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Old 02-21-2020, 04:01 PM   #421
chen lung chen lung is offline
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May 2016
Default Dragons Forever: The Chronicles


I think it all started in early 2019 when 88 Films secured the rights of what I called ‘Batch 2’ (from Fortune Star) and, after a slight wait, received the masters. They asked what order the films should be released. Part of this was determining what would be the most difficult, so they opted to put ‘Crime Story’ first (the easiest). In a way, we were also saving the best for last: ‘Dragons Forever’.


I wanted seamless branching for the Hong Kong and Japanese versions, but it was decided that it may pose issues with player compatibility. I also wanted the export version presented as originally intended (though independently, because of framecuts by original editors), hence its inclusion (not being a fan of hybrid dubs). A pile of extras was going to be present, too, so it was decided that it would be best to present this product in the form of two discs.

Fortune Star policy had, in the past, prevented clients from altering the visuals. However, to our surprise, it was permitted to edit down ‘Miracles’ and this film. Beforehand there was talk of using SD sources in their entirety, but I didn’t think it particularly appealing (especially given this was a Blu-ray).

I accumulated (also transferred numerous VHS or had transferred - long story!) whatever representations of the international English version could be found (five in total). The purpose, as well as finding suitable audio sources, was to determine what should/shouldn’t be included because, aside from them all missing something, it also seemed to cut frames out originally (video). I assembled and sent it to 88 who used the video as a reference in preparing their master. I lined up ‘scratch’ audio, leaving remastering and patching (using a tape lent to me by one of the men running the label) to IronGod’s contact. I made SDH around the same time.

Just on the subject: Also lined up was a handful of past representations of the Hong Kong version. The previous Fortune Star master, for instance, had a few frames missing here and there (also sub-optimal repairs). Gaps at these sections in master materials suggest it was partly due to reel changes. Thankfully, this 4K one isn’t missing anything (incidentally, I detected a few issues that were subsequently resolved).


Requests to Fortune Star were made for assets (including openings/closings) relating to the batch, but only a selection had been mentioned in reply. We accepted this for the other titles, but the priority assets sought were for this film, namely those of the Japanese version because they would resolve much contention (i.e. psychiatrist scenes), and further justification came from the fact they would also be used for the international version. Although initially informed that Japanese content (including the ending) wasn’t available, I had a feeling they would be (Winson LD; two scenes on various media licensed from Fortune Star), so after slight persistence, they (and the English trailer) were located in the archive, transported for scanning in Hong Kong, and restored in the UK by a lab (who also performed colour correction on the main film). Better that than my original idea of upscaled inserts (in an otherwise HD presentation)! The lack of frame completeness would’ve also been disappointing for me (the international version was missing a few in comparison to the full Japanese counterpart; viable existing sources excluded something).


Remixes can be notorious (to say the least), so I wanted us to make a new one. I knew of a soundtrack that was more palatable, but flaws in it meant that the only way to produce a quality one properly would be to get the stems from Fortune Star, which were (thankfully) available immediately (three mono tracks: music; dialogue; effects). Also, after much toing and froing (and expense!) with various contacts/sellers, I managed to get a copy of a stereo music source in digital. Armed with those assets (and notes I sent), IronGod’s contact got to work and produced this brilliant effort which is far more faithful to the original compared to others I've heard.

We noticed some interesting things about the stems:
  • Dialogue is present between Jackie and Ling during the first occurrence of the theme song.
  • The first bout of Sammo’s singing used a different voice artist. The Mandarin version has what appears in the original mono, but we didn’t have the stems for that, so an existing DVD was used for that section.


Research and testing took place (by everyone) throughout the production and authoring stages; feedback was submitted and changes applied (e.g. I assembled a soundtrack for the ‘behind the scenes’).


Thanks: (apologies to anyone I may have missed)
  • 88 Films (cooperation, investment, mastering/authoring, commissioning, material)
  • Chow King-Hei (translated the Hong Kong trailer)
  • Fabhui (provided various VHS)
  • Fortune Star (accommodated a number of our requests and more)
  • Futurhythm (translated the Cantonese-language versions of the main feature)
  • IronGod and his contacts (provided and remastered/restored audio and video sources)
  • KungFuBob (designed artwork)
  • Leon Salmon (provided backup source for music)
  • Markgway (offered advice and services)
  • Newgen2005 (provided various audio sources)
  • OldPangYau (QCed the disc)
  • Spannick (provided references and sources)
  • Various forum members (provided clarifications in SDH for English version)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Dragons Forever [comparison].jpg (90.4 KB, 388 views)
Attached Files
File Type: zip Dragons Forever [comparison].zip (95.1 KB, 30 views)

