Monday, March 16, 2015

New Trailer, Q&A

Good news- the final version is being prepared now and should be available for download next month. Here is a quick trailer we threw together (sorry, it doesn't contain any "bonus" footage).

And now, about a year's worth of questions and comments!

 Hey guys, just a few questions. How many DVDs is the project slated to take up? Will you be using the AMC HD airing of the Saga as the main source for the extended footage? Will the final edit be entirely in anamorphic widescreen or will it jump from full to wide? Will the candles ending from Part II make it in there somehow? Thanks again for all your hard work these past two years!

Thanks for waiting! Currently the presentation stretches over five discs, with a sixth disc devoted to bonus material. When downloading, you will be able to uncheck the box for the sixth disc if you don't wish to download any supplementary material.

The entire presentation is matted to 16:9 widescreen. Since almost all of the bonus footage is 4:3, I was originally going to make the whole feature in 4:3. But since most of the core footage came from the Coppola Restoration, which is a cropped 16:9, I went ahead and cropped the 4:3 footage to match the rest of the film.

There is still the debate over which ratio is the "correct" ratio, but I'm not going to go into much detail (at this point at least.) Suffice it to say that since it was filmed full frame, it looks great in either 4:3 or 16:9. But since most people now have widescreen TV's, it makes sense to feature it in 1.85:1 (which is close to what it looked like in most theaters.) I say that it's still worth viewing at least once in 4:3 as there is a lot of detail at the top and bottom that is cropped out in widescreen.

We don't have any one "main" source for the deleted footage, but if I had to name a "go-to" source it would be the bonus clips found on the DVD set. They simply looked better (in most instances) on the DVD and very little had to be done to them aside from cropping and slight color correction.

The candle ending is present in two places; first, the closeup of Kay lighting the candles is presented exactly where it was originally intended, after the Intermission in the first film. This takes place right after Michael kills McClusky and Sollozo in the diner. The organ music swells as Michael leaves the diner, then plays over a brief  intermission, then we see Kay lighting the candles, and then the film returns to the newspaper headline/gang war montage. This is where the intermission originally took place in some theatrical screenings (the footage of Kay, however, was not used.) We placed that scene according to the original screenplay.

The second half of that scene, the long shot from behind of Kay lighting the candles while the credits roll on the right, appears during the final end credits.

at last Guys ;) I hope You'll make it soon...
check this german version please:

Thank you for sharing that!

 Good luck with the project. I know what hard work this entails, so respect to you as they say in Godfather land. Couple of points I would be interested to hear your views on.

1. Where do you reckon that short scene of Connie bringing Michael a cup of tea (or whatever it is) goes? Clearly it's deleted from GFII, and appears in one of the AMC opening credits. It seems to me that Pacino has his older 1968 make-up and slightly greyed hair, so my guess it comes just before he sits smoking and pondering his sins at the end of II.

2. There are a few short sequences in the GFIII trailer that are not in the finished movie (Theatrical or Director's Cut). Have you ever seen any longer versions of those scenes anywhere? 

We had a few discussions on where those shots of Michael ca.1968 were supposed to go and we finally arrived at the conclusion that it could only work during the opening credits, the same as the TV Saga. We tried editing it together with the footage at the end of Godfather II and it just didn't work.

The footage in the GFIII trailer is another point of contention we had. No, we weren't able to find any longer versions of the unique snippets in the trailer and we fought over where the trailer footage was supposed to go. I spent weeks editing all of the footage back into the main core of the movie, but just like the 1968 scenes, it simply didn't work. For one, almost 3/4s of the trailer is unique footage or dialogue or alternate takes of scenes that ended up in the final movie. Second, the way the trailer is edited, dialogue either runs over into unrelated footage or the soundtrack intrudes over the spoken lines.

We arrived at a compromise. This was unique footage and it needed to be preserved within the project and not just as a bonus trailer. So we hit upon the idea that the trailer could be part of the flashback of memories Michael is having at the end of Part III. It kind of works, kind of doesn't, but we were able to insert it into the final product without a great deal of heartache. We had to remind ourselves that this edit was less an artistic statement and more of a preservation effort and within that context, the footage works. But linearly, Michael is having memories of events that he didn't witness firsthand, so the logic is kind of off. It is what it is.

I hope they will post updates next month :-)

 It ended up being next year instead of next month, but hopefully this will let you know where we're at! We apologize again for the lack of info. The two of us (Doug Q. and Doug F.) went almost a year without speaking and I thought the project was dead in the water. But we've since reconciled over our artistic differences and I'm proud to say we're about 90% finished. We should have this up for download sometime in April. (Next month, not next year!)

