Case Studies and Reports: DIASTOR Scanner Tests | Der Märchenwald, a Tinted Silhouette Film | Technicolor No. V | Dufaycolor | Strategy for the Restoration of the Swiss TV Series Heidi | Data Retri…
A new results page has been created to provide information of all the case studies executed within the framework of DIASTOR. As of today, the results page is complete with short abstracts. Reports will be uploaded continually, most of them will be provided for free download. Please find the corresponding information at the end of each abstract.
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Peter Monaghan has written an extensive article for Moving Image Archive News that features several research projects on color and color restoration managed by Barbara Flueckiger. DIASTOR and its approach to the restoration of film colors is one of them.
After its premiere at the silent film festival Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone today, the DIASTOR Showreel is available in HD on YouTube now.
The showreel provides a short overview of some case studies executed in the framework of DIASTOR, with tinted films, Dufaycolor, Technicolor, and Agfacolor, including scanner tests and chemico-physical measurements.
Grover Crisp, EVP Asset Management, Film Restoration & Digital Mastering at Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Michael Friend, Director of Digital Archives at Sony Pictures Entertainment, organize one of the most interesting conferences on film archiving and restoration. Right in the heart of Hollywood, at the Linwood Dunn Theater, the Academy’s newest cinema with 4K projection, the Reel Thing Conference attracts representatives of the major Hollywood archives and researchers in the Los Angeles area.
DIASTOR project manager Barbara Flueckiger will present final results of the project, including several case studies and the scanner tests. She will also provide a first glimpse of her new research project “FilmColors“, funded by the most prestigious Advanced Grant of the European Research Council.
In collaboration with Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek – Prof. Martin Koerber and Daniel Meiller –, DIASTOR has restored the German silhouette film Der Märchenwald – Ein Schattenspiel [The Fairy Tale Woods – A Shadow Play]. The film was directed by Otto Linnekogel and produced in Germany in 1919/1920, several years before Lotte Reiniger’s famous silhouette film Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (GER 1926). In contrast to Lotte Reiniger’s animated film, Der Märchenwald is a live-action silhouette film with actors playing on a backlit stage.
At DIASTOR partner cinegrell postproduction the tinted nitrate print was scanned on the ARRISCAN in 4K and then color graded based on color references produced photographically from the nitrate print by a calibrated camera set-up. The case study was supervised by DIASTOR senior researcher Dr. Claudy Op den Kamp.
Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the world-renowned silent film festival held annually in Pordenone, Italy, will show the newly restored version in October 2015. The screening will be connected to a talk on the digital reconstruction of early applied colors, given by DIASTOR manager Prof. Dr. Barbara Flueckiger and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ruedel, professor at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft in Berlin.
Following the successful collaboration on the restoration of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, where DIASTOR contributed the color analysis, the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation teams up with DIASTOR again for the restoration of two early Agfacolor films.
The two films Immensee (1943) and Opfergang (1944), produced during the Third Reich in Germany and directed by Veit Harlan, will be restored under the supervision of Anke Wilkening during the next few months.
In June 2014, Barbara Flueckiger and Giorgio Trumpy from the Swiss research project DIASTOR executed a thorough colorimetric analysis of three historical Agfacolor film elements, a negative and a positive print of Opfergang and a positive of Immensee respectively.
These analyses were completed by the photographic documentation of a larger group of early Agfacolor films in the Národní filmový archiv / National Film Archive in Prague in 2014 and an extensive one at the Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv in Hoppegarten near Berlin in February 2015.
From March 29 to 31 the Colour Fantastic Conference will be held at EYE Film Institute Amsterdam, and it is co-organized by Sarah Street (University of Bristol) and Joshua Yumibe (Michigan State University/University of St Andrews) with researchers Vicky Jackson (University of Bristol) and Bregt Lameris (Utrecht University) in collaboration with the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and the Amsterdam Centre for Cultural Heritage and Identity (University of Amsterdam).
