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  DRACULA (1958) a.k.a. HORROR OF DRACULA
Posted by: pipefan413 - Yesterday, 04:36 AM - Forum: Official and unofficial releases - Replies (5)

I'm on a bit of a mission at the moment to try to work out what the hell to do about DRACULA, which is (much like HALLOWEEN and THE EXORCIST) a historically significant favourite of mine which has been treated frustratingly poorly over the years.

This more or less involves me trying to source every single known unique release and examine the viability of each one as a source.


I currently have:

1992 US LD from Warner
1993 JP LD from Warner
2000 GB VHS from Warner (which I own but don't have in my home because of COVID, frustratingly)
2013 GB BD from Lionsgate (2007 BFI master with "theatrical"* and extended cut with some JP footage re-integrated)
2017 DE BD from Anolis (2007 BFI master with "theatrical"* and further extended cut with more JP footage)
2018 US BD from Warner (2007 BFI master of "theatrical"* cut with the colour now corrected, but with severe black crush from what looks like an RGB range error)
2019 DE BD from Studio Hamburg (2002 Warner master of US theatrical cut with "HORROR OF DRACULA" title and 1.78:1 framing instead of 1.66:1)


I'd like to get (but probably won't):

2016 DE BD from Studio Hamburg (stupidly expensive)
2020 ES BD from ... well, it's hard to say, but I think it's Resen, which would make it most likely an unlicenced bootleg, which I don't want to financially support by buying

* The actual UK theatrical cut had censorship to a scene involving a vampire being, er, "staked", but this is present in every version I own (possibly excepting the UK VHS, but given it's a Warner release from 2000, I expect it to be in there).


The problem is primarily that overall, the most watchable (and likely most true to source) release to date is the 2018 Warner Archive release... but they have clipped the s**t out of the blacks to such an extreme extent that I'm pretty convinced it must be a technical error where they've mixed up their RGB ranges (unless I'm getting this confused, I take it what they must've done is erroneously assume that a full range RGB production master was limited range, clipping off anything below 16 and over 235). The sound, at least at a glance, appears to be head and shoulders over just about anything else including both LaserDiscs. But you'll notice that I've not checked any DVDs yet, so it's theoretically possible (however unlikely) there may be a better source in DVD format.

Here's the first of at least two short videos on the subject, comparing the two different extended cuts (from 2012 and 2017) to the 2007 BFI "remaster" which introduced that now rather infamous blanket blue-green tint @The Aluminum Falcon did a pretty good job of masking in his restoration a while back.

To very briefly illustrate what this looks like, here's the same frame from a few versions:

US Prime Video stream / 2019 DE Studio Hamburg BD, 2002 Warner master from newly-struck IP:
[Image: Drac58-USPV-Van-Helsing.png]
I believe this is pretty much exactly what it's *supposed* to look like, aspect ratio (and US title card) aside.

2013 GB Lionsgate BD, 2007 BFI master from OCN provided by Warner:
[Image: Drac58-GB13-Van-Helsing.png]
Clearly all kinds of messed up.

@The Aluminum Falcon's restoration of the BFI master:
[Image: Drac58-GBTAF-Van-Helsing.png]
Better, but still extremely pushed toward the cold end of the spectrum... only so much anybody can do with a source that heavily screwed. It's still the best version of the extended cut available atm, imo.

1993 JP Warner LD, unspecified early 90s Warner master (evidently a release print):
[Image: Drac58-JP93-Van-Helsing.png]
Very very close to the 2002 master. Again, I'm convinced this is how it's meant to look.


Password = BiteMe

A second video is upcoming showing some of the differences between the 2002 Warner master, the 2007 BFI master, and the aforementioned problematic 2018 Warner version of the BFI master (which at least fixes the colours but obliterates shadow and highlight detail).


The *easiest* solution would probably be to take the best available encode of the 2002 Warner master, possibly bringing the levels down a bit and the saturation up (it's quite bright / washed out compared to the LD), then crop down the UK title card to match and cut that in, using the audio from the 2018 Warner Archive BD. And that may very well be what I do to start with. But I'd ideally prefer to preserve it in 1.66:1, which makes the best source the Warner Archive release, but that has the insanely clipped levels, making it significantly less ideal... I don't know yet.

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  Halloween 4 Original Ultra Stereo Audio Sync
Posted by: Kcognetti503 - 2021-01-21, 08:11 PM - Forum: Official and unofficial releases - No Replies

Hi everyone!

