I really enjoyed Festival Express for many of the same reasons others note in this thread .. the cool paint job on the old 'CN' trains, Rick Danko in the bar car on the last night, watching the rythym guitarist for Buddy Guy get crazy on stage, but also the performance by Mashmakhan - I had never heard of them prior to Festival Express, but really liked their sound. Unfortunately they were pretty well ahead of their time and broke up soon after. Anyone else like them ??
Yes, 16mm deteriorates. Now I'm not so sure about the negatives, but 16mm print film deteriorates if not kept dark, and in a climate controlled (temperature and humidity) environment. The negatives can easily be color-corrected, or "color timed".
I used to collect old 16mm TV commercials, and most of them have faded badly, even though I keep 'em in a dark location, in cans, and in a cool basement. 16mm prints were made on Eastman Kodacolor printfilm stock, which has a relatively short lifespan. I used to convert regular 35mm color print negs to slides, using EK printfilm stock and it never lasted more than a few years.
I imagine it will be up to the original producers to request any digital conversions. In believe that the NFB vaults are in Montreal, Ville St. Laurent, to be precise. I use to drive by NFB headquarters all the time.
...shall we go, you and I while we can...
So, John Platt told it in the Deadhead's Tapers Compendium first, but the story goes on and was coorberated by GDP. The way in which Festival Express came to be was that the Grateful Dead agreed to allow the footage in the movie to be used in exchange for another 90 hours of similiar stuff, including all the concerts along the way,be returned to the Vault, where presumably it sits today.
ALSO, the Canadian National Film Board claims to have all of it, the full amount of footage of the entire trip in its archives. Apparently, they archive stuff like documentary footage and provide the filmmaker with some tax advantages if they get a copy. Well,I guess it goes to show that if you look hard enough, if it was filmed or recorded,it still exists. BTW as far as we know, that's all still on (deteriorating) 16mm film stock and ought to be digitally preserved. The CNFB says they have 150 reels!!!
I'm quite certain that the film was shot in 16mm. Super-8 would have had grain the size of medicine balls. 16mm film typically has larger grain per frame than 35mm. But, if you want portability and ease of camera-work, you shoot 16mm. Woodstock was also shot in 16mm. Lot's of Arri's and Eclair's used there, especially Eclair NPR's.
The problem with grain is that grain is increased when you dupe the film. Shooting an internegative increases grain. Unless you shoot 16mm Kodachrome (impossible for a commercial release), you going to have grain. That's the nature of 16mm film.
Doesn't matter - gives the film that gritty, documentary look, which is exceedingly fitting for this film.
I've had the DVD for probably a couple of years, but never watched it because, as hinted earlier, the whole thing's kind of intense. So, finally watched it yesterday, with liberal use of the fine capabilities of freeze frame.
Personally, I think it does better on the small screen, just because (as I recall) it was shot on essentially Super 8, and therefore the big screen really taxes its resolution. I was lucky enough to attend what I think was the first screening in SF, and the basketball-size grain of the film was sometimes an issue. On a TV screen, no problem.
But the other thing--even though we're all here because we're Deadheads, as it were--so many of the other artists are just stunning. E.g. The Band. I'm here to say that at the aforementioned screening,it took about a verse and a half of "Slippin' and Sliding'" to get the mellow crowd on its feet screaming.
On our way home from said screening, my friend Bennett and I got to talking about how much one's sense of The Band is formed by The Last Waltz (and rightly so; Martin Scorsese, what's not to like...), when, as Robbie Robertson so accurately said, they were at the point where they had to get off the road before it killed them. Here you see 'em eight years earlier, not so far removed from being the baddest-ass bar band in Canada, taking no prisoners. Every one of those guys just tears your heart out.
Hiphistorian (or Hip historian) was my nick name "back in the day", when we were hippies.
I've always been a stickler for collecting social artifacts and memorabilia, and the Hippie era is one of my favorites. Back around late 1967, I started to collect and save every bit if hippienalia that I could find, including posters, local underground newspapers, flyers, etc. I still have them all today. My friends were aware of this habit and gave me that moniker. I am also aware of historical continuity, and like to keep a historical order in things, particularly momentous occasions and performances.
This is why I'm such a stickler for dates of artifacts. I'm quirky that way.
Man, am I dumb!
So I go and examine the first disk of the Festival Express DVD and what do I find but a "Special Features" segment. I click on that and what do you know, but "Bonus Performances" shows up! I've had this DVD for about 8 months and never looked past the main feature.
OK - so "Hard to Handle" and "Easy Wind" are there after all (but just not in the "official movie").
Just to correct a previous error - in the pic of the band on stage, that is from Toronto, 6/27/70. The "Hard to Handle" vid is from Calgary, 7/03/70, and the "Easy Wind" vid description is correct.
The pic of the group on the train is most likely from the evening of 7/02/70, just before they arrive at Calgary.
All I can say, is that the whole DVD is priceless!
Some of my dates may be off. I'm going by what Deadbase tells me, and what I see on the DVD, and what the setlist off of the Festival Express website says.
Oh, it's soooo confusing! :-P
I like the tie-dye speakers, purple shirts, cowboy hats and acoustic guitars from the Calgary, 7-03-70 photo. Nice visual. Jerry, Bob and Billy look good. Thanks Ed.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman-Song of Myself