Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
While I was commenting on another post the other day, I mentioned I had ordered the $84 Blu-Ray
box set of "The Wizard of Oz" and just after I finished there was a knock on my door and there it
was via Amazon.com.

On Saturday, October 3, 2009, I projected the Blu-Ray in my screening room. The box set
contains so much material it will be some time before I have a chance to see it all. It has
the Program, cardboard images of the leads, more supplements on additional DVDs, the budget,
a watch and all kinds of goodies. So I'll just discuss the actual disc of the movie.

There was no menu on the Blu-Ray disc of the feature, it just started. Here's what Warner/MGM did...
They scanned the original three strip black and white nitrate Technicolor negatives at 8 K resolution,
added the appropriate color to each separation and then recombined them. Then they color corrected
them using an original 35mm Technicolor release print as a reference and downsized them to Blu-Ray
as well as outputting a new low fade color 35mm internegative for the future. Quite an expensive
and time consuming project but this is one of the most important movies ever made.

So how does it look? It looks as good as it's possible of looking based on the technology it was
photographed in.

The three strip Technicolor process went through many changes over the decades. This movie
was shot in the early day of the process. They needed a tremendous amount of light just to
get an image on the three separate negatives. I cover the details of this in my book, "Technicolor
Movies: The History of Dye Transfer Printing", but I'll just give a quick summary here...

The way color movies were photographed before the era of color negatives was quite complex.
Each photographed primary color (red/green/blue) was shot in an enormous camera that had a prism
that would split the image into it's separate components with filters onto a separate black
and white negative. In other words, all the shades of the color 'red' would be photographed on
a separate 35mm negative represented in black and white shades of gray. There would be two other
B&W negatives representing blue and green.

After editing, the final film would have three separate black and white cut negatives in ten minute
rolls. Each black and white negative would contain a separate color in shades of gray. From each
negative a 'matrix' would be printed from it. A matrix was special 35mm film that contained the
density of that one color in relief. It was like a rubber stamp impression of that color on film.
Then they would coat the complimentary dye to that matrix
and literally wipe it onto a piece of blank film, layer by layer similar to a lithograph they used for
newspaper color. I used this process for my own film, "Space Avenger" in 1989 but had to travel
to China which was the last laboratory that offered the system. Technicolor had shut down their
famous process after "The Godfather" print run in 1974. I hung out in the Beijing lab taking notes
on how the process worked and gathering technical documentation which I utilized in my book.

The advantage of the three strip process was that the cinematographer, producer and director had
complete quality control over the final color release print since you could watch the colors being
added as they were printed. Completely different than the photo-chemical 'Eastmancolor' process that
replaced it. You could really saturate the colors if you wanted by adding more dye to the matrix or de-saturate
it if you liked (i.e. "Death Wish"). And one of the great attributes of "Glorious Technicolor" was that
the dye transfer release prints (in 35mm or 16mm) never faded nor did the three strip negatives which
were in black and white. Eastmancolor negatives and prints faded before 1982. After 1983 they developed 'low
fade' negative and print stock which was certainly an improvement but not 'no fade' like the
three strip Technicolor system. Dye transfer prints were the best method of mass producing 'first generation'
release copies for theaters that were archival as well as being of superior quality to Eastmancolor prints
that replaced them in 1975.

Warner/MGM digitally scanned each 35mm nitrate black and white negative of "The Wizard of Oz" at 8 K
resolution then tinted each record, recombined them, then color corrected them for this new re-issue.

The film looks sharper, finer grain and more detailed than the original 35mm dye transfer Technicolor
prints.

Is this a good thing? In general yes but in some cases it caused problems. Nuances that were
obscured in the Technicolor prints are now more obvious than ever. You can see the freckles
underneath Judy Garland's heavy make-up. You'll also see the seams in the false rosy cheeks
in Frank Morgan's "Wizard" make-up. You can see the painted on rust of Jack
Haley's "Tin Man" outfit. Apparently the wires moving Burt Lahr's "Lion" tail became very obvious
at 8 K so they were digitally removed. When opticals were used you can see more grain and
there are a lot of superimpositions and dissolves in this film. There are even a couple of cases
when they had to flip the negative and print through the base so the characters were in the right
position. You can see this in the scene when Dorothy tells the Tin Man and the Scarecrow that
they're the best friends she ever had. In the wide shot the image is optically flipped which is why
the handle on the Tin Man's hat keeps changing sides. So that shot looks a bit soft. However, when
it's live action footage without any special effects (which was on duplicate negative stock rather than
camera negative stock) the image is incredibly sharp and the primary colors are vibrant and saturated as
they were meant to be. The prologue and epilogue in Kansas is tinted sepia as it was in the
1939 prints but not in any of the theatrical re-issues or television broadcasts.

So some of the 'fantasy' of the original Technicolor imagery is a bit undermined with the
added pixel count and fine grain sharpness. Matte lines, make up, costume seams and
special effects become more obviously fake.

I'm not really complaining. It's the best the film has every looked or will look. But it's artifice
is now more apparent. I'll just have to get used to the 'new look' of the movie with the added
details of things that weren't meant to be seen. But I'll never see the wires pulling the lion's tail again
or holding up the Scarecrow on the pole in the field.

Both mono sound original mix and re-mixed 5.1 is available on this disc. They had the original
elements to work with (separate dialogue, sound effects and music) so they spread them over
the mutliple channels effectively. But the changes are subtle. You can hear some cyclone
wind in the rear channels and there is a sub-woofer thump when the house lands on the ground.
Otherwise it's similar to the original mix.

I highly recommend this Blu-Ray disc providing you know the compromises and trade-offs mentioned
above.

Wal-mart is offering a streamlined version with just the feature for around $20 if you don't want
to spend the full $84.

Post Script: As "Wonderful" as "The Wizard of Oz" is, it's not without some flaws. Since they cut the "Jitterbug"
song number they should've removed or re-dubbed Margeret Hamilton's line about sending
an insect to take the fight out of them since it no longer makes any sense. Also, they should've
established in an earlier scene that water makes the Wicked Witch melt. It comes out of no where
here. It should've been the lion who throws the water on her to show a heroic act.
He doesn't do anything that isn't cowardly otherwise. And finally, as important as it is for parents
to create the 'no place like home' atmosphere for their children, ultimately the kids must leave the
nest to create their own life elsewhere. They should look for places beyond their own backyard
so it doesn't squash their ambition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Can I say that basically, I have no interest in, and hardly ever watch, movies?

BUT, I always read what you write Richard! (I loved your write up 2001 in some other thread recently)
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Well thank you for your kind words Terry j. I am curious...If you don't watch movies, then
why have a home theater?

Did you ever hear of the film-maker Daniel Bernardi who operates out of Australia?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
oh hi richard, who said i had a home theatre?

strictly two channel guy.

what is 'curious' is that if I don't watch movies, why do I enjoy a commentary??

dunno, but when they are as interesting as yours you canna help it no??:wave:

see ya
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,398 Posts
Geez Richard, you're literally a walking database on film projection :nerd:

Unfortunately this film never did anything for me, but as terry said, just the explanation on the technique was interesting enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
There was no menu on the Blu-Ray disc of the feature, it just started. Here's what Warner/MGM did...

They scanned the original three strip black and white nitrate Technicolor negatives at 8 K resolution,
added the appropriate color to each separation and then recombined them. Then they color corrected
them using an original 35mm Technicolor release print as a reference and downsized them to Blu-Ray
as well as outputting a new low fade color 35mm internegative for the future. Quite an expensive
and time consuming project but this is one of the most important movies ever made.
Any idea about the vintage of the Technicolor release print that was used as a reference? I'm told that the color is substantially different in original 1939 prints than later re-issues, which is easy to believe since they would have had a B & W key image as well as the transferred dyes. I would guess that the impression is being given that an attempt has been made to match the original intent of the first release, but that the result is actually closer to the brighter and more vibrant color of later re-issues.
Wal-mart is offering a streamlined version with just the feature for around $20 if you don't want to spend the full $84.
I see these versions selling on eBay for over $30, and single disc versions without the cover or artwork for over $20. I'm trying to figure out why I nailed a brand new wrapped 3-disc "Emerald" edition for $17 plus $3 shipping.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I don't know what vintage IB print they used but it looks comparable to one of
the last dye transfer prints made in the late nineties during the brief revival
of the process at Technicolor.

The 1939 prints would've been fairly grainy and with more muted colors because
of the key image and the fact that the optical printers weren't that good at first.
And the prints would've been inconsistent since they used multiple component dyes.
The 1954 safety film Technicolor re-issues looked very good. Much sharper and
finer grain due to the improvements in the optical printers and matrix stock. Also,
they had single component dyes by then. The 1970 Children's Matinee re-issues
also looked very good. The 1973 dye transfer prints were off color due to sloppy
lab work at Technicolor. I heard the British IB prints looked quite good too.

Basically, all of the safety film Technicolor re-issues of pre-1950 movies looked
better than the original prints because of the upgrades that had been made to the
process.

I saw an original nitrate Technicolor print of the last reel of "Kid Millions" from 1934
and it looked very grainy. Then I saw an IB re-issue on safety film and it was very
sharp and fine grain with better color.

I know an original 1939 nitrate Technicolor print of "Gone with the Wind" exists and
people who have seen it said it looks almost sepia and colorless. The 1954 and
1961 Technicolor re-issues were more saturated and vibrant. So in some cases the
'look' of a Technicolor movie has altered over the years. I think the "Glorious Technicolor"
imagery people associate with the process tends to be from the post-1950 era features
and re-issues of earlier pictures using the upgraded matrix printers and single component
dyes.

