Friday, September 10, 2021


The administrative side of film restoration is an extremely important aspect of a successful project.  Since I have no formal schooling or training in this field, I'm employing my 'project management' skills to break this complex restoration into manageable tasks and to document progress for each phase of the project.

The reels of film were scanned at the archive in a high-definition digital format and arrived on hard-drives containing approximately 2-Terrabytes of data. The digital file format is a movie-industry standard known as DPX.  In a digital DPX container, each frame of the film has its own numbered file, with each frame about 16-18 megabytes in size. 

I decided the best way for me to manage the restoration of a feature-length movie is to break the film down into separate file folders, each containing a scene from the movie.  I developed a spreadsheet where each scene in the movie was given a serial number.  There are 595-scenes in this film and 147-Intertitles.

An example showing a portion of the developed spreadsheet is provided below.  Each row represents a scene in the film and the columns provide for data and information documentation for each phase of the restoration project.

Starting at left, the spreadsheet provides the scene number.  For example, R2-124, means the scene was from Reel 2 and the 124th scene of that reel.  The numbered frames are given next. R2-124 has 58-frames in the scene.  At 16-frame per second, the scene is 3.9-seconds long (column E).  The spreadsheet provides a simple description of the scene - column 'F'.  Column 'G' gives a condition comment based on my review of the frames.  This gives me an idea of what I'm getting into and the software tools required to tackle the degradation issues for that scene.  

The 'progress' status of that scene's restoration, notes from a concluded restoration and the file location of the finished scene are provided in columns H-J.  

A spreadsheet is a versatile tool for project management. It can be expanded and modified as needed to accommodate an evolving project scope.  

At this writing, every scene has now been documented and this example 'screen-shot' from the master spreadsheet, provides a framework for proper organization and documentation of this restoration going forward.

No comments:

Post a Comment