AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

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AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by silentfilm » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:53 pm

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AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D
Count on German schlockmeister Uwe Boll to endorse the worst idea ever for a movie. Check out the pitch to a major studio (the name is omitted) from his Kinostar colleague Michael Roesch below:

From: Michael Roesch 

Sent: Friday, November 04, 2011
To: uwe boll

Hope you are well.

One of our partners is currently working on the 3D conversion of classic black and white movies.

He has secured the rights and is in the middle of production of several Charlie Chaplin movies, which will form one 90 minute 3D movie titled “Chaplin 3D - Little Tramp´s Adventure”. The 3D looks amazing, much better than most of the conversions which were shown in theaters so far.

We are looking for a US deal or possible worldwide deal (excluding German speaking and Turkey). The producer of the 3D version is in town now, and we could show you during or in the days after AFM a short demo reel with the 3D footage in a theatre from DCP.

Please let us know if this would be interesting for you. We would be happy to arrange a screening.

Best regards,

Michael


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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Christopher Jacobs » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:53 am

I'm wondering what the expected target audience is for a 3-D silent black-and-white pastiche of familiar (to us) shorts. If it's not also completely and lavishly colorized (and carefully cropped to 16x9 widescreen), with title cards removed and full ADR for all dialogue plus extensive directional Foley effects in 7.1 digital sound (exploiting that subwoofer channel whenever possible), it seems to be a pointless exercise. Oh, and I suppose it would have to be digitally processed to remove all that nasty film grain from the 1916-era dupe prints they're likely using). Now if there are any actual 3-D stereoptican cards of Chaplin around (like the HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME set shots), I'd love to see those. There are some actual (and very interesting) late teens color Autochrome-process stills of Chaplin standing in front of his studio somewhere on the internet.

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Rob Farr » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:23 am

Couldn't those depressing 1916 sets and backdrops be replaced so the Tramp is in 2012 LA? Oh and make Eric Campbell a zombie!
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by T0m M » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:26 am

I prefer to reserve judgement until I've seen the actual results. They may surprise us. Even if they're not our cup of tea and/or the project is a failure, it still may benefit our fraternity. If nothing else, it will generate some novelty interest, in people who otherwise would ignore a silent film. Some of these may become interested in silent film as a result. The same thing happened with Moroder's version of Metroplis and to a lesser extent, with Plympton's reworking of The Flying House. Regardless of how many members vilify these projects, for many others they were the introductory spark that help keep our flame alive.

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by DShepFilm » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:12 am

Serge Bromberg and I are among the people involved in this project. The principals, a film company in Istanbul which has been operating successfully for more than 70 years, is run by people of integrity; their proprietary 3-D conversion process is far superior to any other I have seen. Even the folks at Association Chaplin were impressed.

L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna or Technicolor scanned our earliest generation nitrate negatives to 2K and have done the highest quality of frame-by-frame image restoration of which they are capable for THE IMMIGRANT, THE RINK and EASY STREET. The films will be presented in b&w, at 20 fps, with new large-orchestra scores by Robert Israel, but in 3-D.

Obviously, Chaplin's films are about performance; they are not highly pictorial films like, for example, those of Maurice Tourneur; we think they will look and sound wonderful and that the 3-D conversion does them no violence. We hope they will be rolled out first as family concerts with live orchestral performance, moving later on to other platforms with the recorded scores.

Obviously the intended audience is not the readers of Nitrateville, although you will not be excluded from attending the shows to see them for yourselves. If this project is successful it will be expanded to other silent films that can also deliver excellent experiences to 21st century audiences. We hope it will promote some awareness of silent films to many people who now do not have them even on their radar. Think of it as a solution for one of the performance arts (along with opera and classical music) for which the present audience is rapidly aging out, and for which something innovative must be done to insure their survival.


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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Christopher Jacobs » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:38 am

Thanks for the details, David, which put a whole new light on the project. The original quote made it sound as if Chaplin shorts were being made into one feature-length 3-D movie (conjuring images of various clips re-edited into a new story), rather than an anthology of existing shorts converted to 3-D, and if they are working from your early-generation 35mm material I'm sure they will stun many modern viewers with how crisp and clear they are and a full orchestra will certainly dispell the image of accompaniment by out-of-tune pianos or scratchy early recordings (though no doubt some will still complain that they're not in color). Those are three of the best Mutual titles for introducing Chaplin to new viewers and if done well might even attract some traditional fans to check out the 3-D craze. Classic Chaplin in three dimensions would indeed be a curiosity, as good 3-D is an entertaining gimmick, and most of us know the films so well that luxuriating in the depth effects wouldn't be a distraction that would cause us to miss something (as often happens in today's 3-D movies). If these show up on a 3-D Blu-ray it might, just might, barely induce me to invest in a 3-D TV set when it's finally time to replace the current old CRT (of course availability of several key genuine 3-D titles from the 1950s would increase the chances astronomically).