Regarding "The Wizard of Oz", the black and white camera negatives had far more detail
than was contained in any dye transfer print I've seen over the years...and I've seen
many of them. However, you do see more details and artifacts of things you weren't
supposed to see to begin with so that's the trade off. I do prefer the sharper and finer
grain image however. The real attribute of Technicolor was the vivid dyes not necessarily
the sharpness or grain structure which wasn't as good as Eastmancolor. The richer
contrast gave the 'illusion' of sharpness and fine grain but in fact it also obscured some
detail. Since Technicolor didn't fade it had that advantage too. However, I think scanned
in the negative(s) at 8 K for digital releases will generate better results in some respects
than the original dye transfer process it was released in. Certainly the color is just as
saturated on my DLP after I tweak it as it is in an IB print. The blacks are also velvety
like an IB print. Color fading isn't an issue and sharpness is better so I'll have to give the
nod to the digital version as better than the IB copies at this point in time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I don't know what vintage IB print they used but it looks comparable to one of the last dye transfer prints made in the late nineties during the brief revival
of the process at Technicolor.

The 1939 prints would've been fairly grainy and with more muted colors because
of the key image and the fact that the optical printers weren't that good at first.
And the prints would've been inconsistent since they used multiple component dyes.
The 1954 safety film Technicolor re-issues looked very good. Much sharper and
finer grain due to the improvements in the optical printers and matrix stock. Also,
they had single component dyes by then. The 1970 Children's Matinee re-issues
also looked very good. The 1973 dye transfer prints were off color due to sloppy
lab work at Technicolor. I heard the British IB prints looked quite good too.
I was able to watch a 1954 re-issue print many years ago and it looked quite good.
I saw an original nitrate Technicolor print of the last reel of "Kid Millions" from 1934 and it looked very grainy. Then I saw an IB re-issue on safety film and it was very sharp and fine grain with better color.
I saw a PSA tag with Pluto from the early 40's on nitrate and it looked exceptional. It would seem that there was quite a bit of variability.
I know an original 1939 nitrate Technicolor print of "Gone with the Wind" exists and people who have seen it said it looks almost sepia and colorless. The 1954 and
1961 Technicolor re-issues were more saturated and vibrant. So in some cases the
'look' of a Technicolor movie has altered over the years. I think the "Glorious Technicolor"
imagery people associate with the process tends to be from the post-1950 era features
and re-issues of earlier pictures using the upgraded matrix printers and single component
dyes.
I have read in several places over the years that Selznick desired a more pastel and de-saturated appearance to the color in GWTW. The only I.B. print I ever saw of this was from a 50's re-issue. It looked pretty good, fairly saturated but not overly garish. Some sources I have seen have claimed no original 1939 prints exist and all we can do is speculate and accept the word of those who saw the original release.
Regarding "The Wizard of Oz", the black and white camera negatives had far more detail than was contained in any dye transfer print I've seen over the years...and I've seen many of them. However, you do see more details and artifacts of things you weren't supposed to see to begin with so that's the trade off. I do prefer the sharper and finer grain image however. The real attribute of Technicolor was the vivid dyes not necessarily the sharpness or grain structure which wasn't as good as Eastmancolor. The richer contrast gave the 'illusion' of sharpness and fine grain but in fact it also obscured some detail. Since Technicolor didn't fade it had that advantage too. However, I think scanned in the negative(s) at 8 K for digital releases will generate better results in some respects than the original dye transfer process it was released in. Certainly the color is just as saturated on my DLP after I tweak it as it is in an IB print. The blacks are also velvety like an IB print. Color fading isn't an issue and sharpness is better so I'll have to give the nod to the digital version as better than the IB copies at this point in time.
It would be interesting to do a direct "A / B" test in the same screening room, on the same screen at the same size. I would guess that it is hard to do a totally fair comparison just using memory.

I once was offered an I.B. 16mm print that was claimed to date from the original release. I doubted this was the case then, and really doubt it now. The opening and closing were in B & W. It had good color, but I have seen many I.B. prints of films from that era and later that were more of a knockout. I passed it up as I thought it was too expensive for my limited funds back in 1974. I have regretted this at times over the years.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Technicolor did not have the technology to make 16mm dye transfer prints in 1939 so
it could not have been an original release. In the forties they did make blue track
dye transfer prints but they tended to look a little soft. Finally in the fifties they made
excellent double rank (clear sprocket) dye transfer prints in the 16mm format. I saw a
16mm IB or "The Wizard of Oz" which was more saturated than the 35mm IB 1970 print
I saw. The single rank (dark sprocket) dye transfer prints could look a bit soft because
they only used one set of sprockets to imbibe the dyes which could migrate a bit. However
there were some excellent single rank IB's in 16mm like "Singin' in the Rain". The double rank
(clear sprocket) IB's had better registration because they were printed on 35mm stock that
had the smaller sprocket across the entire width with two images on the print which were
then slit into separate 16mm IB copies.

Animation had better quality control in the thirties and early forties because they didn't have
to deal with the bulky and cumbersome three strip camera which had shallow depth of field
because so much light was needed to get an exposure on the three negatives. Animation
used the successive exposure technique. Each primary color (red/green/blue) was shot
on successive frames with filters on a single piece of black and white negative. Then Technicolor's
optical print skipped every third frame when making the matrices. This allowed for better
exposure and finer grain because the image wasn't being photographed through a prism.

Technicolor was constantly improving the prism, three strip camera mechanics, matrix and
blank stock so that by the late forties and early fifties films shot with the unit were much
finer grain, had better depth of field and greater resolution than those photographed in the
thirties.

Nicholas Schenck's personal 35mm nitrate print of "Gone with the Wind" does exist as a reference
although I don't think modern audiences would like the way it looked. People associate the film
with the 1954/1961 IB re-issues which were sharper, finer grain and had more natural color than
the sepia look in 1939. Since Selnick approved the 54' re-issue, we can say that it's accurate
in terms of what he wanted the film to look like at that point in time. There was a theory in
the thirties that bright and vivid colors as utilized in "Adventures of Robin Hood" would be an eyestrain for four hours so Selznick toned them down for the first release of "Gone with the
Wind". I don't know what the 1947 re-issue looked like because no copies have survived. There
are numerous 1954 and 1961 IB prints for reference which is probably what the upcoming Blu-Ray
will be based on rather than the 1939 look.

Again, we must note that while the color was very nice and didn't fade in Technicolor, pre-1950's
prints didn't have the consistent quality control of post-fifties prints because of the multiple component dyes. Once they went with single component dyes, the release print run (which was
usually about 400 copies) were pretty consistent from copy to copy. We should also acknowledge
that Eastmancolor positive printing was far less consistent because labs got sloppy and didn't
change the chemicals as often as they should've and of course Eastmancolor negatives and prints
faded and it's difficult to determine what the intended look should be decades later. With Technicolor movies there is usually more than one 35mm IB print to use as a reference for the
video colorist.

