The first week off from the school has been incredibly busy here, and I’m trying to cram as many things in each day in an attempt to catch up with everything– and to give a little extra much to quite a few projects.
The first news:
When the last piece is done on each of these projects, I feel a pretty great relief; the coming few weeks are therefore one relief after another, with no less than five sets coming to completion. On the ‘Snappy Video’ side of things, the ‘Party’ disc (featuring Reefer Madness (1936) as well as the infamous cartoon Buried Treasure and other stuff) is in cleanup and will be out the door within a week and a half. Also from Snappy are Missile to the Moon and a disc of rare ’Soundies’ that just sparkle on Blu-ray. Third, a collection called ‘Vintage Education’ featuring live action instructional films from the 50s and 60s, is one film transfer session from being complete.
Finally, a new Thunderbean title is out! Thunderbean’s Fleischer Rarities set took a while to get finished, but I think it turned to be a pretty fun disc. It’s finally back from replication now, and has started shipping to the pre-orders (along with the special bonus disc of things that didn’t make it on the set). It features a whole bunch of films, including some that are especially hard to see.
I feel like the set is a really good companion piece; a sort of ultimate bonus feature disc to other complete sets of Fleischer Cartoons. I very much enjoyed finding things for this set that were pretty impossible to see. I’m especially in debt to Mark Kausler and Jerry Beck, who provided both content and contacts on some of the rarest of the material. Thad Komorowski and Tommy Jose Stathes were also amazingly helpful in providing materials, and JJ Sedelmaier, the quintessential New York animation scene historian, helped round out the set with stills and photographs from the studio that are all gems, and are featured in the ‘Behind the Scenes’ gallery. Finally, the cover art by Dragan Kovacevic and Antea Ratovic gives the set a nice look on the outside. In the end though, we really owe all the artists and creative people that worked at Fleischer’s over those years to make so many fun little films. I think everyone would be amazed that their films are still being enjoyed eighty years later!
We showed this a little while back, but this menu gives an idea of the bonus features on the set:
Here’s a little reel featuring many of the films on the set:
For all those that pre-ordered, thanks so much for helping ‘produce’ this set! You’ll be getting your copy soon! For anyone that didn’t order, it’s available on Amazon as of today. And if you still need to be convinced, here are a few more frame grabs from the set:
On other notes, The other sets in progress are coming along as well. Flip the Frog and the Rainbow Parades are moving forward very well now and are taking most of my time. More folks are stepping in to the Thunderbean summer team this next week to help with cleanup, and I’m very excited to see things getting there fast-especially the beautiful Flip the Frog material.
A few days back, I scanned the best known color print of Bird Scouts, a 16mm Cinecolor print. The print is in pretty good shape, except for one major problem: the alignment of the Cinecolor is off throughout the print. Looking at the scan, I wondered if I could someone separate the two color records digitally, and recombine them in closer registration.
I discovered that it is at least partially possible to separate the two colors into separate channels in Adobe Premiere by making two ‘tracks’ of the film and adjusting the RGB values to match the original Cinecolor layer as much as possible. Because of how the misregistration jitters and how it changed the color where the overlap mistakes are, it doesn’t seem to work perfectly, but it’s much, much better. It’s only at the first stage of playing with it at this point, but I’ll keep trying!
Something I’ve noticed on the black and white Official films versions of the Cinecolor Rainbow Parades is that they seem to have been made with only one of the two Cinecolor color records. This has me wondering if I took my new color seperation and combined it with one of the Official prints (with that black and white print tinted correctly) could I end up with an improved version of the film? It’s worth experimenting, because when will someone try this madness again?
Here is an example of trying to line up the elements:
..and the first experiment in re-combining the elements to fix the color alignment:
Here’s a youtube of someone projecting a black and white Official Films version of The Hunting Season. It looks like the Blue-Green Layer is the one used here:
More soon! Have a good week everyone!