     I am currently working on a resync of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and I could use some help. The current DVD and Blu-Ray releases of this film use a terrible 5.1 remix that sounds puny, goes in and out of sync throughout the film AND is missing sound effects in various portions as well. I think they were drinking when they did it Tongue  The worst part about this is there are no Blu-Rays that offer the original theatrical mix. They are all fold-downs of the same problematic remix. Since it seems there are no plans for a new remaster anytime soon, I would like to do one myself. So far I have collected the Austrian Blu-Ray as my video source as the transfer is less problematic than the current US releases, and I have the original non-anamorphic Anchor Bay DVD that came out around 1999 which I THINK includes the original mix as a Dolby Surround 2.0 ac3 track, but of course the audio is lossy and I cannot guarantee it isn't a remix of some sort, even if it is leaps and bounds better than the current mix.

     What I am wondering is does anyone here have the laserdisc that CBS/Fox put out back in the late 80s? From the research I have done I have concluded it is the only source of the original theatrical mix with uncompressed audio, and we can be sure it isn't remixed as it prominently states the disc is in "Ultra Stereo" on the disc jacket. Ideally, someone can do a bit perfect rip of this track and then it can be properly synced to the current master. I do not currently have the means of doing such a transfer, but I do have the means of syncing it up if someone is kind enough to provide it to me. This disc shows up from time to time on ebay, but it usually fetches a pretty penny which makes obtaining it cost prohibitive for me at the moment. Of course, the finished product would be shared on the 'spleen for those who are interested.

Thank you!

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  Hi everyone!
Posted by: Kcognetti503 - 2021-01-21, 07:31 PM - Forum: Presentation - Replies (1)

Hello, I'm kcognetti503!

I've been lurking on this forum for a while now and feel it is time to officially introduce myself. I am a film fanatic with a particular love for classic horror movies and comedy films. Preservations/restorations of a film's original theatrical run and or any extended/alternate version is a particular focus of mine and I've been known to go to great lengths to get my hands on these (or create them) when given the opportunity and free time Smile

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  4K 10bit Rec2020 HDR to Lossless format for editing ?
Posted by: CSchmidlapp - 2021-01-20, 01:03 PM - Forum: Converting, encoding, authoring - Replies (16)

Hello Fanress

My process for projects has been to trans-code a Bluray (or what ever the original video file is) to a lossless codec for editing.
I use an AVIsynth script and then pipe it through Virtual Dub2, normally converting to RGB using the MagicYUV lossless codec

Ive converted from HDR to SDR using Avisynth and z_ConvertFormat & DGHable / DGReinhard in the past, and recently experimented converting straight from 10bit Rec2020 to RGB then using a LUT in premiere to monitor / convert thinking it would give me greater control.
This has always been in the 8 bit SDR land, and I'm still not set up for 10bit 4K really but would like to master in this for the future.

I was wondering how are people trans-coding / converting UHD's with HDR for editing?
Both staying in it's native format, and down converting to SDR.

Thanks for your time Smile

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  BODY BAGS (1993)
Posted by: pipefan413 - 2021-01-20, 11:10 AM - Forum: Official and unofficial releases - Replies (11)

I don't yet have a thing that would make this a little more comprehensive: the 2013 US Blu-ray. The thing is, that Blu-ray is apparently cropped to 16:9 (despite having been shot and framed for 4:3 TV), so I highly doubt that'll be the version I'll want to watch when I properly sit down to watch it on the projector with decent sound at the right speed etc.

Nonetheless, I've just spent quite a lot of time (too much, really) comparing the three releases of the 1993 TV film BODY BAGS that I have so far:

1. the 1994 US Republic Pictures LaserDisc (NTSC)
2. the 2000 US Artisan DVD (NTSC)
3. the 2012 Italian Medusa DVD (PAL)

NOTE: This is a film in which you see Luke Skywalker with a Hulk Hogan moustache doing three things he never did a whole lot of in STAR WARS: domestic violence, shagging*, and a Southern accent. Strap in.

[Image: Body-Bags126143.png]

* For the Americans, I'm talking about willy business. Special hugs. The two-pump tango. I hope that helps.

Now, as you'll already begin to understand as you look at the above image, the colours are absolutely all over the bloody place here. Depending on which scene you're looking at, you might find the LD looks the best by a mile, or the US DVD, or the Italian DVD. At times one will be heavily pushed toward green and the others are really blue, and then suddenly it will flip completely the other way when the shot changes. It's really inconsistent and annoying. I wonder if that's where I might get some use out of the Blu-ray, but who knows? I'll find out soon enough.

