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Britgeek speaks to Universal's Michael Daruty about restoring JAWS for Blu-ray!!


Britgeek here.


I had known about it for well over a year, but this week's official announcement had me giddy with excitement. My favourite film of all time – JAWS – is coming to Blu-ray on September 3 in the UK and August 14 in the US, and with the hotly anticipated THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING feature-length documentary finally being released with it. The Blu-ray is part of Universal Pictures' 100th year celebrations and I personally can't wait to have it in my hands.


I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with the man who oversaw the restoration and remastering of JAWS – as well as all of Universal's centenary Blu-ray titles – Michael Daruty, the Senior Vice President of Technical Operations, Universal Studios Ops Group, so check out my interview below as we discuss the arduous task of making one of the finest films ever made look the best it ever has. There's also a little exclusive tidbit (correct me if I'm wrong) with regards to the studio's plans for their legendary monster movies.










BRITGEEK: Hi, Mike, how are you doing?


MICHAEL DARUTY: I'm good, how are you, Adam?




BG: I'm great, thanks. It's a pleasure to speak to you today.


MD: You too.




BG: It's definitely good to talk about my all-time favourite film.


MD: Oh good. You'll enjoy it [laughs].




BG: So with the restoration of JAWS, I see that you decided to go with restoring the original negative.


MD: Yes, we did.




BG: What was the process you went through to reach the point where you decided to go with the original negative?


MD: We researched all of the elements, so we looked at all the existing elements from the original negative to the inner positive to the negative prints, everything, and during that evaluation process we were looking to determine what would give us the best quality, the best resolution, and also how much work we would have to do on the element.


We did choose the original camera negative because it is the highest quality, even though the camera negative was in fair to poor condition due to its use over the years. It had multiple running scratches, moderate to heavy dirt, some film and perf damage and an overall grainy appearance, but it did give us the highest resolution based on our testing because we knew that we could use some tools to be able to correct those problems.




BG: Right.


MD: It started with conducting a liquid or wet gate scan. So we conducted the liquid gate scanning which filled a lot of the running scratches, so then when we scanned it to 4k, which is the environment that we scanned the negative to and worked in. We were able to correct a lot of the scratches that were in it just by the wet gate process. And then with all of our digital tools and skilled technicians, we were able to correct all of the other problems with our dirt removal systems and our editing and systems that fix damage, and then we had some great processing to try and manage some of the grain.




BG: So it was certainly a meticulous process.


MD: Yeah, it is, it took us months to work on this and then we brought Mr. Spielberg in at certain points of it, got his opinion on how the colour grading was going, how the digital restoration and the grain management was, took a few notes from him, brought him back in after we made some corrections, and he was very pleased with the outcome.




BG: In June of last year actually, Steven spoke to [Quint] and that's when I believe he first mentioned that JAWS was being worked on for a Blu-ray release.


MD: We were getting ready to start at that time, yeah.




BG: How closely involved was he?


MD: Well, Steven understands the importance of this film to him as well as to the studio, so everything was pulled out, there was nothing left unturned in making sure this title looked as best as it could.




BG: I think it's great that you were able to get Steven on board. I mean, obviously, no one can argue with his vision, but I think one of the problems that exists with remasters – generally – is that often the crew member brought in as a consultant while the film is being worked on may have had a different vision to the director. Using a film I saw last year as an example, where the cinematographer was brought in, the colour palette had dramatically changed much to the chagrin of fans and all because that person had always thought it should be that way. So, it's great that Steven was able to come in and share his feedback with you.


MD: Steven's very supportive about making himself available to go through the process. Our intention is always to match to the original look of the [film] and the film-makers' vision, so as long as we stay along those lines we're usually pretty close to what he's looking for.




BG: What were his views on the amount of grain? Audiences are always hard to please where classics are concerned. Some like it, some don't.


MD: It always is, but you need grain; film has inherent grain in it. When we're dealing with high resolution content like that and an original negative that has some grain in it, it's a fine line on managing that, and I think we've managed that fairly well in the look of the [film]. He was very happy with it.




BG: What kind of notes did Steven make?