Last edited by chen lung; 03-08-2020 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:30 PM   #422
newgen2005 newgen2005 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chen lung View Post
Thanks: (apologies to anyone I may have missed)
  • 88 Films (for investing, authoring, providing material and more)
  • Chow King-Hei (translated the Hong Kong trailer)
  • Fabhui (provided various VHS)
  • Fortune Star (accommodated a number of our requests and more)
  • Futurhythm (translated the Cantonese-language versions of the main feature)
  • IronGod and his contacts (provided and remastered/restored audio and video sources)
  • Leon Salmon (provided backup source for music)
  • Markgway (offered advice and services)
  • Newgen2000 (provided various audio sources)
  • OldPangYau (QCed the disc)
  • Spannick (provided references and sources)
  • Various forum members (provided clarifications in SDH for English version)
Always a pleasure to help out on these releases, really looking forward to this one!
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:41 PM   #423
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Man, if all labels worked this way, putting all this effort and care into their releases....
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:54 PM   #424
chen lung chen lung is offline
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Originally Posted by newgen2005 View Post
Always a pleasure to help out on these releases, really looking forward to this one!
And I couldn't even spell your name correctly, newgen2005 (now corrected!).
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:11 PM   #425
OldPangYau OldPangYau is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chen lung View Post
[CENTER]
Thanks: (apologies to anyone I may have missed)
  • 88 Films (for investing, mastering and authoring, providing material and more)
  • Chow King-Hei (translated the Hong Kong trailer)
  • Fabhui (provided various VHS)
  • Fortune Star (accommodated a number of our requests and more)
  • Futurhythm (translated the Cantonese-language versions of the main feature)
  • IronGod and his contacts (provided and remastered/restored audio and video sources)
  • Leon Salmon (provided backup source for music)
  • Markgway (offered advice and services)
  • Newgen2005 (provided various audio sources)
  • OldPangYau (QCed the disc)
  • Spannick (provided references and sources)
  • Various forum members (provided clarifications in SDH for English version)
Always a pleasure working on these, even if I wasn't able to be as "all in" on this one. I feel I did more on Heart of Dragon, even though I like Dragons Forever more, lol!
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:28 PM   #426
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Killing it!!!!!
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Old 02-21-2020, 06:18 PM   #427
revoloution revoloution is online now
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Thank you to everyone who worked on this release, you guys have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Looking at how Fortune Star were very helpful with elements you guys needed this gives me great hope for future releases from both 88Films and Eureka.
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:29 PM   #428
Owenjohnston Owenjohnston is online now
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This is great to see fortune star be so accommodating and fantastic to see so much work going into this release. Just pre ordered heart of dragon for this very reason. Keep the HK releases coming 88!
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:58 PM   #429
Markgway Markgway is offline
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I think we all owe Chen Lung a big round of applause for his efforts.



Bill Murray agrees.
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:07 PM   #430
Drunksnake Drunksnake is offline
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Canít believe the effort thatís been going into these releases! Itís brilliant and slightly bewildering. Has the market suddenly grown for these movies to justify the amount of time, effort and no doubt money being spent? Or can it be, that this company really does just care and arenít totally driven by greed? I think the latter is most likely. Thank you 88 films and Eureka for your hard work. Thanks to all the guys on here who are contributing to the quality of these releases. Really looking forward to watching the full Japanese cut, the picture looks awesome!
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:11 PM   #431
Nurmilainen Nurmilainen is offline
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That was a great read Chen Lung! Thanks to everyone involved for their efforts and neverending love for these classics. I'm sure this release will be terrific!
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:42 PM   #432
WaverBoy WaverBoy is offline
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Chen Lung, you are THE MAN, many thanks to you, 88 Films and all those on your list of contributors. I’m so looking forward to this!!!
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Old 02-22-2020, 12:27 AM   #433
chen lung chen lung is offline
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Thanks, everyone!

I just wanted to make a post about the technical experiences (some not mentioned in my post, incidentally) but also give acknowledgement to other talented folks as a team effort (some of whom I don't know their names); I appreciate them as well as those who responded to enquiries. 88 deserve plaudits for going above and beyond with their time and money.

I'm enjoying assisting 88 and continually appreciate them giving me the opportunity to be involved. It’s been a great experience and means of re-connecting with my tools and what I was taught years ago but also learn more/improve (software/hardware; obstacles and overcoming them; methodologies, etc).

Last edited by chen lung; 02-22-2020 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 07:00 AM   #434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chen lung View Post
Thanks, everyone!

I just wanted to make a post about the technical experiences (some not mentioned in my post, incidentally) but also give acknowledgement to other talented folks as a team effort (some of whom I don't know their names); I appreciate them as well as those who responded to enquiries. 88 deserve plaudits for going above and beyond with their time and money.

I'm enjoying assisting 88 and continually appreciate them giving me the opportunity to be involved. Itís been a great experience and means of re-connecting with my tools and what I was taught years ago but also learn more/improve (software/hardware; obstacles and overcoming them; methodologies, etc).
thank you for everything
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Old 02-22-2020, 07:22 AM   #435
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I thought the same thing, it's VERY pink but I guess that's still better than Pisstavisionô.
I agree, look at the guys hand behind, he will be passing out soon

Something in the middle would have been more appropriate, as its gone from from one extreme to another imo, but it is what it is, still big improvements in most areas.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:05 AM   #436
MasterWithOkFingers MasterWithOkFingers is offline
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Incredible work guys, unbelievable effort. This is going to be amazing!
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:50 AM   #437
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Wow that was one of the best posts I think I have ever read. All that effort is outstanding and I so look forward to getting my copy. Would you guys ever consider doing a feature/extra about what it takes to put together a package like this?
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:16 PM   #438
Owenjohnston Owenjohnston is online now
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It's bittersweet that FS have started to allow adjustments to the masters and actually scanning extra footage. The bitter part being that they should've done this from the start with the Bruce Lee and police story films
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Old 02-22-2020, 02:34 PM   #439
Nurmilainen Nurmilainen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owenjohnston View Post
It's bittersweet that FS have started to allow adjustments to the masters and actually scanning extra footage. The bitter part being that they should've done this from the start with the Bruce Lee and police story films
At least Shout! were allowed to color correct the Bruce Lee movies!
That set looks great!

But I agree, of course; they should've done right from the start. It's super nice to see that they have finally changed their attitudes! After all, the catalog they are managing is kind of a national treasure!
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Old 02-22-2020, 02:36 PM   #440
Nurmilainen Nurmilainen is offline
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Oh, and detailed posts about the process surrounding new releases and their sources are very welcome in the future as well!
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