The other major thing here is that until the Blu-ray (allegedly, as I don't have it yet to verify personally) most releases of this film were cut to varying degrees. There have been at least one or two European DVDs that aren't cut, of which the Italian DVD appears to be one, but the old 1994 US LaserDisc is partially censored and the 2000 US Artisan DVD is *extremely* heavily cut. I'm actually thinking that the US DVD may be the original TV broadcast version, because there's a whole bunch of stuff in the uncut version that is absolutely heinous and definitely wouldn't have made it onto TV in the US back in 1993, unless I've absolutely no idea what I'm talking about (which is a very real possibility).

So to start with, I ran through and synced both cut versions to the uncut Italian DVD, partly just out of pure curiosity and partly to try to gauge how viable it might be to resync the LaserDisc audio to the uncut version. I'm kinda feeling like it would be more hassle than it's worth after this, because the DVD audio sounds decent enough as it is and there are moments where the LD audio seems like it has significantly *less* fidelity than the DVD, which isn't good (moments where dialogue is partly obscured/distorted or appears to have a short skip in it, that kinda thing).

Anyway. Here are all the differences I noticed, without actually watching the film from start to finish. There are a lot of them.

WARNING: this is a big detailed list of all the changes in the whole film. It is therefore obviously a bit spoilery, although I'm not going to post screenshots of anything that is in the body of this post (I'll put them in a linked gallery at the end instead). It's also a horror film, and quite a grim one at that (especially here where it's variously either heavily censored, gently censored, and seemingly totally uncensored). Expect violence, nudity, both at the same time, lots of blood and gore, and a generous helping of bad taste humour. More importantly, though...

! TRIGGER WARNING !
Film (and therefore the following text about it) contains a couple of scenes involving domestic and sexual violence. Though I've not really put any visual evidence of that here (there is one screenshot which is not especially realistic or upsetting imo), I do talk about a particularly distressing scene in some amount of detail.


0:01:46.356 | frame 2550
ALTERNATE SHOT (censorship): US DVD is 21 frames shorter
Less than 2 minutes in and there's already censorship! The LaserDisc and Italian DVD show a pretty gross close-up practical effects shot of the coroner (and yes, that is John Carpenter) cutting into a corpse, but the US DVD instead cuts to a wide shot of him sort of vaguely insinuating making a hole in the corpse's side, which is conveniently the side facing away from the camera, and sticking his hand in there.

0:06:23.049 | frame 9184 (161 frames cut from US DVD)
then
0:06:32.309 | frame 9406 (2334 frames cut from US DVD)
ENTIRE SCENE REMOVED (Wes Craven cameo!): US DVD has 2495 frames cut in total here
Come on, man! You can't put Wes Craven in the film and then cut him out! Jeez.
The LD and IT DVD have an establishing jump scare shot of his character entering the frame from behind our viewpoint character is cut first, then it cuts to a shot of the protagonist's notebook, then on the LD and IT DVD it cuts back to show a short scene with him being a creep for a bit at a petrol station and then he buggers off again. In the US DVD though, both the establishing shot and the entire scene with him in it are completely removed, so it just cuts to the protagonist ending her shift and looking really stressed, even though we didn't see the thing that made her stressed (which was Wes Craven being a creep). I hesitate to quite call this "censorship" but there is a distinct air of "sexual predator" about this character, so that might be it (he tries to get the female petrol station employee to come out to his car and drink bourbon with him... boak).

[Image: Body-Bags009879.png]

0:18:06.127 | frame 26041 (10 frames missing from LD)
0:18:06.210 | frame 26043 (2 frames missing from US DVD)
END OF REEL 1

[Image: Body-Bags026026-REELCHANGE.png]

0:20:01.117 | frame 28798 (26 frames cut from US DVD)
SHOT TRIMMED (censorship)
US DVD trims 26 frames from the end of a gory close-up (still shows it, just doesn't linger as much)

0:25:11.051 | frame 36229 (134 frames cut from US DVD)
then
0:25:19.601 | frame 36434 (26 frames cut from US DVD)
SEQUENCE TRIMMED
US DVD has a total of 160 frames cut from a suspenseful sequence here that isn't especially violent, might've been a pacing thing. I'm guessing at this point that the US DVD is just the actual TV cut that aired originally, which isn't necessarily a bad thing to have even if it is cut quite heavily (which it is).

