Poll: Would you donate to get the "excellent" print of NEAR DARK scanned?
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Yes!
87.50%
7 87.50%
No, probably not
12.50%
1 12.50%
Total 8 vote(s) 100%
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[Proposal] NEAR DARK (1987) 35 mm LPP scan opportunity!
#1
I've recently begun to do my own LaserDisc captures, one of which is the lossless PCM version of the Ultra Stereo mix of NEAR DARK, to effectively replace the previous custom audio I put together (sourced primarily from DVD) for this film.

This drew the attention of @LucasGodzilla, who asked if I'd considered getting it scanned, because he'd noticed that there is a print available, which is reputedly in excellent condition. I had also seen that the print was out there, but I've thus far tried to remain somewhat cautious about organising something as involved as that for a few reasons.

That being said, this film deserves a bit of love, and it isn't getting it from the rights holder. The only places I believe you can currently buy it on Blu-ray are France and Germany, and I'm not even entirely sure the German release is fully legit as it is (e.g. the cover art appears to be lifted uncredited from a 2013 t-shirt and the video uses the exact same H.264 stream as the French Blu-ray without so much as a single bit of data out of place). Those releases arguably constitute an improvement over the earlier UK and US Blu-rays, and certainly over the Spanish one; I think the only one I've never actually checked myself is the Japanese one, but I expect it to be mostly identical to the UK/US ones. All of these releases are based on the same crappy old DVD master, which is presumably 1080i and has been DNR-scrubbed to within an inch of its life in all its iterations. The latest version also seems to have been brightened a bit which isn't always a good thing, though it sometimes appears to make some detail a little more apparent (one could claim that the blacks look less crushed, but that may not be and indeed almost certainly is not theatrically correct). If nothing else, the newer encode is at least done at a more respectable bitrate, but that doesn't help all that much if the grain is mostly gone already anyway.

With the LaserDisc audio now being captured and there being seemingly no sign of a new official scan and home video transfer on the horizon, perhaps it is time to explore the possibility of getting an unofficial scan done in the meantime. Hopefully it will one day be rendered unnecessary by a proper HD restoration from early-generation elements (negative or interpositive maybe) but there appears to be no indication of that happening any time soon.

(2020-10-04, 02:23 AM)pipefan413 Wrote: I tell you what, how about we give this a whirl: what would you be willing to pledge towards a tentative full scan target of $1,000?

You can either post your pledge in this thread, or if you'd prefer to remain a little more private you can PM me with it instead. I'll keep track of the pledges in the top post but anybody who wishes to remain anonymous here is perfectly entitled to!

NEAR DARK fans... show yerselves! Would you donate to get this film scanned?

Pledged so far: $210 of tentative $1000 target...
$25 @Inq81
$20 Garrison Ryfun
$25 @Stamper
$20 @alleycat
$50 @koochew
$20 @LucasGodzilla
$50 @irishogrady

[Image: neardark.jpg]
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Thanks given by: alleycat , LucasGodzilla , Stamper , Johnno , Inq81
#2
I would happily donate, any idea on the total cost?
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#3
(2020-09-27, 03:14 PM)alleycat Wrote: I would happily donate, any idea on the total cost?

I'd have to work out logistics of the storage side of things but I think it would end up around about the $1,000 mark, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. But somewhere around that, methinks. Part of the difficulty is that I'm geographically distant from the scanner so shipping a big hard drive that far is an awful idea; I may need to employ two HDDs instead (each just big enough to fit that scan and no more) to avoid the risk of the scan being kept on a single drive that then gets irreperably damaged in transit. Would be a huge waste of money if everybody donates and we manage to fund the thing, only for it to then get lost completely in the journey over.

Hell, even getting a hard drive to me in working order from the same country seems to be too much to ask; I've had several arrive non-functional due to insufficient packaging and couriers presumably transporting them like this...



EDIT: Poll added (though I phrased it weirdly and can't seem to edit, dunno if it's stuck like that now?)
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#4
By all means, not sure you'll be able to get the 1000 though, as this film has only a few fans.

