Terasawa wrote:What is being said, which you're very clearly misunderstanding, is that these transfers are more than a decade old; made using low-contrast 35mm prints (not necessarily a good source for a solid transfer)
The low-cons, depending on how they were printed, aren’t bad material... not the best, like the original negative, but given a good transfer by a good tech on a well-adapted machine, they could look solid. Here are the problems:
-Some of them are as far removed from the original negatives as the original US prints are
-They were transferred on an old fashioned telecine that can’t really cope with anything besides well-exposed negative
-The philosophy of the colorist who transferred them (and apparently continues to work on Toho films) is that film should have a blown out, log-like contrast with a brown or yellow discoloration. Transfers with blown out highlights and mids that are pushed up too high are almost impossible to correct. Transferring a positive this way causes details in the upper mids to be lost or difficult to retrieve - faces may look pale and skies may be almost white. The “fans can just color correct it if they don’t like it” excuse doesn’t apply here because information is flat out lost due to the incompetence of the person who was actually hired to do the color, to begin with.
-The transfers are intentionally blurred to hide noise inherent to the 90’s grade CRT-based telecine when transferring anything with a higher contrast than well-exposed negative
-Toho is a snake that won’t pursue any enterprise besides their tried-and-profitable strategies unless it is justified financially, or if there is enough popular support for it, and ultimately it will only be realized if it passes through their rigid, elusive bureaucracy. Their strategy seems to be that each film is entitled to exactly one master per resolution, transferred at no higher than the same resolution, from low-contrast prints probably struck for video in the 80s, because it’s easier and less risky than pulling a negative. This is what their bureaucracy signs off on every single time all but two films in the franchise are transferred, just with a different resolution selected. Unless Toho considers each film’s own needs, every new transfer is going to continue to be very simple and done the exact same way, regardless of the film. I would like to know the circumstances that allowed G54 and KKvsG’s restorations to happen.
I can already see Toho’s future 4K transfers without looking at them. The transfers themselves will be okay. It’ll the first time many of these films will be seen in a master with the minimum degree of sharpness you’d expect from the mastering resolution since the laserdisc era. 4K scanners in use nowadays are more predictable than the tube-based telecines of the past, like the Cintel used to transfer the Hi-Visions, which had a hard time transferring low contrast prints. Even the low cost 4K scanners in use today are designed to far higher standards than those meant to be achieved by old CRT telecines. Color negative isn’t hard to transfer anymore, that ship sailed years ago, and the technology is at the point where relatively little film material is hard to digitize. The dynamic range of the newest sensors compared to the telecines of the past is mind blowing.
But the masters won’t be flawless, or have the appearance of being respectfully restored on the granular level, except for something trivial, like the erasing of splices. After all, they will be transfers made to the exact same specs that the bureaucracy currently allows, with a different resolution checked off. They will still have the brown tinge and mids pushed up into the highlights. They will still be transferred from the same low-con prints struck for video. MvsG and IoAM will still look dupey as hell, Ebirah and Son of Godzilla will still have missing frames. It will also be years before Toho will offer them to western distributors.
The systemic issue with the preservation and presentation of this franchise can be summed up in several mismatches... mismatched transferring machines and transferring material, mismatched colorists and color material, and a mismatched corporation and IP in desperate need of better care.
Toho: these films deserve better than CRT telecine transfers that were laughable when they were new.