae that point to the mono mix being a total reworking of the original stems and not just a simple fold-down of the final theatrical stereo track, and I’ll try to point them out in some way in the (hopefully near) future, but trust me, they’re all over the place. The finale’s chorus mixing is only one.

Post
#1405002
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

With all due resect to the OP, I’d take that post with a grain of salt; I’ve worked extensively with the same vinyl recordings for a very long time, and once you adjust the timing (vinyls always tend to run either infinitesimally slower or faster than the master source depending on what player is used) they lock to the picture perfectly because they are, in fact, not outtakes. On both the 35mm mag tracks and vinyl/reel tapes releases, one particular incidental string noise heard on the left channel in the Toccata segment, as well as panning and discrete channel dropout across all segments, are identical to one another in both sources. Take my word for it, these are not outtakes. The surviving recordings on film and commercial audio releases are one and the same. That is all that has survived. Any actual outtakes would’ve been on the raw, unedited recordings sessions on the original nitrate film sources which, sadly, no longer exist.

The monaural downmix prepared for the wider 1941 RKO reissue was the basis for the subsequent mono pressings on commercial audio and the 1990 VHS/LaserDisc releases. Having personally studied the mixes just as carefully as I have the stereophonic recordings, I noticed identical instrumental prioritization across all releases (which itself can likely be attributed to an entirely new mix that sourced the original stems when they still existed).

Short of having access to a magnetic stereo copy of the 1956, 1963, or 1969 releases, the stereophonic vinyl and reel tape releases are technically the closest you can get to the “original” Fantasound, but not without its own warts. The original stereo tracks had zero reverberations baked into the final mix-- dry as a bone all the way through, and that’s exactly how it sounds on the surviving recordings used in the mag stereo prints. So the reverberations weren’t “removed” in the 1990 reissue-- they were never there in the first place. So, while the dynamic effect of hearing the score play in a concert hall does make the commercial pressings a worthwhile listen (I can’t count how many times I’ve enjoyed them), it’s ultimately an artificial effect, and the release still has the issue of a faint phantom centre channel that needs to be adjusted for proper listening, as well as occasional hard pans that aren’t nearly are strong as they are on the mag tracks.

TL:DR: the stereo and mono reel/vinyl pressings are totally listenable, but the optical mono and, especially, the mag stereo tracks will get you the closest to the original sound elements.

Post
#1404883
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

I discovered this very thing when I first tried cutting the Blu-ray footage around the LaserDisc audio, and the only conclusion I can draw is that for that particular portion of the entr’acte, Disney either used an alternate take for the general release cut, or they had Taylor come back and record a more streamlined version of the “Soundtrack” introduction to slap right over the orchestra b-roll footage. The former seems more plausible, but the funny is that the introduction audio to the Pastoral segment just moments later lines up with the Blu-ray footage perfectly.

A similar sync issue came up during the Bald Mountain/Ave Maria introduction. Not a single… word… synchronized properly. So I had to keep cutting (and in one instance even stretch) words around to achieve a somewhat decent result, and I still wasn’t completely satisfied with it. In addition, when Taylor brings up Ave Maria, he refers to it as “world famous” in the roadshow footage but “immortal” in the general release. That and the aforementioned syncing issues left me to assume that the finale’s interstitial audio used in the general release version was also an alternate take.

Post
#1393980
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

Got the 1956 trailer. 35mm IB Tech and in relatively great shape. A little splicey towards the beginning, missing the first 15 seconds as well as the last 20, but certainly nothing that can’t be patched using frames from the IB Tech feature print. As promised, this and all other theatrical reissue trailers should be sent in for scanning very soon. Might be difficult to make speedier progress during the holidays, but rest assured I have not forgotten about this project. I’ll keep updating as frequently and as quickly as I’m able.

