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[Archived] The House with Laughing Windows (1976) [Project: Celluloid — Upscale & Regrade]
#1
Nutshell: I've been experimenting lately with Topaz Video Enhancer to upscale a bit of an Italian giallo gem: La casa dalle finestre che ridono
I'm not going to explain much about it since the Trailer From Hell video above does a decent job giving you an idea of what to expect from the movie.

Anyways, the unfortunate fact about this movie is that it has hardly ever seen any releases over the years. Apparently, years ago it was released on DVD (via Nouveaux Pictures if I'm not mistaken) that was made from some sort of scan of an interpositive it seems which was rather grimy at times. Eventually, a remaster was made for the movie's 25th anniversary which was made from a scan of the original camera negatives though, however, this restoration is really quite old nowadays (with Shameless putting salt into that wound by re-releasing it 10 years later).

Not to mention the fact that the remaster carries a revisionist color grade given this quote below.


Quote:Un contributo fondamentale alla realizzazione di questo DVD infine è stato dato dal direttore della fotografia che ha riposizionato le luci del film, per rifare il telecinema e, come afferma Pupi Avati, lo ha reso più bello di come è nato, ancora più luminoso."


Finally, a fundamental contribution to the making of this DVD was given by the director of photography who repositioned the lights of the film, to redo the telecine and, as Pupi Avati says, made it more beautiful than it was born , even brighter."

Whether or not the look is good is subjective. I'm personally of the opinion that the yellow veil looks quite ugly at times when paired with the bright, low-contrast look. As such, I decided to try and loosely color grade the upscale to look more akin to the IP-sourced DVD from what footage I could find of it.

At one point I considered starting a thread for buying and scanning a faded print overseas for around $600~, but in the end, I thought it wasn't really worth pursuing. The print might still be available for purchase though for the record if people are interested in that prospect, but judging from my past experiences, I don't think anyone here really cares much all that much about Italo-horror stuff (especially stuff on the obscurer side). As a result, I settled on upscaling the SD master since it's the best we can get really on a budget.

For the upscale process, I decided to use the Italian DVD since it sported the best encode and resolution in comparison to Shameless (judging from screencaps; I refuse to give them money to check for certain) as well as the US Euroshock release (which happens to also have a PAL to NTSC issue). I then upscaled the movie to 2K then downscaled to 1080 (saw no point in doing 4K; there's only so much upscales can do), regrained it via FilmConvert to cover up the flaws of the upscale (which looks very heavily DNRd otherwise due to the nature of the process), and then regraded it to give it a more neutral tone throughout.

[Image: Comparison-2-2-6.png][Image: Comparison-1-6-2.png]

It's not perfect, but I'd say it's a lot more palpable than any of the DVDs. I would do a scene-by-scene Dr. Dre color match job for a more faithful job at handling the colors, but I'd rather save such efforts when I manage to locate a copy of this OOP DVD as well as whenever an official HD release eventually does comes to fruition. As for improving the upscale, unless someone has any better suggestions other than Topaz, this is the best I can come up with (so please bear with the noticeably waxy faces at times).

The MKV will not only include three audio tracks (ranging from mono to surround), but it will also include three separate subtitle tracks (two of which being separate English translations and the third being Italian subs).

I also took the time to convert the original DVD subtitle files to SRT (which changes by player) so they don't sport that ugly looking early-2000s look to them.
[Image: vlcsnap-2021-05-05-04h14m06s380.png][Image: vlcsnap-2021-05-05-04h12m19s949.png]
They're not perfect as the subtitle conversions done for the two provided from the Italian DVD seem to have some strange misconversions going on, but it's highly unlikely that either would be used and for the most part get the job done. If you really are desperate to see them un-screwy (though the audience is likely minimal given I believe the US DVD's subs have the superior translation), I'll be providing the original subtitle files from it as well which should be able to be muxed in quite snuggly. In retrospect, I should've just muxed them in from the start given they're just subtitle files, but hindsight 20-20.

On a final note whilst on the topic of muxing, the MKV's default video track will be set to a 30-second disclaimer that I expect all viewers to read at least once before switching to the second track for viewing the actual feature presentation (or before muxing the track out altogether): The nutshell being that this is non-profit and it is expected for viewers to own a legal copy of the movie.

[Image: Project-Celluloid-House-With-Laughing-Wi...-07-19.jpg]



I hope y'all enjoy it! It's really an absolute crime that this movie (like The Keep) isn't available in HD yet, so I hope this'll partially fill that void. As I said earlier, I'd love to revisit this title one day (whether through the form of a faded print scan, an improved upscale, or a proper regrade of a BD whenever one gets made).
[Image: ivwz24G.jpg]
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Thanks given by: bronan , PDB , DonkeyKongKillScreen
#2
Nice work! I saw this once years ago, I remember it being pretty creepy. It reminded me of the part in Deep Red when they are walking around the house looking for clues Big Grin
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Thanks given by: LucasGodzilla
#3
Very nice LG.

Never heard of the film but that's on me. I'm always willing to give a giallo a look. I'm also always curious when someone does upscaling for a project.

Thanks for putting it together.
New, low or non-posting members: Please do not post or PM me asking where to get something or what the current status of a project is. Such requests are ignored. Instead, stick around and become a participating member. Thank you.

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Thanks given by: LucasGodzilla
#4
New here, so no idea where to see your work, but wanted to say this film has always interested me.

I've only seen one film from the director (Pupi Avati) and it's a fascinating little thriller called CHRISTMAS PRESENT. It's an "all-in-one-night" film which a few old friends meeting up for a poker game on Christmas Eve. Won't spoil the rest, but lots of twists and turns. Worth seeing without reading too much.

It's also in badly need of a restore.
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#5
Brilliant film that deserves a proper release by the likes of Arrow, 88 etc. picture looks pretty good considering it has not had a great release yet. Nice job.
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