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Cutting a new 'Blade': No bloodshed allowed

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Post Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:36 am

Cutting a new 'Blade': No bloodshed allowed

Cutting a new 'Blade': No bloodshed allowed
By Carolyn Giardina

Sept 20, 2007
"You shouldn't put your foot through a Rembrandt. That's what we were being very careful not to do," Per Hallberg says of restoring Ridley Scott's 1982 classic "Blade Runner."

The futuristic Warner Bros. film recently was restored and remastered in 4K resolution (THR 5/23) with 5.1 audio to mark its 25th anniversary.

This new version -- "Blade Runner: The Final Cut" -- is slated for release Oct. 5 at the Landmark in Los Angeles and the Ziegfeld in New York. It also will be included in a "Blade Runner" box set -- due out later this year on both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, as well as DVD -- that also will offer the orignal domestic and international versions, the 1992 version and the work print.

On "The Final Cut," sound man Hallberg's drive for great care and precision was echoed by others on the project.

"Colleges have courses (on 'Blade Runner')," says Kurt Galvao, director of feature postproduction at Warner Bros. "It sounds cliche, but the goal was to do it justice and to do it right."

The process -- which included active participation from Scott -- started with getting all of the film elements in the 4K resolution. "From the 4K you get much more detail," Galvao says.

Warner Bros. scanned the 35mm film in 4K, and Fotokem scanned the visual effects shots from 65mm to 8K. The 8K elements were converted to 4K, and the digital images were delivered to Technicolor Digital Intermediates for picture restoration. TDI colorist Jill Bogdanowicz -- with additional work from colleague Stephen Nakamura -- handled the 4K digital intermediate color timing and creation of the master.

Uniquely, TDI has access to a print that Scott had lab-timed around 2001. "We had that to look at," Bogdanowicz says. "So I got a good idea of where Scott expected this to start."

She adds that the project benefited from the new 65mm scans. "We had all that high resolution and all that detail to start working, which was really amazing," Bogdanowicz says. "Nobody's ever seen them this way before."

Visual effects were headed by supervisor John Scheele and included the work of Illusion Arts, Lola, the Orphanage and Sony Pictures ImageWorks. Says Galvao: "We gave matte paintings more depth and some detail that they didn't have before, so they blend better with the principal photography."

Also, the Zhora character's death scene was refilmed with actress Joanna Cassidy. "When she is crashing through the glass as she is being shot, you could always tell there was a stunt person," Galvao relates. "We shot Johanna (with green screen), and put her face and hair into the body of the stunt person."

Bogdanowicz adds of the color timing: "Matching the visual effects was the biggest challenge, and (matching) some of the elements that in the past hadn't matched perfectly or had not cut perfectly. We had a lot more control over the image than they did back in 1982. We lit the matte paintings quite a bit, to darken certain areas. "

Soundelux's Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers were supervising sound editors on the restoration project.

Explained Hallberg: "We wanted to accentuate the audio without making people feel like we did something. It's a great track. It's more inventive than almost anything that has ever been made." The final mix was completed at Warner Bros. Studios. Sound mixers were Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett, and Soundelux's Chris Assells was the sound designer.

At TDI, Thom Polizzi produced and Tom Burton oversaw the restoration.

Gillian Hutching edited.

Technicolor handled the filmout and answer prints. For digital cinema versions, Digital Cinema Packages were created in 2K. Meanwhile, Warners will store the 4K master on digital files, prepared for future requirements. Says Galvao: "Technology progresses. Someday, theaters will be projecting 4K."

Find this article at here.


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Post Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:10 am

OK, now we know where the screenings will be:

LA: The Landmark Theatres, on the Westside. Dammit! I was hoping they'd show it at the ArcLight Hollywood, hopefully in the Dome. It is going to be blue murder to get to the Westside to see this. Hollywood at least is accessible via the Red Line. Grumble grumble grumble...

NYC: The Ziegfeld Theatre. Now that sounds hawt: seeing BR at a legitimate Movie Palace and historical site. You guys in NYC have the better deal.

I STILL want to see a showing of BR at the Million Dollar Theatre Downtown. They seem to be striking film prints of the Final Cut from mentions in the article...there is NO EXCUSE now. I thought this was going to be a digital-only release from what was said about it at Comic-Con, particularly at the Digital Bits panel, but WB seems to be striking prints. Could this mean also that there will be a WIDER RELEASE???? Anyone got spies at WB? Anyone? Bueller?
Yes, I really live in Los Angeles. Srsly. And yeah, life really does imitate art here. Especially now we've got those video billboards. No spinners yet. But I suppose that's next.


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Post Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:57 pm

I'm going to see it on the 13th of October at the Ziegfeld Theatre with my dad, the original BR fanatic in our family. Looking forward to it!

And that was a great read, Kipple.
[In reference to A Good Year] "So anyway, fuck 'em. It was a good film."
-Ridley Scott


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Post Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:56 pm

That is most likely when I will be going too.

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