These shots of The Thief flying around the hand mountain are simple pencil tests in the workprint, complete with lots of dirt and splices and reel change markers drawn across the frames. I wanted to colorize them, as I'd done in a simpler way for previous edits. I created a color version of the shots in Photoshop and overlaid that in After Effects, carefully keyframing the color to follow the motion of the slightly shaky workprint footage, then painting out reel change markers and major damage by hand in Photoshop. But that wasn't enough. I wanted to run Dirt Remover. So I drew a matte around just the moving areas where the Thief is, so that he could be isolated. Moving keyframed cropping in Final Cut Pro isolated the Thief further. I then ran Dirt Remover on the rest of the shot, which otherwise had no moving elements. The result is very clean, nearly dirt-free and in color.
This shot of the Witch's eye in a lamp was animated by Calvert's team and only appears in the Calvert WIP. I've always used it in the Recobbled Cut, largely for its rarity. However, the Calvert WIP VHS is extremely low quality, and so this shot required very special attention in Photoshop, frame by frame. It's animated on “twos” and sometimes “fours” so that allowed me to combine frames together for better quality. I removed noise, ran Auto Levels and color corrected, and used brightening and darkening brushes to bring out the details as needed.
Very careful editing, and one frame redrawn in Photoshop, shorten the long line Yum Yum has in Calvert's version to her line from Williams' workprint - “We'll pay!”
As usual, the scenes which appear in Princess and the Cobbler but not Arabian Knight present a big challenge. The black “box” visible at center bottom is due to the timecode which covers part of the picture on our widescreen VHS of Princess. (I cropped this out of previous Recobbled Cuts but decided not to this time.) The Princess 4x3 cropped PAL DVD suffers from strange digital ghosting around the edges of lines, but clever filtering by Christoph Nass removed nearly all of the objectionable digital garbage. He also filtered the timecoded VHS for a clearer picture (although it's still a murky source colorwise).
In After Effects, I carefully warped the Princess 4x3 cropped PAL DVD to match the timecoded VHS (and also the workprint when possible). I then composited the 4x3 picture over the widescreen VHS picture. The right side of the DVD picture is noticeably darker than the left side. This is also true of our other sources, but not to the same extent. So the left and right sides of the VHS image have to be color corrected separately when possible. Selective color correction (Chroma Key style) is also used for some colors to try to make the murky VHS source match the DVD's colors. The DVD is also a bit grey so the saturation is pumped up using color correction. Otherwise its colors are very accurate. Often it takes about five layers and a lot of matting to get these two (sometimes three) sources to look like they fit together.
Fred Calvert's bright purple-skinned Eunuchs, which are very badly drawn in the original version of this shot, are here replaced with black-skinned Eunuchs partly taken from footage elsewhere in the film and painted carefully in Photoshop. Nanny is standing in front of the Eunuchs, so she had to be rotoscoped and painted out of the shot on a frame by frame basis. This turned out to be very easy to do in After Effects, because the black of her cloak stands out from everything else.
Of course the usual careful color correction and compositing of the DVD source over the widescreen VHS had to be done also.
This long introductory shot of the Witch was a bit of a compositing marathon. The cropped 4x3 Princess DVD source was warped in After Effects to exactly match the workprint. However, the workprint is shaky and has splices, as well as not much detail in the black areas. So, three still-image backgrounds were created in Photoshop based on the workprint (but clearer). Background with lights up, with spotlight, and with lights darkened and spotlight. These still backgrounds were used for as much of the shot as possible. When the witch's hands shoot toward the camera, the workprint was carefully color corrected to match the 4x3 Princess DVD on the left and right sides separately. Different color correction on the workprint was done when the lights go back up and she “examines” Tack.