Saturday, 24 October 2015

Restoration special, part 2/5



Episode 2 of the restoration special confirms that Apple Corps Ltd have indeed found a film copy of "Penny Lane" with faded colours to restore for the new Beatles 1 collection. The films used to restore "Penny Lane" and "Something" are said to have come from an American collector, who had better copies than Apple had in their archives. Of course, when film archivist and restorer Ron Furmanek was taking stock of Apple's archives of promo films in the early nineties, he discovered there were lots of outtakes from the "Penny Lane" film, but the film itself wasn't there anymore. The version we have seen on TV in the nineties onwards have all been taken from a video tape they had of the film. This was the 2 inch tape from 1967, as originally televised on The Hollywood Palace TV show. Earlier, they often used to show a black and white copy on TV, at least here in Europe.

It could be that the American collector is Furmanek himself, who had in his collection an original 1967 35mm composite print with faded colours.

In comparing the video tape version (as seen in The Beatles Anthology, for instance), it looks like they haven't been able to fully restore the colours in the faded film they are now using. But I guess we just have to wait until it is released to be certain.
Had they asked me, I would have referred them to the Swedish Television company, where Peter Goldman, director of "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" was working in the seventies. They have given us glimpses of a pristine copy of "Strawberry Fields Forever" on TV there occasionally, so chances are they also have a great "Penny Lane" in their archives. Could be that Goldman also had good copies of these films in his own collection. Born in Germany, Peter Goldman died in 2005, at 69.

As for the remastered sound on the music videos, it seems that Giles Martin have chosen the same approach as Furmanek did in the nineties, to use the mono mix as a template to create a new stereo image. The surround sound is said to just add "room" to the stereo mix.

19 comments:

richard cornock said...

I maybe a bit dumb here so feel free to correct me. What is the point of restoring the 35mm film if the colour on the vt is better. Also wouldn't it be possible to take colour matches from the vt to match the colours on the film using a computer.

Roger Stormo said...

Well, the colours may be better on the video tape, but a film will have a much clearer image. I don't know about putting the two on top of each other and use the colours from one and the rest from the other to create a better representation. It might be doable, or it might not.

joey anthony said...

yeah strawberry fields looks so much clearer than the video tape version.i left a comment a few weeks ago on the penny lane clip on youtube.i mentioned how the colors don't look as good as the anthology version of penny lane.hopefully the release will look better.if not all of us can always add more color to the video ourselves.

Maxwell Edison said...

I thought it was just me who thought the Anthology clips of 'Penny Lane' and 'Something' looked richer and had more colour than these restorations.! I'm no expert, so don't fully understand the difference between videotape and film. Don't get me wrong though, these new film prints still look very nice indeed and as I've been wishing the promo films to be released for the past 30 years, I can't wait for November 6th to come quick enough.!

Johnny Main said...

Jeez - kick your ego into place man! Apple know what they're doing which is why they haven't asked you about anything to do with this project.

Angel Llacuna said...

how can an stereo image be created from a mono recording ? I thought it was the other way round.

reviloremeor said...

Well, if you want to discuss a topic like this, there are thousands of very expensive methods to restore films and bring back the full colours, you can even rebuilt them from a totally black & white copy of a colour film by using a process called "Chromadot saving".

maukel said...

the point is the resolution. a film have more resolution than a videotape source.
using a film scanner to do the process, you'll get a full HD video, ready for bluray.
also, when doing a transfering process, it is better to look for the original source, to avoid some loss or artifacts caused by previous processes.

Internotional Times said...

I don't understand why Apple have had such problems with the colours unless it's because most of Apple's production staff have children who have now reached adulthood and no longer bring their crayons in. Just a thought.

DirectorDonP said...

Yes - it seems to me they've gone to a lot of unnecessary trouble with the colour. Look at the BBC colour restorations of some of the Jon Pertwee Dr Who episodes. They had a clean sharp 35mm black and White print, which they married to the 'colour signal' from a non-professional Betamax colour tape - as recorded off air. The colour signal just slipped over the top of the black and white to complete the illusion - without all this 'tracking biz' that Apple seemed to have needed to do here. Surprised no one thought of doing it that way using the 2" videotape colour copy...

richard cornock said...

I think you've summed up exactly what I meant DirectorDonP. I can understand the scan to get the improved detail but surely getting the original colour back needent be as complicated as this. Maybe it all about creating a good story to go with the rerelease. It also leaves room for yet another rerelease of a further upgrade in the future

LanceHall said...

It appears they had to manually add some color to the film because it had faded so much. The old videotape would have a better representation of the original saturation levels because tape doesn't fade. If the released version is still poor in color maybe someone out there will try the overlay method using the colors from Anthology video.

"Apple know what they're doing which is why they haven't asked you about anything to do with this project" That's funny right there. Apple is consistently playing catch-up and often knows less about the technical minutia of the Beatles recordings and films then even people on certain internet forums. They didn't even consult the most knowledgeable persons about their films Ron Furmanek.

Johnny Main said...

@DirectorDonP - The Doctor Who restorations were done by an in-house team at the BBC who developed the technique independently, so Apple would have to negotiate with the BBC to use the same techniques to restore any Beatles films the same way.

They (Apple) may not know about the Doctor Who restorations or if they are, they may be unwilling or unable (as the BBC team now no longer exists as a unit) to use this system to restore any Beatles material.

BWSmythe said...

@Johnny Main - the BBC don't own the restoration technique as far as I'm aware, and it was offered to any broadcaster. It just so happened that some of that team had, at that time, taken charge of the restoration of Doctor Who DVDs for the Beeb. The only other uses that I remember are the Are You Being Served pilot, and that errant Dad's Army episode, which included a 'how we restored this' piece when rebroadcast by the BBC, much like Apple's one above. Surely restoration people know most techniques these days, or know people who know. The chroma people, as I understand it, were experimenting as a hobby or side-project in their own time. Their VIDfire software was created in the same way (which makes film recordings look like their original video), and again not being property of the BBC but of its creators, was later sold to a restoration company.

The old Anthology Penny Lane looked, on the UK transmission at least, like US TV looked on TV here in the 80s - ill-defined and smeary. I thought I'd read that it was a B&W videotape that'd been colourised, much like the Our World footage.

Something, by the way, looked dreadful on Anthology, colourful but scratchy, dusty and over-saturated - MTV Europe were showing a much better print as part of a Beatles Weekend a few years before.

Roger Stormo said...

The stereo mix is of course created either from the stereo master or from the session tapes or both, while trying to make the new mix sound more in keeping with the atmosphere of the original mono mix. This unlike the sixties stereo mix, which was more of an experiment for the pleasure of HiFi enthusiasts.

joey anthony said...

i remember when the cd 1 came out,i saw many commercials for it leading up to it's release.now the dvd and bluray and new cd for 1 is almost here,and i have yet to see one commercial for it on tv.

crazymushroom said...

The commercials will be out for Xmas

joey anthony said...

xmas is too late.it is being released on november 6th.they should already be showing commercials for it.

Martin said...

There has been talk in the past of the BBC colourising Steptoe & Son, but I don't think anything will come of that. I heard somewhere that the team who added colour to the BW episode of Planet Of The Daleks also were employed by Apple to colourise All You Need Is Love for the Anthology.