Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Restoration in Imax 3D - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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This week, I attended a special screening of The Wizard of Oz in its newly restored Imax 3D version, which will be shown in over 300 Imax theaters across North America for only one week starting September 20. Then, on October 1, it will be available in a limited-edition Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet box set. The restoration, 3D conversion, and re-release are all in celebration of the iconic movie's 75th anniversary.

 

 

The screening I saw was held at the newly renamed and renovated TCL (formerly Grauman's and then Mann's) Chinese Theatre—you know, the famous theater on Hollywood Boulevard with many movie stars' handprints, shoeprints, and signatures in concrete slabs that form the floor of the outdoor foyer. Interestingly, this theater hosted the original premier of The Wizard of Oz on August 15, 1939. (The 75th anniversary is calculated from when production began in 1938, not from the release date.) The venue now bears the name of a huge Chinese consumer-electronics manufacturer, which is somehow fitting, I suppose.

 

The TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, CA

 

Most recently, the theater underwent a conversion to Imax—in fact, it's the largest Imax auditorium in the world in terms of seating capacity (932 seats) with the third largest Imax screen in North America (94x46 feet). This didn't seem to affect the decor, which retains its 1930s Chinese kitsch look. However, the seats are now in a stadium configuration, which is much better for sightlines.

 


To achieve stadium seating, the front of the theater had to be excavated.

 

The conversion to 3D took about 16 months working with Prime Focus, one of the premiere 3D-conversion companies in the business. (Some of its other work includes The Great Gatsby, Total Recall, World War Z, and Men in Black 3.) Starting with an 8K scan of the original Technicolor camera negative, a depth map was created of each frame, followed by a long process to refine viewer distances and layer shapes and objects.

 

I suspect that many cinephiles will cry foul at Warner Bros. for converting such a classic film to 3D—in fact, this is the oldest movie ever to be so converted. It's sacrilege for purists, but I found it to be delightful. The 3D was quite effective without calling attention to itself—I especially liked the shots down the long hall to the Wizard's inner sanctum. Of course, there are many shots with painted backdrops, and these did look a bit flat, but not glaringly so. My only suggestion would have been to leave the sepia-tone scenes in Kansas in 2D and switch to 3D when Dorothy opens the door to see Oz for the first time. I thought this technique was very effective in Tron: Legacy.

 

In addition to the work done by Warner Bros. and Prime Focus, Imax applied its DMR (Digital Media Remastering) process to the image and sound. This involves proprietary algorithms and image specialists to remove visual noise and grain and "optimize the image (shot by shot) and soundtrack for The Imax Experience." Once again, most purists will howl at removing film grain, but it didn't bother me. The image was pristine and sharply detailed—so much so that you could easily see the Lion's individual hairs and the texture of the burlap on the Scarecrow's face. In fact, I was surprised that the prosthetics on the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion weren't more obvious.

 

The good news for purists is that Warner Bros. and Imax retained the movie's original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. And like all Imax 3D presentations, this one used twin 2K projectors, which makes for a brighter 3D image. The DCP (digital cinema package) has 4K data, but Imax uses 2K projectors for now because of their superior contrast. The company is working on next-generation laser projection that will feature dual 4K projectors at some point in the future.

 

My biggest disappointment was the sound, which was quite harsh and abrasive. Using modern audio-processing tools, I'm sure they could have tamed it without much damage.

 

Speaking of the audio, I measured an average level of 80.2 dBA with the highest 1-second maximum at 90.5 dBA. The level remained over 84.2 dBA 10 percent of the time, 80.2 dBA 33 percent of the time, and 77.9 dBA 50 percent of the time, with an OSHA dosage of only 2.9 percent. All in all, these are very civilized levels—but what do you expect from a 75-year-old movie?

 

The limited-edition box set includes five discs and many collectibles, such as a 52-page hardcover book and a ruby-slippers sparkle globe.

 

I really enjoyed the Imax 3D presentation of The Wizard of Oz, and I recommend it to all fans of this classic movie. As I mentioned at the outset, it will be in Imax theaters for only one week, starting September 20. After that, you can get the limited-edition box set and enjoy it at home. Either way, it's a joy to behold, even after 75 years.

 

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post #2 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 11:22 AM
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Scott,

Nice write-up, Thanks!
Makes me rethink my previous position; having NO desire for 3D at home - Hmmm..?

