Film Restoration and Preservation

Started by wilder, January 16, 2013, 09:30:59 PM

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And speaking of "The Kingdom", it's one of a handful of early works by von Trier that are getting digitally restored. Production company Zentropa has released a seven-minute featurette diving into the lengthy process of scanning the original film strips and re-editing the movies from scratch in order to preserve the director's projects (trivia: "The Kingdom" was recorded on DigiBeta, a now defunct format).


This is more preservation than restoration, but I'm not sure where this would fit.

Maybe one of you has TV station experience or is 'in the know' about such things.

There are lots of films with extra scenes for TV.
Just about any movie will have a thread on their IMDB message board with someone saying their home video release is edited and it turns out these scenes were added for broadcast.
The worst is when they don't even put these on the DVD.
That should be the easy thing to do.

All of this made me think - What happens to these "tapes" that are sent to stations with the TV edits? I assume in the 90's they used tapes. No idea about now.
Is anyone making sure these cuts/scenes aren't being lost to time?
In all the times I've read about TV scenes and watched videos of movie collectors, I've never seen a person say that they bought a TV edit tape that used to be owned by a TV station or movie studio.
Maybe TV stations never owned copies of films, the studio just loaned them out?
I'd like to think that the studios keep backups, but if that's the case, why don't these end up on a lot of DVD releases? It should be in the vaults along with the other materials they need when creating new masters, etc. for Blu-Rays or whatever.
I am Torgo. I take care of the place while the Master is away.


Quote from: tpfkabi on June 24, 2014, 10:59:25 PM
Maybe one of you has TV station experience or is 'in the know' about such things.
There are lots of films with extra scenes for TV.
The worst is when they don't even put these on the DVD.
That should be the easy thing to do.

I could be wrong, but there are multiple issues:

  • Distribution rights are often split: theatrical run, home video, TV. Question is which TV station did specific edit and which company is doing restoration? Just to show how convoluted it can be, case of "Sorcerer" which I'm familiar with. It was co-production of Paramount and Universal, but Warner Bros was interested in restoring it. So now Paramount has rights to theatrical distribution, Universal to TV, Warner Bros to home media. You need to take in consideration fusions, bankruptcies, change of ownership etc. I would think this is major obstacle.
  • Quality of source material: often cropped frame with sub-par audio.
  • I'm hesitant with this one, but I did hear that TV station often recycled tapes after some time.
Simple mind - simple pleasures...


Thanks for the info.

I just happened to watch Quick Change (1990), a film starring and co-directed by Bill Murray.
Like with a lot of movies, you will usually find someone asking if the DVD is edited because the film is missing scenes.
Of course, arthouse films aren't really the type of film you program for your cable television mid day, so most films I read this about are comedies of the 80's/90's.
I know The Jerk has scenes shown on cable that are not on the DVD, even as an extra.
I've read about extra Teen Wolf scenes and scenes from the Problem Child films.
These being lost wouldn't be a huge loss to cinema, but it would be sad to lose them.
I am Torgo. I take care of the place while the Master is away.


Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow & J.J. Abrams Team Up To Save Film Stock
via The Playlist

A couple of years ago, things were looking grim for Kodak. The legendary film company couldn't keep up with the digital age, and were on the brink of bankruptcy, but managed to bounce back last fall. While the company promised to be more contemporary in their approach going forward, they also said that film stock was part of their future as well. And a bunch of filmmakers teamed up to make sure the industry ensures that in an increasingly digital age, there is still room for good, old fashioned physical film stock.

The Wall Street Journal reveals that behind-the-scenes, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and J.J. Abrams went to the heads of studios to make the case for film, and to have them invest in the format. How? The studios have agreed to buy an unspecified amount of film stock each year from Kodak, even if they don't know how many movies will be shot using it. It guarantees Kodak a consistent flow of money, and a reason to keep making celluloid, even though the photo company initially tried to get the studios to invest in a manufacturing plant. And the feedback, as you might expect, is a bit mixed, but mostly supportive.

