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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old March 4th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #16
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About a week ago, there was a special on PBS, about some films that were 'discovered' recently. Most were shot by the local Amateur filmmakers club in Berlin. A lot of the footage concerned a big festival they were having. They screened the footage, and had some of the original 'youth' who were in the footage and parade watching it, and commenting on it. They too... were blown away seeing it in color.

Seeing forgotten images on film is always a shock. A couple of years ago, I got to review old 8mm footage of my childhood, that were captured by an uncle. (WE were too poor to ever afford a film camera.) I was astonished to see the color and clarity of these 8mm movies, shot... yes forty to fifty years ago.
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Old March 4th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #17
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My grandfather was ahead of his time...shot on film and then later on video. The film from the 60's - 80's looks amazing. Of course, when he bought a video camera because of the cost savings the quality of the image went way down. But, there was the added benefit of audio! So, it's a trade off..
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Old March 4th, 2005, 10:19 AM   #18
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Does anyone know how they recorded audio back in the WWII films? I have several that have fantastic audio and I am surprised at the bass level in some of them (the booms of the cannons, for example, sound great). Was this done in post-production?
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Old March 4th, 2005, 11:06 AM   #19
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Nick, the vast majority of WWII combat footage was shot silent... most all combat cameramen were using small, portable 35mm and 16mm cameras such as the spring-wound Bell & Howell DR70. It's always interesting to me when I see aerial combat footage from wing-mounted gunnery cameras, as all of those were silent. Yet whenever you see them today, they all seem to have audio, indicating a lot of postproduction.

Regarding your original topic, I think the reason this material looks so remarkable now is due to finally having access to near-first generation prints and film. So much of what we've seen from the '60's through the '80's has suffered through who knows how much generation loss, and we're only aware of that now as a result of finally seeing the original or very close to the original material. If I remember correctly there was a moratorium on a lot of the color footage and prints that prevented their public release until relatively recently... something about the government's perceived notion that this stuff was "too real" and had to be witheld from public view until a couple of generations after it was all over. After all, WWII was the single most significant event of the 20th century and it changed the course of global events forever. The Cold War, the question of nuclear arms, world politics, technology, just about every major issue on the planet has its roots in or was a direct result of WWII.

From the post-war era up until recent times, our collective perception of the WWII experience has been painted by the fuzziness of black and white images and the near-comic book quality of color images. Combined with the passage of time, that distorted and deliberately controlled release of WWII images has created a buffer between what was real and what is public perception. We've always been aware of WWII but it's never been very tangible, until now. Maybe I'm stretching the argument just a bit, but I think the previous "fuzz factor" that has enveloped the body of available WWII images in our recent past was orchestrated as a reaction to fear. World War Two was an incredibly fearful event on a global scale, immediately followed by a much more subtle but equally fearful event, the Cold War. Releasing only "fuzzy" images of WWII was part of the process of putting it behind us. Now that most of our WWII vets are (sadly) passing on, and now that the Cold War is over, it has been deemed "safe" to reveal the true clarity of those images. At least, that's my own take on it. Maybe I'm nuts, but that's the way I'm reading it.
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Old March 4th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #20
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Chris, what a fantastic response. Thanks.
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Old March 4th, 2005, 12:41 PM   #21
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"Unbelievable. This image taken from the stern of a battleship during WWII is just as clear and sharp as some of the digital photos people are taking TODAY."

I'm also surprised when I see some 'old' photos - sometimes flicks too - the quality is astonishing! Truth is, digital hasn't surpassed the film yet. Of course it will quite soon.

But it's nice to know that many sterling images survive.. we look at them and think: how could that moment have been captured more authentically? It couldn't have been, even with superior quality, because the camera was of the time too. Blah..
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Old March 5th, 2005, 11:46 PM   #22
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Heh, to nit pick, that's the bow of the ship, you can see the anchor chains. The stern, would be wider to accommodate a launcher for a Kingfisher seaplane and it's lifting crane.

If I remember correctly, Agfa was ahead of Kodak in color, but I'm not sure. Kodachrome came out in 1935, I believe that the rollfilm version was first and then 4x5 sheet film was available later. Kodak color negative film became available in 1941.

8x10 and 4x5 were the "professional" formats of choice and 35mm was considered "amateur". 120 was acceptable.

Some of the U.S. stuff, like the ship's bow may have been shot with a 4x5 Speed Graphic, so the image should be pretty sharp. The Speed graphic was the workhorse of the U.S. Army Signal Corps so a lot of stuff was shot on 4x5.

Combat photography was shot with 35mm rangefinder cameras as well as Graphlexes.

As Chris pointed out now that more than fifty years have passed a lot have of film and pictures have been de-classified, so we have access to original or prints within a generation or two of the original. Much of the color was considered "too emotional" to show to the public and was stored.
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Old March 6th, 2005, 06:39 AM   #23
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How about this: www.visuar.com/DVi/kristof.jpg

Look carefully in the back, yes, that's a re-enactment. The photo
was shot (and processed) by my good friend Kristof Indeherberge.

(photo has a copyright by Kristof Indeherberge, do not (re)distribute!)
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Old March 6th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #24
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Nick: I sent you an message at the gmail account you posted above: did you get it?
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 11:34 PM   #25
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IF anyone is interested, I finally got this stuff organized, lol.

Please check out my link at: http://www.ww2incolor.com/chart.html
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 12:05 AM   #26
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I too want to thank you for making this available. I have a couple of b/w fuzzy photos like Chris mentioned, of my father's Navy destroyer just after the conning tower was blown off by shore batteries off the coast of Okinawa.

Even in b/w, the images are still pretty graphic and what's more, is I have my father's narrative to go with them. I attended his ship reunion last May and it was a very emotional experience.

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Old March 27th, 2007, 12:44 AM   #27
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Are these computer processed to enhance them?
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Old March 27th, 2007, 08:12 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Morellini View Post
Are these computer processed to enhance them?
No, they are straight from the government archives. I did, however, do a very slight color correction on the scanner so we know what color is accurate. The images have not been sharpened (this is so you the end user can have more control over the image).
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Old March 30th, 2007, 04:49 AM   #29
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Thanks.

...
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