Friday, April 10, 2015

VCD Update

We're happy to report that we found some unique material in our Japanese VCD of The Epic. Nothing earth shattering, but some good lifts and extensions that aren't in any other source we know of.

Probably the biggest thing in this set is an alternate take of Genco in the hospital, begging Vito to help him stave off his impending death. Unfortunately, the dialogue is in Japanese. We have no reference for what the dialogue is in this scene, and the translation from Japanese into English is bizarre, to say the least, which precludes any attempt at redubbing the dialogue into something that makes any sense. Also, most of this dialogue can be found in the alternate take of this same scene that is already in our edit.

We decided to place this alternate take in the opening credit montage where we also put the other alternate take that we couldn't fit into the main storyline. If you'll recall the scene from Part II where Vito's boss Abbandando is trying to give him a box of groceries as a small consolation for having to fire him, there exists two different, but nearly identical, takes.

In the theatrical version, the dialogue is faster and Vito exits the sidewalk onto the street, where the scene fades out. In the Saga version, the scene plays out a little slower, and the shot of Vito walking into the street runs about 10 seconds longer.

Unlike the other alternate takes that we edited into the core storyline, these two scenes are so similar to their counterparts that we could not fit them into the main narrative. Therefore we put the shorter, theatrical take into the opening credit montage where we're also going to place the Genco scene. This is the only way we can place all existing footage for the Trilogy into the project.

While we're at it, we're also going to replace some of the footage that we took from the Betamax edition of The Complete Trilogy with this VCD cut, since it is of noticeably better quality than what we had. (Yes, we used the Betamax version when possible since it had a slightly higher resolution than VHS. The picture quality is pretty much the same, but the blacks and browns look way better on Beta than VHS does.) Then we can get to the finalizing stage and put this out for download.

On to some comments:

My my my, after all these years, can't wait to see it!!!!! Finally!!!

We can't wait to finally get this thing off of our hard drives! Honestly though, I'll be really happy when we get this last bit of footage done. I know you've all waited a long time.


Could you also upload this to You could each make a free 50GB account and split the discs between them. I think Mediafire and Mega offer the most free space and fastest downloads, and Mega seems least susceptible to takedowns. I prefer direct downloads because torrents receive much more unwanted attention. Those who do torrent should use anonymizers (VPNs).

Just as a test, we uploaded some files to share between the three of us on Megaupload and Uploaded. Megaupload was relatively painless, but we will DEFINITELY NOT be putting anything up on Uploaded. It will probably be some time before we attempt to put the whole thing up on Mega since it took forever just to load about 800 mb. I shudder to think how long it would take for 6 gigs to go up. But anyone who downloads the finished project should feel free to upload it anywhere you want to, whether it be a torrent or on a staggered download site. You can even feel free to post it to a streaming video service if you think it's worth doing.

I only mention that because apparently some uploaders are screwy when it comes to other people uploading the torrent they "created." Isn't the whole point of file sharing to um, share? As long as you're not charging money for it, you have our blessing to spread this over the whole world if you see fit. 

You bring up a point that we wanted to address before, but never really had the chance to bring up. About  the legality of torrenting, and fan edits, and perceived unwanted attention, we really don't have any opinion either way. We feel that fanedits are legally protected expressions of artistic merit and they need to be shared to be appreciated, and torrenting is the best means of sharing that information with the public at large. I'm also not aware of anyone being busted for "piracy" because they downloaded or shared a fanedit. Even though we're delving in to the murky waters of "copyright protection" and "creative freedom", at the end of the day, downloading the Despecialized Editions of the original Star Wars Trilogy is NOT the same as downloading an illegal, commercially available copy of the legitimate Blu-Ray set.  

I use the Star Wars Despecialized cuts as an example simply because they're damned good edits. We're also on the eve of the official release of the six Star Wars films as a digital download. When they're released tomorrow, you should purchase them (if you don't own them already) and then turn around and download Harmy's Despecialized editions. That's the way we feel about this set: buy the GF Trilogy on DVD or BD (one) so that you can support the filmmakers and the studios that put this out and (two) so you have the legal impetus for downloading this historical preservation of material that is out of print or simply doesn't even exist anymore. If Paramount were to release a chronological cut that contains all of the material that we have in our edit, then we would pull our version down in a heartbeat. 

