The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

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Dennis88
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11136Post Dennis88 »

Good to hear that you where able to fund your new transfer for Raggedy Ann, Garrett
Dennis196492 wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:06 pm I say Dennis' efforts at the flower scene look magnificent but the effort was MONUMENTAL and that was JUST for re-tracing and coloring the rose stems from blurry bootleg footage
Great to hear that you find it magnificent, but I'm doing more then a re-trace and coloring. Retracing was just the beginning, perhaps 5 to 10 percent of the work.

To explain it a bit, the bootleg animation of the hands/stems is only 69 frames long, mostly animated in 2's. Basically, only the middle part of the flower shot had hands animation. What was available in the bootleg was also incomplete, missing the nails and bracelets and it also does not match the positions of the finished roses.
Whereas the new completed animation is 200 frames in 1's. Those additional 150 something frames are animated from scratch, with movement and timing by me and nails and bracelets on all frames. The retraced animation also required a lot of tweaks.

But I do agree, this took a lot of effort and nothing is simple with "The Thief and the Cobbler". Like you and Garrett said, doing this for everything requires a professional studio and a lot of money.
Last edited by Dennis88 on Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11137Post Garrett Gilchrist »

You did beautiful work, Dennis, and you matched that standard. A monumental effort for one shot. Your work was unexpected and I would have no reason to expect it from anyone else. And it also required original animation from you, as you noted.

In general, the VHS bootlegs of the pencil tests are not high quality, and if the animation is already basically complete in the bootlegs, you can't trace it from such a low quality source and retain the original quality. You'd need the original art, which does not exist in full for these scenes (as far as I know). The 35mm "A Moment In Time" is closer to the quality needed but still not great. And we do not have access to that.

If we're just talking about storyboards and very rough animation, that could be animated from scratch, but it would be very hard to match Williams' standard. And generally these are, like, amateur kids asking me if they should be doing this.

It would have to be done by very skilled professionals, who are being paid. And it still wouldn't be good. We don't have a budget and have no plans to do this.

Calvert had a budget and access to the original artwork, and the final results are still bad. Doing it on an amateur level would be very bad indeed.

I have had to answer this question a thousand times.
Dennis196492
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11138Post Dennis196492 »

I honestly didn't know about the process, Dennis. I knew it wouldn't be easy to do what you've done but now I admire your work even more.

Also Garrett, congratulations on the raggeddy ann thing - best bit of news I've heard of in a while! I'm very excited to know how it looks compared to the Reel 1 scan from way back.
Dennis88
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11139Post Dennis88 »

Dennis196492 wrote: Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:11 pm I honestly didn't know about the process, Dennis. I knew it wouldn't be easy to do what you've done but now I admire your work even more.
That's quite alright, I'm happy to explain my process.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11144Post Garrett Gilchrist »

https://tygerbug.tumblr.com/post/646758 ... aiting-for

"The Majestic Fool,” the early concept for the film that became The Thief and the Cobbler, was about a war between Persia (roughly modern-day Iran) and India. (It was an overcomplicated satire with corruption on both sides.) This influenced the Golden City and the One Eyes respectively.

However, Princess Yum-Yum, and her eventually deleted sister Mee-Mee, were intended to be Indian, based on Bollywood filmmaking. Live action reference was used in part to develop the character, notably footage of actress Rekha in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978).

https://youtu.be/6wuKYnvaeIA?t=93
Dennis196492
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11146Post Dennis196492 »

I made a little image, not so much to illustrate the topic but to show just how brilliant the lighting in this movie is - something often unnoticed.

https://imgur.com/a/ps7nipF

Top is from the color tests, aka nothing but the cels slapped on top of the background with a flat light on top - and shot on video. That's how most animation was produced back in the day as well as how most of the Calvert stuff was shot, middle is how it looks on the final film, even though it's from a bootleg and nowhere near as indicative of how it should look like, which is where the bottom image comes in, it's a different scene but you can see the background is the same - and you can really see just how much depth and personality there is compared to the color tests: the glow of the windows, the glint of the gold rooftops and the cavernous feel of the palace's architeture, all captured on film, God knows how. even with very superficial knowledge of film I still can't wrap my head around this.
Dennis88
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11147Post Dennis88 »

Garrett Gilchrist wrote: Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:56 pm You did beautiful work, Dennis, and you matched that standard. A monumental effort for one shot. Your work was unexpected and I would have no reason to expect it from anyone else. And it also required original animation from you, as you noted.
Thank you Garrett, that is kind of you too say, I am honored!
Garrett Gilchrist wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:22 pm However, Princess Yum-Yum, and her eventually deleted sister Mee-Mee, were intended to be Indian, based on Bollywood filmmaking. Live action reference was used in part to develop the character, notably footage of actress Rekha in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978).

https://youtu.be/6wuKYnvaeIA?t=93
I knew that shot was rotoscoped, but I had not seen the reference footage. Thanks for sharing the video and the background information about it.
Last edited by Dennis88 on Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11149Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Hate to correct Dennis, but please call me Garrett.