MD: We had a few minor corrections. One of the scenes... the opening scene, [Chrissy's] in the water, and there's so much more detail coming from the original negative and scanning it at 4k, and looking at it at high resolution you see so much more detail than we've seen in previous HD versions, that he wanted to bring out a little more detail and brighten that scene up just a little bit so you could see her. So minor corrections like that is all we did.




BG: So when you're remastering and restoring for the Blu-ray format, how does that process compare to DVD and then going back to VHS?


MD: Well, we start out at a very high resolution, so we're working in a 4k environment and then we will create another digital negative from that 4k; we will create our HD masters from that; we will create archival 4k elements as well as digital elements that we protect and geographically separate, and then the HD elements are used to create the Blu-ray compression and that is handled by our home video group.




BG: Talking sound, the Blu-ray has the new 7.1 HD mix.


MD: Yeah, it's a 7.1 up-mix that was conducted from the 5.1 remix that was done from the two-channel stereo original, and the 7.1 sounds fantastic.




BG: Are there any changes with the 7.1 compared to the 5.1 remix? When the DVD came out, some of the effects had been changed.


MD: Yeah. No, Steven's pretty adamant about maintaining the original intent of what his work shows, so all they did was take the 5.1, they up-mixed it to 7.1, and, you know, through the sound process there's some adjustments that were made to get things in the other two channels, but there's no significant creative changes to it.




BG: JAWS is one of many classic titles getting the Blu-ray treatment to mark Universal's 100th year. Has working on the film been any different to the others?


MD: They all require a great deal of work. They all are unique. They have their own characteristics from their era, their film-making, the films themselves, the materials... but JAWS is exciting for us to work on because it's such a great title for us as a company and as a title from Mr. Spielberg's library, but they all are unique. The same kind of processing we worked on with JAWS is the same that we did with TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT and BUCK PRIVATES, and will be the same as what we do on our monster series that we're releasing. They're all scanned at high resolutions.




BG: So do you think the work done on JAWS has maximised the potential of the format?


MD: Definitely, I mean the JAWS work that was done is just outstanding. Steven said it looks better than it's ever looked in the theatre, and I think he refers to that in the restoration video that he was a part of.




BG: Which is on the Blu-ray.


MD: Correct.




BG: Excellent. Well I certainly can't wait to see it.


MD: I'm sure you will enjoy it!




So there you go, the 411 on the meticulous process that my favourite movie of all time went through to reach a Blu-ray disc. Excited? I certainly am. And who else noticed Michael's mention of the monster series? It's been rumoured since last year, but it appears we now have confirmation that the classic Universal Monsters movies are being worked on for release on Blu-ray.


JAWS is released on Blu-ray disc in the US on August 14 and the UK on September 3. Yes, those of us in the UK have to wait a little longer, but we get a limited edition Steelbook to go with the regular edition.


Here's what you can find in addition to the feature on the disc:


THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING: THE IMPACT & LEGACY OF JAWS: All-new feature-length documentary featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with cast and crew, including Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider.


JAWS: The Restoration: An all-new, in-depth look at the intricate process of restoring the movie.


The Making of JAWS: A two-hour documentary featuring interviews with key cast and crew.


From the Set: An insider's look at life on the set of JAWS, featuring an interview with Steven Spielberg.


Deleted scenes & outtakes.


JAWS Archives: Take a peek inside the JAWS archives, including storyboards, production photos and marketing materials, as well as a special segment on the JAWS phenomenon.


Original theatrical trailer.


UltraViolet: The revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, store them in the cloud, and download and stream instantly to computers, tablets and smartphones. Currently available in the United States only.


Digital Copy: Viewers can redeem a digital copy of the full-length movie from a choice of retail partners to watch on an array of electronic and portable devices.


pocket BLU App: The popular free pocket BLU app for smartphones is now even better with newly updated versions for iPad, Android tablets, PC and Mac computers, with features made especially to take advantage of the devices' larger screens and high resolution displays.


























