Jump to content

"Barry Lyndon" - 2016 BFI Restoration


Recommended Posts

It appears that the British Film Institute has completed and released a restoration of "Barry Lyndon," and is currently doing a wide theatrical release of the film in the UK.

 

I can't seem to find any information about the technical details on the web. I'm guessing it's a 4K restoration and DCP release. Any insights from the UK-based folks would be appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My heart bleeds tears every time I heard that digital restoration has been done to old film. Because it means the chances to see it on 35/70mm are growing thinner. Movies which where originally shown on film should continued to show on film. I have no objection of showing digitally shot films on DCP but original format should been honored. Finnish film historian and director Peter von Bagh compared this to idea that museums would scan their paintings and only showing flashes on screen. Ok, films and original paintings are different things because film print is a copy, but analogy stands about idea of copying the art work (many films are!) to different medium. Home formats are different thing. They are like art books, but movie theaters are like museums.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

My heart bleeds tears every time I heard that digital restoration has been done to old film. Because it means the chances to see it on 35/70mm are growing thinner. Movies which where originally shown on film should continued to show on film. I have no objection of showing digitally shot films on DCP but original format should been honored. Finnish film historian and director Peter von Bagh compared this to idea that museums would scan their paintings and only showing flashes on screen. Ok, films and original paintings are different things because film print is a copy, but analogy stands about idea of copying the art work (many films are!) to different medium. Home formats are different thing. They are like art books, but movie theaters are like museums.

 

Bah! A projection print is a copy anyway (and hardly a good one compared to the original negative).

 

They're photographic images projected on a screen at 24fps. So long as the projection medium is of acceptable quality, whether it's digital or analogue is of trivial importance to the appreciation of the work.

 

An author's prose is no more or less profound, simply for being read on a Kindle instead of in a paperback.

 

And a digitally restored and projected print is (most likely) going to look better than most release prints ever did back in the day - and if the restored image gets us closer to the original intent that the director and DP captured on the film negative - well, surely that's a step forwards rather than backwards?

Edited by Mark Kenfield
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

Also depends on how well the original negative is holding up, a new print struck off of it may have color problems and other issues that weren't there in the original release, and a print struck from an older IP/IN may not be showing the quality inherent in the original, nor a new dupe negative struck from b&w positives struck a long time ago from the original negative but never checked for having the correct gamma.

 

A digital restoration can fix some problems related to aging that photochemical methods cannot.

 

Now I agree that digital releases can sometimes be disappointing... The 2K DCP that travels around for "2001" is underwhelming and I'd rather see a worn 70mm print. That said, the early Eastmancolor 70mm prints that were struck directly from the negative in the late 60's have all faded to a pale pink, and new 70mm prints struck from a protection master have some defects in them, so I'd be happy to see a 6K restoration shown in 4K projection some day.

 

Truth is that generally I think it's the old large format movies that suffer from being released in 2K DCP's, for most old 35mm color movies, it's more of a mixed bag of pros and cons. For old 35mm b&w movies, the main problem is just the lack of deep blacks with most digital projectors.

 

Having though just recently seen new prints struck from some old b&w movies made in the 1920's and early 30's, projected in 35mm courtesy of Warner Archives, I will say that when a good 35mm print is possible, that should always be an option for the art cinemas that want to show them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

There are a few problems with older movies being projected in theaters today. Unfortunately, most theaters that show classic movies, don't put them in the 4k laser projection theater. Most of the time, they're screened in a small house, using an older 2k digital projector and sometimes even a BluRay source. So right away, you might as well just watch it at home.

 

Then you've got the problem of restoration and how well it's done. Again, unfortunately most restoration is done at 4k today. This is a HUGE problem because from now on, those go-to masters will (like digital acquisition content) be stuck at a fixed resolution. I have seen some 35mm prints of movies that were digitally restored and honestly, you can tell they were digitally restored right away. They're ultra crisp and the grain structure seems over-kill, no where near as "clean" as a photochemical print. Yes, I did see an archival print of "Pickup on South Street" that was digitally restored and looked pretty good, but the film had deteriorated pretty badly. In that case, when you have no choice, what can you do?

 

Personally, I'm of the ilk that anything shot on film that was finished on film, should be projected on film. Anything that was shot on film and finished digitally, should probably be projected digitally because that's the Directors vision. As David pointed out, there are a lot of poor prints running around of unrestored movies or even photochemical restorations done in the 80's and 90's that don't look so hot. I have seen several of them over the years, but honestly I'd live with a few dirt and edge issues to see a print struck from the negative. The print of "It's a Mad Mad World" I saw last year, was a bit faded, but it was pretty clean and absolutely worth watching. I do know it was restored because it had digital audio and the original didn't. However, my guess is it wasn't a digital restoration due to the fading.

