Originally Posted by jtbell /forum/post/15401425
During those opening credits, the background picture fluctuated noticeably in brightness. Was the original like that, or is it an artifact of some kind of signal-processing to enhance the picture?
I grew up with this movie so probably have more than .02 to inject here.
1. In the 60's (and decades before that), title credits were inserted optically. Meaning: you basically stack layers of film on top of each other. So the base layer would be the actual filmed images of people, scenery, etc. And the credits are put on another layer of film with transparent backgrounds. And they overlayed the two but also added in the complexity or fading the credits in and out one after another -- which was basically what you saw at the opening credits of "The Sound of Music".
2. In many of those credits, the transparent film underlying them weren't 100% cleansed. So at the left of the "Directed by Robert Wise", for instance, you see specks of dirt or scratches against the sky -- the added clarity of HD made this easy to spot.
3. When NBC had the rights years ago, they chose to eliminate this fluctuating brightness by providing only a freeze frame for each credit slide, rather than running the actual film. In some instances, NBC even reworked the layout of the wording and re-inserted the credits electronically over freeze-frames of passages minus the optical overlays. With ABC taking over, the original credits were restored -- varying brightness and all.
4. Even at 1.77:1, it was a tough task to get all 7 children into the frame -- although it was easier than 1.33:1.
5. ABC was much more generous in allotting 4 hours to this 165-minute movie. NBC allotted only 3 hours and the cuts became more pronounced each year they aired it.