Hi, guys... I'm awfully late to the party, but since you're running late as well, I guess it's OK. Without much of the skill you guys likely have, I created my own edit of the epic some years back, calling it "The Abbondanza Edition" - I worked from various sources, including the 80s home video, the FOX broadcast, the US chronological laserdisc and -- here's a key source: the Japanese laserdisc of the saga which included quite a few trims and lifts I couldn't find anywhere else, despite the fact that I had to cut around the burned-in Japanese subtitles. IIRC, a key shot in there was the establishing shot of the Sicily train station prior to the family's arrival (from GFII). Hope you have the time soon to get this puppy sewn up and keep us informed: I'd dearly love to see your work (and supplant my own as well!)...

You know what they say... better late than never!

Glad to meet a fellow Godfather fan and faneditor! To be honest, we really don't have much skill in editing. This whole process was seat-of-our-pants learning. We'd try one thing, then wipe the slate clean, and start over at the beginning. After almost five years I'd have to say what we have now looks a lot better than what we started with but I'm still not satisfied. I wish everything synced up better than it does. I'm hoping that maybe someone else with more technical skill can take what we did and turn it into something prettier. I was absolutely blown away with what the guys over at did with the new Star Wars "Despecialized" edits and I wish we had their level of expertise.

We had access to the sources you mentioned and made use of all of it. We examined the Japanese laserdisc Saga and discovered that it was exactly the same as the German (or Swiss?) laser set, and we used that version several times. The main reason we went with the Euro Saga was because the subtitles weren't hardcoded and could be turned off on certain players. The soundtrack was also dual audio (German on one track and English on the second.) This was immensely helpful, but we did end up taking the train shot from the Japanese set because there was no subtitles in that sequence and the color of the Japanese print put the Euro version to shame. There was another scene we used from that set but I can't think of it offhand.

 Loved your post about the movies' running times:

Regarding Godfather 3, My take on it, this version that exists, the "Director's Cut" or whatever its called, is still too long. If the film were cut to 2hrs it would actually work. I've seen the film more than 20 times, it's like the Magnificent Ambersons, you can tell there's stuff thats missing (Duvall, a better opening and a more satisfying conclusion) – but people who hate on Sofia Coppola's performance actually miss the whole performance for what it is, it's actually Diane Keaton who doesn't belong in the movie. If someone were to edit her performance out of the film (leaving only the scenes where she confronts Michael about Tony & the very end of the Opera House sequence) the film might work. There's other tweaks that should be done… there's an annoying sequence in where we hear Andy Garcia in voice over telling what he's going to do. I don't recall voice overs in the first 2 Godfather movies.

A good start might be re-editing the film closer to what Coppola sort hinted at in the rough cut of the film that's been posted on YouTube:

There are other scenes that don't work, the Sicily sequence in G3 is poor in comparison to G1 & G2. There's no nostalgic care to it… there are long-shots of Sicilian hillsides that seemed to be tacked on by a an assistant at the last minute. And the whole Michael shows Kay the real Sicily has to be removed completely from the film.

 I do believe that the major problem with Part III is that it is overlong. Don't get me wrong, I love long movies (why else would I be working on a Godfather edit!) but the first two films never feel like they're outstaying their welcome. Part III is long, but it doesn't seem to accomplish much in comparison with the first two films. I think the story could be adequately told in two hours or less.

While people love to bash Sofia Coppola in this film, I often wonder why Diane Keaton isn't more of a target. She phones in her performance in this picture and it's clear when she gives lines like "You know Michael, now that you're respectable your much more dangerous, etc" which she reads off like she was reciting a shopping list.

When I first saw the film, the major flaw that stuck in my craw was the absence of Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). They caved in to Al Pacino's salary demands (and Diane Keaton's, whom Pacino was dating at the time) but were unwilling to pay Robert Duvall's sum. Robert Duvall wanted a payday that was halfway between Keaton's and Pacino's, which I feel was reasonable since he would have had the most screentime after Pacino. But instead we got... George Hamilton!

I could go on about Part III but it's already been blasted to death. The film was made for money, was rushed, suffered from a million flaws, but at the end of the day it was still a watchable film. Was it good? Yeah, I think so. Was it great? Not even close. But we still treated it with the same level of respect we did the first two films when it came to editing and sequencing.  

hello, i know this will be more work for you, but, being italian, i would like to listen to this treasure in my own language (maybe the mono) and so i think about the other countries enthusiasts around the world, for the extended scene i would hope in some subs. i think this would be the best and most complete version possible of The Godfather trilogy, and will be so much appreciated.

PS what do mean for Grandfather Novelette (recorded in 1989)??