0:26:02.811 | frame 37470 (87 frames cut from LD)
0:26:02.895 | frame 37472 (85 frames cut from US DVD)
0:26:09.526 | frame 37631 (140 frames cut from US DVD)
0:26:09.568 | frame 37632 (31 frames cut from LD)
1 SHOT REMOVED, 1 SHOT TRIMMED (censorship): total of 118 frames cut from LD, 225 cut from US DVD
This one definitely is censorship... the LD and then the US DVD cut away just before a massive spurting blood geyser launches out of a guy, then a moment later they trim the beginning of a shot of him convulsing and dripping blood. Gnarly! The LD *is* censored but it's noticeably less trimmed than the US DVD here, there's still quite a lot of corn syrup on display.

0:26:48.941 | frame 38576 (39 frames cut from US DVD)
ALTERNATE SHOT (censorship)
Instead of showing a really gory close-up of a mangled corpse like the LD and IT DVD, the US DVD instead re-uses a more distant angle that we previously saw a moment earlier (from frame 38480)

[Image: Body-Bags038618.png]

0:27:15.843 | frame 39221 (929 frames cut from US DVD)
TRIMMED SCENE (censorship for nudity and... other things)
Yeah I wouldn't be surprised if this one was never broadcast either... the US DVD cuts away right before the coroner opens a drawer in the morgue, because what he pulls out of the drawer is the body of a woman with comically oversized breast implants that are so huge they catch on the drawer (he comments that the drawers were built before breast implants were a thing). Extreme closeups of giant boobs complete with revolting sloshy liquid sound effects probably aren't the most TV friendly thing in the US, I expect. Immediately after that, the same scene continues with him pulling out the bodies of two decapitated people and making them "kiss" then flinging them away with contempt. All of this is obviously absent on the US DVD, but the full thing is present on both the US LaserDisc and Italian DVD. Go figure.

[Image: Body-Bags040127.png]

0:38:29.265 | frame 55367 (11 frames missing from LD)
0:38:29.349 | frame 55369 (4 frames missing from US DVD)
END OF REEL 2

[Image: Body-Bags055352-REELCHANGE.png]

0:47:28.262 | frame 68290 (2 frames missing from US DVD)
0:47:28.346 | frame 68292 (1 frame missing from LD at side change)
LASERDISC SIDE CHANGE
This is a weird one. In addition to the US DVD being mysteriously missing 2 frames at the exact same point as the original US LaserDisc, which is a little odd in itself, the US DVD also has the exact same kind of dropouts you see on LDs, though not all that often. Curiouser and curiouser.

0:52:39.031 | frame 75741 (309 frames cut from US DVD)
SCENE CUT (censorship)
It isn't the only thing cut here but clearly the reason this short scene was removed was that it contains a reasonably grim shot of a wee wormy thing crawling out of a dude's face. No biggie. This is fine.
Incidentally, this is a really clear example of something that seems to happen right before (almost?) all these cuts on the US DVD: the geometry goes all wonky, like a worn out tape being recorded without a TBC. Interesting.

[Image: Body-Bags075740.png]

0:53:23.158 | frame 76799 (38 frames cut from US DVD)
SHOT TRIMMED (censorship)
Like some of the other ones, this is just shortening a fairly grim shot so that we don't linger on it quite as long.

0:53:45.347 | frame 77331 (sequence is 503 frames shorter on US DVD)
SEQUENCE SHORTENED, ALTERNATE SHOT (censorship)
Another fairly minging effects shot or two in here so this is probably to reduce the number of those, though it's also a bit of expository dialogue, so could again be for pacing.

0:55:26.365 | frame 79753 (alternate shot on US DVD, no time difference)
ALTERNATE SHOT (censorship for nudity/horror)
Back in the morgue, the coroner does a "Right, guys?" kinda thing and the LD and IT DVD cut to show two gurneys with corposes on them (one is covered with a sheet but the other one is very exposed). Instead, the US DVD just shows a wider shot of the middle of the room / staircase, which doesn't really show the corpses apart from a pair of legs or two off to the right. To be fair, neither shot really serves this moment that well, so whatever (the uncensored one is just kind of a weird angle).