Sounds like you used to be a film collector like me. I still have some rare 35mm prints left in my
archive but I stopped collecting actual release copies after the dye transfer sources dried up and
I got a DLP. Since many distributors are now mastering directly off the camera negative, the quality
difference between a 35mm IB print and a Blu-Ray of the same title is not that apparent on my 10
foot screen. A Blu-Ray certainly looks better than a 16mm IB print. If it's a EK transfer than it's
better in some respects than a 35mm IB too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Technicolor did not have the technology to make 16mm dye transfer prints in 1939 so
it could not have been an original release.
I didn't think it was an original release. I have never seen an actual start date for striking 16mm I.B. prints, but I do have a few blue track prints from the 40's, mostly cartoons.
In the forties they did make blue track
dye transfer prints but they tended to look a little soft. Finally in the fifties they made
excellent double rank (clear sprocket) dye transfer prints in the 16mm format. I saw a
16mm IB or "The Wizard of Oz" which was more saturated than the 35mm IB 1970 print
I saw. The single rank (dark sprocket) dye transfer prints could look a bit soft because
they only used one set of sprockets to imbibe the dyes which could migrate a bit. However
there were some excellent single rank IB's in 16mm like "Singin' in the Rain". The double rank
(clear sprocket) IB's had better registration because they were printed on 35mm stock that
had the smaller sprocket across the entire width with two images on the print which were
then slit into separate 16mm IB copies.
To be honest I can't remember if that 16mm print I saw of The Wizard of Oz was single or double rank. It would only be about in 1980 that I learned the difference. Actually it was only about 1970 that I learned how to distinguish dye transfer prints from the usual run-of-the-mill copies I ran into. Most I.B. prints I would come across were double rank prints, and I think this one was as well, but I only had it for an evening. The first single rank print I came across was in 1969. It was of "The Caine Mutiny" which already was starting to smell. Funny thing was that it remained viewable for about 25 years before lapsing entirely into vinegar syndrome. It had registration problems only in the Yosemite sequence.
Animation had better quality control in the thirties and early forties because they didn't have
to deal with the bulky and cumbersome three strip camera which had shallow depth of field
because so much light was needed to get an exposure on the three negatives. Animation
used the successive exposure technique. Each primary color (red/green/blue) was shot
on successive frames with filters on a single piece of black and white negative. Then Technicolor's
optical print skipped every third frame when making the matrices. This allowed for better
exposure and finer grain because the image wasn't being photographed through a prism.
I fell sucker a year or two ago on eBay for a few minutes of 35mm negative for "Sleeping Beauty." I thought it might actually be a piece of the original successive exposure negative for the Disney production, but it turned out to be standard exposure stuff for some low-budget B & W animated film.
Technicolor was constantly improving the prism, three strip camera mechanics, matrix and blank stock so that by the late forties and early fifties films shot with the unit were much finer grain, had better depth of field and greater resolution than those photographed in the thirties.
I have a friend who has collected quite a bit of original Technicolor mechanics, etc.
Nicholas Schenck's personal 35mm nitrate print of "Gone with the Wind" does exist as a reference although I don't think modern audiences would like the way it looked. People associate the film with the 1954/1961 IB re-issues which were sharper, finer grain and had more natural color than the sepia look in 1939. Since Selnick approved the 54' re-issue, we can say that it's accurate in terms of what he wanted the film to look like at that point in time. There was a theory in the thirties that bright and vivid colors as utilized in "Adventures of Robin Hood" would be an eyestrain for four hours so Selznick toned them down for the first release of "Gone with the Wind". I don't know what the 1947 re-issue looked like because no copies have survived. There are numerous 1954 and 1961 IB prints for reference which is probably what the upcoming Blu-Ray will be based on rather than the 1939 look.
Interesting. I remember an American Cinematographer article about when a 50th anniversary transfer was being done where I think one of the team claimed that they were relying upon memory as to the 1939 "look" since no prints were available. I could be remembering this wrong, but I think I made a mental note at the time since I found it strange that with such a major release that no prints were still around. About ten years ago I heard about a collector who obtained a print at an auction which was said tio be Clark Gable's personal print. I think I had read that his wife Kay sought a print for Clark's brithday one year but was turned down. The story went that she found one from an outside party, and this was the print. I think I was told that it was from a 1954 re-issue. A friend once told me that this re-issue had Perspecta soundtracks on them. I wonder if anybody is set-up to play those as intended anymore.
Sounds like you used to be a film collector like me. I still have some rare 35mm prints left in my archive but I stopped collecting actual release copies after the dye transfer sources dried up and I got a DLP. Since many distributors are now mastering directly off the camera negative, the quality difference between a 35mm IB print and a Blu-Ray of the same title is not that apparent on my 10 foot screen. A Blu-Ray certainly looks better than a 16mm IB print. If it's a EK transfer than it's better in some respects than a 35mm IB too.
Yes, I judge most blu-ray copies to be superior to 16mm prints. A friend of mine who was a long-time collector of 35mm thinks they beat most of his 35mm prints.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I know the collector who purchased the Gable 16mm IB print of "Gone with the Wind". It was
from 1954. They didn't make too many 16mm IB's of the title. The problem with all prints of
the film after 54' was that they actually took sections of the three strip negative and printed
in 1.66 borders on top and bottom of the frame for the first 'wide screen' re-issue. So all
35mm IB and Metrocolor prints after that had about 12 shots with black borders on top and
bottom of the image even if you played it in 1.33 which was how it was designed to be shown.
Of course they zoomed up the image of those shots for video release so you don't see them
any more and the entire film is 1.33 but those particular shots are missing image on all four
sides because of the enlargement to remove them. It seems incredible that they would actually
remove sections of the original three strip nitrate negative, re-print them with framelines and
then splice them back in but that's what they did. The "Gone with the Wind" 1954 and 1961 dye
transfer prints were released in two formats. Four track magnetic stereo and in Perspecta sound
for optical mono copies. The Perspecta tracks merely bounced around the dialogue directionally
between the front three speakers. The magnetic stereo mix was actually a brand new mix of
the film since Selznick had saved the original pre-mix elements. The made the dialogue and
sound effects directional in the four speakers (including a new rear channel) and added some
extra explosions and crowd sounds to expand the sound field. As you know in 1968 they went
back to the original negative and blew it up to 65mm cropping the tops and bottoms of the
1.33 frame to create the 2.21 x 1 70mm wide screen ratio. Close ups ended up looking like they were shot by Sergio Leone. The added more sound effects and re-mixed it to six track magnetic
stereo. That's the first time I saw the film and I thought it was a contemporary wide screen
feature not a 1939 movie. I was only 11 at the time and didn't know the difference. I wish they
would release the 65mm version as a suppliment on some GWTW disc some day just so people
could see what it looked like. They changed the opening title for that version too. There is one
collector set up to play Perspecta sound and I heard some interesting titles like "The Trouble with
Harry" and "To Catch a Thief" in the system. Hitchcock never mentioned the process and I suspect
Parmamount encoded his films with directional mono sound without his knowledge or input. Dolby
can decode Perspecta although thus far none of the video distributors have included the three channel directional sound as an option on their DVDs. Best Perspecta sound I've heard was in
"This Island Earth". A very lively directional mix with sound bouncing all over the three speakers.

I used to have hundreds of 35mm and 16mm Technicolor prints but I sold most of them off
over the years since the DVDs were in better shape, had better sound and in the case of
high definition looked better on my 10 foot wide screen. The camera negative blu ray transfers
of "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" do look better than the 35mm IB prints I used to have of them.
I still retained some near mint condition 35mm IBs for reference since I wrote a book about the
process. I also have a mint 35mm Super Cinecolor Preview print of the Abbott and Costello version
of "Jack and the Beanstalk" the is Lou's cut of the film and 5 minutes longer than the version that
WB actually released. It came in 1000 foot Super Cinecolor cans complete with academy leader
and the hold punch start mark where they added the dyes on both sides of the film. Pretty wild
looking with funky purples and other primaries but very few reds which is what stood out the best
in Technicolor. The blacks weren't as velvety as Technicolor either but Super Cinecolor prints didn't
fade.

35mm and 16mm film collecting has pretty much died off since the advent of DLPs and superior
digital transfering techniques. I spent thousands to get rare IB prints in the past but now can
get the same quality for under $30 for Blu-Ray releases. Some 'purists' still insist on watching
only 35mm but with the problem of vinegar syndrome cause by their bad storage...their valuable
copies won't last for long. I never had any problem with vinegar syndrome not even on the first
35mm IB I purchased in 1985 of a 1957 Technicolor print. However, I do have a temperature
and humidity controlled storage vault that I use for my feature films and include molecular sieves
in the cans which stabilizes the tri-acetate. I also rewind all the reels once a year to 'gas them
out'. I know nitrate collectors who have stable ancient prints that will still play and haven't
decomposed by using the same technique although they have to gas them out every couple
of months.

Suffice it to say, a 35mm print will hold up much better on a large theatrical screen of 20 to 40 feet
and a DLP would show the pixels on that size but for home use, they are a boom to film collectors.
Most of the ones I encountered over the decades don't even have a 10 foot wide screen and seem
to average between 6 to 8 so projecting even a standard DVD on a DLP will look much better than
any 16mm print IB or otherwise. And the sound in 16mm was always poor whereas the sound on
DVDs is superior to 35mm prints.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I know the collector who purchased the Gable 16mm IB print of "Gone with the Wind". It was from 1954. They didn't make too many 16mm IB's of the title. The problem with all prints of the film after 54' was that they actually took sections of the three strip negative and printed in 1.66 borders on top and bottom of the frame for the first 'wide screen' re-issue. So all 35mm IB and Metrocolor prints after that had about 12 shots with black borders on top and
bottom of the image even if you played it in 1.33 which was how it was designed to be shown.
My memory is really going, or I was mis-informed. I remember that print linked to Clark Gable being in 35mm. Of course I was told third-hand and it may have been two stories merged into one by the time I heard it. Yes, I handled a print like what you describe when I was a projectionist. It was on Eastman stock and was for the most part in 1.37 but those few shots had the borders on them. But if a full nitrate print from 1939 still exists why haven't they attempted to copy those cropped shots back to the original aspect ratio?
The "Gone with the Wind" 1954 and 1961 dye
transfer prints were released in two formats. Four track magnetic stereo and in Perspecta sound
for optical mono copies. The Perspecta tracks merely bounced around the dialogue directionally
between the front three speakers.
Yes, a rather simple process. That is why I was wondering if anybody had a set-up today to play it back.
As you know in 1968 they went
back to the original negative and blew it up to 65mm cropping the tops and bottoms of the
1.33 frame to create the 2.21 x 1 70mm wide screen ratio. Close ups ended up looking like they were shot by Sergio Leone. The added more sound effects and re-mixed it to six track magnetic
stereo. That's the first time I saw the film and I thought it was a contemporary wide screen
feature not a 1939 movie. I was only 11 at the time and didn't know the difference. I wish they
would release the 65mm version as a suppliment on some GWTW disc some day just so people
could see what it looked like. They changed the opening title for that version too.
Yes, that was the first version I saw as well, back in 1967. I was older than you so I guess that is why I knew the film was "vintage" ...but the Metrocolor looked very muddy to me and not contemporary. Quite frankly when the intermission came I gave a silent sigh of relief to myself since I would soon escape an experience I was not enjoying. Then the title card came up and my heart sank. A couple of years later I saw a 1954 print in the proper aspect ratio and it was like a totally different film. It was no longer butchered. This time I loved it. Yes, the main title card didn't blow across the screen in the '67 release.

