Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

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themgnt
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Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#1 Post by themgnt »

Links:
Original SD version: https://youtu.be/YKQEdPk0y38
HD recreation: https://youtu.be/n_tmE3baRF8
HD Trailer: https://youtu.be/xSdRuViazSA

Through March and April, my COVID project was to finally properly sync the PSB score to Battleship Potemkin to the film. As you may know, the CD version contained edits of Comrades, and Men and Maggots (cut down to roughly half it's actual length) making doing this at home on the fly impossible. Additionally, the film is in the public domain so there are many versions out there so it was important to use the correct version of the film. There are quite a few attempts at doing this on YouTube but none are accurate. Most simply play the CD over the film with no regard to the numerous points where the score exactly matches the action on screen. Some hack up the music to force it to fit the film at points. None attempt to recreate the PSB vision.

Fortunately I found the correct release on my first try: the DVD from Image Entertainment, NTSC. You would think the PAL version would have been used but it runs a minute faster so syncing wouldn't actually work. The Image release is confirmed by the fan club DVD of the live Traflagar Square performance where the title cards can be briefly seen. (see version comparisons here)

I was able to locate a live audience recording of the Trafalgar Square performance so I could use that as a template to hear exactly how the missing music sounded. Using this I re-edited the CD version to better match the original score. It's not a 'prefect' match. Some of the audio is hard to hear, and I also needed it to flow sonic-ly and not be jarring. A purist might complain...

Once this was done the newly edited score all but exactly matched the Image DVD release. I made three small tweaks (half a second here and there) to make it work better. This is posted to YouTube as the original SD version: https://youtu.be/YKQEdPk0y38

The same year PSB released their score, Kino released a newly restored HD version of the film. It looks stunning! Knowing there was a better quality version of the film out there I had to at least attempt to recreate the sync. There were some challenges: the film runs faster, the title cards are shorter, and the Blu Ray contains restored footage removed over the years due to censorship. In the end over 300 adjustments were made to the Kino version to match the Image release. I didn't want to lose the restored footage so I made some additional stretching edits to the score to keep the film in sync. This worked out perfectly because restored footage at the wrong time in the score (such as during vocals) would have broken the entire thing. Extension edits were made to Nyet, After All, and No Time for Tears. There were a few other edits made to to the film make this work better, mostly due to the Image DVD duplicating shots that the Kino version does not. This version is posted to YouTube here: https://youtu.be/n_tmE3baRF8 At the bottom of the notes on YouTube I put some sync points for those curious to see how the score matches the action on screen. (EDIT: for the HD version I decided to use the English titles rather than the original Russian. I would have preferred the Russian titles to be more historically accurate, and because they just look better, but that would have involved manually adjusting every single subtitle manually and I just didn't want to do that. Plus since it was a silent film subtitles over on screen text looked messy. Plus there is a screen that has a large amount of text and subtitles wouldn't have been readable anyway).

Finally, I actually want people to watch this! A hundred year old silent film about a Russian revolution doesn't sound very exciting but the film has a lot of action and the PSB score enhances all this. The film was revolutionary in it's experimental use of montage editing, which changed the ways movies were cut ever since. I made a little trailer for it. It's not great, but I like it, and I think it conveys how much action there is in the film. It's posted here: https://youtu.be/xSdRuViazSA

I hope some of you will watch this and enjoy seeing the Pet Shop Boys vision for this film finally, after all these years. And please let me know what you think.
Last edited by themgnt on Fri 05 Jun 2020, 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom Angel
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#2 Post by Tom Angel »

wow!

Good work.

Much respect for you hard endeavour.
in suits or sequins/or twin sets and pearls

Dog
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#3 Post by Dog »

Good work. I love an immersive Pet Shop project.
Woof.

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Xakrij
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#4 Post by Xakrij »

Liked
and
Shared!
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Future Lover
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#5 Post by Future Lover »

Thank you, I'm in love! I've never been playing the soundtrack on its own, glad I'll be able to experience it as it was intended!

le petit corbusier
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#6 Post by le petit corbusier »

Thank you very much!

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Greendrake
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#7 Post by Greendrake »

Immensely respectable work! (I once tried to do the same and know how tricky it is).