0:55:30.202 | frame 79845 (alternate shot on US DVD, no time difference)
ALTERNATE SHOT (censorship)
Same thing again: "No volunteers?" and it cuts to a couple of horribly eviscerated corposes. The US DVD instead cuts to 3 bodies under white sheets, not a drop of blood in sight.

0:57:42.250 | frame 83011 (7 frames missing from US DVD)
0:57:42.292 | frame 83012 (10 frames missing from LD)
END OF REEL 3

[Image: Body-Bags082995-REELCHANGE.png]

0:59:23.977 | frame 85450 (24 frames cut from US DVD)
0:59:28.607 | frame 85561 (245 frames cut from US DVD)
SHOT TRIMMED (censorship)
Another "show it but don't linger" one of a character with a particularly grisly injury.

1:03:46.656 | frame 91748 (alternate shots on US DVD, no time difference)
ALTERNATE SEQUENCE (censorship)
Gory stuff again. Somebody undergoing surgery, shown in close-up detail with practical effects, then cuts to a doctor looking down a scope. US DVD instead shows a wide shot of the surgeon/doctors around him for the duration of the two shots used on the other versions, and you can't see anything.

1:03:57.250 | frame 92002 (alternate shot on US DVD, 1 frame shorter)
ALTERNATE SHOT (censorship): US DVD is one frame shorter around 1:04:17.062 | frame 92477
This one starts with a shot looking up at the medical team from the perspective of the patient. It then cuts to an extremely grisly practical effects shot that hasn't necessarily aged all that well but I absolutely love. Again, US DVD instead uses an extremely boring wide shot of the medical staff instead working on the patient, where they're blocking view of all the grisly stuff that's supposedly going on. Boo.

1:16:43.140 | frame 110365 (9 frames missing from LD)
1:16:43.182 | frame 110366 (4 frames missing from US DVD)
END OF REEL 4

[Image: Body-Bags110348-REELCHANGE.png]

1:18:41.634 | frame 113206 (1243 frames cut from US DVD)
SCENE CUT (censorship/pacing)
Cutting this was possibly dual-purpose: it removes a chunk of expository phone call dialogue, as well as removing what is clearly the start of Sexy Time (there is some very high-on-the-leg groping action going on). It does not look like both parties are showing equal enthusiasm.

1:20:02.631 | frame (alternate sequence, US DVD is 53 frames shorter from this point)
1:20:08.178 | frame 115281 (alternate sequence, US DVD is same length but much less graphic)
1:20:10.514 | frame 115337 (LD has 60 frames cut, US DVD has alternate shot instead)
1:20:18.022 | frame 115517 (US DVD has another alt sequence which is 280 frames shorter)
1:20:21.233 | frame 115594 (LD has 62 frames cut then a few frames of reused alt footage before cutting to end of the uncut scene)
1:20:32.619 | frame 115867 (US DVD has alt shot for a few frames)
Right, OK. Complicated. Horrible sex scene where guy hallucinates shagging a corpse whilst also strangling and then biting said corpse, but of course the corpse is not actually a corpse, so doesn't enjoy this very much. To simplify this fairly complex sequence of edits somewhat, the gist is that the US DVD cuts it quite significantly because it's a really quite disturbing and violent scene, whereas the LaserDisc leaves a fair chunk of it alone and only edits out the most gratuitous nudity, for the most part. The US DVD version is MUCH less violent, whereas with the LD you're mostly just missing out on some extra scuddy writhing and repeatedly coming dangerously close to catching a glimpse of the underside of Mark Hamill's bollocks. Yup.

[Image: Body-Bags115429.png]

1:28:44.528 | frame 127661 (US DVD replaces 6 frames of gore with 29 frames of black)
SHOT CUT (censorship)
This is my favourite shot in the entire film and yet they cut it from the US DVD. It's so good. Much gore. I'm not sure why (I guess to give the tension a moment to disperse?) but the US DVD actually *adds* time here by adding 23 too many frames of smash-to-black in place of the gore shot.

1:28:46.363 | frame 127705 (US DVD has 247 frames cut)
SHOT CUT (censorship)
A related gory shot is removed from the US DVD but is present on the other two versions.

1:29:15.976 | frame 128415 (US DVD has alternate shot, 14 frames shorter)
ALTERNATE SHOT (censorship)
The uncensored versions start in close-up then cut to the coroner opening a body bag (HEY, IT'S THE TITLE OF THE FILM!) then cut again to show the very gory contents of the body bag. The US one instead does one long continous shot that follows him doing much the same thing but without showing the contents of the bag, then cuts back to his reaction to fall back in step.