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Readers Talkback
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  • April 12, 2012, 1:43 p.m. CST


    by Fritzlorrerains

  • April 12, 2012, 1:44 p.m. CST

    And how is it possible I still have not seen Jaws?

    by Fritzlorrerains

  • April 12, 2012, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Time for Spielberg to do Jaws 5

    by dude_gimme_tabs

    One of the greatest movies of all time by one of the greatest directors has been badly served by a succession of increasingly weak sequels.<p> He should finish the series, book-end it andut right the wrongs of the sequels.<p> Modern effects, both CG and animatronic, plus years of filmmaking experience could make it amazing.<p> Still keep the shark largely off screen / the fin / shadow in the water and make the reveal a big deal late in the film....... but WHAT a reveal if done right.<p> Universal, get Amblin on the phone and get your checkbook out!!!! Do It!

  • April 12, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST

    I want TSISW released separately

    by ballyhoo

    Already bought Jaws on VHS then DVD. I don't want to buy it again just for a documentary.

  • April 12, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Jaws III

    by dude_gimme_tabs

    You know...... This was on TV last week late at night buried in the schedule. The shark action itself is atrocious but the central idea, big great white in a marine wildlife park (Richard Matheson of I Am Legend fame's idea) is actually a good shout.<p> Also, the human stuff has it's moments such as a lot of the interplay between Mike and his girlfriend, and Philip Fitzroyce is good value.

  • April 12, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by ilovemichealbay

  • April 12, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by Adam Stephen Kelly

    You... GET OUT OF MY TALKBACK! THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING is the 105-minute cut, rather than the three-hour festival cut.

  • April 12, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    I want it now!!!!

    by eric haislar

    Give me!

  • April 12, 2012, 1:52 p.m. CST


    by eric haislar

    Dude watch it. It is a masterpiece. But if you have a blu ray you might as well wait till then.

  • I want bugs and snakes exploding out of Little Buddy's head in 1080p, goddammit!!!!

  • Part 4 is so bad it should be illegal to even put that on Blu-Ray.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Jaws "19" for 3D!!!

    by Drath

    If they don't do it, they are dead to me!

  • April 12, 2012, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Holloween 1,2 and maybe H20.

    by eric haislar

    Just because it deals with strode.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Yeah... weird that they didn't fix the 5.1 mix

    by Lucky13

    Unless they did, and the 'boss' was blissfully ignorant of the process, as they usually are.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:14 p.m. CST


    by eric haislar

    they should do it as a short to just put in front of there films. Make it look just like the BTTFII shark. Got it would be awesome.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Imagine Bruce 2015

    by ZOMBRE

    I would love to see a modern animatronic Bruce. I think Bruce still looks great, but a new animatronic Bruce, augmented with cgi.... That's the stuff. Oh yeah.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Spielberg Jaws V

    by dude_gimme_tabs

    Come on, you know it makes sense!! Stephen..... DO IT!!!!

  • April 12, 2012, 2:31 p.m. CST


    by dude_gimme_tabs

    Yeah, modern animatronic shark to give bulk and presence, coupled maybe with CGI jaw action to give realism??? Could be amazing.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST

    The only acceptable CGI addition

    by Mugato5150

    the stock footage of the real shark kind of takes one out of the film. But it's fine the way it is.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:48 p.m. CST


    by dude_gimme_tabs

    I agree re: the original, no CGI addition, but ina final, good quality sequel, use whatever works best.

  • April 12, 2012, 2:53 p.m. CST

    I really love that these Universal 100th releases...

    by impetus

    ...all have the film's year of release featured prominently on the cover. I know it seems kind of minor, but that context means a lot, especially to film buffs. It's one of my crazy pet peeve when you look all over the whole damn case, insert, and disc of a catalog title and there's not a single mention of the year of release.

  • April 12, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    7.1 Mix

    by Adam Stephen Kelly

    Yes, the 7.1 is a mix of the altered 5.1 remix so the changes will remain, but the original 2.0 mono

  • April 12, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST still in the Blu-ray.

    by Adam Stephen Kelly

  • April 12, 2012, 3:15 p.m. CST

    I know it's like discussing a preferred flavor of shit, but...

    by lochkray

    I prefer Jaws IV to Jaws III. Also, re: a modern anamatronic Bruce - Watch Deep Blue Sea (the Sam Jackson one, not the recent drama). The CGI sharks look typically cartoony, and don't move right, but MAN...the anamatroic sharks sure had come a long way. They looked great.

