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.