TCM film festval King Kong restoration?

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louie

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TCM film festval King Kong restoration?

PostSat Apr 10, 2010 3:54 pm

what's all this then? newly found footage? original negative print? what are they talking about? haven't heard anything about this other than tcm festival announcement of a showing.
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missdupont

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PostSun Apr 11, 2010 1:10 am

All they're talking about is either a Blu-Ray or digital print of the film, there is no new footage, it's the same with A Star is Born, it's the same picture, just updated to Blu-Ray or digital.
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louie

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PostSun Apr 11, 2010 5:02 am

Thank you. The announcements have no details about the prints they are showing. "New restoration" is confusing.
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precode

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PostSun Apr 11, 2010 6:18 pm

missdupont wrote:All they're talking about is either a Blu-Ray or digital print of the film, there is no new footage, it's the same with A Star is Born, it's the same picture, just updated to Blu-Ray or digital.


I was under the impression that STAR had been given a audio/visual upgrade.

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Mike Gebert

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PostSun Apr 11, 2010 6:26 pm

Did they take some grain out of Kong? I'm generally against these cleaned-up DVDs that make Sunset Boulevard look as smooth as Toy Story, but Kong is one that could lose a certain amount digitally without bugging me.
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peachtreegal

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PostMon Apr 12, 2010 9:25 am

What, they're going to project a DVD of King Kong...?
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Christopher Jacobs

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PostMon Apr 12, 2010 1:09 pm

I thought the entire point of this TCM festival was to be able to see 35mm film prints of classic films in classic original movie theatres. If something like the newly re-restored METROPOLIS is only available as a high-definition digital file, that would be the exception, but I was under the impression that even that had a new 35mm print struck for a theatrical release over the summer.

Perhaps they finally made a new 35mm print of KING KONG that finally matches the contrast and gamma of all the restored bits that really stood out as being patched back in with the old prints in circulation.

As for grain, I remember seeing KING KONG theatrically in the 1970s several times, and it had a smooth, lustrous sheen of fine grain typical of any good 35mm black and white print. I also used to have, however, a cheap $100 16mm dupe that was so grainy it looked like a bad dupe of an 8mm blowup, and it was all you could do to recognize what was happening through the grainstorm. KING KONG is one of the Warner-owned titles slated for BluRay release in the next year or two, so it's possible a new hi-def scan and cleanup has been already done, but I'd expect for a much-ballyhooed festival with tickets selling for a couple of grand that they ought to output any digital transfer back to 35mm film for projection. I'd certainly not be too happy if it's just the same video format as a soon-to-be released BluRay version, and if it's merely a DVD screening, I'd demand my money back! The DVD may look good on a 27" TV set, but it can't approach a 35mm print (and I've seen various different very good-looking 35mm prints of it over the years, including one with French and Arabic subtitles in an open-air Cairo theatre).

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Mike Gebert

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PostMon Apr 12, 2010 1:19 pm

Well, hold on a second, this idea that they're showing DVDs may have just been created out of nothing in this very thread. I assume they're showing 35mm, and if they're showing a digital restoration, a print has been made of it.

That said... you'd think a festival like this would have a few things to say about the provenance of what they're showing, and I don't see it on their website. So who knows?
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Jack Theakston

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PostMon Apr 12, 2010 1:39 pm

Don't assume because a film has had a digital restoration that they've outputted it back to film. In fact, the last time I spoke to someone at WB, they told me that they're NOT making new rep prints (although they are doing protection elements on 35mm).

That being said, if the projection is D-Cinema, I'm sure it will look great. When done right, it can look stunning.
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PostMon Apr 12, 2010 4:43 pm

I emailed TCM a while back about formats, and was told that the "vast majority" of screenings would be projected from film prints. However, that means they're showing some stuff from digital junk (no matter how good, video of film just doesn't look right). Which ones, they didn't say. I wish they would post the formats like other festivals do.
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Nick_M

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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 1:54 am

Formats are now listed on the pages for each individual film. Videos are being shown of King Kong, A Star is Born, North by Northwest, and Metropolis. It's a shame, but at least video is limited to just a few movies. Didn't check every film, but the rest seem to be shown from prints.
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louie

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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 5:59 am

so these are BRAND SPANKING NEW VERY LATEST ONLY A COUPLE OF HOURS AGO NEVER BEFORE SEEN BY THE PUBLIC digital transfers? except in the case of METROPLIS which has already premiered over there. the purist has a tough row to hoe these days.
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Harlett O'Dowd

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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 10:39 am

Nick_M wrote:Formats are now listed on the pages for each individual film. Videos are being shown of King Kong, A Star is Born, North by Northwest, and Metropolis. It's a shame, but at least video is limited to just a few movies. Didn't check every film, but the rest seem to be shown from prints.