"It's a financial commitment, no doubt about it. But I don't think we could look some of our filmmakers in the eyes if we didn't do it," said Bob Weinstein, likely referring longtime pal, and film enthusiast, Quentin Tarantino.

Meanwhile, Apatow just wants the option available. "[Digital and film] are valid choices, but it would be a tragedy if suddenly directors didn't have the opportunity to shoot on film," he said. "There's a magic to the grain and the color quality that you get with film."

But as you might expect, there are practical considerations to make too. "I'm a huge fan of film, but it's so much more convenient digitally," "Transformers: Age Of Extinction" producer Ian Bryce stated.

But real test will be how this plays out in the longterm. For younger directors, digital is still a much cheaper way to get movies made on a reasonable budget, so it remains to be see if this solution is merely a minor hold what is the inevitable demise of film stock. That said, if the studios do stay supportive, and make it an option for directors who aren't just marquee names, we could see celluloid survive for years to come.


The beginning of the end for film was digital projection, which killed off the huge volumes of 35mm film prints that used to be made. I'm sure there are plenty of filmmakers who want to shoot on film, but without the revenue from film prints, I'm not sure it makes financial sense to keep producing film stock.


Martin Scorsese's Statement Supporting Kodak's Continued Production Of Film Stock
via The Playlist

Martin Scorsese has issued a statement in support of Kodak's decision to continue making film stock.

We have many names for what we do – cinema, movies, motion pictures. We're called directors, but more often we're called filmmakers. Filmmakers. I'm not suggesting that we ignore the obvious: HD isn't coming, it's here. The advantages are numerous: the cameras are lighter, it's much easier to shoot at night, we have many more means at our disposal for altering and perfecting our images. And, the cameras are more affordable: films really can be made now for very little money. Even those of us still shooting on film finish in HD, and our movies are projected in HD. So, we could easily agree that the future is here, that film is cumbersome and imperfect and difficult to transport and prone to wear and decay, and that it's time to forget the past and say goodbye – really, that could be easily done. Too easily.

It seems like we're always being reminded that film is, after all, a business. But film is also an art form, and young people who are driven to make films should have access to the tools and materials that were the building blocks of that art form. Would anyone dream of telling young artists to throw away their paints and canvases because iPads are so much easier to carry? Of course not. In the history of motion pictures, only a minuscule percentage of the works comprising our art form was not shot on film. Everything we do in HD is an effort to recreate the look of film. Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD. And, we have to remember that film is still the best and only time-proven way to preserve movies. We have no assurance that digital informaton will last, but we know that film will, if properly stored and cared for.

Our industry – our filmmakers – rallied behind Kodak because we knew that we couldn't afford to lose them, the way we've lost so many other film stocks. This news is a positive step towards preserving film, the art form we love.

Fuzzy Dunlop

Film is Here to Stay! Studios and Kodak Strike a Deal
via Indiewire

Apparently, all that pressure from Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams made a difference.

Last summer, Hollywood directors including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams and Judd Apatow urged Hollywood studios to support Kodak to keep film stock in use. Today, Kodak announced it has finalized new film supply agreements with all six major Hollywood studios.

"Film has long been – and will remain – a vital part of our culture," said Jeff Clarke, Kodak chief executive office, in a statement. "With the support of the studios, we will continue to provide motion picture film, with its unparalleled richness and unique textures, to enable filmmakers to tell their stories and demonstrate their art."

Recently, such high-profile films such as Oscar-nominees "Boyhood," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Interstellar," "Foxcatcher" and "Into the Woods" were shot on Kodak film. Some of the biggest films of 2015 are being shot on Kodak film as well, including "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens," "Batman v. Superman - Dawn of Justice" and "Ant-Man," among others.

Apatow told The Wall Street Journal last summer that film and digital are "are valid choices, but it would be a tragedy if suddenly directors didn't have the opportunity to shoot on film. Apatow is shooting his latest film, "Trainwreck" on film. "There's a magic to the grain and the color quality that you get with film," he said.

With the rise of digital imaging technologies and theaters converting to digital projection, Kodak's film sales have declined by 96 percent over the last decade.

