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Fred Calvert included this shot in Princess and the Cobbler, but it was cut from Arabian Knight. This is also true of quite a bit of material in the Witch and War Machine sequences. Since Princess and the Cobbler was never released on DVD in widescreen, this material is extremely difficult to restore. We have a 4x3, heavily cropped DVD from Australia, and a widescreen VHS with timecode over the picture at center bottom. Christoph Nass filtered and restored the 4x3 DVD quite cleverly, to remove some strange digital ghosting that appears around the edges of lines. He also filtered the timecoded VHS. Being an NTSC VHS, it's not terrific quality and suffers from ghosting and loss of lowlight detail. The 4x3 DVD was very carefully warped in After Effects to match the timecoded VHS source, or Arabian Knight, or the workprint, as needed from shot to shot. The VHS source was then color corrected to match the DVD as closely as possible, often requiring frame by frame attention to an extent. For the center bottom of the screen, which is missing due to the timecode on the VHS, I used the workprint, which also had to be color corrected to match. The workprint version of this shot is also an earlier take of it which doesn't quite match the version as reshot and appearing in Princess and the Cobbler. This is one of very few shots where the timecoded VHS of Princess and the Cobbler is actually higher quality than the PAL VHS of the workprint. This shot required some frame by frame attention and cleanup in Photoshop, as well as endless color correction trickery, and some motion keyframing to make the workprint material match the Princess and the Cobbler version, with its slightly different camerawork.
Certain iconic shots of Zigzag will appear in HD in the Mark 4.
Filtered workprint by Christoph Nass.
Motion estimation in After Effects puts this Calvert shot on “ones” with smoother motion than previously.
All storyboards have Dirt Remover applied and splices edited out. Some storyboards have not previously appeared in a Recobbled Cut, like this one of Tack.
A surprisingly difficult shot to recreate, this shot appears only in Princess and the Cobbler (and the workprint), not in Arabian Knight. It shows the flies hanging round the top of a tent The Thief is in. Since nearly all the moving parts of the image are contained in the cropped 4x3 PAL DVD of Princess and the Cobbler, I decided to recreate the rest of the shot in Photoshop, for a very clear background and result. This may have been a mistake, as it took hours and tons of motion keyframing in FCP to get a result which wasn't completely horrible. The deceptively simple shot was a ton of work, and the results aren't perfect either.
This charming bit of animation was previously edited out of the Recobbled Cuts. As is now usual, I color corrected it to match the Arabian Knight DVD as closely as possible (which in this case wasn't very closely), and seamlessly dissolved from Arabian Knight to a warped, color corrected workprint (with some Arabian Knight elements on the left side of the screen).
Some shots dissolve from a DVD source to the workprint so seamlessly you'll barely notice. In this case, the trees and moon are Photoshopped in from the Arabian Knight DVD, with the rest being a warped, color corrected workprint which transitions absolutely seamlessly.
The same goes for this scene. Composite shot of the Thief watering a tree; the trees and ground are still images from the DVD. The Thief is from the workprint, color corrected and warped. The transition to the DVD is perfectly seamless.
These storyboards have of course had Dirt Remover applied and splices removed. But they've also been very carefully color corrected using selective color correction to get just the right shades of orange and blue. Selective color correction is a similar process to Chroma Key (blue screen) and requires some work and thought.
Very careful Photoshop work and a little Chroma Key removes Fred Calvert's purple-skinned Eunuchs and replaces them with black-skinned characters based on Richard Williams footage elsewhere in the film. (A simple, if unfortunate design. I also added more dramatic lighting to the first shot.) This was very much a painting project done with a Wacom Intuos4 Tablet and pen. In the second image above, I painted the character myself to match a low quality image from the workprint. In all cases, I had to do a lot of painting to get the bodies looking just right.
Dirt-removed, color corrected storyboards. At this point in our previous best copy of the workprint, the audio was so low as to be basically nonexistent, and a lot of audio from Princess and the Cobbler and elsewhere had to be faked in to make the film watchable. No such problems with this version of the workprint - the VHS sound stays clear throughout. Any switching to Princess and the Cobbler's audio and other sources will only be done when I feel it will improve the project.
Automated dirt removal, noise reduction and autolevel color correction make this pencil test layout look very clean indeed.
HD clip by Peter C.