A footnote on that release, or at least something connected with it. I would have thought Speilberg would have known better, but when I was watching "The Empire of the Sun" I noticed a billboard advertising GWTW in Shanghai....it was clearly the art used for the first time in the 1967 posters.
There is one collector set up to play Perspecta sound and I heard some interesting titles like "The Trouble with Harry" and "To Catch a Thief" in the system. Hitchcock never mentioned the process and I suspect Parmamount encoded his films with directional mono sound without his knowledge or input. Dolby can decode Perspecta although thus far none of the video distributors have included the three channel directional sound as an option on their DVDs. Best Perspecta sound I've heard was in
"This Island Earth". A very lively directional mix with sound bouncing all over the three speakers.
I found a circuit diagram for Perspecta once, and could see how I could build it and decode the sound, but with no Perspecta prints there was no point.
I used to have hundreds of 35mm and 16mm Technicolor prints but I sold most of them off over the years since the DVDs were in better shape, had better sound and in the case of high definition looked better on my 10 foot wide screen. The camera negative blu ray transfers of "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" do look better than the 35mm IB prints I used to have of them.
Alas I have to only use memory for this comparison. My 35mm print of "Goldfinger" went to vinegar some 15 years ago and my "Thunderball" is stored where I cannot reference it. In memory the 35mm prints topped my bly-ray copies, especially with "Thunderball" which had looked measurably better than "Goldfinger"...
I still retained some near mint condition 35mm IBs for reference since I wrote a book about the process. I also have a mint 35mm Super Cinecolor Preview print of the Abbott and Costello version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" the is Lou's cut of the film and 5 minutes longer than the version that WB actually released. It came in 1000 foot Super Cinecolor cans complete with academy leader and the hold punch start mark where they added the dyes on both sides of the film. Pretty wild looking with funky purples and other primaries but very few reds which is what stood out the best in Technicolor. The blacks weren't as velvety as Technicolor either but Super Cinecolor prints didn't fade.
Yes, my Cinecolor prints still have their original un-faded color. I have one film in Super Cinecolor. I picked these up simply for the novelty of the process.
35mm and 16mm film collecting has pretty much died off since the advent of DLPs and superior
digital transfering techniques. I spent thousands to get rare IB prints in the past but now can
get the same quality for under $30 for Blu-Ray releases. Some 'purists' still insist on watching
only 35mm but with the problem of vinegar syndrome cause by their bad storage...their valuable
copies won't last for long. I never had any problem with vinegar syndrome not even on the first
35mm IB I purchased in 1985 of a 1957 Technicolor print. However, I do have a temperature
and humidity controlled storage vault that I use for my feature films and include molecular sieves
in the cans which stabilizes the tri-acetate. I also rewind all the reels once a year to 'gas them
out'. I know nitrate collectors who have stable ancient prints that will still play and haven't
decomposed by using the same technique although they have to gas them out every couple
of months.
It isn't just a matter of storage when it comes to vinegar syndrome. Prints that were treated for scratch removal tend to be particularly prone to VS, like my prints of "Goldfinger" and "The Caine Mutiny"...
Suffice it to say, a 35mm print will hold up much better on a large theatrical screen of 20 to 40 feet
and a DLP would show the pixels on that size but for home use, they are a boom to film collectors.
Most of the ones I encountered over the decades don't even have a 10 foot wide screen and seem
to average between 6 to 8 so projecting even a standard DVD on a DLP will look much better than
any 16mm print IB or otherwise. And the sound in 16mm was always poor whereas the sound on
DVDs is superior to 35mm prints.
I had a 30' throw onto a 12' screen for film back in the day. I have some 16mm prints that could hold their own against a standard DVD using a DLP, but sound is quite poor in 16mm by definition. I would guess that the sound on quite a few DVD's comes from 35mm optical tracks from positive prints and would be "knock for knock" similar, but in general the DVD wins handily.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Brian,

This is probably coming off like an 'insiders' conversation to everyone else but
I'll keep it going if you like.

Gable, like many Hollywood personnel, didn't collect 35mm prints of their films but
16mm. I recall seeing the William Holden, Norman Taurog and Errol Flynn 16mm collections
for sale in The Big Reel over the years. In fact I knew the guy selling some of the Taurog
and Holden IB prints so I got to see them first hand. There were some 35mm collectors however
way back when including Howard Hughes, Buddy Hackett, Dan Rowan and Hugh Heffner.
Others just kept 35mm prints of their own features including Hitchcock and Lou Costello
although in the case of those two they also owned some of their negatives for titles they
produced.

Using a 35mm dye transfer print from 1939 to recopy those shots with the 1.66 border
would look too dark and contrasty for video. So they just zoomed up the cropped shots from the negative
for the master. A lot of the image is cropped on those 12 or so shots but they go by so
quickly most people don't notice other than they are a tad grainier than the rest of the film.
It's still better than having black borders pop up on each reel distracting viewers from the stroy.

Vinegar Syndrome is caused by bad storage or processing or a combination of both.
Molecular sieves combined with good storage and airing out the reels every year should
keep undeteriorated tri-acetate or 16mm di-acetate stable.

Rejuvinated or chemically treated films are all subject to decomposition but that's not
technically vinegar syndrome but the chemicals they used in the process eating away
at the base and making it twist and warp beyond usage or in some cases make the image
sticky and gooey. Rejuvinated films are easy to spot by their smell and sticky lacquer on
the emulsion and/or base and should be avoided.

Magnetic stereo films in 35mm and 70mm and 16mm magnetic prints are subject to oxide
corrosion which can effect both image and base. They sounded great but were very]
unstable.

Smell could be deceptive however. Cinecolor and Super Cinecolor had a pungent dye smell
that wasn't vinegar syndrome. Blue track 16mm Technicolor prints smelled a bit like puke.
Really awful but that wasn't deterioration either, just a weird dye smell. They used to store
di-acetate 16mm with mothballs to keep it stable so they often smell like that. Di-acete tended
to shrink rather severely making them un-runnable in some cases. Tri-acetate shrank but rarely
to the point where it wouldn't go through a projector. Agfa black and white had a bizarre stock
smell but again, it wasn't deterioration. All mag prints smelled like oxide whether they were
decomposing or not which made it difficult to calculate their condition.

The best prints to collect in the past were tri-acete dye transfer prints, kodachrome,
cinecolor or Super Cinecolor copies in 35mm or 16mm in optical mono because they wouldn't fade.
Good contrast 35mm or 16mm black and white prints, ideally prints off the camera negative were
also worthwhile.

In the post-1983 era LPP was safe to collect and I haven't seen any fade yet but they
don't look as vibrant or have the rich contrast as dye transfer prints. All this is somewhat
irrelevant now because of high definition transfers made directly off the camera negative
which is 'the' generation rather than first or second generation imagery. And purchasing
a Blu-Ray of "The Wizard of Oz" even at the $84 price is a lot cheaper than buying a 35mm
Technicolor print for $3000.

DVD sound in general comes from the magnetic fullcoat masters or digital masters rather than
from optical sound. There is always a slight loss of quality in optical sound. The reason it
was used so extensively is that it didn't wear out like magnetic sound tracks or Vitaphone
records. But it wasn't optimum quality. Most DVDs have had their soundtracks re-mixed
in the 5.1 format regardless of whether they were originally six track, four track or mono.
And they do a digital 'clean up' aside from expanding the sound field removing track hiss
and other artifacts so they sound vastly superior to what was heard on the same movie
in the past.

I had both 35mm IB prints of both "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" and as great as they looked
in Technicolor, you do see a lot more detail and resolution in the Blu-Ray discs because they
were mastered directly from the camera negatives. I guess you could argue you see too much
detail in some cases because Connery's pock marks and make up are more obvious but I would
still give the nod to the Blu-Ray imagery at this point in time. The re-mixed stereo tracks are
far superior to the optical mono sound. The only flaw is that "Thunderball" originally had exit music
which the Blu-Ray doesn't contain although it was just a reprise of the Tom Jones them tune
printed on black and white film with no image.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Brian,

This is probably coming off like an 'insiders' conversation to everyone else but
I'll keep it going if you like.

Gable, like many Hollywood personnel, didn't collect 35mm prints of their films but
16mm. I recall seeing the William Holden, Norman Taurog and Errol Flynn 16mm collections
for sale in The Big Reel over the years. In fact I knew the guy selling some of the Taurog
and Holden IB prints so I got to see them first hand. There were some 35mm collectors however
way back when including Howard Hughes, Buddy Hackett, Dan Rowan and Hugh Heffner.
Others just kept 35mm prints of their own features including Hitchcock and Lou Costello
although in the case of those two they also owned some of their negatives for titles they
produced.
The story on the Gable print, as I remember it, was that a 16mm print was sought but when unavailable a 35mm print was obtained. But as I said, this was told to me by someone who said he knew (only slightly) the collector who purchased it. I know the print in question was 35mm, but the Gable angle I really do not know about. I never thought Gable was a collector, just that his wife wanted this one film for him back when video copies could not be had.

