The complex craft of film restoration

Before starting to restore a new project, our experts inspect all available material and it’s background, often meeting the cinematographers, directors or museum experts, collecting any documentation regarding the original production and comparing the film or TV copies, such as interpositives, internegatives, DVCAM, Betacam, VHS, etc.

The extensive pre-production process is carried out to restore the material as close to original as possible: our goal is to repair and preserve without changing the original intention/feeling of the material. This means that it is not acceptable to just digitize one copy that has lost most of the color or some part of the image and call it a day – for us that means to find the lost part and put it back where it belongs. This is why the research is so complicated and takes quite a lot of effort to get it right. After preparation the material is scanned. Teams of restoration specialists then start to work on picture, sound and editing: stabilising the image, fixing tears and scratches, repairing perforations, removing flickering where needed, repairing noise and lighting issues as well as auditory imperfections.

The process can take from a few months to several years, depending on the state and quality of the material and the quality of the pre-production research. It is not a surprise when in the process it is found out that there is some peace of the material missing and a search for a copy with that missing peace has to be carried out. Because of the censorship and and errors of the laboratories – all kinds of historical glitches have to be compensated for to get to the end result.