In any shot where Calvert's purple-skinned Eunuchs move, I applied Selective Color Correction, which is similar to Chroma Key (blue screen), in order to darken only the purple areas of the image. The results are never quite perfect due to the low resolution of the image, but they're as clean as possible under the circumstances. Keyframe-animated eight-point garbage mattes are used to single out just the Eunuchs as they walk away, so that other purple areas like Nanny's mouth and YumYum's clothing aren't affected. I take eight points and draw a soft, boxy shape around the Eunuchs which then moves with them as needed.
The editing of the Mark 4 is more similar to Richard Williams' original workprint, sometimes featuring shots and storyboards that didn't appear in previous Recobbled Cuts. Of course CHV's Dirt Remover and a little color correction makes all these storyboard scenes perfectly clean and clear.
This shot doesn't appear in Arabian Knight, but does appear in Princess and the Cobbler and the workprint. I used a 4x3 Princess DVD for most of the shot, with the workprint for the beginning of the shot. However, this is a composite shot and it's done so cleanly that there isn't any obvious difference. A still background was created in Photoshop based on the workprint. In After Effects, the 4x3 DVD was warped to match this. Only a tiny portion of the workprint's frame - the Thief himself at the bottom of the frame- was actually used in the shot - matted out in Photoshop and composited in. This was motion-keyframed to remove any shaking. The result is very clean.
Shots from the workprint are carefully color-corrected (with some extra blue sky added on the left side), and dissolve seamlessly to and from the Arabian Knight DVD, thanks to the warping previously done in After Effects.
I took several storyboards of “the hand” and stitched them together in Photoshop so that we could actually pan up to the hand, as the workprint suggests. I also cleaned up the image generally.
It was a lot of work to stitch this long shot of The Thief flying together, but well worth it. The workprint source had to match and seamlessly transition to sections of Arabian Knight and Princess and the Cobbler, and that required very careful color correction, with selective (Chroma Key like) color correction to the blue of the sky. The workprint was warped to match Arabian Knight, with extra blue sky composited in at the left. Splice frames, film damage, and shots where The Thief flies offscreen on the left side were fixed by hand in Photoshop. Some dirt remover was used when practical, and occasionally Chroma Key for the blue sky. The very end of the shot sees The Thief flying around the mountain with a background of many stone hands. This is in the cropped 4x3 Princess and the Cobbler DVD, so this was warped to match the workprint and composited over it, with the workprint then very carefully color corrected to match, using some selective color correction for the Thief's cloak and etc.
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 (as usual to recreate the original simple, if unfortunate, design). 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.
More shots where the 4x3 cropped Princess and the Cobbler DVD (in the center) had to be composited over the timecoded Princess VHS (at the sides). The VHS has murky color and suffers from some ghosting, so often, since these scenes are generally animated on “twos,” I don't use the first or last frame of the VHS source and simply repeat the frame adjacent. A lot of selective color correction (Chroma Key/bluescreen style) had to be used to get specific colors in the VHS source to match the DVD source at all.
I decided to go the extra mile on this shot. Once the 4x3 DVD and widescreen VHS were composited together, the missing “black box” area covered the Witch's right breast for ten frames here. I decided to draw a background in Photoshop to cover up the “black box”, and then animated the witch's breasts back in by hand, frame by frame, using a Wacom Intuos4 Tablet and pen, given to me by Calpain of Equestria Daily.
Once the 4x3 DVD and widescreen VHS were composited together, there was no actual animation covering the missing “black box” area at the bottom center of the screen here. So I simply drew some extra background in Photoshop and added it to the shot. Actually most of the background here is simply a still image done in Photoshop at this point. The Eunuchs were changed from purple to black using selective color correction (Chroma Key style).
This shot, where the 4x3 Princess and the Cobbler cropped DVD had to be warped and composited over the workprint, represented a real color correcting challenge, to match the brown of the walls and witch and the blue of the sky, and so on. Selective color correction was used to handle these colors separately, but I often had to go frame by frame and make small changes to the color correction levels. Chromakey and some more extreme matting was used for the very end of the shot, to remove the blue from the DVD source so that we'd only see the workprint's blue sky. Otherwise the color of the DVD's blue sky was standing out as inconstent. Splices were also painted out from the workprint in Photoshop, as is now standard. The left and right sides of the workprint image had to be color corrected separately using mattes.
HD sources from Peter C.
More shots composited from the cropped 4x3 Princess and the Cobbler PAL DVD and the timecoded Princess VHS. The left and right sides of the VHS image had to be color corrected separately using mattes. A lot of selective color correction was used to get individual colors like YumYum's pink feather and Tack's white shirt correct, while still adding the necessary red to the darker areas of the frame using 3-way Color Correction.
