Old Films Improved

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Mrwonderful, Dec 18, 2018.


    1. Mrwonderful

      Mrwonderful
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      I have often wondered about the use of modern day technology to enhance the special effects of films from yesteryear? Not total remakes or digital enhancements of the existing film but just the replacement of a scene or two within the original film.

      One of my all time favourite films is "The Dambusters" which looks great in black and white and captures the spirit and bravery of the crew's endeavours and should never be altered in my view. However, the explosion of the bomb against the dam, the tracer rounds hurtling towards the aircraft and other special effects are pretty dreadful by today's standards and replacing them may well improve the impact and narrative of the film.

      Any one else agree or can think of other films that might benefit from a slight improvement to a few scenes?
       
    2. Garrett

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      I recall the the explosion do look overlayed and if done to make look similar but not overlayed even a different explosion OK.
      I like to see some tech that can merge back projected with whats the actors are doing at the front as very often looks dead obvious and takes you out of the film, It generally happens in old car scenes, e.g. a bit in The Devils Rides Out, and North By Northwest(when Cary's drunk).
       
    3. lucasisking

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      Although it's heresy of the highest order, I would like to see one minor effects change in 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is for the shots of Earth from space, which look dull and pale compared to how the actual Earth looks (not really known when the film was made). I reckon Kubrick would be ok with this as he would want us to see Earth in all its gorgeous, blue glory. All the other effects and model work are exemplary though and shouldn't be touched.
       
    4. Varsas

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      This has been done, sort of....Star Trek (the original series) has been re-scanned for HDR and had most of it's effects altered at the same time. The people doing the work were quite sympathetic, retaining the feel of the original effects. I think it works well and you wouldn't know the effects had been changed if you weren't very familiar with the source. On the other hand the changes to the original Star Wars trilogy were quite poorly executed and not very sympathetic...an example of a bad way of doing things.
       
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    5. Garrett

      Garrett
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      Star Trek series has redone the effects and on the blu ray you can choose if you want the old effects or the new ones. Horror channel are showing them in the new effect but crop the top and bottom to fill the screen on the old 4:3 scenes.

      Funny on some old films you can see there obvious at the front of a back projected e.g. say somewhere like the Trevi Fountain and you see a long shot of the actors there and are the actors actually there then go to a close up and it be back projected and look well out of place maybe to do with close up lighting but I rather them being in part shade than full on lighting., but again could be because of the background noise then again they have to re add that sometime to make it sound authentic.:confused:

      EDIT at the speed I type and time stamps I was writing this as above just beat me to it with the Star Trek info.
       
      Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
    6. Jim Di Griz

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      I actually prefer watching the original series with the newer effects to be honest. And it is very sympathetic as you say.
       
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    7. BigStu1972

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      That scene in Alien when you see the Alien before it kills
      Dallas
      .
      It looks like a man in a rubber Alien suit (because it was) but its almost comical when you watch it today and detracts somewhat from what was originally a scene that made you jump out of your pants.
       
    8. Garrett

      Garrett
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      Or go and clean them:laugh:
       
    9. terencejames

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      Whilst I agree in theory, you only have to look at the insertion of the Jabba the Hutt scene in Star Wars as a reason not to do it? I'm all for cleaning prints up but leave everything as it was originally. Can you imagine Jaws with a different shark?
       
    10. QuestShield

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      I'd fix the Ash head on table cut.
       
    11. SDMDAM

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      I think the Dambusters is slated for a remake though, is it not?

      I think there is an argument for doing so if it is done sympathetically as stated above. For example, Alien (and other movies) now look super dated thanks to the old VDU screens, especially when compared with Prometheus and Covenant which are chronologically dated earlier. Star Wars is interesting as some of the effects were redone very well, Yavin Space Battle, and some were not, Jabba and Han Shoots first.
       
    12. WhyDoIBother

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      As long as the originals remains available I don't really have problem with enhancing older films, especially if it's the actual film makers (or life long fans) doing it and they understand what made their films so special in the first place.

      Blade Runner Final cut a good example plus every other cut still available.

      Star Wars Trilogy SE mostly bad with the exception of the tidying up and a two fingered salute to fans who would appreciate a nice copy of the originals...
       
    13. Smudger1

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      This really ground my gears. I think I had one version where Han Solo stepped through his tail. How did that get through QA? Who watched it and thought 'yep, that's good enough'...
       
