Halloween is here— and if you’re a grizzly, grizzly bear it’s followed within moments by winter— at least in the world of the Comi-Color cartoons!
Some Thunderbean News:
We managed to get a ton of things shipped this past week, only to turn around start dubbing and packing another batch of things as October ends and November begins. The list starts to get shorter as more of the special sets get done, much to everyone’s delight. We’ve been concentrating on the details of the much more difficult work of getting some of the official sets across the finish line.
One of the biggest changes in our pipeline right now is the newer scanner’s abilities. The diffusion and accuracy of the lens on the newer scanners hides film abrasions better than anything I’ve ever seen- really to the point of almost unbelievable (to the eyes of someone that’s scanned a lot of film over these last 34 years). This ability has eliminated a lot of the cleanup work related to what looked like dust and dirt on the scan but was actually the scratches and abrasions on the base and emulsion sides of the films. With this better diffusion it makes most of these flaws in the material not seen at all in the digital scan. I’ve been floored at how nice things have been looking *before* we even scan them. The results make me want to pull the whole Flip the Frog project back to the beginning and start over at times, but I’m happy the set is as beautiful as it is. Many of the scans were done within the last year on a Laser Graphics and a Cintel 2, with great results. This improvement is significant for a small producer like us since it allows us to get the films cleaner much faster- and with an excellent scan to boot.
Case in point: A first sneak preview from the Comi-Color Cartoons collection, now scanning: here is Iwerk’s Jack Frost (1934), scanned from the original camera negs for the first time! This appears here as a little Halloween treat (and after some friendly prodding from our own Mark Kausler who I promised I’d show it to soon!)
Film historian and technical hero Jack Theakston was kind enough to show me some of the ways he combines separation negs in Premiere. I had been using Final Cut Pro and After Effects for these sorts of things, but I’m happy with many of the newer color correction tools in Premiere. While not a final version and uses a soundtrack from a previous scan, it gives you a pretty good idea of what these films will look like on the set. There is no cleanup on this film as of yet— it’s literally this clean from an excellent Lasergraphics scanner.
Jack Frost has been a favorite of mine since I first saw the film back in the early 80s. I think I bought a Blackhawk print of it back then if memory serves. For Blackhawk’s prints, they used a 35mm Cinecolor print as the master; I think this is the first time anyone has gone back to the negs for a release since the films were made. UCLA has done some restorations of a few of the films, and I imagine they went back to the negs to do some of those, but I haven’t seen any of them as of yet.
This cartoon is full of enjoyable animation and music. Jack Frost’s little theme is especially wonderful in the sequence where he paints the little bear’s window and onto the pumpkin patch- one my my favorite things in any film, ever. I think everyone can agree that the Cab-Calloway-esque scarecrow scene is one of the highlights of the whole Comi-Color series. What do you think about this cartoon?
Enjoy this Halloween treat, stay warm and don’t let Old Man Winter icicle you into a tree stump!