1:30:58.828 | frame 130881 (US DVD has ending cut short by >795 frames)
TRIMMED ENDING (censorship)
The uncut version involves somebody rooting around in somebody else's guts while whistling Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". The US DVD cuts before that happens.

Gallery showing many of the changes I described above (so obviously, again, spoilers): https://postimg.cc/gallery/3RvQHjP

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  HLG High Dynamic Range
Posted by: Doctor M - 2021-01-18, 06:54 PM - Forum: Converting, encoding, authoring - Replies (3)

I know there are HDR to SDR methods, but is it possible to convert between different HDR formats?

Specifically, I'd like to try converting some HLG to HDR10.

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  Movies about neurological disorders
Posted by: spoRv - 2021-01-13, 10:57 PM - Forum: Movies, TV shows and other - Replies (3)

I was looking for anterograde amnesia related movies, while I found this interesting website about neurologic disorders movies, with some reviews:

https://www.neuropsyfi.com/movies.html

I'd only add the following title that was not included (mail already sent to site owner):

Before I go to sleep
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1726592/

So, what do you think about those movies?

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  The Blair Witch Project - Theatrical Version
Posted by: Bigrob - 2021-01-11, 05:14 PM - Forum: Requests, proposals, help - Replies (5)

   

There was no alternate version of the film presented in cinemas and the version that was released theatrically is the same as the version that were released on VHS. DVD and BD with one exemption. 

The aspect ratio

The film was presented in 1.33:1 over all formats but only the region 1 DVD from the USA contains how it originally looked in cinemas. When screened, the entire film was presented as a window boxed presentation that made it look like the audience was viewing the film through a viewfinder. Other DVD's and the Blu-ray cropped the image on all four sides to fill the screen

Some comparison grabs here -   http://sd.caps-a-holic.com/vergleich.php...eichID=605

Keeping an eye out for a 35mm print for it or any other HDTV version

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  THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE: when stereo isn't stereo
Posted by: pipefan413 - 2021-01-10, 11:39 PM - Forum: In progress - Replies (4)

LDDB lists both LaserDisc releases of this film as having Dolby Surround audio tracks. Similarly, IMDb's tech specs claim it has "Dolby" sound. But it just so happens that I own and have captured both... and I'm inclined to disagree.

At best, Dolby may have provided noise reduction for the recording of the soundtrack, but it sure as hell sounds and looks like mono to me, no Dolby Stereo/Surround. Even that's dubious because there's a huge amount of analogue noise in all versions I've checked (which is almost all of them). The NTSC DVDs (US and AU) do have 5.1, but so do lots of films that originally had mono tracks, and in this case the 5.1 sounds pretty crap and is clearly sourced from the same audio that's on the US LaserDisc, which sounds like 35 mm optical tracks (possibly even 16 mm) that haven't been cleaned up much at all.

The older Japanese LD is analogue-only, which is a bit of a bummer, though it has a better video transfer than the US one. Although the later US LD has digital PCM audio, it sounds pretty awful (I'll get to exactly how in a minute), so it might theoretically be that the JP LD is the better source between them but I'm not convinced of that yet because it's pretty atrocious too. I had to fix 3 particularly problematic moments in the US PCM, and it's very possible that there may be some more I haven't yet noticed:

1. A frame was missing in the middle of a scene with lots of repetitive background noise including electronic bleepy bloopy noises that made it very difficult to hide (in the source PCM it just jumps abruptly, they didn't attempt to fix it). Conversely, in the 5.1 audio from the US DVD, there's another moment where they *did* attempt to cover missing frames but made a hash of it: you hear the noise of a door opening twice in quick succession because of a botched loop in a stupid place. It was very difficult to handle this moment transparently, I'll give them that, but I feel like if an amateur plonker like me can do it then it should have been doable on the actual official DVD release...

2. After the side change there was a massive pop in the waveforms on both channels that I tried my best to correct with iZotope RX, but it's still not perfect so you'll probably notice if you're listening for it. Compared to how it sounded beforehand though it's *significantly* better.

3. I just noticed another huge pop much earlier in the film during a piece of music, which I've also tried to remove to the best of my ability but it's still there (just significantly less unpleasant on the ears).

