In the framework of the FIAF Summer School during the festival Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, DIASTOR presented some of their research topics. Despite many other attractive events that took place at the same time, the DIASTOR presentation met a huge amount of attention with a large audience attending.
DIASTOR project Barbara Flueckiger started the talk with a presentation of the new design of Timeline of Historical Film Colors that was launched on that day. In addition to providing an overview of the information and the structure provided by the digital humanities platform, she presented the different ways to document color films. She then introduced DIASTOR and an overview of the case studies completed or currently under way, such as the color analysis for the CALIGARI restoration, the Swiss Technicolor No V production HEIDI AND PETER (CHE 1955), and DER MÄRCHENWALD, EIN SCHATTENSPIEL (GER 1919) in collaboration with Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin. Both early colors and Technicolor will be major topics in DIASTOR’s second year.
Subsequently DIASTOR senior researcher Claudy Op den Kamp presented the restoration of the Dufaycolor film VOM SPINNEN UND WEBEN in more detail, with an emphasis on the scanning process. Dufaycolor – and additive screen process with a diagonal réseau in red, green and blue – is especially demanding, since the diagonal lines of the réseau interfere with the orthogonal pattern of the scanner sensor and can produce moiré artifacts. The setting of the focus is also crucial for achieving convincing results. DIASTOR’s scanner tests include Dufaycolor to study the scanner/film interaction with this demanding material. Claudy Op den Kamp explained the fruitful collaboration among the partners in DIASTOR, especially with the Cinémathèque suisse who provided the case study and collaborated closely on the restoration, but also with the implementation partner Cinegrell Postproduction where the 4K scanning on the ARRISCAN and the film-out including the photochemical processing of the preservation element took place.
DIASTOR senior researcher David Pfluger presented one of the main research areas in DIASTOR, namely the reconstruction of faded chromogenic film. Many of the films shot on photochemical stock have faded due to the selective decay of the dyes used for the process. David Pfluger explained the novel approach in DIASTOR which is based on previous research by Franziska Frey and Rudolf Gschwind from the Digital Humanities Lab at the University of Basel. While Frey and Gschwind investigated the color reconstruction for still photographs, their approach needs to be adjusted and redeveloped for motion pictures. In contrast to established tools for the reconstruction of faded chromogenic film, DIASTOR’s approach takes the material properties of the film and the dyes into consideration by measuring the spectral properties of the dyes and investigating the characteristics of their decay. Finally this approach also requires the adjustment of the scanning process accordingly.
For the subsequent Q & A, DIASTOR postdoc Franziska Heller and Caroline Fournier from the Cinémathèque suisse joined the panel and contributed their view. Franziska Heller explained in particular the interdisciplinary collaboration in DIASTOR where academic partners from humanities and natural science cooperate directly with partners from the private sector.