Again my memory may be faulty, but I also recall reading that the 1967 GWTW release was struck from a 35mm positive print, as the nitrate negs were deemed too shrunken to print. This would have been over 20 years later, and it was said that technology had made printing from them possible again. From what I remember of that eyesore of a release, I could believe it.
Using a 35mm dye transfer print from 1939 to recopy those shots with the 1.66 border would look too dark and contrasty for video. So they just zoomed up the cropped shots from the negative for the master. A lot of the image is cropped on those 12 or so shots but they go by so quickly most people don't notice other than they are a tad grainier than the rest of the film.
I would think in this days and age when color balance, etc. is manipulated fairly regularly in transfers that this should not be a problem. That 16mm I.B. print of "The Wizard of Oz" I didn't buy was transferred by a friend in the telecine at a local TV station to a U-Matic cassette and looked beautiful, no real problem with contrast, etc.
Vinegar Syndrome is caused by bad storage or processing or a combination of both.
Molecular sieves combined with good storage and airing out the reels every year should
keep undeteriorated tri-acetate or 16mm di-acetate stable.
Yes, I agree that poor storage and poor processing do bring in VS, but I also have encountered VS. caused by the scratch removal treatment that actually involved an acid step, which in my opinion ( and that of many long-term collectors) turns prints into time bombs no matter what you do with subsequent storage.
Rejuvinated or chemically treated films are all subject to decomposition but that's not technically vinegar syndrome but the chemicals they used in the process eating away at the base and making it twist and warp beyond usage or in some cases make the image sticky and gooey. Rejuvinated films are easy to spot by their smell and sticky lacquer on the emulsion and/or base and should be avoided.
Yes, it can cause warpage but also VS. I have had treated prints that go straight into VS with no visible warpage the start, just smell. The base is breaking down with the acetic acid smell undeniable. The image (emulsion) isn't what is gooey, but the dissolving base.
Magnetic stereo films in 35mm and 70mm and 16mm magnetic prints are subject to oxide corrosion which can effect both image and base. They sounded great but were very unstable.
I and a couple of collector friends know this all too well. They are far more prone to vinegar syndrome, apparently the oxide acting as a catalyst.
Smell could be deceptive however. Cinecolor and Super Cinecolor had a pungent dye smell
that wasn't vinegar syndrome. Blue track 16mm Technicolor prints smelled a bit like puke.
Really awful but that wasn't deterioration either, just a weird dye smell.
Yes, having both I know what you are describing. But these smells are nothing like the smell of a VS print.
They used to store di-acetate 16mm with mothballs to keep it stable so they often smell like that. Di-acete tended to shrink rather severely making them un-runnable in some cases. Tri-acetate shrank but rarely to the point where it wouldn't go through a projector. Agfa black and white had a bizarre stock
smell but again, it wasn't deterioration. All mag prints smelled like oxide whether they were
decomposing or not which made it difficult to calculate their condition.
I once heard speculation that camphor could halt VS, it was an urban legend I believe. I don't believe I ever noticed a strange smell to Agfa B & W. I had quite a few of them. My mag prints smelled distinctly of oxide.
The best prints to collect in the past were tri-acete dye transfer prints, kodachrome,
cinecolor or Super Cinecolor copies in 35mm or 16mm in optical mono because they wouldn't fade.
Good contrast 35mm or 16mm black and white prints, ideally prints off the camera negative were
also worthwhile.
Yes, I first learned of the non-fading nature of these color processes in 1970. I had mixed success with Kodachrome prints. Often they were so dense, murky and muddy that there was not a lot of color to worry about fading in the first place. On the other hand some others were gorgeous and very sharp. But many of us were collecting before VS really became known in the 1980's so none of us were worried about the film base as much as the color stock. Sure, it was around, we just didn't realize it yet.
In the post-1983 era LPP was safe to collect and I haven't seen any fade yet but they don't look as vibrant or have the rich contrast as dye transfer prints. All this is somewhat irrelevant now because of high definition transfers made directly off the camera negative
which is 'the' generation rather than first or second generation imagery. And purchasing
a Blu-Ray of "The Wizard of Oz" even at the $84 price is a lot cheaper than buying a 35mm
Technicolor print for $3000.
Yes, I would agree in general about the LPP prints. I have never seen a faded one, but some I have seen are very good looking and sharp as a tack. This later aspect probably has more to do with the way they are generated, improved printing optics and sharper negatives I would guess than the character of LPP stock. I judge IB prints to be more vibrant and have richer contrast in general.

But I think paying $84 for the blu-ray is too much. I don't need the do-dads that the most expensive set has, and doubt they are worth the extra money. The last two or three 35mm Technicolor prints of The Wizard of Oz have seen floating around sold in the $1500 to $1700 range. As I said earlier, I think a direct A / B comparison would be necessary to definitively claim one was clearly better than the other. Having first generation up front but then delivering it in a lower resolution format does not make it as straight forward in my mind.
DVD sound in general comes from the magnetic fullcoat masters or digital masters rather than
from optical sound.
In general yes, but many that have been produced are not done wwith the same care. This is more commonplace as time goes by.
There is always a slight loss of quality in optical sound. The reason it was used so extensively is that it didn't wear out like magnetic sound tracks or Vitaphone records. But it wasn't optimum quality.
It was far more practical than Vitaphone and magnetic sound in terms of exhibition, and this led to the main reason for the extensive use which was economic, it was far cheaper. I actually talked with operators who had worked with Vitaphone. They spoke of knowing how stiff a kick to give to put the disc back in sync with the picture. They could have been pulling my leg...or....? I never saw any magnetic tracks that had worn out and I worked with some that ran months. In my experience damage too the "fox-hole" sprocket holes was more likely than damage to the mag soundtracks.
Most DVDs have had their soundtracks re-mixed in the 5.1 format regardless of whether they were originally six track, four track or mono. And they do a digital 'clean up' aside from expanding the sound field removing track hiss and other artifacts so they sound vastly superior to what was heard on the same movie
in the past.
I would say it is a matter of opinion whether or not all that manipulation makes a mono soundtrack vastly superior. I for one prefer mono films to stay mono and prefer an approach that does not alter the experience from what was originally available. Have also heard some audio treatments that I found distracting.
I had both 35mm IB prints of both "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" and as great as they looked in Technicolor, you do see a lot more detail and resolution in the Blu-Ray discs because they were mastered directly from the camera negatives. I guess you could argue you see too much detail in some cases because Connery's pock marks and make up are more obvious but I would still give the nod to the Blu-Ray imagery at this point in time. The re-mixed stereo tracks are far superior to the optical mono sound. The only flaw is that "Thunderball" originally had exit music which the Blu-Ray doesn't contain although it was just a reprise of the Tom Jones them tune printed on black and white film with no image.
But I wonder if being mastered from the negatives and then produced in what is only 2K resolution (I believe that is the blu-ray standard, but I am new to them) balances out when we take the greater resolution of 35mm release prints into account? Again, this may be just a matter of opinion and memory, but I think the detail in the 35mm prints could beat the blu-rays.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Okay. Here we go...

I do know the collector who ended up with the 16mm IB of "Gone with the Wind"
but I won't mention his name here. Now of course whomever sold it and claimed
it was Gable's personal print could've been making it up. If there was a 35mm IB
from Gable I'm unaware of it but that doesn't mean he didn't have one.

The 1967/68 70mm re-issue of "Gone with the Wind" was blown up from a 35mm
color Interpositive (fine grain color positive) but it was derived from the original
3 strip nitrate negatives. They could reduce or enlarge each separation in an
optical printer to compensate for shrinkage. It didn't look good but when I saw
it I didn't know what it was supposed to look like. In fact, I never saw the film
in Technicolor until I found a 1961 35mm IB in the film collector's market. It certainly
looked totally different than the de-saturated and grainy Metrocolor prints. They
also made 16mm anamorphic Metrocolor prints of the 70mm version. All Metrocolor
prints are totally faded now. There are a number of 35mm IB's in private film collections.
Jeffrey Selznick has a 1954 IB of the film from his father's collection. It's curious that
David O. kept one 35mm print of all of his movies but in the case of "Gone with the Wind"
he kept a 54' re-issue instead of a 39' or 47' copy. I saw the other nitrate prints of
the Selznick collection when they played at MOMA in 1981 and they looked spectacular,
especially a 35mm nitrate of "The Prisoner of Zenda". MGM/Warner should make a digital
transfer of that print if it still exists which would be much better than the scratchy and
dupey copy they used for the DVD release.

A transfer house could take an IB copy and make it look acceptable on DVD as long as
it was all from the same source. But to intercut release print footage with original negative
footage would look terrible and it wouldn't match at all.

Before Kodak developed molecular seives, it was thought that camphor could stabilize the
base. I don't know if it did or not but it was used for that purpose, specifically for di-acetate
16mm prints. I've never been able to run a di-acetate print that didn't have bad image steadiness
because of shrinkage. Perhaps they could be digitally scanned in however to make a transfer from
them.

In terms of rejuvination, they usually just did the base but sometimes they did the emulsion
too and it will get sticky and gooey in those cases. There were a number of different rejuvinating
companies. Tragically, some did camera negatives to save a few pennies on wet gate printing.
The negatives decomposed in those cases.

Regarding kodachrome, since it's a reversal process a kodachrome original will look somewhat
like an IB print with rich, saturated colors that don't fade. The problem with kodachrome is
making a reversal copy from it. They come off too dark and contrasty.

Regarding LPP prints...the quality varies because of a 'generation gap' to coin a phrase.
For an analog format like film, only camera negative prints (first generation) look good.
The matrices of an IB print were always derived from the camera negative so they are
mass produced first generation prints. Eastmancolor prints were all made directly off of
the camera negative from 1952 through 1968. They were good quality first generation
prints although the color wasn't as good as an IB and they faded. Beginning in 1968, they
began mass producing Eastmancolor prints from duplicate negatives (CRIs or INs) which
resulted in a loss of sharpness, an increase of grain and a loss of resolution. But they still
made first generation prints for the big theaters (which were called EK Showprints). So an
LPP print is merely the stock it's printed on. The quality of the print depends on whether it
was first generation or second or third generation.

Wal-mart is offering a basic $20 Blu-Ray of "The Wizard of Oz" if you don't want all the
extras. I was merely pointing out that either way it was much cheaper than purchasing
a 35mm or 16mm Technicolor print...if you could even find one now.