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by FrankFay » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:45 am

I can sort of picture Easy Street in 3-D...the camera position looking down a street already has a nice perspective and could possibly be enhanced by a depth illusion.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by bobfells » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:13 pm

THE RINK should work well in 3-D with the people skating from background to foreground. Some films seem to have been made with an advanced technology in mind. As a kid, I always thought that Laurel & Hardy's BABES IN TOYLAND [MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS](1934) was crying out for color. When I saw it colorized a few years back, it was exactly how I imagined it would look. To avoid controversy, I should say that I don't know of any other b/w movie I would want to see colorized - although a case could be made for the "I Used To Be Color-Blind" number in CAREFREE (1938).
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Arndt » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:39 pm

silentfilm wrote:Count on German schlockmeister Uwe Boll to endorse the worst idea ever for a movie.
Whoa there! You're bestowing the title "German schlockmeister" like there is no competition for it. May I remind you that Roland Emmerich has a film out at the moment? And as always he can be counted on to produce first-rate schlock. He is hard to beat in that field. That's because he's a graduate of the Hochschule für angewandten Schlock in Schlockhausen, Bavaria.
Last edited by Arndt on Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by FrankFay » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:40 pm

BABES IN TOYLAND is an above-average piece of colorization. The fantasy aspect makes it much easier to accept.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Gary Newman » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:03 pm

DShepFilm wrote:Serge Bromberg and I are among the people involved in this project. The principals, a film company in Istanbul which has been operating successfully for more than 70 years, is run by people of integrity; their proprietary 3-D conversion process is far superior to any other I have seen. Even the folks at Association Chaplin were impressed.

Obviously the intended audience is not the readers of Nitrateville, although you will not be excluded from attending the shows to see them for yourselves. If this project is successful it will be expanded to other silent films that can also deliver excellent experiences to 21st century audiences. We hope it will promote some awareness of silent films to many people who now do not have them even on their radar. Think of it as a solution for one of the performance arts (along with opera and classical music) for which the present audience is rapidly aging out, and for which something innovative must be done to insure their survival.
OK, I admit that I’m a Nitrateville lurking silent film troll, but I’m still surprised to learn that silent film needs technological upgrades to provide excellent experiences to modern audiences. If that’s true we’ve already lost the battle, but I don’t think it is true. David Shepard, Serge Bromberg, L'Immagine Ritrovata, and even The Keepers of the Flame (and profits) at Association Chaplin may be enthusiastic, but I still think it’s a sorry idea. I must admit, though, that I am looking forward to the inevitable debate at this site regarding which version of Metropolis should be saved by the miracle of 3D.

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by TheIngenue » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:40 pm

While I have no problem with them releasing the films in 3D, the idea that 3D itself is what will attract new audiences to silents casts a really bad light on non-silent fans IMO.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Christopher Jacobs » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:28 am

TheIngenue wrote:While I have no problem with them releasing the films in 3D, the idea that 3D itself is what will attract new audiences to silents casts a really bad light on non-silent fans IMO.
I would guess that the majority of non-silent fans are people who simply have never seen a silent film, partly from not having any exposure to them, but largely from the perception that they're too primitive to possibly be entertaining. My students who are forced to sit through a Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd silent comedy every semester go into the class dreading it, but the majority come out astounded that they actually found one or more of them unexpectedly amusing, and many are equally surprised by how sharp and clear they look for being so old. A few later intentionally seek out more of the star who impressed them (favorites tend to shift over the years--sometimes it's Lloyd, sometimes it's Keaton, and lately it's Chaplin that produced the most laughs).

Having 3-D theatrical screening versions of a Chaplin anthology in general release (hopefully with an effective marketing campaign) makes additional product available for all the theatres that invested in 3-D projectors expecting a huge glut of 3-D movies that isn't quite materializing, and having 3-D Blu-rays provides much-needed variety for the poor selection of available 3-D titles currently expected to sell more 3-D TV sets, and could very easily attract viewers out of curiosity who then become hooked and want more (and by then don't care whether the next ones they watch are 3-D or 2-D). With luck, favorable word of mouth would be widespread enough to keep box office receipts and 3-D Blu-ray sales at a respectable level. We should all be glad that David Shepard, Serge Bromberg, and Robert Israel are a part of this project, taking the care to make sure it's done with some historical perspective, rather than somebody simply rushing any old PD movies through any old 3-D conversion with any old music score, just to be the first on the market before the 3-D craze fades out (and most likely not appealing to much of anybody as a result). I hope the gamble works.