Yes, the cinematography (by John Leatherbarrow) in The Thief and the Cobbler workprint really makes it special. I believe that's what Richard was referring to when he said it would make other animated films look "flat as hell." Because they are filmed much more simply than The Thief was. Richard had developed a whole bag of tricks when creating title sequences for various films. They needed to be simple but really pop visually. He wanted The Thief and the Cobbler to pop in the same way, which meant multiple exposures.
Dennis88
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11151Post Dennis88 »

When you are correct you should correct Garrett, I updated my post, don't know where that name came from, perhaps I was thinking of the Witcher.

I imagine that continuing on The Thief after completing Roger Rabbit also greatly helped with how the Thief and the Cobbler looked. With the amount of visual trickery and exposures Roger required, Richard and his crew must have learned a great deal. One of the shots/scene that really comes to mind for me is ZigZag's magic tricks for Mighty One Eye.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Post: # 11166Post Garrett Gilchrist »

I think that all that lighting and exposure trickery was already in place for his earlier work, but it certainly helps The Thief.
alright question Garrett
ever considered restoring thief according exclusively to the wp?
no extra footage?
There wouldn't be much point to that, but using the released versions as a source basically turns it into what the Recobbled Cut is, regardless.

Someone with access to the 35mm "Moment In Time" workprint could make other editing decisions, but I was going based on the best and clearest material we could find or create ... sometimes from very obscure, low quality VHS versions of the film. And early on, we only had low quality material.

The Recobbled Cuts, in fact, gradually got CLOSER to what Dick intended in many ways, as I was able to use more complex restoration and technology to replicate it.

In particular the opening sequence took me about 8 years to figure out -- as Dick's intentions were not super clear just from the storyboards -- and what's in the Mk4 is closer than in previous versions. The opening and the "roses" scene that introduces Yum Yum had similar issues, since we had lots of rare tests from them that had to be incorporated somehow.

Original animator Andreas Wessel Therhorn came back and did new art, which allowed me more latitude in how I could edit the sequence, including footage we'd just found. After that I was able to reconstruct the first two shots of Tack, and other rare material.

But I wasn't going to make the film purposely worse, or more incomplete.

If you're working from the released versions, it's impossible to draw a line fully between Williams and Calvert work, since Calvert was finishing Williams' work - with varying levels of success -- between acceptable and bad.

Using that material, and other rare material -- which gets us closer in many scenes to the "Moment in Time" workprint anyway -- turns the project into what the Recobbled Cut is. It was hardly a choice.

Before I did what I did, available versions of the workprint were so low quality as to be unwatchable by today's standards.
https://twitter.com/TygerbugGarrett/sta ... 0449468416

The 2006 Recobbled Cut tests were the first version of the film available publicly that I would call "watchable," and the workprint footage was so poor at that point that the released versions' footage was why it was watchable.

If you just want to watch the restored workprint for historical purposes, that's out there too, and is a good guide for further work ... but to prefer that version is to make fun of what I spent 8 years doing. It really is less complete, and certainly was tough to watch in its old nth generation VHS form, compared to 2nd-gen versions we tracked down later.

Having only a low quality workprint, and better quality copies of the released versions, obviously set the tone for what I was going to include in the first attempts at Recobbling the film, whether in 2000 or 2006.

The pencil tests were not clear and visible in those old bootlegs.

But regardless, the goal was to include footage which was clearest and gave the clearest idea of what the shots would look like.

I didn't have the luxury of pretending that the Fred Calvert versions hadn't happened, and I saw them as imperfect or unfinished versions of the shots, like storyboards.

I never got a straight answer on this, but I always assumed this made the film unwatchable for Richard himself, who had always tried to pretend that the Fred Calvert versions hadn't happened. Or at least, some people around him were wary of my work for that reason.

But objectively, many of the "finished"/reshot shots in the released versions are good enough to include in an edit of the film.

At the end of the day, it's always going to be a compromised film that had "stuff done to it."
I made the best version of the film I could put together under those circumstances.

Some discussion of this appears here as commentary:
viewtopic.php?p=7#p7
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