Most studios go back to the original mixing elements for the DVD sound. In many cases they
offer the original mono mix along with the re-mixed 5.1 version so you have a choice which
I support. For pre-1950 films, all you have are either the mono optical track negative or
a mono track of the separate elements used for foreign release (separate mono dialogue,
sound effects and music track). Beginning in 1950, most mixes were done on 35mm magnetic
fullcoat whether they were stereo or mono. In both cases, they retain the separate music,
dialogue and sound effects so they can be effectively altered into a good 5.1 mix if desired.
In the ninties they began mixing digitally so the final mix is a CD-ROM with the 5.1 mix as
well as a separate CD-ROM with the LT/RT (simple left/right stereo).

Actually when they did a side by side comparison of early optical sound and early Vitaphone sound,
most technicians thought Vitaphone was better. But in the field you had synch problems as the
records wore out. Optical sound was improved with Westrex low noise recording. Many theaters
between the years 1927 and 1931 had to set up for both formats in their projection booths.

Whether the mono track is manipulated into 5.1 stereo or remains mono, technicians are able to
get rid of the decades of damage (hiss, crackles, pops) that would be heard otherwise. And once
the sound has been restored digitally (mono or stereo) you won't lose any quality copying it over
and over into the future. With all analog formats (magnetic or optical) you lose quality when it
was copied.

2K is obsolete. Everyone is using 4K now for the transfers including out-putting the digitally
restored image back to 35mm internegative (color or black and white). However, "The Wizard
of Oz" was mastered at 8K which might eventually replace 4K. They key is to save and preserve
the film elements so they can be used for whatever process or pixel count is used in the future.
That's what I do on my features and it's why I advocate shooting in 35mm rather than the current
digital format. I did a lengthy post on this earlier for reference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Okay. Here we go...

I do know the collector who ended up with the 16mm IB of "Gone with the Wind"
but I won't mention his name here. Now of course whomever sold it and claimed
it was Gable's personal print could've been making it up. If there was a 35mm IB
from Gable I'm unaware of it but that doesn't mean he didn't have one.
I just was online and noticed the collector who told me about the Gable print so many years ago was also online. I started a IM chat with him. It appears that I either didn't remember our conversation all those years ago or I misunderstood some of the situation. We had been talking about 35mm prints of GWTW and he brought up this print. I think I may have just assumed that he was talking about 35mm since he mostly collected 35mm and that had been the subject of conversation. He just told me it was in fact a 16mm print, and that the collector who took it at auction couldn't run 35mm. He also told me the name of the collector who got it, someone I've never met but someone I've known about who was intrumental in the revival of a classic Technicolor film that ran a theater I used to go to in San Francisco back in the early 70's. I do remember thinking he had paid way too much for it, regardless of gauge.

The 1967/68 70mm re-issue of "Gone with the Wind" was blown up from a 35mm
color Interpositive (fine grain color positive) but it was derived from the original
3 strip nitrate negatives. They could reduce or enlarge each separation in an
optical printer to compensate for shrinkage. It didn't look good but when I saw
it I didn't know what it was supposed to look like. In fact, I never saw the film
in Technicolor until I found a 1961 35mm IB in the film collector's market. It certainly
looked totally different than the de-saturated and grainy Metrocolor prints. They
also made 16mm anamorphic Metrocolor prints of the 70mm version. All Metrocolor
prints are totally faded now.
I don't know where I read that bit about not thinking they were not able to print the negs. and they may have been incorrect or I remembered what I read decades wrongly. The only source I have on the subject at the moment claims that the 3-strip negative was in fact used to make an interpositive in three passes.

There are a number of 35mm IB's in private film collections.
Jeffrey Selznick has a 1954 IB of the film from his father's collection. It's curious that
David O. kept one 35mm print of all of his movies but in the case of "Gone with the Wind"
he kept a 54' re-issue instead of a 39' or 47' copy.
I read somewhere that he liked the rendition in the 1954 much better than his nitrate original, so switched it out.

I saw the other nitrate prints of
the Selznick collection when they played at MOMA in 1981 and they looked spectacular,
especially a 35mm nitrate of "The Prisoner of Zenda". MGM/Warner should make a digital
transfer of that print if it still exists which would be much better than the scratchy and
dupey copy they used for the DVD release.
Yes, indeed.

A transfer house could take an IB copy and make it look acceptable on DVD as long as
it was all from the same source. But to intercut release print footage with original negative
footage would look terrible and it wouldn't match at all.
I guess it is subjective what looks terrible. I have seen a few DVD "restorations" that obviously had put together a composite from various generations or sources. Yes, purists can perceive the difference but I have found that the general public often cannot even tell if a proper focus is obtained let alone relatively minor shifts in contrast and grain. I went to a 70mm showing of Star Wars with roomates when I was at grad school. It started from the very beginning out of focus and I complained two or three times. The Assistant Manager told me it was because of the print wearing out. The print was in fact in quite good shape, it simply was not focussed properly...not that general wear ever affects focus. Then as if by magic the film snapped into focus at the last change-over. It was an accident, but there was the image in sharp form. After the showing I asked the roomates if they had noticed any difference in the run, one said something about the sound being a little louder at first.

Before Kodak developed molecular seives, it was thought that camphor could stabilize the base. I don't know if it did or not but it was used for that purpose, specifically for di-acetate 16mm prints. I've never been able to run a di-acetate print that didn't have bad image steadiness because of shrinkage. Perhaps they could be digitally scanned in however to make a transfer from them.
I have a couple that ran just fine the last time I tried.

In terms of rejuvination, they usually just did the base but sometimes they did the emulsion
too and it will get sticky and gooey in those cases. There were a number of different rejuvinating
companies. Tragically, some did camera negatives to save a few pennies on wet gate printing.
The negatives decomposed in those cases.
Yes, I heard of some attempts at "swelling the emulsion" to fill in scratches or applying a coating to attempt to minimize them, but generally it was the base that was treated.

Regarding kodachrome, since it's a reversal process a kodachrome original will look somewhat
like an IB print with rich, saturated colors that don't fade. The problem with kodachrome is
making a reversal copy from it. They come off too dark and contrasty.
Some Kodachrome originals look good with vibrant colors, showing that it is possible. Others I have come across (not copies from Kodachrome) look muddy as I said.

Regarding LPP prints...the quality varies because of a 'generation gap' to coin a phrase, ... analog format like film, only camera negative prints (first generation) look good.
But this was the case before LPP was available. Obviously the fewer generations the better the final product. But in the time LPP has been available negative stocks and as well as those used in other steps have improved. I was talking about comparing a similar generation LPP print with Eastman prints from decades ago. I also was thinking about 16mm, where no prints are really struck from the negative. I think I have heard that a few prints for selected markets have been struck for 35mm releases, such as those for New York and Los Angeles, whereas the hinterlands get prints with more generations involved. I saw a print of a Japanese film a few years ago that had to be struck from the negative. It was breath-takingly sharp with fantastic color and contrast. It re-affirmed to me that film done right still looks better than digital exhibition.

The matrices of an IB print were always derived from the camera negative so they are mass produced first generation prints. Eastmancolor prints were all made directly off of the camera negative from 1952 through 1968. They were good quality first generation prints although the color wasn't as good as an IB and they faded. Beginning in 1968, they began mass producing Eastmancolor prints from duplicate negatives (CRIs or INs) which resulted in a loss of sharpness, an increase of grain and a loss of resolution. But they still made first generation prints for the big theaters (which were called EK Showprints). So an LPP print is merely the stock it's printed on. The quality of the print depends on whether it was first generation or second or third generation.
In a way, the IB process introduces an extra generation with the matrices, so they are not as "first generation" as some Eastman releases.

Yes, those first generation prints for major markets.

But I would maintain that the relatively recent LPP stocks are superior to the Eastman release stocks of decades ago, so it is not just a matter of generation, but also the quality of the stocks used in those generations including the last one used.

Wal-mart is offering a basic $20 Blu-Ray of "The Wizard of Oz" if you don't want all the extras. I was merely pointing out that either way it was much cheaper than purchasing a 35mm or 16mm Technicolor print...if you could even find one now.
Yes, much cheaper. Yes, you can still find them, I have seen 3 different 35mm prints offered just this year. An LPP 16mm print went for some ridiculous amount a couple of years ago.
Most studios go back to the original mixing elements for the DVD sound. In many cases they offer the original mono mix along with the re-mixed 5.1 version so you have a choice which I support.
Yes, this is common knowledge.
For pre-1950 films, all you have are either the mono optical track negative or a mono track of the separate elements used for foreign release (separate mono dialogue, sound effects and music track). Beginning in 1950, most mixes were done on 35mm magnetic fullcoat whether they were stereo or mono. In both cases, they retain the separate music, dialogue and sound effects so they can be effectively altered into a good 5.1 mix if desired. In the ninties they began mixing digitally so the final mix is a CD-ROM with the 5.1 mix as well as a separate CD-ROM with the LT/RT (simple left/right stereo).
Yes, I have been reading about various transfers through the decades I have been interested in such matters.

Actually when they did a side by side comparison of early optical sound and early Vitaphone sound, most technicians thought Vitaphone was better. But in the field you had synch problems as the records wore out. Optical sound was improved with Westrex low noise recording. Many theaters between the years 1927 and 1931 had to set up for both formats in their projection booths.
I've never heard of sync problems coming from disc wear. I seem to remember that the discs were replaced after 20 to 40 plays depending on the material used in the pressings and that Western Electric recommended replacing the stylus after a single play. A worn stylus was more likely to jump a groove and cause a sync problem. I think sound on film had superior frequency response from just about the get-go, with Vitaphone topping out near 6000 hz, and later over 7000 hz with optical sound at about 8000 hz. I think Vitaphone sound benefits more from playback through a modern system than a corresponding increase in quality in early optical sound, so perhaps the comparison you mention is not really fair to extrapolate back to the late 20's.