We would love to do different audio tracks for different languages (and maybe add in the Director's commentary from the DVD sets) but the only thing hindering us is that we only speak English. Most of the added footage is in English (some in Sicilian) and the only thing we did was add English subtitles to the parts that were in Italian. (The subtitles are hardcoded, as someone asked recently.) We also had an Italian friend translate a couple of sequences (the diner scene and Tom Hagen speaking to Pentangeli's brother in the courtroom) that were not subtitled in the original films. Coppola always said that the diner scene wasn't subtitled because there was too much dialogue that went by too fast, but we seemed to have made it work.

The reason we didn't add the Director's commentary or foreign languages on additional audio tracks was for two reasons: one, there would be significant gaps in commentary and language whenever the added scenes played out. True, we could have possibly just filled in the blank spots with a music track or something, but we (secondly) figured that since the folks that are watching this presentation already own a copy of the trilogy in their native tongue or with the commentary, the addition would be redundant. (Remember, if you end up downloading this project, you should already own the individual commercial releases before doing so. We're on an honor system here and we're not trying to infringe on Paramount's rights. So if you don't already own these films on DVD or Blu-ray, buy them now! Our edit's coming soon!) This is also the reason that we didn't include any of the special features found on the DVD sets, since viewers of this project already own them.

The Godfather Novella was aired throughout the 80's as an alternative to the Saga, which NBC still owned exclusive broadcast rights to (NBC signed a five year deal for exclusive broadcast rights to the Saga, which expired in 1982. That year, they once again bid the highest out of all the networks and retained exclusive broadcast rights to the Saga which they held until 1987).

After losing out to NBC for the Saga rights, ABC, CBS (and later TBS and Fox) wanted to air something similar to the Saga, just not as long. The Novella aired over two nights instead of four and was cut by about 2 and a half hours. Though it was structured chronologically like the Saga, most of the Sicily and Little Italy sequences were cut and much of the Cuba footage was excised. The Novella was aired in two 3-hour blocks, usually on Saturday and Sunday. The recording of the Novella broadcast we own doesn't feature any real deleted footage except for a few lifts that run 2 to 3 seconds longer than they do in other formats. (Yes, we included these lifts as well!)

Unlike the previous network broadcasts of The Godfather and The Godfather Saga, editing on the Novella was not supervised by Francis Ford Coppola and was done without the involvement of anyone affiliated with the two Godfather films.

Are you going to include any of the special features on this movie?

If you're talking about the box set special features, see above. We will however include a sixth disc of supplementary material not currently available, including trailers, television introductions, and the documentary The Godfather Legacy, which was released to DVD in 2012 but is now out of print. We're still putting this disc together so if you have any recommendations, let us know!

Guys PLEASE stop to mislead us!!! Write us the thuth that you are not doing anything with this project don't you ?!
I'm comming to this site almost every day(more than 2 years) and I'm just getting sick of it !!!
I remember when you wrote that this project will be finished at summer 2013..................
I have also a baby and lot of work to do but at least I have a time to post this comment but you have no time all year round !!!!
Be honest and don't trick us anymore!!!

Sorry. It's taken a lot of time to put this together. A lot of time and money. We're not looking for anything in return, we just ask that if you download this project as a torrent that you seed it for as long as possible.

The reason that I didn't post any updates for so long was because I didn't know what to tell you all. I went over a year without talking to my partner in this edit due to a falling out that we had and I honestly didn't know whether this was going to ever be finished. He had all of the files on his computer so that he could edit the sound mix. When he disappeared, the movie disappeared with him.

When I finally tracked him down and we made amends, I came here to let everyone know what was going on. I threw the trailer together today to help get the word out. We anticipate the remixing to be done in a couple of weeks. After that, it's just a matter of finalizing the project and getting it out to download.

^^^ How about this...YOU try to to piece together three 3-hour films plus all of the deleted footage into a 10+ hour epic in strictly chronological order, with sources from all around the world ranging from Blu-Ray and HDTV to VHS and Beta. Let us know how long it takes you. I, for one, have been patient with this project because I know what a tremendous undertaking it is.

YES! Thank you! We appreciate your patience. We've definitely been up to our necks in pretty much every home video format ever made, checking for anomalies. This has been the biggest time-eater. For each 3 hour film, we had to screen it a minimum of three times to check it against our other prints to spot differences. We ended spending sometimes as much as a week or two just synching up one print against all other prints. Then we would have to make the transfer to digital and then go on to edit it into our master print. VERY tedious, but a labor of love.

Speaking of obsolete home video formats:

What's the most surprising find you've come across so far?

Before VCRs came along, the only home video format was film projection. For a ridiculous price, you could buy 8mm or 16mm "condensed" versions of your favorite films. (Not all, but most of the time, 8mm "quickies" were black and white while 16mm clips were in "Super Video Color", which was anything but "Super". 16mms were generally a few minutes longer and correspondingly cost more than 8mm reels.)  A collector in Pittsburgh contacted me after reading a post on a forum, and we negotiated a deal that got me a few Godfather reels, among others. This guy had already transferred his collection on to DVD and no longer had any use for the originals.