    14. Queens Pawn

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      I quite like the colourisation of some old black and white films - amazon prime for example has (or had) Laurel and Hardy colourised, although film-noir classics would have to be done very sympathetically.

      But, in general CGI improvements and techniques seem to date quicker than the original effects they replace - light rendering is always not quite right.
       
    15. Slinkywizard

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      Go back to the negatives, remaster to 4K, re-record orchestral soundtracks, clean up dialogue, take old mono and stereo original recordings and remake them in 5.1 or even Atmos. All great. But for heaven's sake leave the visual effects alone. The 'enhanced' versions of Star Wars make me want to puke.
       
      Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
    16. QuestShield

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      I couldn't understand why R2-D2 was hidden behind CGI rocks, what possessed Lucas to add that?
       
    17. Rambo John J

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      and, keeping it Star Wars, why do so many digitally added things constantly walk across in front of the camera in Mos Eisley?
       
    18. bluesilver

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      I work in visual effects so I might be a bit biased, but I do think that if the effects are done well (as mentioned before, good light matching and good roto) then as long as it is sympathetic, I think it can not only add high production values, but also increase the longevity of the piece.

      When the Special Editions of Star Wars were created, the effects industry were largely still getting to grips with not just the technology, but also with the aesthetics - science and art if you will. How do we create photo real technically and how do we composite it so we don't see the joins? We are past this point now. So while you are right to hold Star Wars up as a warning, we are now at a point where so much has been learnt about how to do things properly and seamlessly that with a good company and a decent budget, there is no reason that new effects cannot be inserted seamlessly into old footage. It's like saying we shouldn't have colour film because the first ones were a bit rubbish. Yes, but now we have 12bit 8k thanks to not being worried about what happened before and having it hold us back. A few of the major stumbling blocks have been things like good material match, light matching, high quality rendering and good compositing, but ultimately we are at photo real now, to the point that it is relatively cheap and easy to do it. We don't have to 'learn' what makes things good now, like they were 20 years ago, now it's just a case of good production values.

      With regard to getting the original effects people onboard - yes and no. Ultimately, it depends on if they are working in the effects industry now or if they retired 20 years ago. The reason being that some of the techniques used now are way beyond what was used originally. The creators of the original works should be brought in, but they won't necessarily know how things should be done now, because if they did, they would have done it. For example, digital assets are often created in Houdini or Maya, this is a very, very different technology to what would have been used back in the day. So the reality is that it would be good to bring them in to any updates, their contribution won't be... huge. If anything, it will be about the aesthetic of the shots and not about the technical.. which is more to do with the art director/director anyway.

      Personally, I'm happy with things being updated (as long as the original is available) because I think it offers the chance for things to stay relevant. There are a number of older films that are still great entertainment, but you are pulled out of them because of the poor effects work. If you even take a new film like Rogue One. Imagine replacing certain characters (to avoid spoilers) scenes with something that truly was realistic - that would enhance the film even more. And before anyone points to that being an example that we are not at photo real - people are VERY different to things. We can do things perfectly. However, we incredibly attuned to what people look like, especially when the face/skin moves etc, that we are only really getting mid way to where the face can look perfectly natural when talking. But in 2-5 years time, we won't know if things are fake or not.

      So I say, as long as things are done properly i.e.: love, care, time and budget, then do it. As long as we can still have the original too.
       
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    19. Evinger

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      Yep, totally agree - looks like the Alien is going to say "TaDa!", then pop down the head to reveal Parker grinning & going "Only Me!" :)
       
    20. Chris 1701

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      Ooo...I dunno, I still find that moment quite effective. In some ways the man in the rubber suit element makes it feel more 'real' if you know what I mean? CGI is great but it just wouldn't be the same, if you watch Alien: Covenant you pretty much always aware it's CGI.
       
    21. Evinger

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      For me the idea was great, it was just the position of the hands that got to me after an awful lot of watches of this film. Of course, once the thought was in my head, no getting rid of it!
      If it had been a "Shoulders up" shot, of course I would have never gone down that Road.
       
    22. QuestShield

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      You don't want to do it like that!

      [​IMG]
       
    23. FoordDass

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      Back to the Future is one of my favourite films of all time, how ever one scene that could do with a slight improvement on the compositing is this one.....
       

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    24. Pecker

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      For me, and this is only a very general thought, but if there things the film makers tried their best to do, and just fell short, I don't mind them being tidied up. Matt lines are a good example, as we all know that no one would ever want them, and they can be cleaned up without changing anything on screen at all, by which I mean you're not replacing a puppet with a CGI creation.

