Genesis - Shepperton Studios 16mm HD - 30/31 October 1973
Shepperton Studios, UK: 30/31 October 1973
01 - Watcher of the Skies (8:04)
02 - Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (9:02)
03 - I Know What I Like (5:46)
04 - The Musical Box (11:39)
05 - SR Story (2:40)
06 - Supper's Ready (23:59)
07 - Total Time: 01:00:48
Audio: 2-Channel PCM 48000 CBR
Artwork: Dave Raphael
It was (almost) 40 years ago that Genesis performed in this studio and (almost) 10 years ago that I did our first transfer of this 16mm film in PAL format (720x576). The results of this effort along with the generosity at meeksgenesis, SAB for the audio work, RH for the artwork, and a host of others well documented, created a masterpiece that has been used countless times after on TV, bootlegs, "review" DVDs, and even the official Genesis boxed sets. Who would have thought that our work would go so far? Well, I am here to try to push the envelope a little further...I give you Shepperton HD.
16mm is used for amateur (and even professional) filmmaking so there are many more transfer options than for 8mm. But the best of the best is the Spirit DataCine in 2K (2048 pixel CCD resolution) and is used for Hollywood films, as well as PG's recent Secret World Blu-Ray DVD. Of course it is far more common nowadays to see 35mm, transferred by the Spirit in 4K since the film is bigger. They also make an 8mm gate for the Spirit, but because the smaller film size can only use 1K of the resolution (less than HD) this caused debates as to whether it is worthwhile and makes this 8mm gate extremely expensive and almost unheard of. You may also notice that the gate on the Spirit is a little bigger than the previous transfer, maybe 3-5% or so of extra image around the edges. This is still a 4:3 aspect ratio, but more of the stage can be seen than ever before.
I included a comparison image of previous transfers of this film (VHS, Laserdisc, SD, etc) but the comparison really isn't fair as HD is many times bigger than the others, so when I changed the sizes to match and the JPEG itself added compression...not sure how useful the comparison is anymore, FYI.
The definition we are presented with here is amazing HD (1440x1080), and a beautifully low contrast image. If you thought it was impossible to see more detail than the DVD we created 10 years back, your eyes will feast on this. Cymbal grooves, wood grain, each string on a 12-string guitar...it's all here. Of course in addition to even more film grain, we can see new imperfections like hairs and dust. But I noticed that most of these imperfections switch as the camera view switches, and then switch back when the angle switches back. This means is that these are as a result of the original film recording/creation/editing, and are permanently on the print I have and cannot be removed. I did "clean" some of these digitally, but this is an inexact process and I estimate I was able to remove only about 30% of these imperfections.
The Spirit allowed for better color adjustment during the transfer, so I had less work to do on the color this time. However, the color on this film is kinda a nightmare. One example of the color issues occurs at the end of The Musical Box, where three separate shots show a perfect black background, a cut to a shot with a blue background, followed by a shot that is balanced towards green...all in a matter of a few seconds. So not only has the film been spliced (each splice mark can be seen in HD) between films with a different color balance, but there is sometimes a different color on the right side of the film than the left side of the film in the same scene. I corrected as much as realistically possible, but it is far from perfect.
It is also interesting (to me anyway) that the image has a little "fringing" on the right side, and that during Supper's Ready there was a small vertical misalignment with the sprocket holes. These imperfections tell me that this was not put together in a very professional way. Color changes, dust on the print, scratches on the source...this is a Charisma production but it has many telltale signs of amateur filmwork, or at least a very rushed production. Much like the 1973 Dutch Live Test Pressing made by a professional organization (Philips) but not polished for official release.
Because of the amazing video transfer, I felt that the audio was a not a good match in quality. This 16mm film uses "optical" audio, printed down the side of the film like waveforms. This is common for 16mm and fine for dialogue, but not good for music. And unfortunately, there is no great machine to get a better audio transfer, and no great audio source has been discovered even after all these years. So I decided to resync it. [insert *gasp* here]
I know what you're thinking, but this is a Shepperton Studios "performance", with audio and video mixed between different days and takes. There were already many points in the film where the audio and video did not match, and it is debatable whether I did a better or worse job with modern tools than the studio did with 1970s technology. Of course there are stories before some songs that could not be redubbed, so they are there in their original form. But I estimate that I was able to achieve about a 90% match for the entire film. I used various soundboards and radio shows, switched and layered and cheated and fine tuned to get it as close as possible. Thanks to Willem for help reviewing my work and suggesting alternate audio sources, and to Dave Raphael for some amazing original artwork as well as suggestions on the film itself.
For those who prefer the original audio, I would suggest watching the previous version. This version was created for a different experience, to breathe new life into a film we have seen many many...uh, many times before. So, see it once again for the first time. The time and money involved was simply ridiculous (please don't ask) so I will *not* see you with a new version in 2023...well, probably not.
NOTE: For those who downloaded the freeleech beta version, I thank you for your suggestions. This final version is not too different if you don't want to download again. The biggest fix was to a color space error I had in the last part of my script, that makes the dark/light transitions a bit more natural.