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.

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 : ... l_YT2.mp4/

Upscaled HD download: ... il_YT.mp4/

Unrestored upload:
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Garrett Gilchrist
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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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