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Author Topic: Derrann Films
Robert Crewdson
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From: UK
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 - posted June 26, 2013 04:34 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My purchasing of films from Derann and others ceased around 1982 when Movie Maker mag closed down and it was obvious that VHS had won the day. I don't know how Derann's later releases were, but I had a few problems in the early days. One of the problems was that quality was not consistent unlike DCR films, you never knew what you were getting for your hard earned cash. I bought a 4x400 feature of Hopalong Cassidy 'Heart of the West', this was acceptable; when they brought out another Hoppy feature I wanted to add that, when it arrived it was almost transparent (Bleached), I returned the film, but instead of a replacement I was given a refund and the title was withdrawn, so they must have been all the same. Then I bought their Errol Flynn Trailers, same problem, looking at the leader I could see this was a dupe of a Canterbury films release. Then I bought a 4x400 feature of Western actor Johnny Mack Brown; the sound is way out of sync on large parts of the film. I wanted to keep the film so said nothing to them about it. Did anyone else here encounter similar problems.

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Joe Caruso
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 - posted June 26, 2013 06:07 AM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have the Flynn trailers, they're pretty good (canterbury) - Need the L&H Newsreel (200'), any chance? - Cheers from Shorty

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Robert Crewdson
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From: UK
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 - posted June 26, 2013 07:14 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Joe, I have the Canterbury trailers of Nothing but Trouble and I think the other is Great Guns, both on one reel. Collectors Club issued 'Tree in a Test Tube' and L&H interviews, which was concerning their latest film Attol K, which also went under another name; it was their last film, made in France. When Collectors Club closed Derann bought some of the negs including Tree in a Test Tube. Walton films issued a railway film which had footage of L&H on the Dymchurch Miniature Railway. I remember years ago someone in the U.S. brought out a film of L&Hs trip to England about 1932; it showed Stan visiting his father. I only managed to get this on tape. I do have L&H on 'This is Your Life' in Super 8.

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Adrian Winchester
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 - posted June 27, 2013 01:49 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You're raising a big subject because soon after you stopped buying, Derann kick-started the big Super 8 revival and went on to be 'world leader in Super 8' for about 20 years, releasing a staggering amount of product that makes them unique in 8mm history!

I think the video boom you mention has some significance here. Beforehand, I'd agree that their quality was highly variable, with some releases being (e.g.) from 16mm dupes that would have been almost unwatchable if you were watching the source print, let alone the 8mm copy. Some of the older releases were OK, though.

But things changed enormously in the revival era, partly because of improvements at the labs they were using but also because Super 8 quality needed to justify the added cost of projecting film on the 'big screen'. Some people switched to the relatively primitive video projection available then but it was clearly inferior to good Super 8 prints. So in this era, with maybe only one or two exceptions, Derann avoided releasing anything that was comparable to their worst releases in the old days, and instead put great emphasis on their deals with companies like 20th Century Fox and later Disney, which meant that they generally has access to excellent master material. That doesn't mean that there were no longer quality control issues and faulty prints - there were plenty - but as long as you got a fault-free copy of a particular film, the quality was likely to range from good to outstanding.

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Adrian Winchester

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Hugh Thompson Scott
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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
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 - posted June 27, 2013 02:41 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Adrian has put it in a nutshell there.If you take a particularly good
release from their late 70's period,such as "Plague of the Zombies"
or "The Creeping Flesh", both are pretty decent prints regarding
colour, but put against later product like "The Mummy" or
"Fearless Vampire Killers", and the difference is obvious, all are
examples of good super 8, but with the later prints resembling 16mm.
I think that Derann achieved the highest possible quality that
could be squeezed out of the tiny 8mm frame,and so far I don't
think that can be taken away from them, coupled of course by
the excellent lab work.

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Robert Crewdson
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: UK
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 - posted June 27, 2013 05:01 PM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I stopped buying because it was reported that B&W prints would be printed on colour stock, by that time I had a large collection. I don't think any of my prints have been screened more than 3 times, with many only once. Both Movie Maker and Film Making had gone to the wall, along with Powell, DCR, PM Films, and I don't think Perry's were doing much. There was also Regent Films in Blackpool that used to import Blackhawk and Niles films. Derann brought out some good George Formby features and shorts.

