Friday, August 21, 2020

Film Restoration.....Eye of the beholder

This is my 'workspace' in DaVinci Resolve's editing environment for the next step in the process of restoring of "The Trail to Yesterday". [A Metro Pictures Corporation, 35mm film release in 1918].

As I move frame-to-frame, I further remove manually any remaining artifacts from the film's decay; or, scratches and other handling defects the 'first-pass' automatic AI-based software method didn't catch. 

I have to think about what level of completeness in the restoration am I willing to undertake to achieve the quality I expect from myself.  Every frame is 1/16th of a second so I know that the mind's-eye won't be able to recognize a certain level of detail. 

I haven't come to terms yet that I may need to examine the time involved crafting each frame with the realization that such a level to detail involves time.  Is that last 10-15% of 'quality' in the digital film repair, visually relevant to the viewer's perception?  

The opportunity to bring something back to consciousness after over 100-years of being stored in an archive and essentially forgotten, brings an overwhelming sense of responsibility to do right with the media restoration and production, before being returned to society as a restored work.

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