Whether the mono track is manipulated into 5.1 stereo or remains mono, technicians are able to get rid of the decades of damage (hiss, crackles, pops) that would be heard otherwise. And once the sound has been restored digitally (mono or stereo) you won't lose any quality copying it over and over into the future. With all analog formats (magnetic or optical) you lose quality when it was copied.
Yes, the cleanup is a good idea.

2K is obsolete. Everyone is using 4K now for the transfers including out-putting the digitally restored image back to 35mm internegative (color or black and white). However, "The Wizard
of Oz" was mastered at 8K which might eventually replace 4K. They key is to save and preserve
the film elements so they can be used for whatever process or pixel count is used in the future.
That's what I do on my features and it's why I advocate shooting in 35mm rather than the current
digital format. I did a lengthy post on this earlier for reference.
In the context of what I said, would you recommend that everyone throw out their blu-ray copies because they are "obsolete" being only 2K and should wait for a new higher-hi-def format? The mastering is really only part of the equation, if the end copies do not carry the full resolution available. I was talking about comparing a release format with much higher resolution, 35mm film, to one that is lower, blu-ray.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Brian,

Before the advent of DVD and Blu-ray, 35mm and 16mm Technicolor prints were the best
surviving materials on many films so they went for premium prices. I paid $5000 for one of
my 35mm IB prints back in the nineties. There was a near mint 35mm IB of "Vertigo" was
offered for $8000 but that was before the film was restored. Dye transfer prints were the
holy grail for most film collectors especially if it was a noteworthy or rare film in the format.
It was interesting to discover that some films were printed in IB in England but not in the
US. Technicolor prints of "Star Wars" and "Jaws" in 35mm from that country cost a great
deal too because the US prints were in Eastmancolor and had all faded.

There was a article about how they made the "Gone with the Wind" 70mm version in
American Cinematographer which is how I knew about it. The original nitrate negative
of the movie is still in good shape as is "The Wizard of Oz". They made a color interpositive
as I noted and they blew that up to 65mm by cropping off the tops and bottoms of the
image. From that 65mm negative then then reduction printed it to 35mm and 16mm anamorphic
too. A completely faded 16mm anamorphic print of this version was sold on eBay a while ago.
In later releases they re-issued it in 1.85 and made 35mm Metrocolor prints with black borders
on the top and bottom. The last IB full frame re-issue was in 1961. Then they re-issued it
in the briefly revived dye transfer process at Technicolor (1997-2001) in a really weird format.
The 1.33 image was retained with black borders in an anamorphic frame. It looked terrible.
Fortunately, the IB "Wizard of Oz" prints were full frame 1.33 and looked great. However they
also made Eastmancolor LPP prints with the 1.33 image contained within the 1.85 aspect ratio
with black borders on the sides.

All Eastmancolor prints for theatrical exhibition were struck directly from the camera negative
from 1952-1968. Beginning in 1968 they began using duplicate negatives. The first to be
used were CRIs (color reversal intermediate) was was a reversal duplicate negative. The
release prints made from them were second generation. Later they abandoned CRIs in the
late eighties and switched to IP/IN and the release prints were third generation. Recently
they began scanning the 35mm camera negative at 2K resolution then out-putting a 35mm
color internegative. The 2K resolution wasn't good enough to retain the full resolution of the
dye couplers and these prints look poor. (Details of all this are in my second book, "The
Moviegoing Experience 1968-2001" which is being sold on www.Amazon.com)

Matrices were made directly off the camera negative. After dye was added they were used
to transfer the dye to the blank film. So IB prints were first generation not third because the
printing element was first genertaion. The sharpest and finest grain IBs were made when
they reduction printed a large negative to standard size. So VistaVision and 65mm reduction
matrices generated razor sharp IB prints in standard 1.85 and anamorphic formats.

You're lucky you have diacetate with good image steadiness. All of the ones I came across
jiggled in the gate if they ran at all. The reason the industry didn't replace nitrate release
prints with diacetate (in the pre-triacetate era) was because of it's tendency to shrink faster
than nitrate. Perhaps storing them with mothballs help reduce the rate of shrinking. I'm not
sure. One attribute of di-acetate is that they often derived them directly from the 35mm camera
negative. In some cases they were first generation reduction prints. If you can get them to
play they look great. After the silent era they made some reduction diacetate prints of 35mm
nitrate silent negatives for sale to consumers trying to squeeze extra revenue of an obosolete
format. Some silent films only exist in these 16mm diacetate prints. Tri-acetate safety film
was introduced in 1948 for both 35mm and 16mm and replaced both nitrate and diacetate by
1951 although Europe continued to use nitrate for another few years.

New 35mm LPP prints do look better third generation (for general release prints) than the older
quick fade Eastmancolor copies but that is due to the new T-Grain emulsion which is finer grain
than traditional dye coupler formulas. However, the generation loss is still apparent because all
general release copies are struck on high speed printers which don't generate as good as exposure
as the first generation 'Showprints' made for a handful of top theaters. The best way to make
an Eastmancolor print is not only directly from the camera negative but at a slow printing speed
that allows exposure adjustments on a scene by scene and shot by shot basis. On a high speed
print all of the color timing information is included in the duplicate negative used as the source
but they're printed on a 'one lite' setting rather than printing a night scene at a darker exposure
than a day scene as they would for a first generation Showprint. Again, all of this is covered in
detail in my last book.

I've read many articles about synch problems from disc wear in the silent era. There was a little
checkbox on the Vitaphone discs and the projectionist was supposed to check them off each
time he played them since they were only good for a limited number of runs. Predictably, 'in the
field' the projectionists forgot or didn't bother to do this and later screenings with the worn
discs would go out of synch. There was also a study done by industry technicians and they
gave the nod to Vitaphone as the better format although it didn't perform well 'in the field'.
I forgot what magazine covered it. I don't recall if I still have it in my library. I have
a massive library of industry books and magazines I compiled for my book research.
Also, when the Westrex low noise optical sound was developed, it improved that format to
the point where Vitaphone was no longer up to spec. Many theaters were forced to set up
for both systems in their booths during the transition to sound. By 1931-1932 Vitaphone was phased out. One advantage
of Vitaphone visually however is that they used the entire frame for the picture like a silent
film. Optical sound prints had to crop the image on all sides to accomodate the track which
mean a smaller image was being projected. Sometimes there were two mixes for the formats.
There was an extra line of dialogue in "Frankenstein" Vitaphone version when the doctor shouts
he knows what it's like to be God. It wasn't in the optical track mix but they incorporated it
into the newly restored version.

I wouldn't recommend throwing out any copies of a DVD although everything in video is a 'moving
target' and no format lasts forever. The mastering techniques keep improving. Not only the
resolution but methods of correcting artifacts and problems. At first all they could do was to
paint out some dust on the element used to make the master. Now they can remove scratches,
wires, stabilize shrunkage film, reduce flickering and flashing and even fill in missing frames.
So the benefit of later discs will display these upgrades. The other advantage of the higher
resolution transfers is that when they output a new 35mm negative from them, the greater
the resolution of the transfer the better the new 35mm release prints. As I stated earlier,
2K scanning did not generate a quality 35mm release print. 4K scanning did and you can refer
to my review of "The Sand Pebbles" where I compared the Blu-Ray to an actual 35mm print
derived from the outputted 4K master. I didn't get the opportunity to see what a new 35mm
print would look like from the outputted 8K master of "The Wizard of Oz" but if I do see one
some day I'll certainly review it.

I no longer collect 35mm and when I did I only acquired IB prints. I don't like the look of
high speed general release prints but a first generation LPP print would be something worth
owning although I only have them on my own features. After my first two movies, I only
made first generation release prints (and in the case of "Space Avenger" IB release copies
made in China) for exhibititon but of course I was booking them regionally and only needed
10 copies.

There are many variables in comparing a 35mm print to a Blu-Ray and in some
cases the Blu-Ray will look better. The Bond films are sharper on Blu-Ray than
the original IB prints because the 4K transfers were done directly from the camera negative.
So there is more detail in the Blu-Ray than in the first generation IB prints. There are more
options when digitally scanning a film image to color correct fading and other damage like
scratches and ground in dust or dirt than there is making a release copy from the aging color
negative. 35mm tri-acetate can shrink in bad storage too but the image can be stabilized
on video. So it's not only comparing the resolution potential (which obviously makes film
better) but these other factors too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Brian,

Before the advent of DVD and Blu-ray, 35mm and 16mm Technicolor prints were the best
surviving materials on many films so they went for premium prices. I paid $5000 for one of
my 35mm IB prints back in the nineties. There was a near mint 35mm IB of "Vertigo" was
offered for $8000 but that was before the film was restored. Dye transfer prints were the
holy grail for most film collectors especially if it was a noteworthy or rare film in the format.
It was interesting to discover that some films were printed in IB in England but not in the
US. Technicolor prints of "Star Wars" and "Jaws" in 35mm from that country cost a great
deal too because the US prints were in Eastmancolor and had all faded.
Since I have been collecting films since the mid-60's none of this is new to me. I passed up an IB 16mm copy of "The Wizard of Oz" in 1974 because I thought the $650 asking price was too high. i learned too late that I could have had it for $450. I passed up a 35mm IB British Technicolor print of Star Wars about ten years ago at a $3000 price. Yes, I knew all about the special value of Technicolor dye transfer prints as far back as 1971. I knew a collector who paid $800 for an IB print of Vertigo before the so-called restoration that altered the soundtrack to a great extent. I think he got a better deal, very nice print. He also got an IB Rope

There was a article about how they made the "Gone with the Wind" 70mm version in
American Cinematographer which is how I knew about it. The original nitrate negative
of the movie is still in good shape as is "The Wizard of Oz". They made a color interpositive
as I noted and they blew that up to 65mm by cropping off the tops and bottoms of the
image. From that 65mm negative then then reduction printed it to 35mm and 16mm anamorphic
too. A completely faded 16mm anamorphic print of this version was sold on eBay a while ago.
In later releases they re-issued it in 1.85 and made 35mm Metrocolor prints with black borders
on the top and bottom. The last IB full frame re-issue was in 1961. Then they re-issued it
in the briefly revived dye transfer process at Technicolor (1997-2001) in a really weird format.
The 1.33 image was retained with black borders in an anamorphic frame. It looked terrible.
Fortunately, the IB "Wizard of Oz" prints were full frame 1.33 and looked great. However they
also made Eastmancolor LPP prints with the 1.33 image contained within the 1.85 aspect ratio
with black borders on the sides.
Yes, I've seen that ASC issue.