Heavily noise-reduced and composited together from two different sources, this pencil test from a 1980 documentary, originally deleted from the film but restored for the previous Recobbled Cuts, looks better than ever. It was a frame by frame project editing this one, and piecing it together, due to minor frame rate mismatches between my two sources.
This is an unfinished work in progress version of this shot. These two shots aren't finished in color in the workprint, but appear in Princess and the Cobbler, and in very low quality in the Calvert WIP VHS. So, here's our usual compositing of the 4x3 Princess DVD, warped to fit over the timecoded VHS which is then carefully color corrected. But we also have, at the bottom center of the image, material from the low-quality Calvert WIP VHS, and I'll probably add some extra stuff in Photoshop as well.
The storyboard sequence in which the Witch turns into smoke and destroys the mountain was carefully reedited for this version to seem more like a moving scene. Splices and bad frames were edited out, and the boards were color corrected, with all dirt removed with CHV's Dirt Remover as is now usual.
A brief section at the beginning of this shot of Zigzag whipping his alligators had to be restored from the workprint rather than Arabian Knight. This only affected a small portion of the frame, so I carefully color corrected the alligators and matted and Chroma Keyed (blue screened) them over a still image taken from the Arabian Knight DVD. The result is so seamless you probably wouldn't notice it.
Calvert also cut the end of the scene, but since the animation is the same forward and backward, I could simply repeat the necessary frames backward, along with a fade to black where his glowing red eye fades out last. This was accomplished using Chroma Key.
These storyboards in particular are a step up from the Mark 3 source. The Mark 3 source didn't have 'em. Dirt removed and color corrected as usual.
This shot was very painstakingly recreated using video footage from the rare PAL Color Tests VHS tape. The result is significantly sharper and clearer than the workprint version, and doesn't have grease pencil lines all over it indicating a dissolve, as the workprint version does. However, it took a lot of work and magic to get it to this point. The sides of the image were recreated in Photoshop (using workprint elements), as were portions of the image itself, and certain frames where the VHS tape glitched. There was a piece of scotch tape over the background on the color tests VHS, and this was Photoshopped out as a still image, then removed using Difference Matting in After Effects. The results were not perfect and required a lot of compositing and touching up in Final Cut Pro. As is usual for Color Tests material, there were pieces of paper indicating the frame number and other debris which had to be removed in FCP. Many different layers at different points of the image resulted in a final seamless version. Camera movement was keyframed in in FCP.
Work in progress for another shot which only appears in Princess and the Cobbler, and which has to be composited from the cropped 4x3 DVD and timecoded VHS.
Although we have this shot in HD quality thanks to Peter C., the HD version is missing the lightning flashes which strike in the final version. I drew a matte of the windows in Photoshop, and also redrew the lightning flashes in HD quality as black and white images. These I composited over the HD footage to match the original workprint and Princess and the Cobbler.
Certain shots, storyboards and pencil tests that didn't previously appear in any Recobbled Cut appear here, thanks to the much clearer workprint VHS source finally making it worthwhile to include them. In some cases, Calvert animation may be removed to match.
HD German Trailer sources scanned at 5k cinema resolution by Helge Bernhardt in Germany, using his own self-built rig. The Recobbled Cut Mark 4 will have about 30 minutes of HD footage included, or includable.
Works in progress for compositing the Princess and the Cobbler cropped 4x3 DVD source over the workprint (or the Timecoded VHS as you see here).
That last shot of the war machine will receive a Photoshopped extension to cover that black box, as it did in the Mark 3.
As before - All storyboard sequences now use CHV's Dirt Remover to remove all dirt. Splices and bad frames are edited out. Results very clean.
From an 1080p HD transfer of 13 minutes of material bought and paid for by restorationist Peter C in the UK. We are removing splice frames from this material and perhaps dirt as well - David Mackenzie has prepared a version which has dirt removed, but it requires serious frame by frame attention to be useable.
Perhaps the cleanest, most successful restored shot in the entire film. This HD shot was dirt-removed and restored frame by frame by David Mackenzie. Originally there were splices, jumps at the beginning and end, and a major film jump toward the end, as well as a small animation error in the background. I took his restored dirt-free version and did additional frame by frame restoration to minimize any film jumps and errors. The result is very clean indeed.
These two storyboards only appear in the Calvert work in progress VHS, although they're on model for Williams' vision of Tack. The WIP VHS is extremely low quality so these were very carefully restored by averaging frames and repainting in Photoshop.