Tuesday , September 22 2020

Godsend for Old Films: Digital Restoration Without a Master

Paramount to release Sunset Boulevard and Roman Holiday on DVD – restoration made from Library of Congress copies:

    “The whole point is to preserve the films the original way they were done in theaters,” said Phil Murphy, senior VP of operations for the TV division at Paramount.

    The studio used copies of the films from the Library of Congress when restoring the movie. For “Sunset Boulevard,” “It gave us a reference for what (director-writer Billy) Wilder and the cinematographers intended 50 years ago for you to see or not to see,” Murphy said.

    The restoration was aimed at producing not only a cleaned-up image for DVD but also a new film print. Both films were made on silver nitrate, which eventually deteriorates. Paramount had backup copies of the original internegative made some years after the initial release of the films. From that, the studio made film copies on safety stock.

    Lowry Digital Images, hired for the restoration, scanned all frames of the movies from those safety films into 300 computers that held the raw data. Lowry scanned in the images at an ultra-high 2,000-line resolution, above the typical 1,080 lines of resolution for high definition and 525 lines for standard TV. That was needed so that the images could be placed back on 35mm film, a process that was an industry first, according to Paramount.

    The first year of the restoration was spent testing one section of the films, cleaning the dirt and fixing scratches while developing the ultra-high-resolution clean-up process. It took another year to clean the rest of the films. After upgrading the resolution and removing flaws, the studio copied them back onto film and DVD.

    The studio will screen the new 35mm film prints at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on Dec. 1-2.. [USA Today]

Excellent news that films can be restored without the original, as thousands of masters have deteriorated beyond repair.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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