  • April 12, 2012, 3:22 p.m. CST

    III vs IV

    by dude_gimme_tabs

    It is a tough one, but to me IV has to be one of the worst movies ever made and III is mainly just poorly executed.

  • April 12, 2012, 3:24 p.m. CST


    by Adam Stephen Kelly

    I like the opening 20 minutes. As soon as Lorraine Gary leaves Amity... well, the less said the better. JAWS 2 is underrated. It's not a patch on JAWS, but it's a very good film, similar to PSYCHO and PSYCHO II.

  • ... at Roy Scheider's face as he looks out at the freaking ocean to see that kid get gobbled up, I kind of lose it. It fucks me up. THAT shit right THERE........ THAT is the stuff that contributes to making film legend. One of the best pieces of filmmaking IMO, ever. Hell, Ima watch it again tonight.

  • April 12, 2012, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Jaws IV made me laugh more.

    by lochkray

    I know it wasn't intended as a comedy, but the goofy concept keeps me amused until the goofy looking shark shows up to make a goofy attack. Its kind of like Plan 9 from Outer Space awful. It comes around to being good again, for all the wrong reasons. Jaws III is just regular awful.

  • ... I will take the half-ass, sort-of-hokey-if-you-look-really-hard-at-it shark in this film (Bruce) over a polished, perfectly rendered CGI version any day. Yeah, look really hard, sometimes it looks fake, yes. But it just worked. The film suffers not one iota for it. Because the film is THAT STRONG.

  • April 12, 2012, 4:43 p.m. CST


    by eric haislar

    The way the film is edited in that scene is amazing back and forth between his POV and his face. Every time someone walks across screen The view changes and not only that when we come back to him they are zooming closer on his face. Brilliant editing right there.

  • April 12, 2012, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Oh hell it's right here

    by eric haislar

  • April 12, 2012, 5:17 p.m. CST


    by Astronut

    Yup. That's amazing. Those cuts I love also... how did Spielberg do the pull back/zoom thing though? was Scheider on a dolly coming toward the camera as it was zooming in...? Love that technique!!! I wonder if he was the first director to do that exact camera trick? And how... how did he do it? Anyone?

  • April 12, 2012, 5:54 p.m. CST


    by Astronut

    The scene where the shark rolls the kid and the blood sprays up and pools atop the water... wowwww. That shit just reduced me to a little bitch. So emotional. So well done. And then that shit with the camera pull/zoom.... fuuuuck. E-P-I-C Mr. Speilberg's finest hour, IMO.

  • April 12, 2012, 5:55 p.m. CST

    i'm pretty sure hitchcock done it with stewart in vertigo

    by paul burnett

    my all time favourite film, when ben gardiner shows up...

  • April 12, 2012, 6:01 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    It's called a Dolly Zoom. Hitchcock famously used it in Vertigo. It's when the dolly is moving toward or away from an object while the zoom lens is adjusted in tandem.

  • April 12, 2012, 6:12 p.m. CST

    Shocked that Quint isn't the one writing this

    by Logan_1973

    Then again, he and Capone and the rest of the old guard are slowly being replaced. The times they are a changin'...

  • April 12, 2012, 6:26 p.m. CST

    I'm being what now?

    by Quint


  • April 12, 2012, 6:28 p.m. CST


    by Astronut

    Thanks for that. I need to see that film, I've never seen it. Can you believe that shit? I'm 46 years old with a love of great film and (especially) sci-fi but I still have a LOT to experience..... :)

  • April 12, 2012, 6:43 p.m. CST

    For that you get the head... the tail... the whole damn thing...

    by Astronut

    GOD ALMIGHTY, I love great characterization combined with great acting and perfect dialog. QUINT, is this your favorite film of all time or just your favorite action-oriented film? And why? I've read your stuff before but I can't recall exactly what it is you adore about it, other than, let's be honest, it's freaking brilliant. Oh and obviously it means a lot to you since your reporting name is Quint. ha Personally, it's my favorite Speilberg film of all. Yup, and that includes Indy.

