A Film Restoration Diary

All Posts in this Blog (newest first)

Having spent the previous six posts explaining the jitter stabilisation process for the 1963 kine of Marianne, let’s take a look at how well it works. Read more…

For those of you not completely bamboozled by this excursion into the very-technical, here is a summary of the whole stabilisation process developed for the Marianne kine scan. Read more…

In this post we look at a few odds and ends that arose during the stabilisation exercise: Dealing with frame defects and splice bumps, adding frame numbers, and re-combining frames into a video file. Read more…

The last post described using image correlation to measure the motion of the white dots in each of the four frame corners. These white dots move together with the video raster. Stabilising the white dots will stabilise the unwanted movement or jitter of the video raster. Read more…

In the last couple of posts dealing with “Home-Grown Jitter Stabilisation”, we established:

  • The jitter comprises displacement, rotation and vertical scaling.
  • There is a white dot (partially) visible in each of the four corners of each scanned film frame. These dots move together with the video raster.
  • If we can measure the frame-to-frame movement of these dots, we can calculate and then correct (i.e. remove) the jitter.
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Let’s put some visuals to this idea of stabilising the jitter in the kine scans.

As I mentioned in the last post, the jitter actually comprises three kinds of motion:

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As mentioned in the previous post, Promoscape had been unable to deal with the jitter: “With regard to stabilisation, we can’t find a cost effective and consistent way to achieve this with the footage.”

They explained that the jitter was not just horizontal and vertical movement (displacement) but included rotation as well.

 Read more…

Twice before we’ve looked at digital restoration options:

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In the previous post we established the downsampling ratio for the 2K scans of “Marianne” (1963) which would result in a PAL SD frame — after cropping off the overscan. Read more…

In the earlier post[1] about downsampling the kine scans from 2K to “PAL SD+”, we established the need to know the minimum dimensions of the video raster, which varies slightly in width and height over the duration of a reel. The final cropping boundary for a PAL SD video needs to fall within the minimum video raster size so that we get nice clean edges on the video frames. Read more…

Wow, we’re up to the 23rd post in this blog series on restoring the Tarax Show Christmas Pantomime kines. Let’s take a breather and review where we’ve been so far and then map out the next steps. Read more…

Congratulations if you got through the previous rather technical post about Pixel Aspect Ratio. Read more…

I mentioned in the previous post that we would talk about Pixel Aspect Ratio (PAR). In this post we’ll talk about the historical background and in the next post we’ll look at how it affects video downsampling for this project. Read more…

In the previous post we established the need to downsample the high resolution 2K scans to a lower resolution for PAL SD release. We need to adjust this downsampling so that: Read more…

As I write this blog post (November 2015), I’m still covering work done a year or more ago. At the time I didn’t think to write about it. Looking back though it seemed an interesting journey. Read more…

Some years ago there was a television series called “The Second World War in Colour”. It featured seldom seen colour film footage taken during the war. In the introduction to the accompanying book (of colour photographs) the author remarks that there is a widespread and unconscious perception that “…the war was fought in black and white” — a result of the fact that most of the historical newsreel footage and photographs are in black and white. Read more…

Having assessed the four Tarax Show Christmas Pantomime kine scans, it is time to plan out a restoration roadmap. Read more…

In the previous four posts, we assessed four aspects of the Tarax Show Christmas Pantomime kine scans: Read more…

In assessing these kine scans we come finally and briefly to the sound tracks. Each kine has an optical soundtrack, some are variable area, others variable density. Read more…

This post discusses video levels in the four kine scans. For the purposes of this discussion, we will talk about luminance values only since the Tarax Show scans are black and white and the colour information has been removed from the scans. Read more…

What I’m calling “jitter” is unwanted rapid small movements of the video image vertically and horizontally caused by the mechanical processes of recording to and reproducing from film. Read more…

With four scans under our belt, let’s take a look at them in more detail as an aid to planning how best to restore them for DVD release. Read more…

As I mentioned in the previous post, one kine reel had a noticeable “vinegar syndrome” smell. The Australian National Film and Sound Archive describes the problem: Read more…

It was with excited anticipation that I returned again to Cutting Edge to see first hand the high resolution scans of the Tarax Show kines. With high quality, high resolution scans from the film, the project to restore these productions for DVD release could now move forward. Read more…

Having found a Spirit Datacine in Brisbane and tested some of the Tarax Show kines, it was time to prepare the full length 16mm reels for scanning. Read more…

The discovery of a Spirit Datacine at Cutting Edge in Brisbane, only two hours away, was a relief after the at-a-distance negative experience with the Sydney company. This time I could see the equipment for myself, and discuss in person what was needed. Read more…

When the Sydney telecine company failed to deliver a useable scan, the search was on again for a quality film scanning service. Read more…

It was not until 2012 that I was able to find time to arrange telecine transfers of the full length reels of the Tarax Show pantomimes. Read more…

The black and white television equipment installed at GTV9 in the late 1950s delivered remarkably good picture quality. This was especially so within the studio complex itself where the engineers maintained the equipment to a high standard and sought the best possible picture quality. Read more…

Around the same time as Studio One at GTV9 was transformed into Toyland for the last Tarax Show Christmas Pantomime, the BBC in London was getting ready to launch a new childrens’ television series about a curious character who travels through time and space in a police telephone box. Dr Who was also (mainly) a studio-based production, recorded to videotape and subsequently copied to film for distribution to television stations around the world. Read more…

In this post we’re going to get a bit more technical and look into how these film copies (“kines”) were made from the original television productions. We’re going to delve into some technical history of film recordings at GTV9 circa 1960. Read more…

In the previous post I gave a brief history of the Happy/Tarax Show annual Christmas Pantomimes. The surviving film copies of these are the subject of this current restoration project. Read more…

In 1956 the Olympic Games ushered Melbourne into the television era. My father (Denzil Howson) had joined GTV9 as Assistant Programme Manager in September that year and we were one of the rare households in those early days with a TV set. It was an American “Admiral” set and it cost a lot of money. The Happy Show premiered on 19th January 1957 — just two days after GTV9 began regular transmissions. Read more…