I started off just resyncing based on the analogue audio track captured with the LD video, but found this to be a little off. I then switched to targeting the DVD's 5.1 track sync, but realised that this too was pretty noticeably off in several places, so I shunted the audio back a frame from there and synced it all visually using AviSynth and VirtualDub, occasionally exporting as a 32-bit float and fixing more delicate problems in RX then importing that back into the AviSynth script. This approach gets really messy fast which is irritating but it means I'm not compromising due to the limitations of any single piece of software (or, one might legitimately argue, my skill level with it) and I'm generally leaving myself fairly specific notes so I can retrace my steps easily enough. In other words, this was a bit of a pain in the arse and it still sounds pretty bad because the source was poor to start with, but there are no good sources for this film AFAIK. I know of only a handful of disc releases (there are VHS releases that I haven't yet investigated, but I don't really expect them to be especially different/better):

1. JP NTSC LD, analogue audio only (packaging claims it's Dolby Surround). Video is widescreen but still cropped at sides somewhat, apart from end credits.

2. US NTSC LD, digital PCM audio (packaging calls it "stereo surround sound"... but interestingly there is no mention of Dolby and no Dolby Surround logo). Video is 4:3 pan & scan, so heavily cropped at the sides, except the end credits where it's in the original ratio because the credits wouldn't work at all if it were cropped this much (or at all, really).

3. 2003 US NTSC DVD, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio and original anamorphic widescreen ratio. Buuuut... the audio is pretty bad here too.

4. 2014 DE (or possibly Austrian?) PAL DVD containing a cut version of the film, which may have been a bootleg of some sort. Don't have a copy, tempted to check but isn't exactly cheap.

5. 2017 AU DVD (supposedly also NTSC), which looks like it's more or less just a straight reissue of the old US one (but I'd like to check if I could find a copy for less than £100!)


The thing is, almost everything lists the soundtrack as being stereophonic, including the end credits:

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... and yet absolutely nothing I'm actually hearing or seeing as I check the reality of the situation is backing that up. It very much seems like every home release has been created from a single optical mono track from a print, which was in bad shape, even the 5.1 from the NTSC DVDs. What I think might have somehow happened is that because the film was shown "in selected theatres" with Dolby Stereo, but it absolutely tanked, they probably didn't ship many prints with the Dolby Stereo 4:2 matrixed surround mix on them but instead shipped a bunch of mono prints without the Dolby stuff because it was cheaper. Then, when it came to making a home video transfer, one of those mono prints was used as the source, but it was incorrectly assumed to be Dolby Stereo because of the information they had at the time (e.g. the end credits) so that's what went on the packaging, and this was propogated in every further home release.

To test this theory, I did my own matrix decode using the Dolby Pro Logic II software decoder from Cyberlink PowerDVD, and sure enough I got 6 tracks but what was in them seemed to support my hypothesis. The surround channels at the back contained nothing but music from L+R, dialogue and other sounds bleeding from C, and undesirable analogue noise. The 5.1 track off the US DVD isn't anything much more sophisticated, it just seems to be the exact same master thrown through a matrix decoder, which has indeed spat out 6 channels, but they're much like the ones I got from my own test: the surround channels don't seem to contain any surround information, just messed up portions leaking from the fronts. It isn't just the surrounds, either: the left and right channels are full of leaking dialogue that should be in the centre channel if it were actually Dolby Stereo, and the LFE channel is an atrocity in its own way, being about 95% complete silence and 5% horrible woolly residual noise that clearly wasn't designed to represent "low frequency effects" (it's just awful, awful noise, like somebody standing in a hurricane holding a microphone).

On top of the 2:6 upmixing problems described above, the left and right channels on the US LD pretty much just seem to be exactly the same except that they have different sonic characteristics, which is to say that the *content* is identical (i.e. it's monophonic) but the frequency response and noise levels are not. The right channel seems to be the overall winner to my ears, mostly because the left channel has this horrible pulsating quality that was also apparent on the Japanese LD... it's quite hard to describe but it kinda sounds like they've put a really crappy noise gate on the entire thing in a vain attempt to attenuate tape hiss and electrical interference, because every time there is an actual recorded sound, there's this surge of analogue noise along with it but it disappears again when the recording goes quiet. The right channel has no such issue here. This in and of itself would seem really bizarre, but there is actually some precedent for it in my own collection: the US CAV LD release of THE SWORD IN THE STONE claims to have a "restored stereo soundtrack" but it clearly doesn't, instead having one version of the mono (which sounds a bit dodgy) on the left channel, and another version of the mono (which sounds *absolutely atrocious*) on the right channel, both on the analogue and PCM tracks. I think that might be exactly what's going on here, except that it's the other way around: the right channel here sounds ever so slightly less awful than the left, due to it not having that weird pulsating noise the whole way through. If anything, you have almost the inverse effect, which is standard for a monophonic soundtrack recorded without Dolby noise reduction being employed: when the recorded sound kicks in, the tape hiss is knocked down a peg because some of it being sort of pushed out of the way (though not very much of it, since there's very little high frequency activity in Academy mono that would knock it out of the spectrogram). And yeah: the 5.1 track from the US DVD sounds like this as well.

