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4 MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
#1
Here's a weird one: a scene from the very end of this relatively early Argento film (which I just watched fairly recently and loved) has an extreme slow-mo shot that required a specialised, extremely high speed 35 mm camera to shoot, which could expose up to 3000 frames per second (as opposed to about 250 fps on a normal 35 mm camera).

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There's an interview with Luigi Cozzi on the Shameless Screen Entertainment Blu-ray Disc release (GB) talking about it. He explains that this one shot was an absolute nightmare to get into the film.

For a start, they had a huge catastrophe when the first shot (which was expensive due to what happens in it, but I won't explain why for now) didn't get filmed at all due to the camera jamming. They realised that this was because they'd been testing it using black and white film, but hadn't actually loaded it with the stock they were shooting the film on, so when they filled it with the colour stock the additional thickness of the acetate was too much for it to move freely through the mechanism and it just completely jammed and none of the film got exposed whatsoever. Eventually they figured this out, loaded less film into the camera, and got the shot.

[Image: 00005-mpls-snapshot-28-11-391.png]

However, even when they eventually got the shot on film, there was a different problem: the film stock they used in this incredibly high speed camera wasn't loaded onto sprockets, which would just end up torn to shreds if you tried to use them to haul film through the camera at 3000 fps; it instead was yanked through very quickly by a shoe. But this happened *so* fast that the frames did not always line up perfectly: they found when reviewing the footage (only a few seconds worth, but they didn't have the opportunity to reshoot because of the expense of the scene already having blown the budget they had) that the frame lines had shifted down into the image instead of bordering the edges. So about 1/4 of the way down into the picture, there was a huge black line.

At this point I'm going to show you this, but it's going behind a spoiler tag in case you haven't seen the film and don't want to know what happens in the scene:

[Image: 00005-mpls-snapshot-30-05-630.png]

If you know me, you can probably guess where I'm going with this.

Yeah, they "fixed" it.

But how, you ask? Surely there would be noticeable artefacting if they tried to digitally realign and interpolate a thick black line of missing picture information? Why, yes! Yes, there would!

It's WAY more noticeably in motion but here is the "fixed" version seen on the Shameless Blu-ray:

[Image: 00002-mpls-snapshot-01-39-48-483.png]

Notice the horizontal skip in the image? The colours aren't graded the same, there's just this weird ripple effect. How the hell is that any better than just leaving the image as-is?

Going out on a limb, I imported the Italian release after watching the Shameless one, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. I couldn't verify whether they'd just used the same video on both or not and certainly not whether this scene was any different, but I chanced it. And hey, whaddayaknow?

[Image: 00000-mpls-snapshot-01-40-40-406.png]

Wahey! Much better! (Not just the fact the frame line is back, but the encoding in this particular shot looks bloody awful on the Shameless disc, as you can see from the previous frame.)


I'm going to compare audio tracks on this one too, and the Italian release doesn't have English subtitles so I'll sync those from the Shameless version (I vaguely remember there maybe being a mistake or two on them as well, so I'll try to find and fix those while I'm at it). Supposedly on at least one of the audio tracks, the Shameless version has a huge honking high frequency screech that's allegedly dangerous for speaker membranes under the wrong conditions, which isn't like that on the German release, and I'm guessing this Italian one will be more or less equivalent to the German disc, which also doesn't force any subtitles if you switch to the English audio track (unlike the Italian one, supposedly). But y'know... it's an Italian film, I'd rather have the box on my shelf with the Italian title, not a German one. And I knew I was going to be remuxing this one for viewing purposes anyway, so that didn't matter.

Oh, also: if you are looking to watch this film in English and don't speak Italian (or German, I suppose) you should know that there is a reasonable chunk of Baddie Monologue toward the end of the film which never appeared in the original English cut and as such never had English audio recorded (Argento / Italian cinema fans will know that dialogue wasn't recorded live, the entire film would be dubbed after the fact... obviously no point in dubbing lines in English if they were never intended to be seen by English-speaking audiences). Because of this, you'll likely need subtitles for this bit, which are not present on the Italian or German releases. That's actually one of the reasons I was always intending to remux this: I want to put the partial subtitles for just this bit against the Italian video for use with the English audio (which switches to Italian for the bits that were never recorded in English).
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Thanks given by: LucasGodzilla , Hitcher
#2
It's interesting to hear this was one of the many flubs ups Shameless did with this title though (I was only aware of the subpar transfer overall and the screw-up with the audio) though it's completely on-brand for the company at this point LOL

It's such a sin to know that Four Flies On Grey Velvet is still a mess home-media-wise with its many hacked together extended versions. You'd have thunk Arrow would've picked up this title back when they did 4K restorations of the other two films in Dario Argento's Animal trilogy and put an end to that mess but I guess not.

I did consider ordering the Italian limited edition awhile back but I never did since I didn't want to order a version of the movie without English subs for the extended footage.

How much I'd yearn though to either hear a proper OCN restoration to be done today in hopes the lower-quality patched-in sources can finally be fully dropped or see an Italian IB Tech print get scanned (if one ever surfaces that is).
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#3
(2021-01-27, 07:15 AM)LucasGodzilla Wrote: How much I'd yearn to either hear a proper OCN restoration to be done today in hopes the lower-quality patched-in sources can finally be fully dropped or see an Italian IB Tech print get scanned (if one ever surfaces that is).

You and me both, friend.
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Thanks given by: LucasGodzilla
#4
Oh, one more thing: the Shameless version gives you two different playlists via seamless branching: the new "extended" cut (which basically just seems to restore a s***load of missing frames at the reel changes, but they're in atrocious condition) and a version that doesn't include the inserts. The Italian release *only* includes the longer version with the reinserted frames from a crap source. I might actually make myself a wee custom encode from the otherwise clearly superior Italian disc and sync everything to that, including the subtitles off the Shameless disc (with whatever fixes might be needed).
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Thanks given by: LucasGodzilla


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