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We're Off to see the Wizard - For Free


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22 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   elaclair

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 08:36 AM

Finally got a chance to view the 70th Anniversary edition last night, and all I can say is...WOW.
During the opening sepia-tone sequences, you could actually see the brush strokes on the fake clouds and sky in the background. All the images were crisp and clear with only a hint of grain and no apparent edge-enhancement. The re-mixed soundtrack extracts about as much as you can from the 30's era recording. The voices are centered and clear, the music portions are fairly wide as far as the apparent sound field goes. The back channels are there, but you only notice it if you turn them off.....

Where the restoration really shines though is in the technicolor portion of the film. I have never seen this look so good. After reading what was done during the restoration process, you can tell they put their heart and soul in to it. Haven't had time to go through all the SWAG that came in the UCE packaging, but one item that stood out is the cost tally sheet. Now granted this was 1939, but the total cost of the movie...and it ran overbudget.....was 2.8 Million. They spend that much on catering these days....

Let's hope they give this type of restoration treatment to any classic movie to be re-released either in the theatre or on blu-ray. To me, the visual experience was worth it.

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#22 OFFLINE   Chris Blount

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 11:01 AM

Thanks for the writeup. Totally agree. The movie has never looked and sounded better.

Finally got a chance to view the 70th Anniversary edition last night, and all I can say is...WOW.
During the opening sepia-tone sequences, you could actually see the brush strokes on the fake clouds and sky in the background. All the images were crisp and clear with only a hint of grain and no apparent edge-enhancement. The re-mixed soundtrack extracts about as much as you can from the 30's era recording. The voices are centered and clear, the music portions are fairly wide as far as the apparent sound field goes. The back channels are there, but you only notice it if you turn them off.....

Where the restoration really shines though is in the technicolor portion of the film. I have never seen this look so good. After reading what was done during the restoration process, you can tell they put their heart and soul in to it. Haven't had time to go through all the SWAG that came in the UCE packaging, but one item that stood out is the cost tally sheet. Now granted this was 1939, but the total cost of the movie...and it ran overbudget.....was 2.8 Million. They spend that much on catering these days....

Let's hope they give this type of restoration treatment to any classic movie to be re-released either in the theatre or on blu-ray. To me, the visual experience was worth it.



#23 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 11:12 AM

I started the Blu-ray on my BD player and the previous DVD restoration and was able to see a marked improvement. There is far more saturation and purity to the color, less color bleed, and considerably finer detail.

I will say that the DVD did excel in one way; because the format is lower resolution, there was less evident film grain. I'm not one who believes that you should run excess grain reduction filters, but in the case of these older films it's hard to argue that the graininess was intentional.

One interesting little bit to note: The documentaries on disc one are the same ones from the DVD restoration. So the mini-doc about the film's restoration is completely inaccurate. It's ironic that they're crowing about what a great job they did, and ten years later they discarded it completely and started from scratch.

To avoid that happening again, as Chris said, they scanned at 8k resolution (4x Blu-ray resolution) and the resulting scans are something like 27TB.

I don't exactly believe them when they said they didn't monkey with the color, though. The yellow brick road is so consistent in color from scene to scene, and the grain within it is all yellow, not slightly multicolored as it should be. Also the sepia-toned beginning has uniformly colored grain as well. I don't know how this film was produced in 1939, if the first reel was sepia and the rest were technicolor. If that's the case then it would make sense for all the grain to be the same color.
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