Thursday, October 14, 2010

Alien 2 : On Earth Restoration & Disc Specifics

When I closed my previous post, I mentioned that this follow-up piece would focus solely on the audio and video restoration Alien 2 On Earth had undergone, and the final disc specs everyone can expect when our first title is released.

To begin, let's start with the final specs for The Blu-ray.

Alien 2 will be presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, on a BD-50, with an AVC encode remaining relatively constant at between 36-37 MPS. This really allowed us to avoid any compression issues including unnatural grain patterns,and posterization, especially in fades. This was the foremost issue in retaining the absolute best video quality, and coupled with our stance on DNR and edge enhancement, really allow the film to breathe and properly retain the unaltered grain structure. The English audio track will be presented in DTS MA 2.0, and our extras consist of two items. The first is the only surviving trailer that needed to be taken from the Dutch tape. Shortly before attending Rome, we were informed that no film existed for the trailer created long ago. Minerva did not even have a copy of the trailer on Digibeta or VHS, so we were forced to look elsewhere. Compared to the film, and even the final supplement, we understand that it will reside in stark contrast to the quality, but we have included it for completeness' sake. Our second item was quite a rare find. When creating the DI from the negatives, we stumbled upon a fifth reel which contained various effects outtakes, mistakes, and alternate angles for tests and or use in the film. There was obviously no sound for these clips, but we decided to treat them with the same care as the film. They were digitally scanned, color corrected, and are presented on the disc in full 1080/24P. Fans of the film should really get a kick out of these as some are quite different.


As far as the restoration, let me begin with the video work first.

The transfer was completed on a Spirit Datacine from the original 35mm camera negatives. The 2K scan DI was then processed to reduce minor scratches, dirt, and in one instance, a rather huge emulsion mark that encompassed 2/3 or the screen and lasted for exactly one frame. To be clear though, no DNR was performed; a policy we at Legacy absolutely abhor, and one you will never see in any of our titles. Three entire passes of color correction were applied, not only to restore the colors, and wear and tear a thirty year old negative normally endures, but also to ensure that color timing matched in all similar sequences, and that reference blacks and reference whites were attained. On that note, there were a few instances that contrast manipulation was necessary to correct abnormally bright scenes that fell victim to unavoidable shooting conditions. Once completed, the remaster was projected on a 20' screen for review and final approval. What we saw was a beautiful 1.85:1 image, with more picture on all four sides when compared to previous versions. More importantly though, was that all the grain inherent in the negative had been retained, and our final image contained all the natural benefits of film without excess digital tampering.

For the audio, we began by needing to build a composite from three separate master sources in order to ensure completeness. These sources included the original English mag tracks (used 99% of the time), the original Italian mag tracks (used 3 times), and the Italian Digibeta track (used once). All four times the alternate sources were utilized were during sections never before seen, and ones where dialogue was not present, only sound effects and music. The film is presented entirely in English, as it should be, in its original stereo mix. Once compiled, the composite track was remastered at 24-bit and processed through Pro Tools HD to remove track hiss, crackle, high-end brittleness, and three abnormal thuds throughout the film's duration.

And that about wraps up this post. ML strongly believes that all original intentions should be retained when presenting a film in our collection. Whether it be image ratio, sound design, or the principle that film should look just like film, we are striving to keep the the filmmakers intent in every regard so as to be creating definitive versions of many of your treasured titles. We look forward to continuing to provide these types of restoration specifics in the future, and please let us know if there are any questions that I have failed to cover thus far.

11 comments:

  1. i.want.to.scream....

    i can't believe the amount of effort ML have gone to in ensuring the best possible quality product gets released.

    woteva you charge for this, it's totally worth every cent!

    magnificent work. truely amazing.

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  2. I look forward to picking this blu ray up as well as future releases from your company. It looks like a lot of dedicated time and energy was put into it from people who genuinely care about the quality of the film transfer. Thanks for the detailed explanation of the process.

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  3. Seriously, thank you guys for reading it. I thought it might have been overkill (I usually go overboard with video quality), but I'm glad to see a genuine interest regarding the restoration, and even more, the understanding that these things are fairly involved.

    Thanks again for the kind words and I'll continue to post these details for all our future releases.

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  4. This could be the best release this year, and this year had many great movies released on DVD and blu-ray!

    Where will you sell it? Amazon, Axel music? This site?

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  5. Thanks for the kind words, and as of now, it will be available via Amazon.

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  6. Is there any chance of us seeing a couple of screenshots? I'm sure it will look awesome. I'm just curious all the same. I saw this movie when it was on VHS/videotape ages ago so I'm sure it's a quantum leap in quality.

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  7. I am just really happy the disc is region free,i was hoping sommebody would release this movie and the effort you are putting into this sounds awesome...i just can't wait now. The most eagerly awaited Blu ray this year and made my Sunday that bit better hearing bout this! Plus the Cover is great.

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  8. Thanks very much. We really want to treat every movie this way and ensure definitive releases.

    Glad we made your day and thank you for such kind words.

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  9. This promises to be a wonderful release and am hopeful that a new WS release of "THE WITCHMAKER" is on the horizon (I reviewed this MIDNIGHT VIDEO release for FILMS IN REVIEW a few years back).
    I would love to see a restoration of two rare TV films that pretty much vanished, "FEAR NO EVIL" (Universal 1969) and its followup, "RITUAL OF EVIL" (Universal 1970).
    Both starred Louis Jourdan and are big cult classics!

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  10. Seriously - effects outtakes. This blows my mind away.

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  11. Cool News! I only have a cut german tape and waited soooo long for an adequate release. Can't wait the release date! By the way... Here's a link for the german theatrical trailer on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYiFPZ0wioU

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