      Beyond that I'm iffy, but open to suggestions. There are some oddities out there. Someone mention The Devil Rides Out, and it's know that the original effects were essentially unfinished.

      But overall I feel the important thing is to always have the originals available.
       
    25. Mr.D

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      I would say there is merit to pulling the original filmed elements and compositing them digitally rather than optically (Blade Runner). Match grading the elements together better , lack of grain doubling and generation loss are good improvements to any film.

      Cleaning up obvious wires and technical post mistakes that shouldn't be in there is okay too. (wires on the spinners , obvious mattes around Tie Fighters, reflections on the glass in the snake tomb in Raiders)

      Allowing the original cinematography to show its full potential from an image perspective is fine.

      Putting unnecessary slabs of cgi into shots in some belief they are aesthetically better is not on.

      Films are created artefacts , they have historical as well as artistic value. They represent the labour of countless people over the years who were dedicated and took pride in their work.

      So what if we can poke holes in the result by our current standards, we wouldn't be able to apply heavy handed improvements if these pioneers hadn't pushed the boundaries of what was possible at the time. Its like a 777 pilot mocking a Sopwith Camel.
       
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    26. ch1z

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      Just rewatched The Thing and even today the effects are still outstanding and used to very good effect. I am sure you could tweek it here and there, but as a lot of the people in this thread say it's the asthetics or original intend that matters. I don't mind if bits were changed to take out the wires reflections and things that just were not ment to be there. It's like now films rely so heavily on the CGI element no matter how spectactular it looks at times it's just so ho hum because there is no realy threat.

      I just noticed the very opening titles in The Thing the mountins are moving in the background when you first see the helicopter. It was very very strange never noticed that before. Did it make any difference to a great movie, hell no !
       
    27. NicolasB

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      The upgrades to the original Star Wars trilogy raise all kinds of interesting points, here.

      George Lucas' attitude was very much that if the technology to do effects like that had existed when he was making the films, he would have used it - so the upgraded versions are (he says) actually much closer to his vision and intent at the time, while the films as originally made are far more compromised by the limitations of visual effects tech.

      Another interesting question is: who actually "owns" a film? Lucas' view was that the Star Wars films belonged to him, and that he had a perfect right to adjust them however he wanted. Most fans, however, were under the impression that the films somehow belonged to them, and that they, not Lucas, should be the arbiters of what was and was not allowed.

      I doubt that even fairly hard-core fans had much of a problem with redoing all the compositing digitally rather than optically - in the original version of The Empire Strikes Back, for example, during the battle on Hoth, when you see the view from inside the cockpit of one of the snow speeders, the frame around the windscreen is sightly translucent when it should be opaque metal - the updated version fixes this.

      (It's interesting to note that Lucas did actually preserve all of the original film elements for composite shots - extremely unusual. It's an indication that he really did plan, all along, to remake all of the composite sequences once technology became available that could do a better job of it.)

      More radical changes like the CGI banthas (instead of the elephants in costumes), or putting Hayden Christiansen's face on Sebastian Shaw's body - they are harder to swallow.

      Where I think Lucas really went wrong was in deliberately suppressing the original versions of the films. If he had released a version where you could choose whether to watch the new version or the original one, there would have been much less of an outcry.

      On the whole, I'm quite sympathetic to improving things like this. There are some classic-era Doctor Who DVDs which have an option to replace some of the cruder model shots with a more modern CGI version, and it's often an improvement. In particular, there's an effect in the Jon Pertwee story Day of the Daleks where, in the original, if someone was shot with an alien weapon, they would simply vanish; in the enhanced version, they add a visible beam emanating from the fun, and also a few CGI splatters to suggest that the person has been disintegrated - it works rather well.

      I suspect most people's attitude can be summed up by dating that it's fine to do things "better", but they have a problem with doing things "differently".
       
      Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
    28. MacVee

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      There is the 4K77, 4K80 and 4K83 restoration projects for those who do wish to view high quality versions of the original, unaltered Star Wars trilogy.

      97 percent of the 4K77 project is from the original 1977 Technicolor print, scanned at 4K. Non-DNR and DNR versions are available. 4K83 is supposedly in the bag too. Unsure about soundtrack options.
       
    29. nabby

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      Are these streamable or do you need to download them to watch on your tv via a computer or USB drive?
       
    30. MacVee

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      I believe at this moment in time they are downloadable. I've not read anything to suggest they can be streamed.
       

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