In addition to continuing to manufacture motion picture film, Kodak said it would also pursue new opportunities to use film production technologies in new areas, such as touchscreens for smartphones and tablet computers.

"With the support of the major studios, the creative community can continue to confidently choose film for their projects," said Andrew Evenski, Kodak's president of Entertainment & Commercial Films, in a statement. "We've been asking filmmakers, 'What makes a project FilmWorthy?' Their responses have varied from the need for its exceptional depth to its distinctive grain, but overwhelmingly, the answer is 'the story.' They need film to tell their stories the way they envision them, and hold a strong desire for it to remain a critical part of their visual language. Enabling artists to use film will help them to create the moments that make cinema history. The agreements announced today are a testament to the power of film and the creative vision of the artists telling them."


Restored Polish Classic Films Selected by Martin Scorsese to be Screened Across the UK

KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival, BFI Southbank and Filmhouse Edinburgh have partnered to show 24 newly restored classic Polish films, which have been chosen by acclaimed American director Martin Scorsese. Amongst them are such renowned films as Krzysztof Kieślowski's Blind Man and A Short Film About Killing, Andrzej Munk's Eroica, and Andrzej Wajda's Man of Iron.

Director Scorsese commented: "These are films that have great emotional and visual power – they're 'serious' films that, with their depth, stand up to repeated viewings. There are many revelations in the season and whether you're familiar with some of these films or not, it's an incredible opportunity to discover for yourself the great power of Polish Cinema, on the big screen."

The 13th KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival runs from 8 April - 29 May.

Here's the official press release from the Polish Cultural Institute:

KINOTEKA, the annual celebration of Polish Cinema, returns to the capital for an extended bumper 13th edition. On offer there is an enticing mix of film, music and visual arts with an outstanding selection of screenings; UK premieres, curated retrospectives, exhibitions, concerts, interactive workshops, industry masterclasses and special guests encompassing all aspects of Polish film culture.

KINOTEKA is partnering with Filmhouse Edinburgh and BFI Southbank on an exciting new collaboration for the UK tour of Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema. 24 masterpieces, chosen by Scorsese himself, all brilliantly restored and digitally remastered to 2K resolution. The season showcases films made during a particularly fertile and creative time in post-war Poland, by directors such as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Wojciech Jerzy Has, Aleksander Ford, Krzysztof Kieślowski, and others. The UK season launches at KINOTEKA's Opening Night Gala, on 8th April at BFI Southbank, with a screening of Camouflage, with director Krzysztof Zanussi in attendance. The event will be repeated at the Filmhouse Edinburgh on April 10th. The full list of venues will be announced soon.

The ICA plays host to KINOTEKA's New Polish Cinema strand from 10th April with a selection of both popular and critically acclaimed contemporary Polish films from the last year. The strand includes the UK premiere of the festival special guest Krzysztof Zanussi's Foreign Body and Jerzy Stuhr's Citizen. The latest film from KINOTEKA's favourite Wojciech Smarzowski (Traffic Department, The Dark House), The Mighty Angel will be presented alongside one of the year's most interesting directorial debuts, Krzysztof Skonieczny's Hardkor Disko.

KINOTEKA showcases the breadth of original, innovative documentary that has come out of Poland. In a short career before his premature death at the age of 34, influential documentarian Wojciech Wiszniewski (1946-1981) produced just 12 films in total, yet he is now considered to be one of the most outstanding personalities of his generation. His legacy is explored in Wojciech Wiszniewski Rediscovered, a programme of 6 of his shorts at the ICA on 12th April. Paweł Pawlikowski, will present a special weekend of screenings of his prestigious documentaries at the ICA (18th/19th April), including Dostoevsky's Travels and From Moscow to Pietushki. The documentary strand also celebrates the work of emerging Polish documentary filmmakers, Aneta Kopacz and Tomasz Śliwiński who have both studied at the Wajda Film School and who have been Oscar® nominated for this year's Best Documentary Short Film category.