Post
#1388137
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

That’s not what this is, though I wish it were. Until Mr. Taylor’s complete commentary tracks somehow surface, the aim of this project is to reassemble the general release version in much higher quality than is currently available. As of this writing, I’m unable to provide an estimated completion date but will be making updates here as often as I can.

Post
#1387265
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

The facility that performed the sound capture is more than capable of correcting Reel 3’s right channel problem so I’ll have that arranged as soon as possible. In the meantime, I’m waiting on a collector who may (I emphasize may) have an original IB Tech trailer for the 1956 SuperScope reissue. If/when that one arrives, every trailer from every theatrical release will be sent in for scanning. That includes the 1941 trailer for the RKO-distributed release, the previous owner of which claims is a reduction print sourced directly from the original nitrate negatives.

I’ve also crossed off a huge part of the project bill recently and purchased every necessary component for a new PC build. Assembly isn’t too far along and once it’s put together it’ll serve as the primary system for the project. I suppose it’s only a matter of (finally) sending in the Fantasia prints for UHD/HDR scanning shortly thereafter, and Lord be willing, of course.

Stay tuned; at the very least, I’ll whet a few appetites with the UHD trailers. I do have a 60 second sample of the mag audio with Tech footage from a particular print locked and loaded, but I’m waiting for the print/scan owner’s approval to share the footage sample. I’ll follow up this post with that very video if I’m given the go.

Post
#1358211
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

UPDATE: I’m thrilled to inform all of you that the magnetic stereo soundtrack has been successfully digitized. Though I’m exceedingly satisfied with the facility’s work, the soundtrack itself is, not surprisingly, in need of some patching and restorative work before it’s in a presentable state.

Plenty of ticks and pops in quieter passages that need to be removed, tons of phase problems to correct, and the right channel to an entire reel has crackling in it that’s almost impossible to ignore. I’m chalking that last one up to the age and condition of the particular reel itself, as this isn’t a problem anywhere else in the print. But I was prepared for just about anything, and even the incessant crackling can be attenuated without destroying important frequencies. Overall, the soundtrack is discrete, exceptionally well separated, and the noise is surprisingly low for an audio source of its age. There’s no signal dropout of any kind, and absolutely no wow and flutter anywhere to be heard, which is what I was most afraid of and prepared to combat. It’s a stellar, archival-grade capture that I can totally work with, and I haven’t even gotten the rest of the audio sources preserved yet. Things are looking very good so far. I’ll post comparative audio samples as soon as I am able to. Stay tuned.

Post
#1357185
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

CourtlyHades296 said:

Do you also plan on scanning a 1985 LPP Irwin Kostal version if you find one?

Funny you should mention that. I know a collector with a 1982 print that they claim is in pristine physical condition, even though the color has mostly faded. It contains the 4-track magnetic Kostal soundtrack, and honestly, that may be the thing worth saving the most at this point. IIRC, the key differences in the footage from the Kostal version from, say, the ‘56/‘63 reissue is the way it’s introduced; there’s a dedication to Leopold Stokowski after the Buena Vista logo fades out and before the Fantasia title card fades in. After that, members of the orchestra take their respective places and start tuning. The rest of the film plays out in much the same way the general release versions do, minus an on-screen Deems Taylor during the opening and throughout the rest of the program with a dub substituting his voice. That and the “Mickey meets Stokowski” scene after The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was also dubbed.

You could (relatively) easily cut around the ‘82 soundtrack using the IB Tech footage, and just use the first minute or so of the Kostal print to include the Buena Vista logo and Stokowski dedication, which, if I do move forward with preserving the mag mix, may be the best course of action. You get the same theatrical experience editorially speaking, but with Technicolor footage and the discrete Kostal soundtrack. But first things first: I need the Tech/mag reels that I already have to be scanned. Everything else will hopefully follow after that in due time.