The Metropolis digital screening seems particularly odd/troubling as the KINO site indicates their intention to screen the film in multiple cities prior to their DVD release later this year.

IIRC, it's already in the pipe for SFSFF.

Perhaps a print with English titles is not yet available, although an English language digital transfer is? Hopefully San Francisco is still on tap to get a 35 print to screen in July.
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 1:39 pm

When they announce they're putting the pit/spider sequences back in, let me know.
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Daniel Eagan

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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 1:46 pm

Harlett O'Dowd wrote:The Metropolis digital screening seems particularly odd/troubling as the KINO site indicates their intention to screen the film in multiple cities prior to their DVD release later this year.

IIRC, it's already in the pipe for SFSFF.

Perhaps a print with English titles is not yet available, although an English language digital transfer is? Hopefully San Francisco is still on tap to get a 35 print to screen in July.


Paula Félix-Didier showed excerpts from Metropolis at the recent Orphan Film Symposium and explained how the long version surfaced. (She's director of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires.) The new footage is from really scratched-up 16mm that's framed a little off. (Sorry, my technical terms are disappearing...)

She confirmed the deal with Kino, which is showing a film print at Film Forum in early May. [Correction: this is a digital presentation.]

What I found more exciting than the umpteenth revival of a film that is pretty dull in places was her discovery of footage from several other titles presumed lost, including Moy Syn with Anna Sten.
Last edited by Daniel Eagan on Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mike Gebert

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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 2:58 pm

When they announce they're putting the pit/spider sequences back in, let me know.


The last DVD of Kong included a newly created version of the spider pit sequence by the special effects team who did the Peter Jackson remake; as always with someone faking older footage, they can't entirely escape a 2000s-filmmaking feel, but it's a pretty good job of faking what the sequence would have looked like. Along with the actual yucky-insects sequence in the remake, it satisfied my desire to see that scene... and convinced me that the 1933 decision to remove the scene because it broke the flow of the chase (and was gruesomely cruel to boot) was correct.
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PostWed Apr 21, 2010 8:03 am

Jackson's decision to recreate the spider sequence was ruined for me
by the continuity lapses regarding the actors playing the doomed sailors.

It would show footage from the classic film then cut to an actor sporting
a modern hairstyle.

I don't think Carl Denham would have allowed a mullet.
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Jack Theakston

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PostWed Apr 21, 2010 12:09 pm

Nick_M wrote:Formats are now listed on the pages for each individual film. Videos are being shown of King Kong, A Star is Born, North by Northwest, and Metropolis. It's a shame, but at least video is limited to just a few movies. Didn't check every film, but the rest seem to be shown from prints.


If the restorations were done in the digital realm, what difference do you think it makes? Have you seen any of the above titles projected digitally?
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louie

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PostWed Apr 21, 2010 3:42 pm

"If the restorations were done in the digital realm, what difference do you think it makes? Have you seen any of the above titles projected digitally?


i don't know nuttin but would transfer to film return some of that film sheen.
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PostWed Apr 21, 2010 7:30 pm

If the restorations were done in the digital realm, what difference do you think it makes? Have you seen any of the above titles projected digitally?


If it's output back to film, it doesn't matter much, unless the computer work is obviously low-resolution. The new restorations of The Robe, Lola Montes, Blade Runner look great in 35mm and would've fooled me had I not already known. On the other hand, while not knowing which restoration process, defects aren't hard to spot in 35mm. To mention a few: White Mane/The Red Balloon (fuzzy) , Norman McLaren shorts (fuzzy), The Story of the Kelly Gang ("watery," like bad MPEG2 compression).

The title that completely turned me off to ever seeing a film projected from video is Forbidden Planet, which I saw, for the first time, at the Egyptian in HD (maybe 4k). Really nice cleanup work and wonderful sound.