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:38 am

Babes in Toyland is my exception to the colorization rule, too. It really does seem to fit it better than the original black and white does, as heretical as it is to say that.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by TheIngenue » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:18 am

Christopher Jacobs wrote:
TheIngenue wrote:While I have no problem with them releasing the films in 3D, the idea that 3D itself is what will attract new audiences to silents casts a really bad light on non-silent fans IMO.
I would guess that the majority of non-silent fans are people who simply have never seen a silent film, partly from not having any exposure to them, but largely from the perception that they're too primitive to possibly be entertaining. My students who are forced to sit through a Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd silent comedy every semester go into the class dreading it, but the majority come out astounded that they actually found one or more of them unexpectedly amusing, and many are equally surprised by how sharp and clear they look for being so old. A few later intentionally seek out more of the star who impressed them (favorites tend to shift over the years--sometimes it's Lloyd, sometimes it's Keaton, and lately it's Chaplin that produced the most laughs).

Having 3-D theatrical screening versions of a Chaplin anthology in general release (hopefully with an effective marketing campaign) makes additional product available for all the theatres that invested in 3-D projectors expecting a huge glut of 3-D movies that isn't quite materializing, and having 3-D Blu-rays provides much-needed variety for the poor selection of available 3-D titles currently expected to sell more 3-D TV sets, and could very easily attract viewers out of curiosity who then become hooked and want more (and by then don't care whether the next ones they watch are 3-D or 2-D). With luck, favorable word of mouth would be widespread enough to keep box office receipts and 3-D Blu-ray sales at a respectable level. We should all be glad that David Shepard, Serge Bromberg, and Robert Israel are a part of this project, taking the care to make sure it's done with some historical perspective, rather than somebody simply rushing any old PD movies through any old 3-D conversion with any old music score, just to be the first on the market before the 3-D craze fades out (and most likely not appealing to much of anybody as a result). I hope the gamble works.
I hope it works as well. I believe it's a noble cause, and I guess using 3D to attract new audiences isn't the worst they could do; if it's rendered well, then I won't mind 3D at all.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:32 pm

I assume the use of 3D will allow the version to have a brand new copyright??

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Roseha » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:10 pm

I don't know, I'm just a traditionalist I guess. I worry about any film being changed from its original version.

I remember when there was a fear that Citizen Kane would be colorized. I think Ted Turner never got the rights though.

What guarantee is there against only the altered, 3D version of a film surviving someday? Considering all the silents already gone... People will either watch silents or not, I think, and I don't think 3D will make a difference.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Gagman 66 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:42 pm

:shock: This is ridiculous! I'm depressed! :( What the hell is with these people anyway???

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by TheIngenue » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:29 pm

Roseha wrote:I don't know, I'm just a traditionalist I guess. I worry about any film being changed from its original version.
.
That's always my fear as well. (You can't imagine how much the edited versions of the original Star Wars trilogy gets under my skin. :evil: )
Roseha wrote: People will either watch silents or not, I think, and I don't think 3D will make a difference.
This is pretty much what it boils down to. Most people I know can't deal with extended silence in modern films. My father didn't like Vertigo because of the lack of dialogue, and most of my family couldn't stand the lengthy dialogue-less scenes in Wall-E. You can imagine how they are with silents. One time, I was watching The Thief of Baghdad on TCM, and my dad walked into the room and looked at Douglas Fairbanks doing crazy stuff for a minute, then said, "Alright, that's all the attention I can pay it." and walked out. My grandparents, who are classic film fans, won't touch silents (though I can tell they mustn't have seen many; when I talked about how I liked Chaplin and the Marx Bros., my grandmother said the two were very similar and if you like one you must like the other. I was like :? ).

You can colorize it, add all the 3D you want... but none of it changes the fact that the main reason most modern folks don't watch silents is because they're-- well, silent. Some people can get into it, others won't, and most don't even try.
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by realist » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:48 pm

I'd like to weight in on this too. Teaching high school US History and covering the 1920"s, I do show an example of one of the classic comedy features of that era. Students for the most part enjoy the film after the initial shock of "where's the talking" (we discuss this quite a bit prior to the showing). I try my best to make it first class experience (large screen, stereo surround sound, etc). The written comments I get are generally favorable ("I didn't like that they don't talk, but the film was funny"). One comment about an early 1930's depression film put me on the floor. "I liked the film, but the black and white hurt my eyes." Only from teenagers...

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by TheIngenue » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:57 pm

realist wrote:One comment about an early 1930's depression film put me on the floor. "I liked the film, but the black and white hurt my eyes." Only from teenagers...
Knowing other teens think like this make me ashamed to be one. :oops:

But not all is lost. My sister who loves stuff like Sonic the Hedgehog and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a Chaplin fan, my even younger sister in grade school can handle most silents, and a friend of mine who likes Avatar, Transformers, and Naruto laughed her head off watching Keaton's short, The Love Nest, with me. And these three are all under twenty. So it's good to know that some of the younger generation have immunity to the pain caused by those musty, black-and-white films. :lol:
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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Jim Roots » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:30 am

Well, bravo to David and Serge and their friends for working so hard to think up new ways of attracting new fans to very, very old films. We can only dream of growing the audience; our best hope is to replace the fans who pass away, and if that means testing gimmicks like 3-D, then so be it. At least David isn't doing yet another re-release of Phantom of the Opera or Metropolis.

