Jaws Is Back, But This Time You’ll Probably See Him Or Hear Him Before He Bites.
There are two notes, roughly spelled ‘Baaaaa-bom’, that strike more fear into cinema-goers of a certain vintage than any other sound in the world. John Williams used a cello to single-handedly do more damage to beach-swimming and related industries than any actual killer shark ever could, and Bill Butler created the visuals to match. And it might soon be time to shelve the speedos yet again…
What’s interesting about this, is that this really is evidence of film becoming as valuable, and more importantly, valued, a source of historic documentation as great literature, music, newsprint and reportage. A century of cinematic releases are rightly becoming important indicators of the Zeitgeist they were born of and allow us to look back on them, and judge them in social and political contexts.
In recognition of this, Universal are remastering and re-releasing 13 of their most iconic films and allowing people to relive the memories and imagery that they represent. And it sure doesn’t come easy.
The last time you saw ‘Jaws’, it ran to 124 minutes, and the Studio have taken the original negatives, chemically treated them to clean up any wear and tear, and set about the unenviable task of restoring the picture *frame-by-frame* to restore and augment their original glory.
Think about that for a second.
Cinema is projected at 24 fps (frames per second). That means that a 124 minute movie contains 7440 seconds of film, made up of 178560 frames. If you can imagine taking an hour to work on each frame (sometimes you can spend three to four hours re-colouring, re-mastering, compositing and reviewing a single frame of film), you start to get an idea of the work load involved in this project.
Not only that, but the original score, which was also laid down on a 35mm print back in the day has been taken, digitised, remastered, and tweaked to lend a whole new depth to an already iconic score in 7.1 Surround Sound for the audiophiles out there. The mind boggles.
Either way, Universal are to be lauded for this enterprise, and fans of the original Oscar-winning ‘shark’s tale’ (badum-tish), are certainly in for a treat when the refurbished work is released on August 14th.
We at Grafton Media, and in particular the Digital Productions Department, can’t wait for this one. If you agree, or even better, if you’ve got a video / animation project you’d like us to take a look at for you, why not drop us a line, find us on facebook, twitter, the new-look Google+ we’ll be telling you about later, or even just call in for a coffee and a chat. We’ve got a Blu-ray player, and a massive 3D HD LCD TV. So we do.
For those of you who can’t wait, and want a sneak preview of what to expect, you can find more information here:
And while we’re at it, the other films included in Universal’s 100th Anniversary celebration are: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Birds, Buck Privates, Dracula (1931), Dracula Spanish (1931), Frankenstein, Schindler’s List, Out of Africa, Pillow Talk, Bride of Frankenstein, The Sting and To Kill a Mockingbird. All Quiet on the Western Front, Buck Privates, Out of Africa and To Kill a Mockingbird were released earlier this year.
Good question Eamon. It's the first I'd heard of it, because the entire project was supposedly all about the Blu-Ray enhancements, but if you're going to put that kind of workload in to re-creating something it can never do any harm to get it out there in as many media as possible to see return on investment. I suppose a lot of it will come down to what else Universal (and others) have hitting the big screen around the same time. Ireland's an extremely small territory, so you don't want to distract from something else you're only finished, nor do you want your re-release to be buried in the rush to screens, especially around 4th July weekend which drives cinema releases worldwide for the quarter. My money's on no, unless the IFI manage to negotiate something, but even at that, it's doubtful unfortunately...