Friday, November 7, 2014

Charlie Brown Christmas interview, with Ron Smith of Technicolor #Giveaway

As a  Charlie Brown Christmas Ambassador, I was very fortunate to be able to interview, Ron Smith of Technicolor, he gave us exclusive insights into the cutting-edge technology—4k scanning and finishing—that’s making our beloved 50-year-old classic look as fresh and clean as the day it was created. Basically, you’ll see a richer image that’s closer to the original film than any previous digital version of the special.

There are more pixels per inch, so the picture quality is better than ever before on any television screen. Peanuts is at the forefront of this technology, which “future-proofs” A Charlie Brown Christmas and the other Peanuts specials for the day when ultra-high-definition TVs are the standard in every household. And the soundtrack has been cleaned and restored, too, providing the perfect sound for home theaters.

Interview, Ron Smith of Technicolor:

From the viewer’s point of view, what’s the first thing we’ll notice now that the special is in 4K?

That it actually fits on your widescreen television! The picture is now designed for that screen. All the other presentations are designed for the old 4x3 screens. You’ll also notice the soundtrack and music have been upgraded for modern viewing: it’s in stereo surround 5.1 We’re lucky that the original negative exists for these shows, and all the original soundtracks and magnetic tracks. We were able to go in, separate those tracks, and clean them up, along with the sound effects. You’ll get that nice stereo music in your surround speakers. So the special not only looks better, but sounds more current,

Is there any scene in particular where we’ll notice the difference?

When I watch one of the shows at home, everything looks kind of small. Particularly any of the group scenes, the skating in the beginning, the rehearsal scenes for the Christmas play, they all look kind of distant. Now you’ll be able to see it much more clearly.

Where do you start when you’re doing this work?

Like any good project, you have to start with research. There’s a lot of information to be had out there. I was amazed to find how many websites there are devoted to the show. I found everything from show listings, descriptions, and some downright fanatical—meaning, created by big fans—analyses of each episode. Some of it was just cataloging all the shows. Of the 80 or 90 shows that have been done, 55 of the titles contain “Charlie Brown,” and 14 of them start with the word “It’s.”  When you’re working on 10 or 20 at the same time—and when the first two you’re working on are Christmas shows—it gets really confusing! 

So we knew we were going to have to be really careful with the elements. We have the original film elements on A Charlie Brown Christmas. Since this is priceless and irreplaceable art, we do a film inspection to see if it needs to be repaired. There may be cement splices in it, and when the show is 50 years old, those splices can come loose and appear a little bit jagged. So we make sure the show is completely repaired. We check for any obvious wear and tear, and make sure that the film will hold up going through a scanner. That’s how we digitize it.  Each frame becomes a digital data file, and each one needs to be cleaned and color-corrected.

We were lucky to have the original artwork, the original cels, so we could see what the original colors were for characters and what they wore. Everyone in Peanuts family has been involved in this in some way, and they’ve been very helpful.

How important is it for classic animation to be restored?

For every film that gets restored, there are 1,000 that haven’t been restored. There’s always an underlying race-the-clock mentality that’s associated with preservation. So many films have been lost and so many are at risk.  Particularly with shows like this, we want our kids and our kids’ kids to experience the same things we did. Separate from your professional experience, are you personally a fan of Peanuts and

A Charlie Brown Christmas?

Coincidentally, I am. I know I’m not alone. It’s probably my favorite Christmas show, no doubt. If the Linus scene doesn’t get you all choked up, then nothing will. My kids like it, and my daughter has a child who just turned 5, and she loves it. I’ll take her for a ride in my car and play the soundtrack, and when the picture comes up on the player, she’s in heaven.  It just makes it that much more special that I can re-experience it through their eyes.

One of the things that really struck me when we started working on it here at Technicolor was that I discovered I wasn’t the only one with special relationship to the material. The colorists here, grown men and women, were fighting over the project. That’s how fondly it’s remembered by so many people.

This was a very cool interview, it was neat to see how this classic is going to be taken care of so it will be crisp and vibrant like it is supposed to be for  generations to come.

The generous folks at Peanuts are giving one of  Susan’s Disney Family readers a chance to win one Peanuts inflatable from Gemmy. These inflatables  are an easy and charming way to decorate your home or yard for the holidays. The inflatables feature Snoopy in a variety of fun-filled Christmas poses and settings—all guaranteed to set the mood for your annual festivities! (Styles vary and will be distributed randomly.) An ARV retail value of $60 -$100. To enter please let me know what you love about the A Charlie Brown Christmas special. Do you have a favorite scene, or character?There are also other ways to enter, please enter below.

Win it:
One winner will win a Peanuts inflatable from Gemmy (Styles vary and will be distributed randomly.) an ARV of $60-$100

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .


  1. I love hearing lynus give the Christmas story

  2. I like the speech Linus gives about the true meaning of Christmas at the end of the show.

  3. I love the Charlie Brown Christmas show! I watched it every year while growing up! I liked it when Charlie Brown gets a Christmas tree that everyone thinks is ugly, and how when it it decorated it looks beautiful. I can relate because we had some Christmas trees when I was growing up that looked like Charlie browns! But we made it look pretty!

  4. i love the music

  5. I just love being able to watch it with my grandsons now. It's such a classic!

  6. Love Charlie Brown! Especially Snoopy! Love watching it on tv every year with my two boys! Love how the speech Linus gives about the true meaning of Christmas.

  7. I love that they tell the real meaning of Christmas.

  8. My husband is a HUGE Charlie Brown fan and we always watch it when it's on tv. :)

  9. I love the characters and how they interact with one another. I also love the childhood memories that surface when I watch CHarlie Brown holiday specials.

  10. I like the music from the special. It always makes me happy to hear it.

  11. I loved when Linus explained what Christmas was all about and the little tree on the piano. We have a Charlie Brown Tree in our yard and I think of him every time I look at it. dwelchert at yahoo dot com

  12. I've alwasy been a huge Peanuts fan. (Final paper in pshchology class in high school 41 years ago (gasp!) was entitled "There's a Little Charlie Brown in All of Us." Wow - I even remember the title of the peper!) I have the soundtrack on a cd in my "Christmas music" pile in the car. I love Charlie Brown's indignation at the over-commercialization of Christmas (Which has NOT improved over the past 50 years!) That said - I'd LOVE a giant inflatable Snoopy for my yard!

  13. I love the music, it's so catchy! I love listening to it during the holidays!

  14. My brother loves Snoopy,so we watch all the specials.

  15. I love snoopy the best I love the piano music

  16. I love how the kids come together to find the true meaning of christmas.

  17. I love when they are all dancing ,they each have their own style and look so peaceful.

  18. I love the meaning and the memories behind watching this show as a child and now with my children.


Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.

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