 

I have not yet seen the Warner Archive '2001' print yet. Every year I try to go and every year I'm busy that weekend. Same goes for the photochemical restoration of 'Vertigo' one of my all-time favorite films.. just another one that's booked on days I'm busy.

 

The big problem with prints comes down to the cost. It's expensive to ship a print and project it, so the theater has to book seats or it's not worth it. LACMA and American Cinematheque, have a budget to do this, which is why we see so many really good prints at those theaters. However, other theaters don't have that kind of money, including Quentin's theater. Yet I must admit, I have never seen a torn up print at the New Bev, they generally look pretty good, thanks to fantastic projection. I just wish the Arclight in Hollywood would put more effort into their summer movie releases instead of simply running BluRay's or DCP's. This year there is only ONE 35mm film, 'Goonies' August 23rd... another "sunday afternoon" screening I can't attend.

 

With Hollywood movies being so poor these days, one would think there would be a pretty big business in projecting restored movies, like the Jaws 4k re-release... but on film. I personally know dozens of film industry people who would pack the theater if they did a few 70mm and 35mm run's, even during the week night. It gets frustrating when the only way to see decent prints these days is at a theater that has horrible sound and a small screen (New Bev) or as a digital presentation that's no better then my home theater. :shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

Barry Lyndon is perhaps my favorite Kubrick film, along Paths of Glory. Do not miss it on the big screen if it comes to a town near you. I saw it in a 4K DCP at Arclight over 4 years ago, so not sure exactly what difference this copy is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interesting Adam that you have seen another 4K DCP. I know that there has been a DCP floating around but figured it was probably just a scan of an IP or something with maybe some dust cleanup. How did it look?

 

The 35mm release print I saw at Metrograph was a bit beat up, but retained a lot of the color characteristics and tonality in the blacks. The trouble is that it's a mixed bag. Some of these old prints were in hot environments or didn't have air circulation in storage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

It looked great. Sometimes the diffusion they used on interiors is a little heavy for modern taste, but it's a gorgeous film. Not only the the famous candlelight stuff (still almost unsurpassed in painterliness), but also the naturalistic daylight interiors. This is the original gangster when it comes to naturalism. But much more than that, it's just a great film - and very funny at times with the laconic VO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool! I'm so excited about this restoration because the previous one done in the late 90's, wasn't that great.

 

 

I'm sorry to disagree, but I saw "Barry Lyndon" in late 2001 a newly struck 35mm print from that restoration (which was the basis for the restored DVD) and the quality was stunning, with more subtleties than the current Blu-ray presentation. I saw as well other Kubrick films, with new 35mm prints too ("The Shining", "Full Metal Jacket", "A Clockwork Orange") and they all looked wonderful. Saw too "Eyes Wide Shut", probably from a print struck at the time of the original release, and the quality wasn't even close to that of the older films (it was as grainy as the original prints; the Blu-ray and DVDs are muuuuch cleaner).

 

Sound already was Dolby Digital 5.1, the first time that I heard the sound remixes of the old Kubrick films. The only drawback was that this "Barry Lyndon" print was projected at the wrong aspect ratio (1.85:1), not the original 1.66:1, but I guess that was more of a problem of the theater and not from the print itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

I'm sorry to disagree, but I saw "Barry Lyndon" in late 2001 a newly struck 35mm print from that restoration (which was the basis for the restored DVD) and the quality was stunning.

A brand new projected 35mm print and a standard definition DVD share nothing in common with one another. First off, the DVD would have been made from the original camera negative, the print would not be. The DVD was also made from a 10 bit 4:2:2 HD telecine, not a high resolution, high bit depth scan like we have today. The DVD and Bluray release, are 8 bit 4:2:0 color space, which isn't in the same ballpark as the film print. Plus... the digital versions require massive cleanup because the MPEG encoding system, can't deal with grain, it freaks it out. So it's heavily de-grained, making it even softer then it already is.

 

So trying to compare a brand new film print and a DVD from two decades ago, is kinda impossible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw a show print of "Eyes Wide Shut" last year, and it looked great. Kubrick personally oversaw the color timing throughout the production. It's certainly a grainy picture, partially due to the 5298 EXR 500T stock being pushed one stop throughout. But the showprint was excellent and crisp. Far better than the print of "Barry Lyndon" I've seen, granted its two generations removed and more than two decades older. I would love to see the photochemically restored print of "Barry Lyndon".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

Forum Sponsors

Film Gears

Serious Gear

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

DMX-iT

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Cinematography Books and Gear



×
×
  • Create New...