In conjunction with Martin Scorsese presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema, KINOTEKA and BFI Southbank will host an exhibition of original poster artwork celebrating the films of legendary director Andrzej Wajda. Tate Modern will screen The Performer by Łukasz Ronduda, a dynamic story full of punk energy based on the life of one of Oskar Dawicki, one of the most original contemporary Polish artists currently working, who will play himself...

This year, KINOTEKA will draw to a close with a special screening of cult Polish comedy The Cruise (1970) at the ICA (29th May), to mark Second Run's DVD release. Taking inspiration from the film's subject, festivities continue with an authentic boat ride on the Thames, for a 70's-themed interactive performance created by immersive UK theatre group Gideon Reeling, with live jazz by Obara International and DJ set to close the evening.

KINOTEKA is presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in London in partnership with DFDS Seaways and Pola Arts Foundation, co-financed by the Polish Film Institute and supported by Project London Films and Forest and Ray. Venues already confirmed to participate in the 13th KINOTEKA programme include the BFI Southbank, ICA, Tate Modern, Frontline Club and Filmhouse Edinburgh.

Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema Complete Program:

Eroica (1957) Dir: Andrzej Munk
The Last Day of Summer (1958) Dir. Tadeusz Konwicki
Ashes and Diamonds (1958) Dir. Andrzej Wajda
Knights of the Black Cross (1960) Dir. Aleksander Ford
Night Train (1959) Dir. Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Innocent Sorcerers (1960) Dir. Andrzej Wajda
Knife in the Water (1961) Dir. Roman Polański
Mother Joan of the Angels (1961) Dir. Jerzy Kawalerowicz
The Saragossa Manuscript (1964) Dir. Wojciech J Has
Pharoah (1965) Dir. Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Jump (1965) Dir. Tadeusz Konwicki
Walkover (1965) Dir. Jerzy Skolimowski
The Illumination (1972) Dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
To Kill This Love (1972) Dir. Janusz Morgenstern
The Wedding (1972) Dir. Andrzej Wajda
The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973) Dir. Wojciech J Has
The Promised Land (1974) Dir. Andrzej Wajda
Camouflage (1976) Dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
Provincial Actors (1978) Dir. Agnieszka Holland
The Constant Factor (1980) Dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
Blind Chance (1981) Dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski
Man of Iron (1981) Dir. Andrzej Wajda
Austeria (1982) Dir. Jerzy Kawalerowicz
A Short Film About Killing (1987) Dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski.



The Apu Trilogy: 2015 Restoration - Official Janus Films U.S. Trailer

Janus Films has released an official trailer for the recent 4K restoration of acclaimed Bengali director Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy.

Initially, the restored Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and Apur Sansar will be screened in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Later this summer the films will be screened in other theaters across the country.

The Criterion Collection will also release the new restorations on Blu-ray.

The Apu Trilogy was restored in 4K by Janus Films/the Criterion Collection at L'Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna, with the support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Film Archive.

Synopsis: Two decades after its original negatives were burned in a fire, Satyajit Ray's breathtaking milestone of world cinema rises from the ashes in a meticulously reconstructed new 4K restoration. The Apu Trilogy brought India into the golden age of international art-house film, following one indelible character, a free-spirited child in rural Bengal who matures into an adolescent urban student and finally a sensitive man of the world. These delicate masterworks—Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished), and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)—based on two books by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee—were shot over the course of five years, and each stands on its own as a tender, visually radiant journey. They are among the most achingly beautiful, richly humane movies ever made—essential works for any film lover.


In 1992, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar to director Satyajit Ray. When sourcing material from Ray's films for the Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers were dismayed by the poor condition of the existing prints. The following year, after Ray's death, a project was initiated to restore many of Ray's films, including those in The Apu Trilogy.

In 1993, several of the filmmaker's original negatives were shipped to Henderson's Film Laboratories in London. In July, a massive nitrate fire at the lab spread to the film vaults, destroying more than twenty-five original negatives of important British classics—and burning several Ray films, including the original negatives of The Apu Trilogy. Any ashes, fragments, or film cans that could be identified as belonging to Ray's films were sent to the Academy Film Archive, but the trilogy negatives were deemed unprintable—there were no technologies available at the time that were capable of fully restoring such badly damaged film elements.