Post
#1355176
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

That’s correct. I want to assure anybody concerned over funding that I would not have even announced this project if I was not financially prepared for it. I didn’t just happen on the idea of preserving this film a few days or weeks before posting in April— it’s been years in the making and in that time I‘ve always made sure to set aside whatever I could to eventually afford the UHD scans and audio captures, once I tracked down the right source material as well.

Speaking of which, that’s the real help I’m asking for: to track down R1 and R4 from another 8-reel Technicolor print. I may be receiving such help very soon. I’ll share any good news when I’m able to.

Post
#1354110
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

Monsieur Hulot said:

I was thinking to myself, will you release a grindhouse?

A grindhouse release is not currently planned. The aim is to get the picture quality as close to that of an official release as I can get it, so the transfer needs to be free of gate weave and any physical print damage before it goes into HDR grading, and the real work begins after that. Several scenes have far more crawling dirt, cel scratches, stray hairs, debris, lint, and other such anomalies embedded into the original photography that were clearly never intended to be there in the first place, and those shots will need more careful attention than others. Scene 22 from the Fugue segment illustrates this issue perfectly.

35mm IB Tech

(The 35mm still is not from my scan. This comes from a 70’s IB Tech print scan, the owner of which has chosen to remain anonymous.)

Lowry Digital Transfer (Blu-ray)

Post
#1352594
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

At the moment I’m still waiting to hear back from the sound facility over the magnetic stereo print. Hopefully, they’re not having trouble with it and just taking their time to produce the best capture. After that’s done (and if it’s done well), I’ll likely have the IB Tech reels and two of the mag print reels scanned. I’ll take things from there and even fashion a progress chart in the main post, so those who want to keep track of the project may do so simply by just revisiting this thread.

Post
#1352290
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

JacobTheMoviePurist92 said:

I researched Fantasound as well and I’m recreating the Fantasound sountrack by using two sources, the 1957 stereo LP soundtrack and the mono soundtrack. For the choir and soloist parts i also used the linear track (which also has the mono mix) on my PAL VHS of Fantasia.

Tried that years ago (even brought it up in the old editorial) and realizing the originally intended sound design is going to be a helluva lot more complicated than just sandwiching the LP and VHS audio together. Assuming you used optimal equipment to yield a clean capture, synchronizing a slightly faster or slower LP recording to marry perfectly to the timing of the animation is its own challenge, but then comes the issue of a narrowed sound field after slapping a monoraul downmix over the stereophonic recordings— a lot of the movement will be hard-centered and destroy the illusion of sound that’s supposed to follow the action on screen. No one particular soundtrack source— even the magnetic stereo tracks— will ever get you the sonic experience that Disney and Stokowski intended. Each come with their own set of problems that restrict them from meeting today’s exacting high-resolution audio standards. But to reveal exactly how one would go about bringing the best quality out of mag recordings (which themselves are only copies of a copy of recordings from the late 30s) would spoil the contents of the upcoming editorial. I can promise you this much: it’ll be well worth the wait.

Until then, you’re more than welcome to give it a shot anyway; this community embraces the exploration and research of various source material after all. But take it from me, you’ll be spinning your wheels with this one. Again, restoring Fantasound is all lot more complicated than you think.

Post
#1352052
Topic
Fantasia - 35mm Project (Help Needed) (a WIP)
Time

yotsuya said:

I have my 1990 NTSC VHS and I just picked up the 1990 version on LD. I can see potential problems since the LD splits the movie into 3 pieces. But a lot of good LD’s found quiet spots to break or repeated the audio enough to overlap.

Yes, the splits between every disc only occur after a fade out. The PCM LaserDisc audio will be included as a listening option on this release.

JacobTheMoviePurist92 said:

Can Walpugis Night (The Animated Crossover) and Fantasound: Restoring The Soundtrack To Walt Disney’s Fantasia be featured as extras🤔🤔🤔🤔

I considered including that video (no promises), but the Fantasound editorial needs to be entirely redone; both the minimal research that went into it and the before/after comparisons are woefully outdated.