  • ... and asks him, "Wanna get drunk and fool around?" Where ARE these women?????

  • April 12, 2012, 7:18 p.m. CST


    by Madmacks

    Their not in Myrtle Beach I can tell you that!

  • April 12, 2012, 7:20 p.m. CST


    by Astronut


  • You.

  • April 12, 2012, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Just realized I called her Elaine. It's Ellen.

    by Astronut


  • April 12, 2012, 7:55 p.m. CST


    by Astronut


  • April 12, 2012, 8:09 p.m. CST


    by Madmacks

    Even though I live in the US now I was born in Brighton England and saw Jaws on Dec 26th 1975........yeah we had to wait that long for the movie to open over there! Great movie.....I never get bored of it. I agree with the other guy about Spielberg going back and putting it to bed a little bit like Stallone did with Rocky Balboa and what Eastwood should have done with Dirty Harry after The Dead Pool.

  • April 12, 2012, 8:10 p.m. CST


    by fat_rancor_keeper

    SHUT UP & TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!!!

  • April 12, 2012, 11 p.m. CST

    They better not cock up the transfer for this

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    And make sure they include the OSCAR-WINNING mono soundtrack with the whale song intact.

  • April 12, 2012, 11:14 p.m. CST

    These guys are absolute heroes.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • April 13, 2012, 3:10 a.m. CST


    by Angry Mike

    I was just joking about the sequels, but seriously I do think #2 is underrated, and probably as good a sequel to Jaws as you could get. 3 sucks wall to wall, and even though I agree 4 is one of if not the worst film ever made, the first 10 mins are actually okay.

  • April 13, 2012, 3:13 a.m. CST

    Do you know what Jaws 4 and Superman 4 have in common?

    by Angry Mike

    The first ten minutes are actually okay and on the right track for a good ride. It takes that long before they both become complete shit. That means that there are at least 10 mins worth of a good movie in them. And thats a positive way of viewing them, if you do. They also came out in the same year.

  • April 13, 2012, 4:37 a.m. CST

    I wish this was in mono sound...

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    These digitally enhanced stereo/surround soundtracks suck royal monkey dick. Exhibit A: The Terminator police station shootout.

  • April 13, 2012, 4:52 a.m. CST

    Shark is the fastest form of transport.

    by Gabba-UK

    The late Richard Jeni of course with the ultimate summation of a shitty movie. I do remember seeing footage of his doing the routine but all I can find on YouTube is other people reciting it so it's not the same. Still funny.

  • April 13, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    So it's official JAWS HAS BEEN DNR'D!

    by Jaster Mareel

    I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

  • April 13, 2012, 10:20 a.m. CST

    SO GLAD we are getting the original poster art

    by Jaster Mareel

    That bullshit, glittery redesign pissed me off.

  • April 13, 2012, 11:11 a.m. CST

    This time its personal!

    by ZodNotGod

    Summer of 1987, went with some friends to see ROBOCOP rated R, too young. Had to settle instead of JAWS THE REVENGE. What a pile of shit. Never laughed so hard then when the shark roared, considering they have no vocal times. Remember seeing the ads for SUPERMAN 4, but the time I got ready to see it, it had been pulled. Gone from the theaters in 2 weeks.

  • April 13, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST


    by Jaster Mareel

    Now...I'm not a fucking moron. I know it's pretty fucking goofy...but I like it! That scene where Jaws attacks them in teh sunken wreck a la The Little Mermaid was pretty fucking cool! But the best part of Jaws IV is the very end when teh shark dies. You HAVE to freeze frame through it because it's a hodgepodge of images. I have no explanation for what happened there. I can only assume they had some big effect that didn't work right and instead of putting more money in, said fuck it. It's a toy shark in a bathtub. I'm not kidding. If you haven't seen it yourself, you just have to do it. If for no other reason than it's just fucking incredible that Jaws started off as one of the best films of all time, and ended up in the fucking bathtub.

  • April 21, 2012, 10:07 a.m. CST

    by horrorheadfred

    They are using the mono soundtrack. It's just been upgraded for multi channel, allowing the sound to be more crisp and accute.