When the Criterion Collection began working on this restoration with the Academy Film Archive in 2013, the negatives were in storage and hadn't been seen in twenty years. Many portions were indeed burned to ash, and what remained was startlingly fragile, thanks to deterioration and the heat and contaminants the elements had been exposed to. Head and tail leaders were often missing from reels. Yet significant portions survived, from which high-quality images might be rendered.

No commercial laboratory would handle this material, so it was entrusted to L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, one of the world's premier restoration facilities. There, technicians successfully rehydrated the brittle film using a special solution (one part glycerol, one part acetone, three parts water). Scanning tests determined that pin-registered wet-gate scans yielded the best results. Technicians then set about physically repairing the elements. This meant almost a thousand hours of meticulous hand labor, which even included rebuilding the perforation holes on the sides of the film and removing melted tape and glue. Using fine-grain masters and duplicate negatives preserved by Janus Films, the Academy, the Harvard Film Archive, and the British Film Institute, the technicians found excellent replacements for the unusable or missing sections of the original negatives. In the end, 40 percent of Pather Panchali and over 60 percent of Aparajito were restored directly from the original negatives. The two surviving reels of Apur Sansar were too damaged to be used in the restoration, so all of that film was restored from a fine-grain master and a duplicate negative.

Over the course of nearly six months of steady work, the Criterion Collection restoration lab handled the digital restoration, including eliminating dirt, debris, warps, and cracks. Emphasis was placed on retaining the look and character of the original material, preferring when necessary to leave damage rather than overprocess digital images that might lose the grain and feel of film.

All in all, the restoration of The Apu Trilogy has been years in the making. The return of these films to theaters marks a triumph for the archivists and members of the preservation community who had the foresight and faith to protect these vital treasures of world cinema—even when all seemed lost.


Universal Pictures Expands Restoration Program

Universal Pictures will restore 15 silent films from its catalog. The restoration work will be completed in the next four years.

At the moment the 15 films have not yet been finalized.

Following the announcement, Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal, said: "The company understands its responsibility and need to preserve our silent film legacy. This early art of filmmaking is the foundation on which Universal Pictures was built more than 100 years ago, and it's important we honor our rich history."

The upcoming restorations will be completed with the support of the Library of Congress, the Film Foundation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, UCLA Film & Television Archives, Association of Moving Image Archivists and Hollywood Heritage.


Jerry Lewis' 'The Day The Clown Cried' Added To The Library Of Congress, But With A 10 Year Screening Embargo
via The Playlist

One of the most notorious, unreleased films ever made, Jerry Lewis' Holocaust drama "The Day The Clown Cried" has long been the subject of rumor and speculation. Even Lewis himself, who has long been sitting on the only copy of the movie, has veered in recent interviews from being "embarrassed" to "proud" of the effort in which he plays a German circus clown arrested by the Gestapo after mocking Hitler, and who is eventually forced by the Nazis to perform and help lead Jewish children to concentration camp gas chambers. But he has long held he would never show the movie (which was plagued by production and financial woes) publicly, though he thinks if he had a chance to tweak it, maybe it could work.

"I think about this a lot. If I could pull certain specific elements from the project, and give me these three or four elements that I can do what I want with, if I hired Lincoln Center one night, for a specific audience, and give me one week shooting to let me shoot a beginning to that, a beginning to that, and a beginning to that and let me show that.... Whoooo-weeeee! It would be fucking wonderful to think about," he said in 2013, adding: "What I would shoot would be strictly as a marketing presentation tool for that night and it would all be thrown away after that night."

Well, that's not happening, but Lewis is making the picture available for future generations. The LA Times reveals that the Library Of Congress has just received a collection of Lewis' work from the man himself, including "The Day The Clown Cried." But there's one caveat: Lewis made the Library agree not to screen the movie for ten years.

So, the wait will continue, but it looks like this little piece of movie history will finally come to light in a decade. Until then, you can check out some footage and behind-the-scenes material right here.


The American Genre Film Archive's Kickstarter campaign to preserve the Something Weird collection