a lot of people here have come across with great suggestions on how to do this. the stuff i posted below has been from folks who have seen what we have done so far.
i post this in hopes of getting more ideas. please share any thoughts here.
this idea from Harvey C, is brilliant:
Jaime, this is an approach that I am sure you've considered for your Ambersons reconstruction. Also, the narrative techniques used by Welles in his ground-breaking The Fountain of Youth (1956) could be adopted for the Ambersons reconstruction (lots of stills and stop motion, narrator's voice speaking through the characters, narrator inserting himself into scenes as actors fade into background, ...).
soon as i read this i e-mailed mteal, asked him to video tape himself, sitting on a chair, wearing a suit, reading the FOTA scene, and i would cut the stills and photographs into the reading. poor mteal didn't know what he was getting himself into. can't wait to hear his answer.
this from an extremely knowledgable source in the Welles World, i'll respect his privacy and refer to him as 'E', wrote this:
The cut-out figures, while certainly fun to do, didn't go over with me at all. Monty Python meets the Ambersons... Using scenes from Meet Me at St. Louis or other "similar" movies also does not seem like a valid process to me
What this all boils down to, I guess, is a vote for much greater simplicity in the approach. Use every surviving original element as you find it, without manipulation:
a) storyboard drawings (although not original elements in the proper sense, so use only if no stills of the scene are available)
c) the text of the cutting continuity (dialogue and description)
d) the length of the missing scenes as indicated in the cc (highly important in order to give a proper feeling for the rhythm of the original film)
e) Bernard Herrmann's music, as heard on the Preamble CD -- a must for your work.
The real trick is to find a way of combining the text (either scrolled or as inserts) with the stills and/or storyboards: Superimpose it in white lettering over the images? Or switching back and forth between images and
texts? You can only find out by trial and error.
Brad (Masters Degree, teaching at University in Ulm, Germany)
The illustrations are good, although they should be far more detailed in the final version. I like the cutouts of the characters sliding back and forth, although it may be seen by some as a bit comical. It would be nice to have male and female actors reading the lines in the final version. You could indicate who is speaking by illuminating the faces/bodies of the characters, one after the other, as they exchange dialogue. If you're not clear what I mean by this, ask me, and I'll be more detailed.
I don't know if you need to keep the stage directions indicating movement or not; you may be able to simulate a good deal of this with animation. I think it takes away from the drama to include quite so much of it.
I assume you've seen the reconstructions of either Cukor's A Star is Born or Stroheim's Greed? They used still photos taken on the set, or blow-ups of scenes from missing footage, and did a lot of cross- cutting to faces, medium shots and close-ups, etc. to keep things a bit more dynamic in these sections (similar to what Ken Burns does in his documentaries when he uses still photos). You may want to consider this approach in some scenes, especially in static takes involving groups of people. The restored A Star is Born can be found in a lot of video stores, but I only saw Greed on TCM.
That's all I can say based on what you've sent thus far. I'll be delighted to view other pieces of it if you want to spend the money to mail them!
there you have the reviews on what we have done from begining, till pre stable scene. please post any ideas.
harvey's idea is f-ing brilliant. a la fountain of youth, a guy sitting on a chair, with book, and maybe aided by one of those frame projectors, forgot what they are called, they project from a short strip of film one frame at a time.
please post any ideas or thoughts here.
a million thanks
jaime, and your future tuxedoed narrator, mteal.