Just over a week ago, the release of “Tech Noir” was released, a new 392-page coffee table book (weighing nearly seven pounds) that brings together nearly fifty years of concept art created by filmmaker James Cameron.
From “Terminator” to “Aliens” to “Titanic” and “Avatar”, the book offers lots of never-before-seen pieces of concept art, pre-production sketches, storyboards and technical drawings created for various projects by him – both produced and unproduced. All the art is taken from his personal archives and has been curated by Cameron himself.
Recently, Space.com spoke with Cameron from his studio in Wellington about the book, and one question they asked is that someone else has been asking for years now – where is a high-definition transfer of “The Abyss”?
As for the remaining ‘holy grail’ of movies not yet released for 4K, let alone Blu-ray in any form, the last official disc release of the acclaimed ‘special edition’ version of Cameron’s 1989 underwater set was sci- fi-drama. a non-anamorphic disc release on DVD almost twenty years ago.
Over the years, both Cameron and 20th Century Studios’ Home Entertainment department have essentially blamed each other for the release coming to a standstill. In addition, Cameron’s many years of commitment to the “Avatar” sequels and other projects have not helped.
To date, the only HD version out there is a so-so transfer of the less reputable theatrical track that appeared on streaming on HBO and Netflix a while back. Even though it’s a start, it’s still far from the wishes of the real transfer fans.
Thankfully, it sounds like Cameron has done what he needs to this year, so it should come soon. He says to the business:
“We completed the transfer and I wanted to do it myself because Mikael [Salomon] did a beautiful job with the cinematography on that film.
So I recently completed the high-def transfer a few months ago, so presumably there will be Blu-rays and it will stream with a proper transfer from now on.
I appreciate what you said about the film. It did not make much money in its time, but it seems to be well-liked over time.
Cameron also touched on how he remains so proud of the film and its visual appearance thanks to film photographer Mikael Salomon and design elements by Ron Cobb and Steve Burg:
It’s really, really beautiful movie. That was before I started asserting myself in terms of lighting and asking the cinematographer to do certain things. I wanted to compose with the camera and choose the lenses, but I left the lighting to him [Salomon]. He did a remarkable job on the film, which I appreciate better now than I did, even though we made it.
I would also like to point out that he took a look at the first day dailies with the underwater lighting and he went out and learned to dive. He came in the following Monday morning, the worst diver in the world, but he reinvented the underwater lighting.
He went for indirect lighting and he got everyone to do things that were not just outside their comfort zone, they had never even thought about it. Suddenly, the underwater images begin to live up to the surface photography. ”
For those who have never seen it, the film follows a civilian diving team tasked with locating a lost nuclear submarine along the edge of an abyss. The group is forced to include a bunch of Navy SEALs to help with the rescue, but the investigation reveals the presence of something out of this world that lives at the bottom of the trench.
So far, the only legal way to watch a version of the movie is outside of the original DVDs on the aforementioned HD transfer on Starz.
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