Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FIX University Special Guest "Monaco Films"

Tinted footage

Fernando IX University
Locations of visitors to this page
Fernando IX University

The Best College Radio Stations

Monaco, Interformat Work Together to Preserve Nitrate

by Michael Hinton, Interformat

Fox Bathing Beauties

Monaco and Interformat teamed up recently to preserve a number of 35mm
nitrate reels for George Eastman House and for University of South Carolina's
Newsfilm Library. USC Newsfilm Library's Benjamin Singleton provided close to
10,000 feet of 1930's Fox News camera negatives, each with sound on film.
Subjects of the newsreels, which were distributed and shown in theaters as the
only visual news outlet of the era, included a Harry Houdini live performance,
parades, conventions, a zeppelin in flight and bathing beauties on the

Boxing with the stars

The preservation Fine Grain Master Positives were optically produced by
Interformat's Michael Hinton on a specially modified Research Products optical
printer, exposing only the picture area. Scratches were suppressed using
Interformat's Solid State Scratch Removal® system. The exposed negatives were
then run though a modified B&H contact printer, laying down only the sound
tracks. Picture contrast was managed with gamma control of the master positive
film processing.

Working with sprocketmeisters La Vezzi Precision and with Jaakko Kurhi of JK
Camera/Meritex, Monaco General Manager Jim Moye directed the manufacture of a
set of unique sprocket drives in order to accommodate copying of the optical
tracks from the fragile and shrunken nitrate negatives. During the two-pass
process, the sound offset was readjusted from the obsolete 11 frames to the
normal 20-frame advance.

In a joint project overseen by Ed Stratmann of Eastman House's Selznick
School of Film Preservation, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and
Monaco/Interformat worked with recent Selznick graduate Anne Smatla in
preserving "Screen Snapshots: 7th Series," a 1924 nitrate print with a
hand-tinted section. Smatla prepared extensive notes on the film's condition and
content. Her input was essential in achieving the final look of the reel.

The Screen Snapshots were a series of home movies of current Hollywood stars
mixed with clips from their performances. The reel depicted Lloyd Hamilton in
black face and scenes of Clara Bow, Ethel Shannon and Kenneth Harlan clowning on
the Budd Schulberg Studio property.

Tinted footage

The tinted section presented some challenges. Before color film, sections of
black and white print were tinted and toned by hand with vegetable dyes to add
interest. Interformat tried several conventional film solutions in an attempt to
match the unique look of the nitrate. One test, referred to as the Desmet
process, called for copying the nitrate to a black and white internegative. A
second pass was subsequently run while printing to color positive stock,
exposing a series of negative color filters to simulate the final color of the

The faded reddish-orange tint combined with the high silver content inherent
in the nitrate images presented a very rich hybrid appearance that could not be
matched with traditional film reproduction. In the nitrate image, the shadows
tend to retain more of the b/w appearance while the mid-tones and highlights
reveal the tint.

Boxing with the stars

Further testing with Interformat's Digital/Optical printer and a 4K capture
followed by color correction using Assimilate Scratch software and recorded to
fresh color internegative yielded a print with the closest match. The color
section was then spliced in with the print from the black and white preservation

"Screen Snapshots: 7th Series" will be presented during the 14th Annual
Silent Film Festival, July 10-12, 2009 in San Francisco. The showing will be
sponsored by Monaco DigitalFilm and presented by Anne Smatla.

Tinted footage

For more information about this event, visit the San Francisco Silent Film
Festival site

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive