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Brides of Dracula (1960): Restored DE Master
#1
Project Info
Despite having a lovely restored transfer on DVD, Brides of Dracula has been unable to be brought to BD in equal quality. In a shockingly tragic turn of events, the restored master burned in a Universal. As a result, all BD releases stem from an earlier master, possibly dating back to the LD era.

Aside from having dark, magenta-shifted color timing and enough EE to make the grain turn into noise, the original UK BD (as well as the subsequent Australian and US BDs) were cropped to the incorrect aspect ratio of 2.00. The film, generally recognized as being theatrically presented in either 1.75 or 1.66 (the ratio of the DVD release), was never meant to be cropped this way. However, the DE BD presented the film in 1.78, closer to the correct ratio; unfortunately, it still used the same dark, magenta-tinted, EE-wrought master.

This custom release attempts to address most of the issues baked into the master. Fortunately, color correction and a general increase in brightness bring the master much closer to the look of other Technicolor Hammer horror films; it is a close but not 100% emulation of the restored Universal DVD, which was not absolutely perfect itself. In an attempt to mitigate the EE and noise, the picture has also been slightly softened; the picture has been cropped to 1.66, bringing it to its correct aspect ratio, albeit slightly zoomed (in a similar way that 35mm prints may have been.) The final result looks quite similar to the restored UK master of its predecessor, Dracula '58.

Because I realize the softening of the picture and the cropping to 1.66 might be slightly controversial, I am also making available a Purist Edition, which keeps the 1.78 aspect ratio and leaves the EE and noise, as they are. The color grading and brightness boost is the same between the two releases.

The commercial UK BD is encoded at 24fps, an unusual format which causes issues with some Blu-Ray players; this custom BD has been normalized to 23.976fps, with the audio tracks having been slightly resynced (without any pitch shift) to fit.

Video
  • DE BD - color-corrected, cropped to correct ratio, and slightly softened to mitigate EE.
Audio
  • 2.0 LPCM English Audio
Screenshots 
DE BD
[Image: 1_BD.png]
Restored DE Master
[Image: 1_166.png]
Purist Edition
[Image: 1_178.png]

DE BD
[Image: 2_BD.png]
Restored DE Master
[Image: 2_166.png]
Purist Edition
[Image: 2_178.png]

DE BD
[Image: 3_BD.png]
Restored DE Master
[Image: 3_166.png]
Purist Edition
[Image: 3_178.png]

DE BD
[Image: 4_BD.png]
Restored DE Master
[Image: 4_166.png]
Purist Edition
[Image: 4_178.png]

DE BD
[Image: 5_BD.png]
Restored DE Master
[Image: 5_166.png]
Purist Edition
[Image: 5_178.png]

DE BD
[Image: 6_BD.png]
Restored DE Master
[Image: 6_166.png]
Purist Edition
[Image: 6_178.png]

DE BD
[Image: 7_BD.png]
Restored DE Master
[Image: 7_166.png]
Purist Edition
[Image: 7_178.png]

Project Status
Both versions are now available on MySpleen! Tenth and eleventh projects completed and released! Smile

Final Product
1080p BD25 (for both regular and Purist)
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Thanks given by: PDB , pipefan413
#2
Also looks good Falcon. Happy to have this look better and framed at a better aspect ratio.
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Thanks given by: The Aluminum Falcon
#3
Looks good! But why would you crop the sides for the 1.66? The sides would be the exact same with only the top opened up. I suggest you don't do the 1.66 since you don't have the extra top and bottom to use.
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#4
(2017-06-01, 08:42 AM)Stamper Wrote: Looks good! But why would you crop the sides for the 1.66? The sides would be the exact same with only the top opened up. I suggest you don't do the 1.66 since you don't have the extra top and bottom to use.