First an aside: My biggest beef with video projection is that it eliminates the flicker which is fundamental to film. This makes frames blur together, destroying things like Abel Gance's rapid editing, and strobe light effects, as in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. In short, ruining the film's original motion.

With Planet, I found that flicker makes grain look really good, if not hiding it altogether. However, grain on video is just noise. The picture looked covered behind a veil of noise. I got frustrated; since transferring film to video makes a completely different thing, my thoughts were, "just get it over with and get rid of the grain!"

My second major beef is with video projection in general. I can see the rainbow effect, much like with plasma TVs and home projectors. It's not nearly as noticeable, unless the image has a lot of browns and yellows. Zodiac, heavy in yellows, was particularly unpleasant.

I'd be willing to completely shut up about it if there was a way to correctly emulate the flicker for (finished-on-)film shown from video. That would completely solve most of the problems. Seeing a clip of Hondo at the Academy from HD with shutter glasses was convincingly film-like. I would have gone to the feature, but those glasses were like pincers!
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PostThu Apr 22, 2010 5:24 am

This is a narrow path technology has gone down! We have gained and lost things in the process.

Having been in the booth as well as audience in many classic film theatres over 35 years, I have rarely seen a razor-sharp 35mm REISSUE film print projected. Yes, there are some, but the distributors seem hell-bent NOT to either take care of the remaining good prints or strike new prints, leaving our only option digital projection. I read in the latest Film Noir Foundation newsletter about all the work and studio politics the group had to go through to get a major studio to make a new print of a 1950s title--only to find out several years later that same print had been junked.

When I first opened my small-town theatre in Michigan in 1990, I ran many old 1950s B&W B-Westerns with gorgeous quality on the screen. But, when ordering prints from distributors, I often got worn 1970s reprints that were difficult to focus. I walked out of a screening of a pathetic Eastman reissue of MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD a few years ago.

Digital, on the other hand, with a nice transfer, gives a razor sharp,
clean picture with depth--something I remember as a kid in the 50s when most theatres had excellent prints run by professionals. (I'm using a Panasonic 7000 lumen Commercial DLP on average of 20 foot wide screen)

With Blu-Ray, I recently ran a digital picture on a big theatre screen--and it was far sharper and more enjoyable than a new 35mm presentation.

Digital is getting better all the time--it does have limitations but for the audience, what it delivers on the screen sure impresses me.
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louie

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PostThu Apr 22, 2010 7:23 am

so is digital better than a great 35mm print? is it equal? should there be a new thread? i find this fascinating. and deja vu. tape, cds, mp3s, etc. they never did get cds to sound rich and warm. they just went on to something even worse. itunes?? this coming from a guy with an ipod full of 40s and 50s r&B and rock and roll.
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PostThu Apr 22, 2010 12:55 pm

First off, I should mention that the Egyptian screening of FORBIDDEN PLANET (in November 2006) was off of a HD-DVD. Hardly what you would consider the zenith of D-Cinema.

And D-Cinema projectors DO have flicker. It's just three times instead of two (78 Hz vs. 48 Hz.). I've always felt that the thought that 48 Hz is somehow hypnotic to be bunk. Anyone who watches silent films in a theatrical setting will agree..

The commercial DLP projectors have such high refresh rates for their color wheels that if you can't see the 78 Hz flicker, you won't be seeing the moire effect when you move your eyes.

The reason that I ask this is because there is a lot of romanticism of film based on early digital projection experiences (or "Digital Done Wrong") that put people off. And I know film pretty well-- if I didn't believe in it, I wouldn't have 35mm projectors set up in my basement.

Take my advice and go to the NORTH BY NORTHWEST show. I promise you won't be disappointed. I've seen it digitally twice now and have run three original IB Tech prints in comparison. The digital wins hands down in sharpness, contrast, color fidelity, and of course audio since the audio is uncompressed.
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PostThu Apr 22, 2010 7:25 pm

HD-DVD!!? Ugh, had I a player, I could've stayed home and literally seen the same thing.
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PostMon Apr 26, 2010 11:40 pm

OK, I was the one who asked the silly question about King Kong being projected from a DVD.

Boy, was a dumb question. My apologies.