I know a collector who had the last reel of his 35mm dye transfer print go to vinegar. He found a replacement from that last re-issue with the weird format. I doesn't really fit with the rest of his print.

I know that at least some 1.37 prints were struck in Metrocolor since I actually handled an un-faded one when I was a projectionist back in the early 70's. Unfortunately we only had plates cut at about 1.66 to 1 and cropped it a fair bit.

All Eastmancolor prints for theatrical exhibition were struck directly from the camera negative
from 1952-1968. Beginning in 1968 they began using duplicate negatives. The first to be
used were CRIs (color reversal intermediate) was was a reversal duplicate negative. The
release prints made from them were second generation. Later they abandoned CRIs in the
late eighties and switched to IP/IN and the release prints were third generation. Recently
they began scanning the 35mm camera negative at 2K resolution then out-putting a 35mm
color internegative. The 2K resolution wasn't good enough to retain the full resolution of the
dye couplers and these prints look poor. (Details of all this are in my second book, "The
Moviegoing Experience 1968-2001" which is being sold on www.Amazon.com)
Yes, I've read your book. I found your hatred of platters interesting. I never saw a platter system set up wrongly as you found to be common in your book, as once you get them level there isn't much to go wrong, and except for some additional dust in one or two houses I didn't see much film damage or image degradation caused by them. I didn't really like them all that much but they were relatively trouble-free. and caused less damage than the various big reel systems also being used at the time. But that was in the era before mylar films. so static electricity problems were not as much of a problem as today. I actually worked a couple of houses that you have listed as "movie palaces" and was amused to find them there as to me they were rather common and smallish neighborhood theaters. True, The Park and The Guild were single screens, but if I remember correctly The Park had a scope aspect ratio barely over 2.00:1. The Guild still had steel floors and ceilings, fire shutters all still in place. It was oe of the few houses I worked back in the 2000' reel days that even had the magazine covers still on the machines.

Matrices were made directly off the camera negative. After dye was added they were used
to transfer the dye to the blank film. So IB prints were first generation not third because the
printing element was first genertaion.
But an Eastman print struck from the camera negative has one less generation.

The sharpest and finest grain IBs were made when they reduction printed a large negative to standard size. So VistaVision and 65mm reduction matrices generated razor sharp IB prints in standard 1.85 and anamorphic formats.
I've always aassumed this to be the case.

You're lucky you have diacetate with good image steadiness. All of the ones I came across
jiggled in the gate if they ran at all. The reason the industry didn't replace nitrate release
prints with diacetate (in the pre-triacetate era) was because of it's tendency to shrink faster
than nitrate. Perhaps storing them with mothballs help reduce the rate of shrinking. I'm not
sure. One attribute of di-acetate is that they often derived them directly from the 35mm camera
negative. In some cases they were first generation reduction prints. If you can get them to
play they look great. After the silent era they made some reduction diacetate prints of 35mm
nitrate silent negatives for sale to consumers trying to squeeze extra revenue of an obosolete
format. Some silent films only exist in these 16mm diacetate prints. Tri-acetate safety film
was introduced in 1948 for both 35mm and 16mm and replaced both nitrate and diacetate by
1951 although Europe continued to use nitrate for another few years.
OK, I guess I am lucky.

New 35mm LPP prints do look better third generation (for general release prints) than the older
quick fade Eastmancolor copies but that is due to the new T-Grain emulsion which is finer grain
than traditional dye coupler formulas. However, the generation loss is still apparent because all
general release copies are struck on high speed printers which don't generate as good as exposure
as the first generation 'Showprints' made for a handful of top theaters.
I think I already said as much.

The best way to make an Eastmancolor print is not only directly from the camera negative but at a slow printing speed that allows exposure adjustments on a scene by scene and shot by shot basis. On a high speed print all of the color timing information is included in the duplicate negative used as the source but they're printed on a 'one lite' setting rather than printing a night scene at a darker exposure than a day scene as they would for a first generation Showprint. Again, all of this is covered in detail in my last book.
Yes, I suppose.

've read many articles about synch problems from disc wear in the silent era. There was a little
checkbox on the Vitaphone discs and the projectionist was supposed to check them off each
time he played them since they were only good for a limited number of runs.
I think I already mentioned the checkbox in that there was a limitation on plays, yes, this was th process used. But I have not read anything about worn discs jumping grooves and that was one reason they did not.

Predictably, 'in the field' the projectionists forgot or didn't bother to do this and later screenings with the worn discs would go out of synch. There was also a study done by industry technicians and they gave the nod to Vitaphone as the better format although it didn't perform well 'in the field'.
I forgot what magazine covered it. I don't recall if I still have it in my library. I have a massive library of industry books and magazines I compiled for my book research.
You already mentioned that test, but did you talk to the actual operators who projected Vitaphone? I talked with a few when I was an apprentice. They were in their 60's and 70's at the time and told me quite a both from their experience. Perhaps they were above average, but they did not mention worn discs causing skips and sync trouble. Most of the sync troubles were on startup.

Also, when the Westrex low noise optical sound was developed, it improved that format to
the point where Vitaphone was no longer up to spec. Many theaters were forced to set up
for both systems in their booths during the transition to sound. By 1931-1932 Vitaphone was phased out.
I think I basically said this as well.

One advantage of Vitaphone visually however is that they used the entire frame for the picture like a silent film. Optical sound prints had to crop the image on all sides to accomodate the track which mean a smaller image was being projected. Sometimes there were two mixes for the formats.
There was an extra line of dialogue in "Frankenstein" Vitaphone version when the doctor shouts
he knows what it's like to be God. It wasn't in the optical track mix but they incorporated it
into the newly restored version.
Interesting info about the shift from 1.33 to 1.37

I wouldn't recommend throwing out any copies of a DVD although everything in video is a 'moving target' and no format lasts forever.
I already have a couple from about five years back that stick and will not play properly in parts.

The mastering techniques keep improving. Not only the resolution but methods of correcting artifacts and problems. At first all they could do was to paint out some dust on the element used to make the master. Now they can remove scratches, wires, stabilize shrunkage film, reduce flickering and flashing and even fill in missing frames. So the benefit of later discs will display these upgrades.
I don't like taking out dust on the original negative such as with "Snow White"...I find that the charm of the creation process is lessened.

The other advantage of the higher resolution transfers is that when they output a new 35mm negative from them, the greater the resolution of the transfer the better the new 35mm release prints. As I stated earlier, 2K scanning did not generate a quality 35mm release print. 4K scanning did and you can refer to my review of "The Sand Pebbles" where I compared the Blu-Ray to an actual 35mm print derived from the outputted 4K master. I didn't get the opportunity to see what a new 35mm
print would look like from the outputted 8K master of "The Wizard of Oz" but if I do see one
some day I'll certainly review it.
I am not a big fan of digital intermediates and can see the difference between those releases using them, and those that did not such as the last Phantom of the Opera and The Prestige ...the only film with a digital intermediate that looked all that good to me was Poison ...true, they are improving these.

I no longer collect 35mm and when I did I only acquired IB prints. I don't like the look of
high speed general release prints but a first generation LPP print would be something worth
owning although I only have them on my own features. After my first two movies, I only
made first generation release prints (and in the case of "Space Avenger" IB release copies
made in China) for exhibititon but of course I was booking them regionally and only needed
10 copies.
Yes, more generations is not a good thing.

There are many variables in comparing a 35mm print to a Blu-Ray and in some
cases the Blu-Ray will look better. The Bond films are sharper on Blu-Ray than
the original IB prints because the 4K transfers were done directly from the camera negative.
So there is more detail in the Blu-Ray than in the first generation IB prints.
But since the finished product is only 2K and not 4K I think the 35mm IB prints, "first generation" as you have noted, will be superior. In both cases "straight from the camera negative"..with film at higher resolution than 2K.

There are more options when digitally scanning a film image to color correct fading and other damage like scratches and ground in dust or dirt than there is making a release copy from the aging color negative. 35mm tri-acetate can shrink in bad storage too but the image can be stabilized
on video. So it's not only comparing the resolution potential (which obviously makes film
better) but these other factors too.
Depends on the condition of the negatives.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top