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Hugh Thompson Scott
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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted June 27, 2013 05:53 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Robert, I take your point on the main retailers bowing out, but
I myself had decided that I had invested a lot of money in film
stock,and there were plenty of secondhand retailers out there
if new product had ceased altogether.You only have to take note on this forum, and see that there is a huge following of silent
classic film,or LaureL & Hardy, Stooges, A&C, the list goes on.If
there were no more new releases , ever again, the hobby would
still continue.Thankfully there are folks that test the waters and
put out new material for the collectors that want it, long may
it continue.

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John Clancy
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Posts: 1954
From: Cornwall
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 - posted June 28, 2013 03:27 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The introduction of Kodak T Stocks around 1982 had a big impact on print quality.

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British Film Collectors Convention home page www.bfcc.biz. The site is for the whole of the film collecting hobby and not just the BFCC.

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Robert Crewdson
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From: UK
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 - posted June 28, 2013 06:31 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's nice to see such an interest in the hobby Hugh, I only ever bought one used Super 8 print, that was The Sword of Villon, starring Errol Flynn, I always wanted this, but never managed to get it at the time. I am surprised at the prices being asked for Super 8: as much, if not more, than 16mm.

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted June 28, 2013 10:36 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would take issue with you Hugh, but only in one regard ...

I think that absolute best super 8 prints scope or otherwise, were released by Kempski, (many of his later re-released by Derann and marginally weaker prints) ...

However, for sheer number and great quality, I must agree that of the officially released versions (legal, that is), Derann was certianly on top and as stated earlier, the Disney prints, shorts and features, were absolutely amazing. It's still hard to believe as to just how good they are, (this is ignoring the very late prints struck by a slightly lesser film lab for Derann, which were a bluish mess!)

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Hugh Thompson Scott
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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
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 - posted June 28, 2013 01:39 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Well,I've just sold one of the most stunning prints from Derann
in 'scope, "Supergirl",which has the most natural colour and
"sharp as a tack" print, which I would put against anything that came from Kempski Osi. Indeed, the best 'scope prints must be
"El Cid" & "Fall of The Roman Empire", which were better by far
than even Kempski's "Ben Hur", they were first done by Lone Wolf,then DFS.

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted June 28, 2013 02:03 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think Keith Wilton told me once that El Cid was the best super 8 print he had ever seen.

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John Clancy
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Posts: 1954
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 - posted June 29, 2013 03:18 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And I agree with Keith. But Keith does have the original review print which was second to none. I haven't seen any other print of El Cid to be honest but later prints of Fall of the Roman Empire were never as good as the first run Lone Wolf prints and from what I've heard over the years it was the same with El Cid.

But Predator and Commando are right up there too. They were printed at Buck Labs originally if I remember correctly. When Rank first invested in the Peterson printer and knew how to maintain it they produced many first class prints also. Things were a bit up and down over the years at Rank though as people who knew about film moved on, retired or even died. Then when it was all sold to Film Lab North we were really just left with the one chap who knew anything about it and that's why things gradually went downhill. Not being able to get genuine negatives didn't help either.

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted June 29, 2013 11:45 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I do0n't think it was as much the negatives, as the Disney Derann connection brought forth better negative material than one could dream, especially for super 8.

Nope, in my opinion, it was the lab. Take that horrible "Fantasia 2000" print, a film I absolutely loved, but I was aghast by on super 8. I can't believe for a minute that Disney would have given Derann that bluish of a negative for Derann to use. The print was deplorable.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Robert Crewdson
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 - posted June 29, 2013 04:56 PM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Can I ask, what is the largest projection you have seen of a Super 8mm Movie. In 1979 I was part of a private group that visited Pinewood Studios. Part of that tour included a visit to the preview theatre, where the daily rushes were viewed. Two new items had received quite a bit of attention in the UK; A Disney release ' Mickey's Trailer' and a zoom lens by Noris. That cartoon, and also a digest of 'Easter Parade' was projected onto a 16 foot screen, and it was hard to believe that we were watching Super 8. From what I gather on here, the quality has improved much more since that time. I think the lens retailed somewhere between £70 and £90 at that time, and boasted edge to edge sharpness, something I don't get with my Eumig.

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Dominique De Bast
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 - posted June 29, 2013 05:19 PM      Profile for Dominique De Bast   Email Dominique De Bast   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I saw a super 8 festival some years ago in a theather in Brussels. They also projected some videos. The size of the video projection was smaller and of much less quality (the reason why it had to be small). The super 8 films filled all the size of the screen.