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post #3 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 12:34 PM
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I stilk haven't opened my 70th anniversary box set. Guess it about that time.
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post #4 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 03:53 PM
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Great review. Do you remember the two last times that Wizard of Oz was reissued? Five years ago, a Fathom Events broadcast of the HD 2k print was streamed to theaters courtesy of TCM before its bluray debut. Ten years before that, WB reissued Oz in a wide release 35mm restored print with remixed 5.1 surround sound for the three main digital surround sound systems in addtion to the mono soundtrack; during that time the film was released on DVD for the first time. Both of these were quite succesful, but not as big as the numerous tv airings of this classic movie since its TV debut on CBS in 1956 as well as home media sales. TNT, TBS, and TCM air the movie uncut. As for the 3d version, the MPAA has rerated it PG for scary images. When first released, Wizard of Oz wasn't a money maker like Gone WIth the wind, but throught several reissues, it has become the best known live action kids movie of all time.
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post #5 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 07:20 PM
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Nice right up Scott thank you. I just saw the commercial on TV for this. What stood out in your article to me was his long it took to do this, wow!
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post #6 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 08:13 PM
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Thanks and great write-up. They have it for pre-order on Amazon for 80 bucks and for all you get that seems like a steal. This movie is definitely one to own for any home theater enthusiast. I hope my nieces and nephews can get into it like I did when I was a kid. You never know with the Millennials these days. I think the flying monkey scenes and the wicked witch might be a bit much for the younger ones.
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post #7 of 22 Old 09-19-2013, 05:24 AM
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For anyone looking for screening times and locations:

http://www.imax.com/movies/m/the-wizard-of-oz-an-imax-3d-experience/
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post #8 of 22 Old 09-19-2013, 07:14 AM
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As usual, a very nice write-up Scott! BTW, what's the basic differences between the 70th & 75th edition? IMax & 3D only?

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post #9 of 22 Old 09-19-2013, 09:09 AM
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Thanks and nice write-up Scott!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

in fact, this is the oldest movie ever to be so converted.
Would like to clarify that this is the "Oldest" 3D film conversion for a 1939 IMAX movie and it would be true for the studio Prime Focus, but Legend Studio has converted older films that have already been released to BD 3D: 1934s March of the Wooden Soldiers,1931-1938s The Best of the Little Rascals in 3D, and 1936-1939s The Three Stooges in 3D
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post #10 of 22 Old 09-22-2013, 01:52 AM
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Tonight when I first heard about the Wizard of Oz 3D release I immediately scowled and poo-poo'd the idea and had no interest in seeing it. After a quick google search I found this article about the whole conversion process and am now intrigued and have tickets to see it this Tuesday night.

http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/the-wizard-of-oz-imax-3d-conversion-1200610859/
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post #11 of 22 Old 09-22-2013, 03:12 PM
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Just saw my first 3d movie and it was the 'Wizard of Oz' at the (full sized)IMAX theatre in Buford GA,. just north of Atlanta. Really enjoyed the big screen format and the 3d, also the movie had the perfect aspect ratio to fit the IMAX screen.
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post #12 of 22 Old 09-22-2013, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spike jones View Post

Just saw my first 3d movie and it was the 'Wizard of Oz' at the (full sized)IMAX theatre in Buford GA,. just north of Atlanta. Really enjoyed the big screen format and the 3d, also the movie had the perfect aspect ratio to fit the IMAX screen.

3D was great, sharper picture, but color was washed out a bit.
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post #13 of 22 Old 09-23-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul H View Post

Thanks and nice write-up Scott!
Would like to clarify that this is the "Oldest" 3D film conversion for a 1939 IMAX movie and it would be true for the studio Prime Focus, but Legend Studio has converted older films that have already been released to BD 3D: 1934s March of the Wooden Soldiers,1931-1938s The Best of the Little Rascals in 3D, and 1936-1939s The Three Stooges in 3D

Well, I was going on what the press release said, which I guess is still true for Imax 3D. Thanks for the clarification!


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post #14 of 22 Old 09-23-2013, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avliner View Post

As usual, a very nice write-up Scott! BTW, what's the basic differences between the 70th & 75th edition? IMax & 3D only?

I've submitted this question to Warner Bros, but so far no answer. I suspect they used the restoration from the 70th anniversary to make the 3D version, but I don't know for sure. I'll report back here if and when they send me an answer.


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post #15 of 22 Old 09-23-2013, 04:49 PM
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Great review Scott as usual! I love it when you do these write-ups.