My last thought on the subject: if you feel wrong about downloading something because it may contain protected material, then you shouldn't download it. If you feel fanedits are not bootlegged, pirated works meant to infringe on the earnings of the rights holders, then go nuts!


[About a full-frame edition of the CET]: I'm glad to hear it! I can wait (hopefully not three years, though, lol). What percentage of footage do you estimate is available in fullscreen?

Variable aspect presentation can be significantly less jarring if the blurred pillarbox effect I mentioned is employed. Instead of black pillarboxes, the edges of the image are repeated and blurred, tricking the peripheral vision into thinking the 4:3 image is 16:9. I don't know what software is used to accomplish it, but you've probably seen it before on television and can discover how to do it.

I'd say probably 99% of the footage used to make The CET is available in a full-frame ratio. The problem is the quality of the reference material. Probably the best source to use would be the THX laserdiscs of 1997 (including the Trilogy edition) but when I think of all that blue and red that needs to be color corrected, I get a migraine...

I've seen the technique you're talking about used before on some television documentaries. It's a nifty idea, but it's a little weird to me. 

It reminds me somewhat of those old "color" magic sheets that you could put on black and white tv sets. (I know it's a completely different barrel of monkeys, but the principle is the same. I think.) For anyone that grew up in the 70's you might remember that gimmick if your parents were too cheap to buy a color set and happened to do all their shopping at K-Mart. The Magic Screens were sheets of thin plastic that looked like brightly colored deposits of mud. You cut it to fit the screen of your b&w set and it was held in place by static electricity. Suddenly everything was in color. Except it was horrible. Skin was green, the sun was purple, grass was blue, etc. 

Instant color for only two bucks? Sold!

Son of a bitch!

My aunt and uncle were too cheap to buy a color set, so they figured that they could buy one of those sheets for a couple of dollars and have a "new" color TV. I think they tried to watch a football game or something and when the yellow football field started giving my uncle nausea, he threw it out immediately. (I used to put it on just for fun and pretend that Phil Donahue was a martian and he was hosting his show from another dimension.)

I get an instant wave of nostalgia whenever I see that blurred pillarboxing effect. It just makes me want the black bars on the side instead. 


You will make longest saga in SD.

But what do you say about this offer? :] Maybe you can't refuse? :)

Godfather Saga AMC in HD is released 3 long years ago,
and looks like no one have intention to make uncensored version.

Use AMC and import scenes from Blu-Ray, or opposite.
And maybe 5.1 track (DTS)
Without GFIII
Release as Blu-Ray.

That can be best chronological version in best quality (HD) for a long long time.

I think this was best answered by the following poster:

They've answered this question in previous posts. They used the AMC cut when it was the best option, but it's not a true HD transfer, and has the station logo and bumpers, which force them to crop the image. They've painstakingly selected the best-looking sources on a per-scene basis.

I just really can't find the appeal in something like this. Why would you want to use the AMC broadcast as the core source for an edit, complete with bumpers, commercial break fades, and chunks and chunks of missing footage? Just to "say" that it's in HD? I mean, if it's all about HD for you, why wouldn't you just use the Blu-Rays as the core footage and then fly in the additional scenes from the Saga? 

Don't get me wrong, I love HD. We put this project together in HD and we were going to release it in HD before we realized how large the files were. But even if the HD files were the same size as a high quality DVD file, I would never delude myself into thinking that this cut was "true" hi-def. It's all about the source footage. You can add as many pixels as you like, but a blurry VHS rip is going to look as bad in HD (if not worse) than it will in SD. The same goes for the AMC Saga: a fourth generation 16mm print is going to look just as bad in an HD broadcast as it does in its native form unless it gets a from-the-ground-up digital restoration. 

It's kind of like when TV stations started broadcasting in stereo. All of the source material was recorded in mono and even though it was now being broadcasted in two channels, it was just mono being broadcast in two channels. I remember when TBS started airing monaural classics like Casablanca and Citizen Kane, people were saying "it sounds so great in stereo!"  I shook my head then, and I shake my head now when people swoon over old-generation SD masters that are broadcast in HD. 