I just don't think 1920s slapstick comedy is the right kind of film for 3-D. Surely the perfect silent for 3-D treatment would be Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. And if you're determined to choose a silent short comedy, why not something featuring lots of onrushing trains (Barney Oldfield's Race For a Life, or Monty Banks' Chasing Choo-choos), or even something like The Navigator where you have underwater scenes and large-scale perspective scenes (Buster's search for the girl on the boat near the beginning of the film) that are just perfect for 3-D?

Chaplin never made a film that had a 3-D perspective in mind -- well, maybe bits of Great Dictator, but only bits -- and he was famously conservative about using newfangled ideas like that passing fad of "sound" and the never-to-be-popular frill of "colour". He never in a million years would have made a 3-D film.

Don't mean to discourage David (who doesn't discourage easily, anyway), but really ... Chaplin instead of Caligari?

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Daniel Eagan » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:34 pm

At his recent show at MoMA, Stefan Droessler showed two Melies films in 3D. They looked spectacular. The films didn't change, in the sense that the technology, acting, sets, editing, etc., were the same. But the experience was breathtaking.

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by syd » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:55 pm

Although Charlie Chaplin is a good subject for 3D
Buster Keaton has "3D" gags in his movies
(or ones that have layers of depth).

In The Goat, when he is sitting on the front
of a train that speeds toward the camera.

The motorcycle scene in Sherlock Jr.

The entering-the-screen sequence from
the same movie.

Keaton's "car trips" in Seven Chances.

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by All Darc » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:31 pm

Situation:

Film guy 1 say to film guy 2:


_Hey I have a new found outake of a experimental Chaplin work with a early 3D vintage system. He quit cause the expenses and the extra work to adjust 3D dimension. Take a look, it's in great shape.

_Uhhhaaaaa... it look amazing, Very pleasant. I never saw such thing before. Chaplin really looks good and the 3D give his performer a kind of plus charm. Where did you found this little treasure???

_Well.. I didn't really found it. Actually it's just a rare outake from our archive that we converted to 3D.

_What?????? you lied to me you %$#@$*(*@#&#$#%¨&... I want to kill you for such rape and blasfemy bastardization on Chaplin's work.
Keep thinking...

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Michael O'Regan » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:53 pm

Gagman 66 wrote::shock: This is ridiculous! I'm depressed! :( What the hell is with these people anyway???
Me too.
3D my ass!!
:evil:

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by All Darc » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:59 pm

David, please listen to this:

It's a good idea to ask the 3D company to save the files (archive) with the mask used to trace for each objests, as well to save the depth mask used to give depth to the obejcts.

This files would allow effects or even a simulation of 2 color technicolor look in future, without need to do all the work again.
Keep thinking...

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by Doug Sulpy » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:02 am

All Darc wrote:Situation:

Film guy 1 say to film guy 2:


_Hey I have a new found outake of a experimental Chaplin work with a early 3D vintage system. He quit cause the expenses and the extra work to adjust 3D dimension. Take a look, it's in great shape.

_Uhhhaaaaa... it look amazing, Very pleasant. I never saw such thing before. Chaplin really looks good and the 3D give his performer a kind of plus charm. Where did you found this little treasure???

_Well.. I didn't really found it. Actually it's just a rare outake from our archive that we converted to 3D.

_What?????? you lied to me you %$#@$*(*@#&#$#%¨&... I want to kill you for such rape and blasfemy bastardization on Chaplin's work.
... and your point is?

There is 3D test footage on the mk2 DVD of "The Circus," by the way. It's just extraordinarily BORING "3D" footage, lacking both 3D AND Chaplin (as far as I recall... it's not the kind of thing you can sit through twice).

As for THIS... I can't go along with the "worst idea ever" thing. I mean, as long as the Three Stooges remake is out there, how can this possibly be the WORST idea?

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by All Darc » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:44 pm

Doug, if the 3D it's really well made it will not be changing anything. It's just 3D estimation of the real chara ters and sets. It will not hurt the performance or the history.

It can help get attention of a new generation.

Personally, I would love to see in 3D and colorized like 2 color technicolor, with even the few color fluctuations typical of the vintage color process of silent era, like tyhe masked ball in The Phantom of the Opera.
Keep thinking...

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Re: AFM News: Worst Idea Ever, Charlie Chaplin in 3-D

Unread post by DShepFilm » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:07 pm

I hasten to assure you all that no alterations will be made to the films other than removing some artifacts of age, and 3-D.

David Shepard

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