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WaverBoy
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Since: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 26



PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:02 pm    Post subject: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo
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I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?
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sir michael cat
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Since: Jun 01, 2007
Posts: 63



PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 7, 5:02 am, WaverBoy wrote:
> I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
> transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
> experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
> gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
> so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
> at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
> tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
> which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?

MOVIEFLIX has " Sparrows" with a listed running time of 127 minutes.
It is available for free viewing.
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sir michael cat
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Since: Jun 01, 2007
Posts: 63



PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 7, 5:15 am, sir michael cat wrote:
> On Jul 7, 5:02 am, WaverBoy wrote:
>
> > I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
> > transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
> > experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
> > gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
> > so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
> > at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
> > tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
> > which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?
>
> MOVIEFLIX has " Sparrows" with a listed running time of 127 minutes.
> It is available for free viewing.

CORRECTION It is 107 minutes. IMDB also gives a similar time
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WaverBoy
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Since: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 26



PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 6, 1:21 pm, sir michael cat wrote:
> On Jul 7, 5:15 am, sir michael cat wrote:
>
> > On Jul 7, 5:02 am, WaverBoy wrote:
>
> > > I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
> > > transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
> > > experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
> > > gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
> > > so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
> > > at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
> > > tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
> > > which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?
>
> > MOVIEFLIX has " Sparrows" with a listed running time of 127 minutes.
> > It is available for free viewing.
>
> CORRECTION It is 107 minutes. IMDB also gives a similar time

Yep, and the DVD runs the same. I can't believe that this is the way
the film was originally projected. Looks like I'll have to get the
Kino VHS.
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WaverBoy
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Since: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 26



PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 6, 5:15 pm, Richard Carnahan wrote:
> On Jul 6, 1:02 pm, WaverBoy wrote:
>
> > I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
> > transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
> > experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
> > gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
> > so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
> > at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
> > tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
> > which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?
>
> I double checked my Milestone DVD of SPARROWS. The pace seems fine to
> me. At 81 minutes it would play like a Keystone comedy.

Strange. I can't see how anyone could think that the pace seems
fine. It's jerky/strobey-looking as well; the movement is not
smooth. It has been slowed down too much. I repeat, were silent
films really projected this way originally? Or is it simply Video
Yesteryear Syndrome, which seems to affect well-meaning film
restorationists who, in trying to compensate for years of silent films
allegedly being projected and/or transferred at too fast a speed, go
too far in the other direction?
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Richard Carnahan
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Since: Jun 01, 2007
Posts: 54



PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 4:15 am    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 6, 1:02 pm, WaverBoy wrote:
> I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
> transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
> experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
> gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
> so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
> at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
> tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
> which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?

I double checked my Milestone DVD of SPARROWS. The pace seems fine to
me. At 81 minutes it would play like a Keystone comedy.
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Richard Carnahan
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Since: Jun 01, 2007
Posts: 54



PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 6:19 am    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 6, 5:40 pm, WaverBoy wrote:
> On Jul 6, 5:15 pm, Richard Carnahan wrote:
>
> > On Jul 6, 1:02 pm, WaverBoy wrote:
>
> > > I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
> > > transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
> > > experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
> > > gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
> > > so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
> > > at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
> > > tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
> > > which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?
>
> > I double checked my Milestone DVD of SPARROWS. The pace seems fine to
> > me. At 81 minutes it would play like a Keystone comedy.
>
> Strange. I can't see how anyone could think that the pace seems
> fine. It's jerky/strobey-looking as well; the movement is not
> smooth.

I've never seen a movie photographed with a hand-cranked camera that
didn't look a little "herky jerky."
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mikegebert
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Since: Jun 04, 2007
Posts: 38



PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 7, 10:01 am, HelpMeCope wrote:
> I wonder if modern technology might be at least partially responsible.
> DVD's need to send images to the TV at 30 fps and the algorithms, such
> as 3:2 pulldown and whatnot, are needed to change the modern movie
> standard, 24 fps, to the proper rate. This could create problems if
> they didn't match the silent movies frame rate which varies
> considerably. In my collection of DVD's the silents vary anywhere from
> 8 fps to 22 fps.

I think the answer is much simpler and due to an older technological
issue. As I recall the Pickford print of this was step-printed for
theatrical showings. I think it's been transferred from one of those
prints, I seem to recall Dennis D. acknowledging that and saying they
hoped to do a new version someday but for now, that's what they had to
release (and probably the Pickford people wanted it out in the first
batch).
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HelpMeCope
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Since: Jun 01, 2007
Posts: 18



PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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I wonder if modern technology might be at least partially responsible.
DVD's need to send images to the TV at 30 fps and the algorithms, such
as 3:2 pulldown and whatnot, are needed to change the modern movie
standard, 24 fps, to the proper rate. This could create problems if
they didn't match the silent movies frame rate which varies
considerably. In my collection of DVD's the silents vary anywhere from
8 fps to 22 fps.
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Bruce Calvert
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Since: Nov 22, 2006
Posts: 774



PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 7:10 am    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
Archived from groups: per prev. post (more info?)