Hi, I'm not sure if I read it correctly on any of the posts, but how will you be presenting the ending credits? Will you be doing it as all three played in a row? Sections of it edited together?
Or creating your own?

I own the DVD collection and will have no problem creating a customized ending credits from scratch in the same format and font as the films.

I really feel that what would also make this a true complete version would be with all ending credits merged into one incorporating all cast and crew.

For the end credits, we used all three original films, the four separate credits from the Saga, The Complete Epic, The Trilogy, the Restoration project credits, and then our own quick credits. We did not use the credits from The Epic since it was virtually identical (in font) to The Complete Epic and (in content) to The Trilogy. When we said "complete", we meant complete- even down to the end credits.

We also didn't use anything that was basically a dupe of other credit sequences, like The Novellete or the "new" credits for the AMC broadcast, since they were just variations of the original NBC broadcast credits with certain actors added or deleted depending on how that particular segment aired. Also, the ending montages from the first three nights of The Saga are on the bonus disc. These were just previews of the scenes from the next night's broadcast and didn't contain any non-theatrical footage and so didn't need to be part of the CET. But we did add them as a supplement just for curiosity's sake.

That's also another plug for the bonus disc. It's almost three hours long and the only material that overlaps with the bonus features on the box set are the three original theatrical trailers. There's a lot of neat stuff on there like the original intros to The Saga and Part I broadcasts. We've (along with other awesome GF fans) put a lot of this stuff up on youtube in the last few years  but this is a chance to have it all in one place.



Good idea. Also, what's the runtime without credits? 634 minutes, or less?

I'll have to get back to you on that one. I know the end credits run about 12 minutes total but I have no idea what the total runtime for this project is now with the new stuff we're putting in to it.


Who else plans to splice all five parts into one for seamless viewing off hard drive or dual-layer Blu-ray? :D  

I know at least two of the guys that helped put this together have the same idea!


You don't need to know anything. I learned how to do simple splices and cuts with SolveigMM Video Splitter in about ten minutes (after using Handbrake to effortlessly convert DVDs to editable files). Also, Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas are among several popular basic video editors. You could complete the edit you want within a week or two.

Here's a guide:

I think this was in response to the guy that wanted to do the AMC edit. It's a good tutorial.

We started this in Cyberlink Power Director and ended up in Sony Vega. Power Director is a good program for beginners but Vega has a lot more potential and is far less buggy.

Also I'm reposting this for anyone that might be having trouble working around bumpers and subtitles:

 How to extract/remove subtitles/logo from a video;66



Hey, today is Francis Ford Coppola's birthday... Just sayin'... ;)

It should be a national holiday in my opinion!

Also, next month it will be a year since Gordon Willis died. I was going to post something when he passed away but it was during our "hibernation" period. I'm going to try to have a memorial piece written up. I may not agree with the way he guided the Restoration, but his original cinematography is without equal.


Either way, we should know and have the release in our hands by the end of the month - not long at all compared to the years some of us have waited, although if it isn't out by month's end, then I'll start to worry! 

Don't worry, we should have it up by the end of the month. As long as we don't find something weird, like a Nicaraguan workprint of Part II with two hours of missing footage. (One could only hope!)

It's really hard to believe that we've been working on this for almost five years. My wife walked in the other day while I was doing something and said "Are you still working on that damn Godfather thing? I thought you were finished with it!"



In searching on eBay today, I came across this release:

Appears to be an Indian/Sri Lankan VCD edition of the Trilogy. I didn't notice it listed within your sources.

When we found out that most of the VCDs on the market were bootlegs, we stopped screening them.

What's interesting is that this one is on the Sare Gama label, which is a legitmate Viacom license. But the Restoration was never released to VCD, which means this is probably a DVD rip. If anyone has anymore information about it, we'd love to hear it.

That's all till next time. Remember if you ever want to contact us apart from the comment section, our email is I don't check it every day so there may be a lag in response time. Take care, and may your foist child be a masculine child!