A Film Restoration Diary


    Where Have We Been and What’s Next?

    12 Apr 2016

    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.

    Where We’ve Been So Far

    Here is a chronological list of the posts so far, grouped under headings. Each title is linked to its post (in case you want to go back and read any you missed).

    Initial Assessment of Kines

    1Preserving and Restoring the Tarax Show Christmas Pantomimes
    2Compiling a List of Films and Their Condition
    3About the GTV9 Film Recording System Circa 1960

    Early Tests of Telecine and Digital Restoration

    4Telecine — Initial Experiments and the Spirit Datacine
    5Exploring the Possibilities of Digital Restoration

    Scanning the Kines — Telecine

    6Troubles in Telecine Land — A Lesson in Not Believing Advertising Hype
    7Seeking Telecine Services in a Post-Film Era
    8Cutting Edge Brisbane to the Rescue with a Spirit Datacine
    9Preparing the Films for Scanning on the Spirit
    10Collecting and Inspecting the 2K Scans at Cutting Edge
    11Dealing with the Vinegar Syndrome Reel

    Assessing the Scans

    12Assessing the Scans Part 1 — Anatomy of a Kine Frame
    13Assessing the Scans Part 2 — Jitter
    14Assessing the Scans Part 3 — Video Levels
    15Assessing the Scans Part 4 — Soundtrack
    16Re-Scanning The Golden Princess (1962)

    Planning the Restoration Process

    17Mapping out a Restoration Roadmap
    18Experiments in Digital Restoration with PFClean
    19Editing Tools, Grading and When to Downsample
    20The Mathematics of Downsampling the High Definition Scans for PAL SD
    21The Mysteries of Pixel Aspect Ratio
    22The Relevance Pixel Aspect Ratio

    Let’s briefly summarise what’s been done so far.

    1. Firstly we compiled a list of the available kines and assessed their physical condition. We also looked at the GTV9 film recording system circa 1960, on which these kines were made, which told us about the image resolution we can expect from the kine scans.
    2. The next substantial step was scanning the kines (telecine). After an unfortunate false start with a Sydney company we found Cutting Edge in Brisbane and had three of the films scanned on a Spirit Datacine at 2K resolution. Subsequently we had two of the films scanned at Gamma Ray Digital in Boston on a Lasergraphics Scan Station.
    3. Then we assessed the scans in some detail, looking at the anatomy of a kine frame, the problem of jitter, video levels and the soundtrack.
    4. Finally we did some hands-on experiments with digital restoration and then looked at the process of downsampling the 2K scans for PAL DVD release, including the subject of Pixel Aspect Ratio.

    Where to From Here?

    So what’s next?

    We will downsample the 2K scans using the maths outlined in post 20 “The Mathematics of Downsampling the High Definition Scans for PAL SD”. We want clean, crisp edges for the final PAL SD frame. Hence the downsampling ratio must be such that after final cropping to PAL SD (720 x 576 pixels) the video raster will be cropped slightly — just enough to hide rough edges, but no more. We don’t want to throw away useful picture content. More about this in the next post.

    After that we will move onto adjusting levels, frame positioning and various other corrections in Final Cut Pro X.

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