Agreed. Best option would be propably to just make 1.66 optional, with use of black borders as subtitles.
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#5
I think those concerns are why he is doing two versions.
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#6
Nonetheless, you shouldn't afford crops I think as options. It's like offering a Pan & Scan and it's not how a true framed 1.66 would look. I think it's part of the preservation rules. Offering a wrongly framed version goes against all the rules here.
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#7
(2017-06-01, 06:03 PM)Stamper Wrote: Nonetheless, you shouldn't afford crops I think as options. It's like offering a Pan & Scan and it's not how a true framed 1.66 would look. I think it's part of the preservation rules. Offering a wrongly framed version goes against all the rules here.

Pretty sure there is no such rule.

It seems to me that Falcon has gone a long way to addressing that very issue in this and his main thread by offering a second version. If you don't like this, download the other one. If you don't like either don't download any of them. No need to raise your blood pressure over it. Smile

Also remember, this is still much more picture then the US and UK releases. Its meant to fix a VERY bad aspect ratio.
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Thanks given by: The Aluminum Falcon
#8
(2017-06-01, 04:50 PM)PDB Wrote: I think those concerns are why he is doing two versions.

Exactly. I anticipated some might not like the crop to 1.66, and even a forum member I consulted before creating the thread wasn't sure about. That's why I'm creating a Purist Edition with the DE's framing and sharpness intact.

---

But, considering that I do not have additional top/bottom material to work with, I think slightly cropping the sides is perfectly justified. Just look at some commercial releases:

Hammer's own Phantom of the Opera: the UK BD is in the correct ratio (1.66), but the US BD is in 2.00. The UK was probably taken from a 1.78 master, and the people releasing the Blu-Ray did what I did cropped the sides to get the correct ratio:

UK BD
[Image: phantom.jpg]

US BD
[Image: phantom_uk.jpg]

Le Samourai, another preservation of mine, has two DVDs - French (1.66) and Criterion (1.85 or 1.83 to be exact). The 1.66 version clearly loses some on the sides:

French DVD
[Image: samourai_french.jpg]

Criterion DVD
[Image: samourai_us.jpg]

The latest remaster of Rain Man loses a lot more on the edges than my custom of Brides:
UK Old BD
[Image: rain_man.jpg]

UK New BD
[Image: rain_man_new.jpg]

It doesn't seem uncommon for studio releases to accept a bit of cropping in the name of pursuing the correct aspect ratio, so I don't see why I should be above it. I think my 1.66 crop here is well within the realm of reason/acceptable error, much more so than the UK/US BD's more severe chop to 2.00. Some 35mm prints would probably have lost some image information on all sides, creating a similarly pushed in image. 

---

That being said, I went a bit too far with softening the image to mitigate the EE/noise; watching a test encode, I think I'll bring a bit of the sharpness back. Again, the Purist Edition will maintain the full sharpness of the DE BD.

(2017-06-01, 06:03 PM)Stamper Wrote: Nonetheless, you shouldn't afford crops I think as options. It's like offering a Pan & Scan and it's not how a true framed 1.66 would look. I think it's part of the preservation rules. Offering a wrongly framed version goes against all the rules here.

There are no rules here, relating to a "valid" preservation. If you don't like the preservation as-is, I'm even giving you the Purist Edition.

Besides, there are other preservationists who are literally creating Pan & Scan preservations.
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#9
Yes, not trying to stirs things up, but most Hammer and most 1.66 official releases are wrongly framed and cropped.

I just think we shouldn't follow suit! The fan preservs exists due to official incompetence, I don't think we should ape them. Those people cropping the sides on official discs for so called correct ratios which never were for those films (It's documented 1.66 was not spread in the UK, most films were 1.75 and that was like 80% of the genre production, included all Hammers) Just my two cents!
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#10
Both versions are now available in the usual places. Hope you guys enjoy!

Mods, do you mind please moving this thread, as well as my threads for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Le Samourai, and Dracula, into the "Released" section of "Complete Projects?"

I don't know how to do it myself, unfortunately.

---

BTW, screenshots above are now updated, so you can see how the final product looks.
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