> I think the answer is much simpler and due to an older technological
> issue. As I recall the Pickford print of this was step-printed for
> theatrical showings. I think it's been transferred from one of those
> prints, I seem to recall Dennis D. acknowledging that and saying they
> hoped to do a new version someday but for now, that's what they had to
> release (and probably the Pickford people wanted it out in the first
> batch).

I'm not sure about the official Pickford Trust release. SPARROWS is public
domain and 16mm prints were sold in the 1970s and 1980s. I've got a
Griggs-Moviedrome print from the 1980s with an organ score, and it projects
just fine at 24 fps.

--
Bruce Calvert
--
Visit the Silent Film Still Archive
http://www.silentfilmstillarchive.com
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Harold Aherne
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Since: Jun 21, 2007
Posts: 30



PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 3:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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I guess this goes to show what an exciting life I have, but I tried to
calculate the speed at which the Milestone Sparrows is transferred.
I'll show my work, for those who are more mathematically inclined than
me (shouldn't be too hard!)

The AFI catalogue gives the length of Sparrows as 7763 feet. Given
that there are 16 frames to a foot of film (certainly in the era
Sparrows was made), and assuming the AFI length is correct, the
picture has a total of 124,208 frames. If we projected the film at 24
fps, that leaves us with 5175.3 seconds, or 86.25 minutes. But since
in this case we have a length of 107 minutes, I guess it's possible to
work the other way too. 107 minutes=6420 seconds, so 124,208/6420=19.3
frames per second--the approximate average speed of the Milestone
transfer.

Oddly, though, the AFI catalogue also indicates that Sparrows is *9*
reels long. Why would a film less than 8000 feet require 9 reels? Was
it filmed faster than 24 fps?

Of course, it's entirely possible that I've fouled up the calculation
beyond all recognition, so feel free to correct.

-Harold
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WaverBoy
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Since: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 26



PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 9:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 7, 8:13 am, " "
wrote:
> On Jul 7, 10:01 am, HelpMeCope wrote:
>
> > I wonder if modern technology might be at least partially responsible.
> > DVD's need to send images to the TV at 30 fps and the algorithms, such
> > as 3:2 pulldown and whatnot, are needed to change the modern movie
> > standard, 24 fps, to the proper rate. This could create problems if
> > they didn't match the silent movies frame rate which varies
> > considerably. In my collection of DVD's the silents vary anywhere from
> > 8 fps to 22 fps.
>
> I think the answer is much simpler and due to an older technological
> issue. As I recall the Pickford print of this was step-printed for
> theatrical showings. I think it's been transferred from one of those
> prints, I seem to recall Dennis D. acknowledging that and saying they
> hoped to do a new version someday but for now, that's what they had to
> release (and probably the Pickford people wanted it out in the first
> batch).

That might be it. It certainly is reminiscent of the old step-printed
transfer of THE CHAPLIN REVUE. I sincerely hope this classic is
redone at some point. If you compare the SPARROWS transfer with the
excellent transfer of MY BEST GIRL, it's obvious that the former has
serious problems. MY BEST GIRL has no projection speed problems
whatsoever, and looks perfect. SPARROWS should run just as smoothly,
I would think.
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John Aldrich
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Since: Jun 30, 2003
Posts: 98



PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Sun, 08 Jul 2007 03:10:14 GMT, "Bruce Calvert"
wrote:

>> I think the answer is much simpler and due to an older technological
>> issue. As I recall the Pickford print of this was step-printed for
>> theatrical showings. I think it's been transferred from one of those
>> prints, I seem to recall Dennis D. acknowledging that and saying they
>> hoped to do a new version someday but for now, that's what they had to
>> release (and probably the Pickford people wanted it out in the first
>> batch).
>
>I'm not sure about the official Pickford Trust release. SPARROWS is public
>domain and 16mm prints were sold in the 1970s and 1980s. I've got a
>Griggs-Moviedrome print from the 1980s with an organ score, and it projects
>just fine at 24 fps.
>
>--
>Bruce Calvert

There *is* a sequence in SPARROWS, towards the end, that looks a
little odd at 24fps. The water is unnaturally choppy, and some of the
movements are jerky.