PSB must feel ashamed that they didn't release just f*** exactly what they performed and so made some fans go through this challenge and years of inability to watch the movie with their score properly.

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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#8 Post by Dog »

Greendrake wrote:Immensely respectable work! (I once tried to do the same and know how tricky it is).

PSB must feel ashamed that they didn't release just f****** exactly what they performed and so made some fans go through this challenge and years of inability to watch the movie with their score properly.
As we’ve seen with It Couldn’t Happen Here, it’s not necessarily their decision.
Woof.

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Greendrake
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#9 Post by Greendrake »

Dog wrote:
Fri 05 Jun 2020, 11:17 pm
As we’ve seen with It Couldn’t Happen Here, it’s not necessarily their decision.
Whoever's decision it was to release a CD-only edit while not releasing the performed version in any form (especially that the movie was in public domain so a DVD could easily be released) — it was either nasty or stupid (or both).

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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#10 Post by Dog »

Greendrake wrote:
Dog wrote:
Fri 05 Jun 2020, 11:17 pm
As we’ve seen with It Couldn’t Happen Here, it’s not necessarily their decision.
Whoever's decision it was to release a CD-only edit while not releasing the performed version in any form (especially that the movie was in public domain so a DVD could easily be released) — it was either nasty or stupid (or both).
Neil and Chris would quite likely have loved to release the film with their soundtrack. But even if something’s in the public domain it doesn’t mean you can necessarily take it, add your own music, package it up and charge people to buy it. It doesn’t mean anyone was nasty or stupid which are odd words to choose.
Woof.

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daveid
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#11 Post by daveid »

Well done for doing this. I will watch this when I get a chance.

товарищ

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Greendrake
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#12 Post by Greendrake »

Dog wrote:
Sat 06 Jun 2020, 8:25 am
even if something’s in the public domain it doesn’t mean you can necessarily take it, add your own music, package it up and charge people to buy it. It doesn’t mean anyone was nasty or stupid which are odd words to choose.
Well they didn't necessarily need to the release the film at all.
What I don't get is what sense on Earth could it possibly make to release a film score that doesn't actually fit the film while not releasing a version that does. The film runs 74 min 21 s — the score could perfectly fit on a CD (and if it didn't, music DVDs were already a thing). What were people supposed to do with what they released — just listen to it from A to Z? Well many of us did (so did I many times) but some even fans did not. What did they expect of the general public?

If they released the right version they could at least get many places play the film with it which would benefit the label and PSB themselves. Wasn't it stupid to miss this opportunity? Wasn't it nasty to force fans to have pain trying to recreate the right version?

Dog
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#13 Post by Dog »

Greendrake wrote:
Dog wrote:
Sat 06 Jun 2020, 8:25 am
even if something’s in the public domain it doesn’t mean you can necessarily take it, add your own music, package it up and charge people to buy it. It doesn’t mean anyone was nasty or stupid which are odd words to choose.
Well they didn't necessarily need to the release the film at all.
What I don't get is what sense on Earth could it possibly make to release a film score that doesn't actually fit the film while not releasing a version that does. The film runs 74 min 21 s — the score could perfectly fit on a CD (and if it didn't, music DVDs were already a thing). What were people supposed to do with what they released — just listen to it from A to Z? Well many of us did (so did I many times) but some even fans did not. What did they expect of the general public?

If they released the right version they could at least get many places play the film with it which would benefit the label and PSB themselves. Wasn't it stupid to miss this opportunity? Wasn't it nasty to force fans to have pain trying to recreate the right version?
They wanted the soundtrack to be a piece of music to listen to outside of the context of the film so edited out some repetitive passages. Here’s the entry from Literally at the time.

Image
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tottenhammattspurs
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#14 Post by tottenhammattspurs »

Thank you for this. I can finally watch the film again. For added “live” authenticity, I’m going to hold up an inadequate umbrella whilst being sprayed with a light splashing of water.
is is and isnt isnt

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Boring90
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Re: Battleship Potemkin - True, accurate sync

#15 Post by Boring90 »

Fantastic work! Thank you!
Las Vegas 1999

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