Restored Films (57)
Note: Updated version of this film was uploaded on 5/31/15 with improved color.
A few months back I stumbled upon a 3 minute reel of film on ebay titled "Disney World '78". The seller had no information of what was on the film, so I took a chance and bought it...I kept my fingers crossed that it wasn't laced with character greetings!
The short 3 minute film is like most that were taken years ago; The family full of excitement boards the monorail, enters the Magic Kingdom, sees a few attractions and leaves before the sun has set. When Super8 film was king one cartridge of film, just three precious minutes, was often all most people had to record their memories. In this home movie it is quite evident that person behind the camera was very cautious with their film; many shots only last a few frames, telling us that they were nervous that they'd run out of film - as a result, the film does jump around wildly from scene to scene.
Remember that you are watching the memories that were important to this family. The ones they wanted to bring home, remember, and share with family and friends...now inadvertently share with you. The little girl (now probably in her mid forties!) is filled with anticipation on the monorail, we see her buy flowers on West Street, and the family looks back at the camera as they walk towards the castle. Feelings all of us can identify with.
Highlights: Monorail passing through the Contemporary - complete with the orange glass trees, West Street, Swan Boat boarding area and Tomorrowland fountains.
Technical Notes: The film unfortunately suffers some sort of crystalline degeneration. You'll see what looks like snowflakes on some frames. These are too strong to be cleaned by the software; a frame by frame restoration of this film would be the only way to remove them and is not warranted based on time/cost vs content.
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This is #4 in our series of restored home movies. From July 20, 1975 comes the Magic Kingdom Parade - Spirit of America. This was shot in Frontierland and shows that the parade was going opposite the normal parade route for that day. Not sure how often that was done... We are having this film scanned and will be updating it with a cleaner restoration once that is complete. The color on this film was pretty bad, it took a lot effort to get it where it is today. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago we posted the restored film of my grandparent's 1972 trip to the Magic Kingdom... Three years later, when I was barely walking, they made another pilgrimage to Florida, again stopping at the Magic Kingdom for a day.
This particular piece of film had some nasty issues I had to deal with. For one, there was a massive amount of film grain; this caused compression artifacts in motion areas after the film was scanned and compressed. As a result, I'm sending the reels off to be re-scanned and this time the files sent back to me will be uncompressed, allowing for a much cleaner restoration. The film also did not hold its color as the earlier film had. I'm pretty sure my grandfather used Kodak film in '72 and some off-brand in '75. Now, 39 years later we can tell the difference. I had to use three different color restoration techniques to get this as accurate as I could. Even then, some scenes aren't quite as perfect at I'd like them to be, however the film itself has blotches of yellow dis-coloration - possilby poorly manufactured or developed.
This restoration is 90% complete. I wanted to show you what I've done so far, but don't take this as the final cut. Once I have the improved footage I will upload that and let everyone know. Regardless, you'll find some amazing Tomorrowland footage in this film - including the pristine white look, waterfall towers, and a ride on the peoplemover...and some great footage of the now forgotten Swan Boats.
This is the first video restoration that we are releasing...We couldn't think of a better attraction to start with other than Horizons! Martin Smith, whom you all know from his Ultimate Tributes (www.martinsvids.net) was kind enough to send me this footage from June 1990 for enhancement/restoration.
A few things before you jump right to the video. Some of you will ask, if this was shot in 1990, why does it look "softer" and less realistic than the 1972 footage you recently restored? The answer is very simple - The footage shot in 1972 was film, which I sent off for conversion - it was scanned in at 1080 lines of resolution, the same as HD television. The 1990 footage was filmed in PAL (European video standard) and only has 576 lines of resolution - we can't scan this again, what we get from video is it! Its interesting that older footage in a way can provide a better experience with today's technology...
Martin supplied me a "rip" from the DVD, while the quality is excellent, it is no where near perfect. DVDs are the WORST possible way to archive your videos because they compress the footage into a smaller package and the chemical dyes in the disc will eventually fail over time, rendering your memories useless. On a screen DVDs may look wonderful, but when you take them apart frame by frame like I do for restoration, the artifacts from the compression begin to show. Imagine the video as a giant flip book - in a perfect world we'd have one page for every frame of video, just like in an animated film; on cell for every frame. However with DVD and other compression methods, each frame is not saved, instead they store parts of information about frames and the difference between each, this tells the video what has changed in the next frame and what has not. Complicated? Not really, but I may have put half my readers to sleep by now.
