The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:32 am

In November 2013, at the very end of the Thief and the Cobbler Recobbled Cut project, I found, via Youtube search, someone who had apparently taped an HBO airing of the very rare 1967 short film Sailor and the Devil, by Errol Le Cain and Richard Williams, designers of The Thief and the Cobbler.

(Animator Hans Bacher is also known to have a VHS copy of the film somewhere but has not shared it.)

The HBO copy turned out to be slightly incomplete and a noisy, low quality recording, but otherwise a very exciting find. Christoph Nass restored the video quality to a useable 24p version, and I ran further noise reduction on it via Neatvideo. This was a bit destructive to the picture but much more watchable overall. I also rebuilt the titles and fixed video offlocks by hand in Photoshop. Helge Bernhardt also transferred a 16mm film copy of the 1967 documentary "The Creative Person" which included a short clip of an earlier version of the film.

Although the restoration was pretty much complete, I never finished and released it. Being very broke and no longer having much "free time," it slipped through the cracks.

With thanks to Mat Fitzpatrick I've now completed the restoration as intended.

https://youtu.be/JhzyExlUW5c

The Sailor and the Devil (1967) Errol LeCain / Richard Williams / Professor Alex Bradford

The great illustrator Errol Le Cain animated this rare short film for the Richard Williams Studio in 1967, as his "apprentice work." Professor Alex Bradford sings the catchy gospel soundtrack. From an HBO airing. It cuts off abruptly in a fadeout, and is not presented in full. Music and lyrics by Peter Shade, registered to the Performing Rights Society.

Richard Williams presents
Music & Lyrics Peter Shade
Sung by Professor Alex Bradford
Animation & Co-Direction Errol LeCain

Restoration by Garrett Gilchrist

24p video restoration by Christoph Nass

Film transfer by Helge Bernhardt

Special Thanks to:
David Downs
Mat Fitzpatrick
The John Culhane family

SD download :
http://www.mediafire.com/file/yvz4fup11 ... l_YT2.mp4/

Upscaled HD download:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/ayg7t8e89 ... il_YT.mp4/

Unrestored upload:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30yEdTmvJfU
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:20 pm

On October 22, 2013, I posted this about Sailor and the Devil:

Our copy of this 1967 Errol Le Cain film is in very bad shape. It's from an 80s HBO broadcast and has an incomplete ending. The amount of grain and noise on it is incredible. The telecine is also very oddly done, with fields blended together in a strange cadence. It was extremely difficult to extract the original frames in any sensible way from the video. It's probably the result of an old, improperly done telecine from 24 frames per second to 25 frames per second to 29.97 frames per second, and it's a mess.

So of course I called for the help of Christoph Nass, our resident video-filtering expert. It took him some time, but he managed to get a pretty sensible 24 frames per second version out of the material, cleaning it up in the process. There are still some blended frames, or sections of frames, due to the way the telecine was done originally.

At this point the video falls to me for further cleanup. The huge amount of black noise and grain would seem to be impossible to deal with, but the Neat Video plugin for After Effects can actually remove even that amount of noise without too much damage to the underlying picture. I've done a few passes, and now it's about getting the mix just right so that I don't lose any important detail. I'll then be cleaning up the titles and any individual frames which show some sort of video error.

Helge Bernhardt has already transferred John Culhane's 16mm copy of The Creative Person: Richard Williams to HD video. That film contains a section of The Sailor and the Devil (with some alternate animation), and I'll be using that for further restoration.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:04 pm

The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mk4: The Very Red War Machine Footage

https://imgur.com/gallery/pYvtpIK

About 30 minutes of The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mk4 was transferred in HD from rare 35mm film in 2012, including every shot of The Thief in the War Machine. Most of this material was also transferred in SD for the Mk3 version in 2007. Most of the footage - 50 minutes worth of film - was loaned by animator KA. Both transfers were supervised by Steve Stanchfield of Thunderbean Entertainment. (With additional footage transferred by Helge Bernhardt.)

The transfer of the War Machine material is noticeably very red, and lacks detail because of it. It's tricky material to transfer, as everything else on the reel looked fine. The DVD release of Arabian Knight color-timed away much of the redness, although of course that is a much-shortened and ruined version of the film. It's possible that the redness could be compensated for during a transfer, but we didn't have the money to try again.

For the Mk4, some color correction was done, but I wondered at the time (in 2013) if more could be done with the transfer. Here are some quick Photoshops which use the image data present in the Blue and Green channels of the image to attempt to bring out more of the detail present in the HD transfer.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:46 am

Dennis writes:

Hey Garrett, been wondering about the War Machine stuff myself when you suddenly came in with this, thank you for the uncompressed screenshots, they're a god send, and I was quick to try out a few things, mainly this scene which I think it looks the worst, because of how much detail is lost.

https://imgur.com/gallery/A5S5FbG

my method of color correction with this was a little rough, as in instead of playing with channels I would mask every essential area and adjust the colors in groups, the checkerboard, the background details, the lowlights, the Thief, playing with the saturation on these areas. I did the same thing for Rock & Rule. Arabian Knight is helpful to try and identify which areas should be darker, which should be a little greener to stand out and such.

https://imgur.com/gallery/FQ4kevs

The rest of the screencaps, I did these completely embracing the noise and the grain, but bringing out as much detail as I can. I obviously looked at Arabian Knight for reference.



Hi Dennis. Really interesting work, certainly nicer than the raw caps, and I'd like to compare these frames to Arabian Knight's widescreen Japanese DVD directly as well to see how close you're getting to that color timing. I hadn't thought of using Arabian Knight as "reference" - a version where much of the red was color timed away.