All the films shown at the Grauman's Chinese for the TCM film fest were projected digitally, and from what I've been told, the theater's digital projection system is state of the art, as they upgraded it quite recently for Avatar.

I saw a A Star is Born, King Kong and Metropolis and they were all fantastic looking. (Alas, I missed out on North by Northwest -- I think I was down at the Egyptian seeing Safety Last with live accompaniment by Robert Israel and his orchestra.) Everyone was extremely pleased with the digital projections. I'm now convinced that digital projection can be a wonderful thing -- this after seeing some horrible digital projection here in Atlanta a couple of years back which really turned me off to the process.

Metropolis actually was pretty mind-blowing and everybody just floated out of the theater after that amazing experience. (The score by the Alloy Orchestra -- who performed live -- was terrific, just right for this epic movie.) The newly added footage was invaluable -- the movie really hung together for me for the first time.
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Paul Penna

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PostTue Apr 27, 2010 2:09 pm

In his Movie Crazy blog - http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/archives/classic_film_fest_an_abundance_of_riches/ - Leonard Maltin says this in his comments about the TCM Kong screening:

Warner Bros.’ new digital restoration, which will yield a Blu-ray home video release later this year...
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Bob Birchard

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PostThu Apr 29, 2010 12:01 am

Nick_M wrote:I emailed TCM a while back about formats, and was told that the "vast majority" of screenings would be projected from film prints. However, that means they're showing some stuff from digital junk (no matter how good, video of film just doesn't look right). Which ones, they didn't say. I wish they would post the formats like other festivals do.


no one who saw 'star is born' at the tcm festival would have guessed they weren't seeing film. the digital restoration was excellent and the image looked as good--or bad--as it ever did. grain, poor framing, bad color art direction, uncertain focus--all those things that have never impressed me about the film--are al preserved in the restoration. digital cinema should not be confused with video.
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Nick_M

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PostThu Apr 29, 2010 12:43 am

Bob Birchard wrote:digital cinema should not be confused with video.


Except it is video. Regardless of the video format, digital cinema uses a (very expensive) video projector to show a video file that is more frequently being originated from a video camera. Just as 8mm isn't any less "film" than 70mm, 4k (digital cinema, if you insist) isn't any more "video" than DVD. High-resolution video is still video (which, by the way, is not a put-down).
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Bob Birchard

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PostThu Apr 29, 2010 9:29 am

Nick_M wrote:
Bob Birchard wrote:digital cinema should not be confused with video.


Except it is video. Regardless of the video format, digital cinema uses a (very expensive) video projector to show a video file that is more frequently being originated from a video camera. Just as 8mm isn't any less "film" than 70mm, 4k (digital cinema, if you insist) isn't any more "video" than DVD. High-resolution video is still video (which, by the way, is not a put-down).


High resolution Digital cinema--especially those films that were originated on film--is more akin to a digital scan of a photgraph, than to traditional video. I have watched film projects I've worked on projected digitally and 35mm film, and I can't tell the difference even when I'm looking for it.
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Christopher Jacobs

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PostThu Apr 29, 2010 12:34 pm

"Digital Cinema" and "Film" are merely media for presenting movies. With good equipment run by people who know what they're doing, either can look outstanding . With inferior equipment and/or people who are poorly trained or just don't care, either can look wretched. A good 35mm print and even a good 16mm print from a good lab will look gorgeous on a well-maintained projector run by a qualified projectionist, but a 4k or 8k scan by knowledgeable technicians shown on a high-resolution video projector can reproduce that quality on "video." (A standard DVD, however, can't look any sharper than an 8mm film print even through the highest quality video projector.)

I've seen 35mm prints in theatres (especially muddy reissues of black and white films and pale Eastmancolor dupes of Technicolor films) that I'm surprised studios let out of the lab, not to mention various all but unwatchable 16mm and 8mm dupes that were all we could get before the days of video. I've seen hideous-looking DVDs and poor excuses for BluRays that were touted as "digital restorations" and "high definition" but are an insult to what the medium can actually achieve. (And then there's that ridiculous new phenomenon of "digital copies" that carefully avoids noting that they're really low-quality versions of the much higher-quality digital copies on the regular DVD and even higher quality digital copies on the BluRay disc and even higher quality digital copies on a digital cinema's hard drive.

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