If Martin still had the S-VHS tape that contained this footage, we would start from that and could make this restoration even better. Fortunately the transfer that Martin had done years ago was very good so our starting point, while not perfect, its pretty darn good.
A few more notes:
- The video has been stabilized, so it is zoomed in a bit from the original - doing this allows for a more stable image and you only sacrifice about 20 pixels around the edge, no more than TV overscan. There may be some slight jerky motion on some scenes, this is because the computer can't compensate for extreme motion; its doing the best it can. I feel the trade off for a more stable video is worth a few of those now and then.
- The colors on the original are very muted and change from scene to scene. Without taking apart each scene (which would take me eons), I applied a general color enhancement across the whole video. Some scenes may be oversaturaged, while others may be less vivid. Again, source material and time here.
- Same with the brightnes; I tried to brighten some scenes but keep it dark enough so that you didn't see artifacts and in the dimmer sections. If I get an overall consensus that it is too bright/dark, I will make changes and update the video.
- Sharpness/softness - Same trade off here - each scene varies depending on how the camera was focused - got to opt for the best all around setting.
- Don't watch this full screen sitting at your computer. Your computer has 2.5 to 5 times the lines of resolution, this video looks best smaller or if you do play it full screen, walk away, turn up the volume, turn the lights off and sniff an orange as you go through Mesa Verde.
- If you have a Roku player, you can find this video on the Vimeo app on your Roku box/stick!
We aren't done....spread the word, and Enjoy!
And for those interested, here is an appoximate side by side comparison of the source video as compared to the restored video. This is not as good quality as above, but you'll see the differences:
This is #2 in our series of restored home movies. From 1972 comes the Magic Kingdom Main Street Parade...if you can call it that. Flanked on one end by the marching band and a fife and drum on the other, this parade really should be called a Character Cavalcade. It is not much more than the characters marching down the street or riding on the Main Street Vehicles. Scrooge McDuck is featured swerving around...Also interesting to note how the characters' costumes were much simpler. Hats off to Mickey for leading the parade, love that.
In 1972 my grandparents took a road trip from New Jersey to Florida...armed with AAA highlighted maps of the I-95 east coast corridor they stopped at South of the Border, Marineland, Busch Gardens, Walt Disney World and a host of other attractions. To this day I still have the 3-ring binder that contains the handwritten account of their entire itinerary; mileage logs, fuel stops, and notes. For many years I've had in my possession 700 feet of Super8 film taken by my grandparents that documented their entire trip. Recently, I had the footage converted and began to apply my film restoration techniques to the transfer. It's wonderful to see my late grandparents again and all the places they visited. What you see below is in the order that they filmed it; its as it happened.
The two reels together have a runtime of just over 40 minutes, but hidden in the middle of two reels is what I want to share with you - a bit over 9 minutes of rare early WDW home movie footage. What you are about to see is probably some of the earliest and most pristine looking film from Walt Disney World that you have ever seen. You'll be taken back to a time when Tomorrowland was incomplete, the old Frontierland Station still welcomed trains, the long lost West Street is adorned with flowers and you could see the Nautilus patrol the lagoon from the Skyway.
From their logbook, we are able to determine the exact date that this film was taken, July 23, 1972. WDW was just under 10 months old! Here are two scans of their log:
I have put in a lot of time refining my scripts and tuning the filters to ensure that the end result is nothing but the best. I was lucky that the film was in near perfect condition after 42 years of storage, making the conversion process a bit easier. I appreciate everyone's input and patience while I completed the restoration process. This is not the last; next up is the Magic Kingdom Parade from 1972...then we tackle 1975, 1978 and 1980.
With that said, enjoy our first Super8 film restoration!
For those interested, the conversion and restoration process started with the original Super8 film being scanned in at a 1920x1080 resolution by Pixcel.com. I then applied a number of filters to remove grain, stabilize, sharpen and improve the color. From their I upconverted the film from its original 18 frames per second to 30 frames per second, this reduces flicker and jerky motion.