Some of these strike me as too orange, probably because you're making the highlights more yellow to work with The Thief. (See: the first two in the second gallery.)

I would also say that, keep in mind that the goal would be to reproduce this color timing as video. Noise and grain is not a huge problem since the blue channel would be noise reduced via Neatvideo to make this work. However, fancy masking by hand in Photoshop can't necessarily be reproduced in video form, and borders on cheating. That being said, I did that myself in my Photoshops as a proof of concept, and it can be helpful as a goal. It might be possible to recreate some of this with Chroma Keying in FCP7, to handle darker and lighter portions of the image separately. And, as I noted already, in many shots The Thief is basically masked out by the green channel and can be handled separately. This is not always a perfect match though especially in problem shots.

I would probably need some funding to actually do this to the video these days, as I'm so broke it leaves me without much spare time for unpaid work, and it would require some experimentation to get the right settings on a shot by shot basis. But it would certainly be possible to do something along these lines.

I would also like to tackle all of the "pencil test" shots in the cut again, which are taken from low quality video and could benefit from another run of noise reduction and restoration. (I did a few tests the other day, improving material from the Keramidas Cut.)

Luke M writes:
This is great to see but also very daunting.

Years ago I did weeks of amateur color correction only to discover the bright setting of my monitor was off.

How do you calibrate for it?


I have run into the same problems myself in the past. Every monitor will reproduce material differently and it is best to look at your image on multiple monitors. At the moment I use an old Cintiq drawing pad as my monitor, which is very contrasty. I also have a small HP Stream Netbook, which isn't. Neither is remotely ideal for color correction. The main thing you should be worried about when color correcting is that a bright LCD monitor with milky, bright black reproduction may show details in the dark areas of the image that you didn't intend. Old CRT monitors crushed blacks heavily, and the switch to LCDs about 12-15 years ago was a bit of a shock. There is no such thing as a single objective setting for color correction, but try to get an LCD monitor which is considered "normal" in 2018 and also check screen grabs of your imagery on multiple monitors and even your phone.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Dennis196492 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:10 am

I did it on Sony Vegas, the color correction (secondary) tool can dig in specific parts of the blue/red/green channels and create masks to single out certain areas, which I mostly used to single out The Thief/darken the brighter red areas. It really is just a matter of importing the video file in and applying the filter chain, obviously considering that things may change in the very same shot, which requires further adjustments. But for specific shots like the ''gears'' it might as well create a moving matte around him to bring out the robe because it just blended in with the darker reds.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:34 am

Fair enough! I'd share the actual raw files if they weren't so huge.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:11 am

Dennis has asked me if I still have The Thief Who Never Gave Up portfolio with me, and yes I do, in a folder marked Thief and the Cobbler Scrapbook 7.

I believe I have all the Scrapbooks here and most (all?) of the footage and extras used to compile the Recobbled Cut.

My internet connection isn't very reliable here especially on the main computer, so I'll file that under "I'll see what I can do."

Scrapbook 7 is about 2.78 GB.

The edited KA reels compilation which contains most of the War Machine stuff is 18.54 GB (although I think I would edit that to match what's in the film).
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:37 pm

A comment I wrote at Facebook, summing things up briefly.

"I spent seven years, off and on, let's say about half off and half on, restoring The Thief and the Cobbler as the Recobbled Cut, which is available on Youtube at TheThiefArchive. I believe it is the most complex restoration of any film ever attempted independently of a studio. While the film is still unfinished of course, I attempted to present the fragments in the most coherent way possible under the circumstances. This included over 30 minutes of 35mm film transferred to HD and cleaned up frame by frame. I cleaned the whole film on a frame by frame basis and recreated many shots as higher quality versions.

It had the intended effect of allowing people to see and understand Richard Williams' vision for the film, rather than the ruined Fred Calvert cuts which were released (and terrible). I believe it rehabilitated the film's reputation.

Richard didn't discuss the film publicly for 20-odd years but now screens his own copy of the workprint as "A Moment In Time." The existing artwork from the film has, I believe, been donated to the Academy. (Possibly partly a result of my telling Miramax to do so.)

I have offered to share our 35mm and other footage with Richard and would hope to work on some sort of official restoration of the film (and/or Raggedy Ann 1977 and so on) but he's said no to that.

I continue to do my own art and film work as an unemployed and starving artist."
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:21 am

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rSFAv ... tJMSlnRMdB

http://orangecow.org/thief/Thief%20and% ... 07.torrent

The Thief and the Cobbler Scrapbook, part 7 (Reupload).

"The Thief Archive" isn't just video. A side effect of having restored this film and connected with so much of the original crew is that I collect a whole lot of documents - text, artwork, interviews, all sorts of things - related to the art and career of Richard Williams, and films like The Thief, Roger Rabbit and Raggedy Ann.

You could spend years going through all this material, and it doesn't do much good just sitting on my hard drive, so every once in a while I like to compile it all into "Scrapbooks" that you can burn to disc and keep for posterity. I haven't done that in awhile, and the sixth and seventh releases were particularly good. We have the collection of runner Stephen Day, which Dane Becker put a lot of work into scanning.

Better still, here is the much-requested Thief Who Never Gave Up portfolio shown to investors before the film went into full production. Mat Fitzpatrick put a lot of money and time into getting this away from Ebay and preserving it - It includes a lot of early conceptual artwork by Errol Le Cain and company, and quite a lot of information about the early production of the film.

There's also some scans from Sight and Sound and a French Roger Rabbit interview with animator Jacques Muller, who passed away a few days ago. Let's dedicate this to him.

I have also linked to the original torrent if anyone wants to seed this that way.
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