My usual test to check for mono doesn't apply here, by the way, because the left and right channels have completely different EQ. If they were at least properly balanced (in terms of both gain and frequency response), then inverting the phase of one side and then mixing down to 1 channel would cause phase cancellation to occur on almost the entire recording, but if the gain and/or EQ is significantly different then the phase cancellation doesn't work and you're just left with a horrible racket, which is exactly what happens here. This doesn't make me think that it's stereo, just that it's extremely poorly presented mono, as I'm suggesting based on all the other evidence I've just talked about.

But wait, I said "almost" all the info claims that the film is stereophonic. Why? Because the 2014 German DVD allegedly contains an English 1.0 mono soundtrack! However, it probably won't be very useful, given that it's heavily cut (not to mention low-bitrate Dolby AC-3 with PAL speedup).

What I might do is consider the right channel from the US LD the best of a bad bunch and take that as a mono track on its own, excluding that horrid pulsating left channel from both LDs. It's re-synchronised as 2 channels anyway so I can very easily leave it as lopsided 2ch, split them into two separate mono tracks, or discard one of them altogether (most likely the left channel).

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  The Ladykillers 4k Restoration
Posted by: Hitcher - 2021-01-09, 06:33 PM - Forum: Everything else... - Replies (4)

Firstly I have to admit I've never actually seen the whole film only parts when I was much younger (and probably uninterested) when my parents had it on the TV. Now I'm much older it's one of those titles that I planned to get around to watching at some point, and seems like the perfect time. It sounds like a lot of work has gone into this restoration and I'd love to hear from anyone who has watched the original and/or this version. I'm also happy they've included both 1.37:1 and 1.66:1 aspect ratios.

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The Ladykillers: Studiocanal 4K Restoration

To celebrate the 65th anniversary of Ealing Studios’ flawless The Ladykillers, STUDIOCANAL will be releasing the first ever 4k restoration of the 1955 black comedy from the original 3-strip Technicolor negative, showcasing director Alexander Mackendrick’s vision in its full glory.

The Ladykillers features an all-star line-up of the finest comedy actors of the era: Alec Guinness (Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob) plays the gang’s mastermind ‘Professor Marcus’; Cecil Parker (A French Mistress) is Claude otherwise known as ‘Major Courtney’; Peter Sellers (I’m Alright Jack) is Harry aka ‘Mr Robinson’; Herbert Lom (The Pink Panther) is Louis aka ‘Mr Harvey’ and Danny Green (A Kid For Two Farthings) plays One-Round also known as ‘Mr Lawson’.  Jack Warner, Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Connor also appear in supporting roles.

As The Ladykillers was the last Technicolor three-strip film shot in the UK, it was crucially important that the original camera negative was used for a restoration that will serve as the best version of the film since its original release. The restoration began with the 4K pin-registered scanning of the original 1950s Technicolor three-strip camera negative. The three strips had to have their colour separations combined to produce the final colour image. One of the biggest issues to overcome was aligning the colour separations together, initially an automated process, but also requiring a huge amount of manual tweaking.

Manual and automated digital restoration was carried out over the aligned images. The film suffered from a few extreme issues such as blue marks in the middle to right hand side of frame throughout the film that had to be removed, there was significant density fluctuation (flicker) that has been corrected as best as possible on a shot by shot basis. Many shots suffered from instability and some sections also suffered from scratching, the worst being a four-minute section including scratches throughout the sequence with up to eight onscreen at a time. In total the film benefitted from over a 1000 hours’ worth of 4K digital restoration.

A 35mm Technicolor print was used as a reference for the colour grade to ensure the new HDR Dolby Vision master stayed true to the films original 1950s ‘Colour by Technicolor’ look.



Link to the above article - http://wearecult.rocks/the-ladykillers-4k-restoration

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