Always back up the scan!
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#5
(2020-09-28, 08:32 AM)Stamper Wrote: By all means, not sure you'll be able to get the 1000 though, as this film has only a few fans.

Always back up the scan!

That's what I feared to begin with, then I saw the support for THE KEEP... but I guess even fewer people care about NEAR DARK ;_;
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#6
(2020-09-28, 09:09 AM)pipefan413 Wrote:
(2020-09-28, 08:32 AM)Stamper Wrote: By all means, not sure you'll be able to get the 1000 though, as this film has only a few fans.

Always back up the scan!

That's what I feared to begin with, then I saw the support for THE KEEP... but I guess even fewer people care about NEAR DARK ;_;

I'd say it's the demographic here on this website since I'd love to try and get some gialli scans funded but I doubt that'd attract much attention here for the most part. I'd say try poking around in Facebook groups of the movie or something along those lines. I'm sure some more dedicated fans will crop up.

Furtherly, if you can get past that initial cost hurdle of paying rental and shipping and the first reel, you'll be able to advertise it more since now it's no longer based on your word alone but there's visual evidence of it going on, garnering more attention and possibly support from those who may have been reluctant before.
[Image: ivwz24G.jpg]
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Thanks given by: pipefan413 , alleycat
#7
I think facebook groups could be a great way of gaining donations, the problem is the majority of the people in the groups I am in would expect some form of physical release, as opposed to a digital file, and then I guess it's getting a little dangerous.
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Thanks given by: LucasGodzilla , pipefan413
#8
(2020-09-28, 10:02 AM)alleycat Wrote: I think facebook groups could be a great way of gaining donations, the problem is the majority of the people in the groups I am in would expect some form of physical release, as opposed to a digital file, and then I guess it's getting a little dangerous.

Yeah, I wouldn't want to go anywhere near anything encouraging physical release. I'm uncomfy enough as it is raising funds for a scan, but I think this film deserves it and it clearly isn't getting the attention from the official channels. I wouldn't be releasing the thing far and wide, it would purely be a private project for those who are dismayed with its lack of care and attention on Blu-ray. Hopefully we eventually get a proper release that does it justice but as time passes I feel less and less optimistic about that. I reckon in terms of the vaguely near future, at best, we might get a re-release of the same master to bring it back into print in territories other than Germany (possibly France, though it appeared to disappear for a while, I think it's back). But that's not much help.

If I hadn't just spent a bloody fortune on LDs and the like I'd probably bite the bullet and try to get the ball rolling with a reasonably sized donation from my own pocket but I really can't afford to do that so I'd need to know that it was worth trying to fund; @LucasGodzilla is probably right in that it might be easier to gather funds as it gains some momentum and preview scans of the individual reels start to appear.

I suppose, thinking about it, the worst case scenario might be scanning 1 reel and verifying the colour timing etc. then using that as a ref to adjust the existing master, but the existing master is honestly pretty pants so I'd personally rather do a full scan of the entire 5-reel film and just watch that instead. This film would be a beautiful "grindhouse" experience imo, complete with optical Ultra Stereo soundtrack on a projector with surround speaker arrangement! Depending on how clean the scan turns out (and it should theoretically be pretty fantastic, because the print's apparently in exceptionally good condition) I may do some cleanup/restoration on it as well, but the initial version would be relatively minimal adjustment and releasing as intentionally as close as possible to watching that particular print in a cinema without digital interference.

I also don't have a Facebook account and have no desire to make one, so there's that.
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Thanks given by: LucasGodzilla
#9
There is a slim chance, with the Near Dark rights being with Studio Canal (I think), that this might get a nice UHD release in the near future, but I'd still be up for donating.
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#10
I'm not certain, this film is Cameron related, and is a trashy genre B movie from an award winning director.

There are rumors Cameron squashed a reissue/remaster by one phone call, probably helping her let the movie rot on the side.

I say this will remain in the vault with the 20+ years old DVD master being used forever.
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