Further Updates

T shirt pair

I’m afraid it’s taken a while to get well – one of the drawbacks to getting older. But I’m able to report that all thirteen tracks have now been finished, at least to the point of having the four fresh music tracks installed and all thirteen now have the cleaning process complete (at least for the DVD versions). This is a time consuming job of pure tedium – each scene has to have five different – and changing – parameters set before encoding. However, I’m not in the camp that sees scratches and dirt on film stock as a sign of authenticity – Kodachrome was never designed to look that way, and I prefer to present the image as cleanly as possible. Given that the film was dragged all over America, stored in basements and attics, edited in garden sheds, well – those tribulations have made their film dirt mark. Now the image is much improved. The next stage is to construct the actual DVD.

As I don’t yet know the file size requirements for the thirteen tracks, it’s not yet possible to say if there will be spare space left on the DVD. Rather than the 1st 14′ of Codachrome (as mentioned on the site), I’m hoping that there will be room for Plan No 73 – harmless rebellions of middle age, a 26′ programme I made in 1999 that uses footage from driving around England and the Continent in a 3 ton van I owned at the time. I will post any developments later.


I’ve established that the film looks great on an iPod Touch. I was able to borrow my neighbour’s to run a test and I was most pleased with the quality of the image (much sharper than these rather crude stills would indicate). This has some bearing on the production tasks as I will be providing a separate CD (to the DVD) with the thirteen tracks already encoded for the iPod. It does require yet another set of tasks, as in the ongoing struggle to keep the image quality as good as it can be I’ve had to prepare two versions of the films. I won’t go into the endless technicalities here – but it boils down to the fact that the iPod versions are 4% larger than the DVD versions, and that 4% difference is important enough to require separate versions to be produced.

Red cap mailman

S Dak old car

And a t shirt! What self-respecting website shop doesn’t have a t shirt on offer.

H T shirt Ed T shirt

Actually, the thought behind the idea is that Road Dreams is an unusual entity in some respects, at least in the way the series disappeared from view for so many years. During the Channel 4 showings it was getting viewing figures of 500,000 an episode, with quite a few of those viewers feeling that it was something special. The vast majority of them have long given up on tracking it down – it’s a fairly new development to be able to locate me via the web. (Until fairly recently I had no idea the series had made such an impression.) So the thought is, just perhaps by wearing your Road Dreams t shirt (at least in the UK), who knows what reaction or contact you may establish? Maybe a role like the passage in On The Road where Kerouac writes ‘We were on the roof of America and all we could do was yell, I guess … across the night, eastward over the Plains, where somewhere an old man with white hair was probably walking towards us with the Word’. Or then again, you might be set upon by a baying mob. At least you would be likely to generate some response.

Now I have to improve my skills with DVD Studio Pro 4.


8 Responses to “Further Updates”

  1. jonathan says:

    Nice t-shirts. Maybe you could have some with it printed on the back?
    As someone who struggles with iMovie 08, I admire your patience with all that stuff.

  2. Simon says:

    Hi Elliott

    Si in Cardiff here – you helped me in my search for the original RD a while back. Looking forward to the new release – will definitely be getting it. Good luck with the final stages! Still love RD – made it to Western US for the first time in the summer and eulogised about it to the people on the trip! A special, special series.

  3. peter says:

    Hi Elliot,
    Like you said, I had long given up hope of seeing the magical RD re surfacing. Couldn’t believe it when I found your website! It’s great that we will be able to watch this stuff again and again very soon. Unfortunately I couldn’t save the teaser movie files for i pod use, I don’t have Quicktime 7. Shame it wasn’t on Google video as I can save these no problem. Iv’e waited 17 years, a few more months shouldn’t hurt! Keep up the good work.

  4. Chris Cooper says:

    Hi Elliott, I cannot believe that seventeen years have gone by since I watched in silence those beautiful images. Although I have not seen them since (apart form tiny snippets on this site), many of them have stayed with me to this day (the little chapel with the wind-blown trees etc). I cannot tell you how excited I am at the prospect of seeing your films again and I intend to wear one of those t-shirts (xxl these days!) if I can work out how to get one. A big THANK-YOU.

  5. David Howe says:

    I’m almost speechless with delight and thrilled and overcome to know that Road Dreams is still very much alive and well.
    It is simply one of the most evocative and beautiful films, bar none, that I have ever seen.
    You capture that whole era so perfectly that it brings pangs of nostalgia and gratitude to the pit of my stomach – gratitude for having been so privileged and lucky to have been growing up at that time and experiencing that whole gamut of emotions and wonder.
    All of which you have captured and kept in the film so perfectly and honestly.
    What a gem – I can hardly wait to get a DVD copy of it as my old VHS tape is pretty much worn out and done.
    Thank you so much and keep up the great work.

  6. pete says:

    i don’t really think i’ll believe it til it’s in my hands. you couldn’t know how many hours i’ve spent while aimlessly pottering around in video shops and record shops and 2nd hand shops looking for this. (and 45s of ca plane pour mois by plastic bertrand -found. driving away from home -it’s immaterial -found. and jeanne’s house (la maison du jeanne) -french film from the 80s -still lost) get it out now. all these years later, i’m sure the mellow beauty of the thing will be even more moving. and well done, by the way……

  7. pete says:

    ….hello again, i’d like a t-shirt, how do i get one? i was out of work then and just thinking about this stuff is so evocative of that time for me. i remember on the sofa under a duvet with my son jake (off sick from school) and telling him that the dark-haired lass in the water was the most beautiful woman i’d ever seen. he was loyal to his mum and cross with me. now his mum is long gone but that image of the dark- haired lass has always stayed with me…..in recent years i’ve done a load of walking in the scottish highlands and friends have often noted my (irritating) habit of stopping to look at something beautiful and trying to capture the scene in my head before walking on – i blame you, elliott!

  8. Rick Eastman says:

    You have made my day. Your documentary series has stayed with me since I saw it on TV. I have hunted high and low trying to find any information and today I came across this website.

    I’m a firm believer that music can be the soundtrack of your life, a tune you haven’t heard for years can transport you to a time and place in your life and the memories come flooding back.

    Your series and the Silk Road are two TV shows that also do this for me.

    Once you have completed your work on this amazing footage I’ll be in the queue to buy it. I guess that I’ll have to be patient as it seems I’m not the only one to have been touched by your talent.

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