Part I and Part II were both released as b&w 8mm reels and at least one company made a color 16mm reel for Part II, which we were never able to locate. We're pretty sure that it's exactly the same as the b&w 16mm reel though. I purchased a 1976 model Vivitar which is capable of playing 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm. When I plugged it in and spooled the film, I discovered that the bulb was burned out. Another two weeks later and I got a new bulb in the mail.

I was surprised by the short films. They're really hard to describe, but basically the story jumps from point A to point B with a few frames of footage sandwiched between title cards that are describing the events in the film. There was no sound, at least not on the copies I owned.

What I ended up doing was filming the projection digitally and then put it on my hard drive to synch up with my other footage. There were no real surprises except for the opening shot of one of the b&w Part II reels. It was a scene cut from the theatrical version but was reinstated in the Saga. Except one of the scenes played out several seconds longer than in any other cut of the film.

What to do? Here was a legitimate "lost" scene that needed to go in our cut. But it was soundless, black and white, and 8mm. I contacted a company that transfers film to digital and they wanted $100 minimum to transfer the reel. I didn't have that kind of time or money, so I got a good projector screen and filmed the footage with a digital camera. Then I put it on my PC, cropped the footage, darkened the blacks and inserted it into the timeline.

There it was, sticking out like a mute, colorless sore thumb. I ended up photoshopping the color in frame by frame, which took me forever. But I still had no sound, and nothing else to dub into place. I could tell what the character was saying from the title card, but had no reference audio. My only solution was to call in a friend who does a mean Al Pacino impersonation and have him voice the line. Then I added an ambient noise track underneath which matches the rest of the sound for that scene. Finally, it was done. There went a number of weeks preparing footage that amounted to a little less than three seconds of screen time!

I won't state explicitly which scene this was. I'm wondering if anyone can spot it without any hints!

Also, it's not the strangest find, but I definitely wonder why they released Godfather movies on Hi 8. If anyone remembers, this is the little 8mm videocassettes that you used to use in camcorders. Sure, there were a few dedicated VCR machines that played 8mm cassettes, but most people either transferred  8mm to VHS or bought one of those weird contraptions that were shaped like a VHS tape and had a spot in the middle where you could snap in your 8mm cassette and have it play on a regular VCR (but it never seemed to work right.)

The Godfather III on Video 8: An offer you can refuse.

Not to mention that pre-recorded movies on Video 8 were almost always issued in LP format if they were over 2 hours long. Why didn't they just use two SP tapes like VHS or Beta or two discs like Laser and Videodisc? Who would buy this? (Not counting one idiot who decided he needed to own every version of the three films ever released so he could edit it all together.) First, you have to be one of the four people on the planet who watched movies in his camcorder or be one of the two people in the world who had a Video 8 VCR. Second, you have to be fine with getting a studio movie released in LP or EP format. Third, you have to be fine paying more for this 8mm tape than you would a regular VHS tape, which actually comes in the higher quality SP format. Fourth, you need to hold on to said tapes for 25 years and then put them up for sale on Ebay, hoping that the aforementioned one idiot who needs every Godfather tape ever made will buy it. Mission accomplished!

What soundtrack will you be using, the digital remix or the original mono?

Neither! Let me try to explain.

In the late '90s, I was lucky enough to see a re-release of the three Godfather films in 70mm. It was a hell of an experience. The third movie looked especially good; the first two films... not so much. The negative was obviously in need of dire repair and the 70mm blowup looked exceptionally grainy and dark. Also, the projectionist obviously had no experience with 70mm as the lens wasn't masked. In simplest terms, a gutter at the top and bottom of the lens is added to mask the upper and lower parts of the frame while it's being projected. Otherwise, you see a lot of stuff at the top like boom mics and at the bottom you get to see set directions and arrows that are written on the floor.

But the real treat that day was getting to hear the films in stereo for the first time. Not just any old stereo- THX certified 6-track stereo! When the trilogy went to DVD with a 5.1 sound mix, I was hoping that it would be similar to the 6-track mix. Boy, was I underwhelmed. In my opinion, even the 2.0 remix found on the Trilogy laserdisc was better.

So we discussed different sound ideas and we knew we were in for a lot of work with all of the mono footage that we had. We needed to sync everything up together with one sound profile. So we took the soundtrack from the 2.0 laserdisc, mixed it to 5.1, and cleaned up and remixed the rest of the soundbites. In certain scenes we used the 5.1 soundtrack from the DVD set instead, depending on which mix sounded better to us. Overall, the goal was to try to recreate the 6 track sound I remember, From what I've heard so far, it's sounding pretty good.

Well, that's it for today. Thanks again for your support, and we'll keep you updated!