Sunday, 29 September 2013

New featurette dives into the post-conversion process for the 3D IMAX release of The Wizard Of Oz

On 15 August, 1939, The Wizard Of Oz held its red carpet premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Last week, in celebration of the film's upcoming 75th anniversary, a completely remastered 3D IMAX version of the film premiered at what is now the TCL Chinese Theatre to open the largest IMAX auditorium in the world.

The Wizard Of Oz is the oldest film to ever be converted to 3D and IMAX 3D, but restoring a film that is 75 years old was no easy feat. The Warner Bros restoration team spent approximately 16 months working with Prime Focus on the 3D conversion – with more than 1,000 people working together to deliver the best possible IMAX 3D version of ultimate family classic.

Take a look at the IMAX Behind The Frame featurette which features IMAX's Lorne Orleans who oversaw the digital re-mastering of the film and Ned Price, Chief Preservation Officer over at Warner Bros., who has been a part of the restoration efforts of The Wizard Of Oz for nearly 25 years.

"The film has a kind of theatricality, a hand-made quality, that makes it quite charming and beautiful," Price says, giving praise to the production crew that made the film, explaining that their primary goal was to best serve the original work, not to alter it.

Price also goes on to explain why they chose to give The Wizard Of Oz the IMAX treatment. "The film was originally released in movie palaces; it was intended to be seen on a large screen. Unfortunately, theatres have downsized since its original release, and IMAX is giving that large screen experience," he says, going on to mention home viewing and mobile devices, environments in which films are screened under less-than-ideal conditions. "Since everybody knows the film so well, the added advantage is, we get to see more into the film itself. The original craftsmen who worked on the film did their job so well it stands up to the tightest scrutiny."

It's certainly more informative than a lot of promotional puff pieces out there and there are some interesting tidbits here too. Especially for the incredible make-up. Details such as the burlap texture of the scarecrow's face and the freckles on Dorothy's nose are just two examples of the fine detail the process was able to capture.

The Wizard Of Oz: A 3D IMAX Experience is currently on limited release and The Wizard Of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition 3D Blu-Ray will be available in October.

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