I really love this movie. I use to watch it as a young child and the tornado scene would be so scary to me. Maybe it was because I live in Kansas too and we get lots of tornados. This really is one of those classic movies that is timeless and I would have loved to be able to see it in IMAX but oh well. Sounds like it was great too aside from the harsh audio but as said you gotta consider its age. I really need to get this on Blu.

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post #16 of 22 Old 09-24-2013, 07:17 AM
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Right after reading the article we went and saw it Saturday morning at our local IMAX theater. As I have never watched the movie, except maybe the first 5 minutes, it was a real joy to see the results of the restoration and also the story and performances. Very nice job indeed.
That someone gives a comment about the colors being washed out is rather ridiculous. I bet your Grand Ma was not born in 1939 so, to be able to restore such an old movie with these results is a miracle right there. Great job Warner!

Recommended (even if $18 per person is pretty steep)!
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post #17 of 22 Old 09-24-2013, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Most recently, the theater underwent a conversion to Imax—in fact, it's the largest Imax auditorium in the world in terms of seating capacity (932 seats) with the third largest Imax screen in North America (94x46 feet). This didn't seem to affect the decor, which retains its 1930s Chinese kitsch look. However, the seats are now in a stadium configuration, which is much better for sightlines.

Scott, Since the Chinese is now a digital IMAX with a 2.0:1 screen, was Wizard presented in original Academy ratio with black bars on each side (or the curtains not fully opened)?

HDPERSON reports that a film based IMAX shows it correctly and that it fills the entire screen. Has anyone else seen it in a real IMAX theater and can verify that the film's 1.37:1 aspect ratio fills every inch of the screen instead of just the center portion of a digital IMAX screen?
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post #18 of 22 Old 09-25-2013, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnty View Post

Scott, Since the Chinese is now a digital IMAX with a 2.0:1 screen, was Wizard presented in original Academy ratio with black bars on each side (or the curtains not fully opened)?

HDPERSON reports that a film based IMAX shows it correctly and that it fills the entire screen. Has anyone else seen it in a real IMAX theater and can verify that the film's 1.37:1 aspect ratio fills every inch of the screen instead of just the center portion of a digital IMAX screen?

Here is the verification: The real IMAX screen is 53 feet high and 72 feet wide. 53 into 72 is a ratio of 1.36. A 4 by 3 screen is 1.33. The picture filled the screen. The Titan screen of Reading Cinema is 35 feet high and 66 feet wide for a ratio of 1.89. It would not look as good on a Titan screen.
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post #19 of 22 Old 09-25-2013, 06:06 AM
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The Wizard of Oz, has to be the greatest 'cash cow' for the motion picture industry.
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post #20 of 22 Old 10-10-2013, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnty View Post


Scott, Since the Chinese is now a digital IMAX with a 2.0:1 screen, was Wizard presented in original Academy ratio with black bars on each side (or the curtains not fully opened)?

HDPERSON reports that a film based IMAX shows it correctly and that it fills the entire screen. Has anyone else seen it in a real IMAX theater and can verify that the film's 1.37:1 aspect ratio fills every inch of the screen instead of just the center portion of a digital IMAX screen?


Yes, it was shown in the original aspect ratio with black bars on the sides at the digital screening I saw. It would fill a "real" Imax screen more or less completely, but you couldn't see it in 3D in that case, since it would be a film projector.


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post #21 of 22 Old 10-11-2013, 12:46 PM
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I made it a point to see this in IMAX 3D and was VERY VERY happy I did so.

The 3D effect, as Scott said, was very pleasant and added to what in many ways is a "novelty" film to start with.
The whole film felt like a 3D paper doll presentation and I enjoyed it very much, as did my youngest daughter (8) who loved OZ the great and powerful.

They did a really great job cleaning up the movie and the 3D was tastefully done.
While it is a shame it didn't run longer than one week, there were not many people in the theater when I saw it, but those who were there applauded as I did at the end.
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post #22 of 22 Old 10-15-2013, 07:47 AM
 
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It really is amazing considering its been that long ago.

I watched it with my grandmother in 3D on her UN60F8000 (ever so fun to calibrate) and to see how much each release (original film stock->VHS->DVD->Blu-ray 3D) reduces speckles and noise from the picture is alone,
more amazing to me than the fact they got 3D working out of such an old film.

It's just a little nag that it wasn't shot with a widescreen lens way back then tongue.gif
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