That being said, the rest of the picture is glacially slow in the
Pickford (107m) version and it completely ruins the pace of the film,
as WaverBoy says. At 8 reels the film should clock in at no more than
85m and stretching it out to 107m adds an extra 22 mins (25%!) to the
running time and makes the film nearly unwatchable.

By 1926, the vast majority of films were shot assuming a projection
speed of something around 24fps. SPARROWS is no exception.

My guess is that the chase at the end was somewhat undercranked to
speed up the action and the choppy water was an unanticipated
by-product.

The Milestone DVD is NOT the one to watch. In the past, TCM has run a
Paul Killiam version of SPARROWS that, while inferior to the Pickford
print pictorially, runs at 24fps and about 84 mins. It is much better
paced and a more enjoyable viewing experience, with a typically
enjoyable Bill Perry piano score. Next time they run it, be sure to
catch it.

--John
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WaverBoy
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Since: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 26



PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:49 am    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 8, 11:04 am, John Aldrich wrote:
> On Sun, 08 Jul 2007 03:10:14 GMT, "Bruce Calvert"
>
>
>
>
>
> wrote:
> >> I think the answer is much simpler and due to an older technological
> >> issue. As I recall the Pickford print of this was step-printed for
> >> theatrical showings. I think it's been transferred from one of those
> >> prints, I seem to recall Dennis D. acknowledging that and saying they
> >> hoped to do a new version someday but for now, that's what they had to
> >> release (and probably the Pickford people wanted it out in the first
> >> batch).
>
> >I'm not sure about the official Pickford Trust release. SPARROWS is public
> >domain and 16mm prints were sold in the 1970s and 1980s. I've got a
> >Griggs-Moviedrome print from the 1980s with an organ score, and it projects
> >just fine at 24 fps.
>
> >--
> >Bruce Calvert
>
> There *is* a sequence in SPARROWS, towards the end, that looks a
> little odd at 24fps. The water is unnaturally choppy, and some of the
> movements are jerky.
>
> That being said, the rest of the picture is glacially slow in the
> Pickford (107m) version and it completely ruins the pace of the film,
> as WaverBoy says. At 8 reels the film should clock in at no more than
> 85m and stretching it out to 107m adds an extra 22 mins (25%!) to the
> running time and makes the film nearly unwatchable.
>
> By 1926, the vast majority of films were shot assuming a projection
> speed of something around 24fps. SPARROWS is no exception.
>
> My guess is that the chase at the end was somewhat undercranked to
> speed up the action and the choppy water was an unanticipated
> by-product.
>
> The Milestone DVD is NOT the one to watch. In the past, TCM has run a
> Paul Killiam version of SPARROWS that, while inferior to the Pickford
> print pictorially, runs at 24fps and about 84 mins. It is much better
> paced and a more enjoyable viewing experience, with a typically
> enjoyable Bill Perry piano score. Next time they run it, be sure to
> catch it.
>
> --John- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

As I suspected...thanks for the confirmation and the tip on the
Killiam version. I will try to catch that on TCM, but in the
meantime, I'm ordering the Kino tape. Hopefully Milestone will put
this out in a properly projected version at some point.
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WaverBoy
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Since: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 26



PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:50 am    Post subject: Re: Milestone's SPARROWS DVD...seemingly transferred in Super-Slo-Mo [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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On Jul 6, 7:19 pm, Richard Carnahan wrote:
> On Jul 6, 5:40 pm, WaverBoy wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Jul 6, 5:15 pm, Richard Carnahan wrote:
>
> > > On Jul 6, 1:02 pm, WaverBoy wrote:
>
> > > > I just picked this up, and while the film looks beautiful, the
> > > > transfer speed is abominably slow, which effectively ruins the viewing
> > > > experience. Character movement looks like it's affected by moon
> > > > gravity, not earth gravity. Why, pray tell, was this film transferred
> > > > so slow? From what I can tell, the old Image laserdisc is transferred
> > > > at the same speed, and has the same Gaylord Carter score. The Kino
> > > > tape, which I haven't seen yet, lists a running time of 81 minutes,
> > > > which would hopefully play much better. Thoughts?
>
> > > I double checked my Milestone DVD of SPARROWS. The pace seems fine to
> > > me. At 81 minutes it would play like a Keystone comedy.
>
> > Strange. I can't see how anyone could think that the pace seems
> > fine. It's jerky/strobey-looking as well; the movement is not
> > smooth.
>
> I've never seen a movie photographed with a hand-cranked camera that
> didn't look a little "herky jerky."- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

I've seen plenty that don't, and if you want to see what I mean,
compare the botched-speed Milestone SPARROWS DVD with the smoothly-
running Milestone MY BEST GIRL and IT DVDs.
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