BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

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Dean Thompson

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostMon Feb 06, 2017 8:06 pm

Oops. Yes, I meant the MoC blu ray of Intolerance from the Cohen Film Collection.
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All Darc

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostMon Feb 06, 2017 8:20 pm

Maybe the reissue was made with outakes, or a second negative. Some scholar maybe can confirm or contest these theories I made now.

Someone said the original camera negative had survived today, but the archive would not allow to use it in a full restoration.
Not sure it all reels or just few reel survived. Or maybe it have to many damaged to the emulsion, like deep scratches, something that would be too expansive to clean up with digital technology.

Anyway this BFI blu ray looks very good for a 1915 movie, judging by the screen captures.
They said some few portions are from original camrts negstive. I think this screen captures is from it:

Image
https://www.dropbox.com/s/rf8slrmseqpmn ... .jpg?raw=1

bigshot wrote:I'm sure there were more than just one reason why the original negatives became damaged. In the 1921 reissue, the goal was to create the ultimate version of the film, and obviously they had access to better elements than we do almost a century later. It makes sense that the reissue might be a better source than the original elements at this point. I have both blu-rays and the proof is in the pudding. The BFI set looks much better than the Kino, and it has better supplements and packaging too.
Keep thinking...

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Saint-Just

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostMon Feb 06, 2017 9:27 pm

Dean Thompson wrote:Oops. Yes, I meant the MoC blu ray of Intolerance from the Cohen Film Collection.


I didn't realize the MoC version was from the Cohen restoration - I was disappointed though that the Cohen version is missing a fairly important title card.
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Scoundrel

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 9:10 am

It is the same transfer:

http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13355
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bigshot

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 9:55 am

I remember seeing Birth of a Nation first on VHS. It was a completely different viewing experience. Back then the transfers made silent films look like something projected off super 8 at a Shakey's Pizza Parlor.
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Mike Gebert

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 10:16 am

I've often said that I doubt I could stand to watch now the prints that made me love silent film in the first place. Quality rises and our standards rise even higher.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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wich2

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 2:13 pm

So true.

The first real revelation for many, were the clips - correct speed! decent prints! tints! orchestral score! - in Brownlow's HOLLYWOOD.
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Dean Thompson

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 2:42 pm

wich2 wrote:So true.

The first real revelation for many, were the clips - correct speed! decent prints! tints! orchestral score! - in Brownlow's HOLLYWOOD.


That's what did it for me. And, to circle back to what Mike was saying, how fuzzy even those good clips look now!
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wich2

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 3:58 pm

That's true too, Dean!

(Hasn't someone posted here test clips from a "What If?" upgrade of that classic series?)
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azjazzman

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 4:16 pm

Dean Thompson wrote:
wich2 wrote:So true.

The first real revelation for many, were the clips - correct speed! decent prints! tints! orchestral score! - in Brownlow's HOLLYWOOD.


That's what did it for me. And, to circle back to what Mike was saying, how fuzzy even those good clips look now!


The film clips in "Hollywood" were crummy, even by 1980 standards. The reason is that the producers used the only variable speed telecine in the world at the time...at the BBC. It was notoriously known as the "flying ashtray", an optical device that allowed for variable speed transfers, but the resultant video was fuzzy and devoid of grey scale contrast.

That is why Kevin Brownlow has said that he would love to re-do "Hollywood", with newly transferred clips, if the film rights could ever be cleared.
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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostTue Feb 07, 2017 8:37 pm

>The film clips in "Hollywood" were crummy, even by 1980 standards.<

Not for me. Or for Dean. Or for many other folks I've heard similar comments from over the years.

I understand the image issues with the unique tele - but they used it because it allowed correct frame rates w/o shutter flicker. And again, after the sped up, no-color, battered 16mm, poor-score stuff mostly televised before that, it was a great leap forward.
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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostWed Feb 08, 2017 11:07 am

Kevin's Hollywood, despite be mastered in low resolution, like super-VSH resolution used around in the 80's, mad euse of a lot of good quality 35mm, some that I never saw so good. It probably made use of this original print of The Birth of a Nation.
Of course the HD it's a lot better, than a old TV tape made in the 80's, but we could see that was a good 35mm print. Even watching in VHS, like the VHS I recorded from Keepers of The Frame or the Documentary Universal Monsters, we could see cleary when a given clip was from a good 35mm or when was from a dupped 35mm.


Does anybody have a 4K frame of a silent 35mm film (original print or negative) ?
I'm curious to see how a old film emulsion would look in 4K.
Keep thinking...

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 6:44 am

wich2 wrote:That's true too, Dean!

(Hasn't someone posted here test clips from a "What If?" upgrade of that classic series?)




I started reconstructing the first episode in HD just as a fun experiment. I've been meaning to do the comedy episode since 100% of the clips can be sourced from commercial DVD or Blu-Ray sources.
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wich2

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 11:05 am

Thanks, FW!

In a perfect world, that classic series will be upgraded - and then, someone will do the same for the similarly excellent MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES.

Including the restoration of Cliff Robertson's terrific narration, as good in its own way as Mason's.

-Craig
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bigshot

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 11:47 am

Not too long ago they did another series on film history. I forget what it was called, but it had the most annoying narrator I have ever heard. I tried to get through it, but gave up. The narrator is a thankless job, but it's vital to the success of a documentary series.
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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 12:56 pm

That's a incredible initiative. Good luck

:D

FlickeringWindow wrote:
wich2 wrote:That's true too, Dean!

(Hasn't someone posted here test clips from a "What If?" upgrade of that classic series?)




I started reconstructing the first episode in HD just as a fun experiment. I've been meaning to do the comedy episode since 100% of the clips can be sourced from commercial DVD or Blu-Ray sources.
Keep thinking...

Image
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wich2

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 1:25 pm

bigshot wrote:The narrator is a thankless job, but it's vital to the success of a documentary series.


True.

It's a unique gift: supporting the material, w/o overwhelming it.
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FlickeringWindow

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 4:15 pm

wich2 wrote:Thanks, FW!

In a perfect world, that classic series will be upgraded - and then, someone will do the same for the similarly excellent MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES.

Including the restoration of Cliff Robertson's terrific narration, as good in its own way as Mason's.

-Craig


AMC, when they used to show classic films, aired the Alfred Hitchcock episode with all of the clips upgraded from then-current masters. They were even letterboxed when appropriate. This was around 1998-1999, I think.

I recall TCM airing the Howard Hawks episode with upgraded clips, as well.
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wich2

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 8:56 pm

Did they still have the Robertson narration?

Didn't Shickel later rejigger several, with new v/o from Sidney Pollack?
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azjazzman

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Re: BFI to release BIRTH OF A NATION in September

PostFri Feb 10, 2017 8:00 pm

wich2 wrote:Did they still have the Robertson narration?

Didn't Shickel later rejigger several, with new v/o from Sidney Pollack?


Yes. They redid the Hawks, Vidor, Raoul Walsh and William Wellman episodes. They also did a new episode on Sam Fuller. All with Sydney Pollack narration. Besides the Hitchcock episode, there were also ones on Cukor, Capra, and Minnelli. I don't think those have been upgraded.
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