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Dominique

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Mal Brake
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 - posted June 29, 2013 05:26 PM      Profile for Mal Brake   Email Mal Brake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The screen used at the BFCCs is 24ft wide in its scope format and is used for S8 as well as 16mm and 35mm.
Given a decent print the S8mm looks surprisingly good thanks to the Xenon and the 'Clancy special' GS 1200s.

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I'm gonna live forever or die trying

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Adrian Winchester
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 - posted June 29, 2013 10:31 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Regarding 'Fantasia 2000', I'd agree with Osi to some extent that it's hard to believe that Disney would supply a negative with poor colour, but it can't be entirely down to the lab, as the lab printed the trailer release at the same time and the trailer has nice colour. I'm sure Derek said that the lab tried to collect the colour of the feature but the result was as good as they could manage. Perhaps in theory, the lab should have been able to correct it further, but due to whatever factors were tending to generally push colours towards blue, they couldn't 'warm' it enough.

--------------------
Adrian Winchester

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Joe Caruso
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 - posted June 30, 2013 07:33 AM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Robert, the film you refer to, L&H IN ENGLAND, or the TOUR OF BRITAIN 1932 was released here through Manbeck, in silent - I have the railroad film of them you mentioned, still need the Derann 200' newsreel which contains both sound and silent footage - If you have this, please let me know - Cheers, Shorty

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Robert Crewdson
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 - posted June 30, 2013 07:48 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not aware of this one Joe. Do you have the reel with interviews with Bela Lugosi, and Oliver Hardy. I don't sell any of my Super 8 films. I only have a couple of 16mm shorts that I want to dispose of later, as I acquired them when I bought a projector.

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John Clancy
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From: Cornwall
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 - posted July 01, 2013 01:48 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Disney were quite capable of cocking things up a bit Osi. Take a look at prints of The Little Mermaid. That was a catalogue of errors on Disney's part and at the time it was going on Derek Simmonds gave us an impromptu precis of all the correspondence between them and Derann which explained it all.

For anyone that doesn't know The Little Mermaid was the first title released under the Derann/Disney deal and the negative they supplied was awful. Blacks were blue and overall the film was given a soft look. In the end Derann had to cut their losses and just put it out but the good thing to come out of the mess was that Derann were able to train Disney on how to produce a negative. The next title they did was Mickey's Christmas Carol and if anyone hasn't seen a first run print of that then be advised it's amongst the best ever issued on Super 8.

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted July 01, 2013 01:08 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In the decades that I dealt with Derann I would rate my satisfaction level at 95%. Amongst the usual superb quality prints, a few dupey dogs would slip through, and in the final few years the quality of their stripe often left a lot to be desired, even peeling off on a feature film I had. But overall, Derann were the best of the best.

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,

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Lee Mannering
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 - posted July 01, 2013 01:27 PM      Profile for Lee Mannering     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Derann customer satisfaction for me was 100% happy and I owe much to the staff for years of help from my childhood (I’m now 50+) and in particular Derek Simmonds who encouraged me in the cine hobby. I’ve often told people the tale of Derek telephoning my parents house and Dad passing the phone to me saying Derann Films want to speak to you, and remember I was a child way back then so it was such a thrill to speak to Derek for the first time. He asked me what projector I was using (Eumig obviously) and showed great interest in what I was up to with my amateur film making on super 8. Derek was such a guiding light for many and in particular youngsters if my experience was anything to go by. What I would say is if ever there was a muck up in later years they always sought a solution and I think you would be hard pushed to find such dedicated staff in today’s world and boy how we miss them all over here.

Its nice to reminisce about Derann but don’t forget we are so fortunate to have Steve’O and Classic Home Cinema with new prints awaiting our purchase sat on the shelf, plus Perry’s Movies and Independent 8 with healthy used film lists. As far as used film goes I’m betting Ind 8 have the largest lists which are regularly and precisely updated within the UK although Classic have some really fun ideas such as the open day/sale events which are great to go along to. All in all who would have thought 8mm would survive into the 21st century to even see new releases and some excellent magazines.

To wind up my own thoughts this very forum is an excellent resource to anyone coming into the hobby and I’m sure we are all pleased to rest safe in the knowledge it will help sustain film for future newcomers.

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Tom Photiou
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 - posted July 01, 2013 01:28 PM      Profile for Tom Photiou   Email Tom Photiou   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted July 01, 2013 01:36 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting post Tom! [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,

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