Written on 09/09/10 by Frank Laughlin
Some folks didn't know 'Billy Jack' has been available on Blu-ray since last September. It was released on Blu-ray by Image Entertainment after it was completely restored for a special sold-out screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
FYI: Film runs at 24 frames per second; 1,440 frames per minute; 86,400 per hour.
'Billy Jack' is 164,163 frames long, in case you were wondering.
Nathan Elam and I spent several months going through every single one of them. We repaired dirt, dust, tears, stains, emulsion digs, scratches, and more. (I keep planning to post a more detailed account of how much repair we did, but I'm not convinced anyone is really interested. Let me know if you are.)
To make the sound match the new, improved picture, MiCasa Multimedia in Hollywood (their studios are built inside a house once owned by Bela Lugosi — very cool) did a masterful job restoring the sound to true DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Brant Biles, the cheif engineer, is a flippin' GENIUS at a mixing console and ProTools workstation. Robert Margouleff is the Sherlock Holmes of finding long-lost audio elements. I'm still amazed by how good this almost 40 year old, mono, low-budget film sounds. You will be too. (We're thinking of releasing the restored soundtrack. Let us know if you think we should.)
The picture restoration was made possible by the incredible folks at Cinema Craft USA. Ray Wallick, Bill Hennessy, and the technical team – from the US and Japan – all got involved, providing their amazing Reneat/RST restoration system that was put to work almost around the clock. 'Billy Jack' was also compressed on the world-famous Cinema Craft encoding system, and several rounds of QC came from Ray Wallick's eagle eyes. (Full credit to CCUSA is on the credit menu of the BD disc.)
The screening at the LA Film Festival was projected from an HDCAM-SR master made from the same digital file Nathan Elam, compressionist extraordinaire, used to encode the Blu-ray. (All of which are still sitting on my raid attached to this machine as I write this. I have yet another post about removing a fly that troubled us on set 40 years ago, and a very strange deja-vu-through-a-time-machine sensation, but that's for later.)
Available from Amazon