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July 2018

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Page 5 of 43 4 POST JULY 2018 BITS & PIECES LOS ANGELES — Baby boomers may find it hard to believe that it's been 50 years since the release of The Beatles' wildly surreal, pioneering and hugely influential 1968 classic animated feature film, Yellow Submarine. To celebrate its milestone 50 th anniversary, a restored 4K version with remixed 5.1 stereo surround sound is being theatrically released this month by Abramorama and Apple Corps Ltd. (who partnered on Ron Howard's The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years) and Universal Music Group (UMG). Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, the Yellow Submarine project began when Brodax, who had previously produced nearly 40 episodes of ABC's animated Beatles TV series, approached The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein with a unique vision for a full-length animated feature. And although The Beatles themselves were ultimately only responsible for the music (they appear in a live-action cameo at the end, but actors actually did the Fab Four's voiceovers), the result was a visually stunning film, propelled by Beatles songs, including the title track, "Eleanor Rigby," "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, the film also featured imaginative art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, and experimental and innovative animation techniques from directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes, who oversaw a team of top animators and technical artists. But time had not been kind to the vivid psychedelic colors and look of the film, so when Apple approached restoration specialist Paul Rutan Jr. and his team at Los Angeles-based Triage Motion Picture Services about restoring the film, he was eager to take it on. "The big challenge was retaining the original palette and look, as it was all hand-drawn, with little paint smears and so on," reports Rutan, who'd previously restored A Hard Day's Night, Magical Mystery Tour and Help. "But we also had to eliminate all the dirt and scratches that had taken a toll over the years." The process began with the team sorting through "cans and cans of original material that was kind of a mess," he adds. "We had a US version of the original negative, but it wasn't the same as the UK release, which had the 'Hey Bulldog' sequences, and some other scenes were shortened. So there was no original negative of the missing pieces in the US version, and some of the material we got was good, but some was pretty bad. And I also had to weed out material from an earlier restoration, until we had the best quality elements to use." Ultimately, Rutan and his team spent two years completely restoring and also preserving the film photochemically, "and then we used those elements to do the 4K transfer," he says. "We also had a 1968 inter-positive (IP), a low-contrast element made from the original negative that had the 'Bulldog' and shortened sequences, so we transferred a brand new IP that Triage made with all the bits and pieces we needed, and we also had to edit it digitally to make sure it was all to length and accurate to the British version. "We used a company with 40 artists in India, which we heavily supervised, to do all the clean up," Rutan adds. Due to the delicate nature of the hand- drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean- up of the film's restored photochemical elements. This was all done by hand, frame by frame. Rutan sums up the project as "right up there in terms of restoration diffi- culty. I've done a lot of them over the years, and this was very tricky, but it turned out great." The film's songs and score were remixed in 5.1 stereo surround sound at UMG's Abbey Road Studios by mix engineer Peter Cobbin. "It was all mono originally," he notes, "so we wanted to ensure that the new mixes still sounded like The Beatles, and that it had a cinematic feel to match the visuals, and I think we achieved that." — By Iain Blair THE BEATLES' YELLOW SUBMARINE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS The Beatles' classic got full restoration treatment.

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