The Colour Fantastic – Chromatic Worlds of Silent Cinema conference […] brings together multidisciplinary specialists to share contemporary research that will inspire the next twenty years of research on colour in silent film. A diverse range of themes is explored in the conference reflecting the chromatic richness of silent film. Topics include: archival restoration, colour film technology, colour theory, experimental film and intermediality.
DIASTOR will be present with three presentations by team members David Pfluger, senior researcher, Claudy Op den Kamp, senior researcher, and Barbara Flueckiger, project leader. The team will provide insights into their research conducted with the digitization of early applied colors:
Based on two early cinema examples from the 1910s from the collections of both EYE Film Institute Netherlands and the Deutsche Kinemathek, the paper will present several areas of that particular focus, which resonate with contemporary archival debates.
On the one hand, it will highlight specific problems in scanning early film colors, on the other, it will concentrate on the subsequent reproduction of tints in the digital domain. By reflecting on the ‘Desmet method’ as an analog method for preserving early cinema and by attempting to remodel it for digital workflows, issues of color reference come to bear on a wider scope of how evolving technologies shape the aesthetics and interpretation of filmic source material.
In the context of the retrospective Glorious Technicolor Barbara Flückiger introduced examples of the research within DIASTOR at two occasions. The working group “restoration” of the Deutsche Kinematheksverbund offered the opportunity to give an overview of the numerous case studies undertaken in DIASTOR ranging from the analysis of scanning aspects e.g. of Dufaycolor to methodological questions of photographic documentation of analogue film in the digital domain as a tool for color grading. The panel discussion “Challenges and Opportunities in Restoring Technicolor” was a high profile forum, hosted by Martin Koerber, Head Curator of the Film Archive at the Deutsche Kinemathek, with the experts Paolo Cherchi Usai, Head Curator at the George Eastman House, Ulrich Ruedel, analytical chemist and film restorer, and Schawn Belston, Executive Vice President, Media and Library Services at 20th Century Fox Film. Barbara Flückiger presented the specific example of the Swiss Technicolor restoration “Heidi und Peter” – a collaboration with the Swiss Television SRF.
This year’s retrospective of the Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin is dedicated to Technicolor. The program showcases a series of Technicolor films selected by the Deutsche Kinemathek in collaboration with the George Eastman House in Rochester as well as other archives.
Based on her research for the Timeline of Historical Film Colors, DIASTOR project leader Barbara Flueckiger contributed a major article to the publication Glorious Technicolor, edited by Connie Betz, Rainer Rother and Annika Schaefer for the Deutsche Kinemathek. The article sums up the various technological, aesthetic and economical hurdles that had to be overcome by the Technicolor company in its initial tumultuous and difficult years before the advent of the famous and successful three-strip dye-transfer process in 1932. Starting with an additive process – Technicolor No. I – soon after its foundation in 1915, Technicolor invented three different color processes with varying success, all of which were two-color processes. Technicolor No. II attempted to combine two colors on two thin film strips that were glued together, with the effect that they cupped and scratched as a result of the heat in the projector. Technicolor No. III was the first dye-transfer process, combining two records in green and orange-red.
To this day, most of the early Technicolor films circulate in versions that do not provide an authentic impression of the aesthetics of early Technicolor. Therefore Barbara Flueckiger inspected and documented approximately 20 nitrate prints and various single frames from the 1920s in archives such as the Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles, the Packard Campus of the Library of Congress in Culpeper (see report on filmcolors.org), the Moving Image Collection of the George Eastman House (see report on filmcolors.org) in Rochester and the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic in Prague. The close analysis, inspection and documentation of the film material is an important source to improve the translation of the historical films’ properties into the digital domain in the process of their digitization and restoration.
In addition, DIASTOR currently works on several Technicolor restorations related to three-strip Technicolor, supervised by DIASTOR senior researchers Claudy Op den Kamp and David Pfluger. With a completely new feature-based transfer algorithm developed by Simone Croci, Tunç Aydin and Aljosha Smolic from DIASTOR implementation partner Disney Research Zurich in collaboration with the Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich, it becomes possible to reconstruct the specific Technicolor look with its dark saturated colors and the specific image texture created by the dye-transfer process from a chromogenic negative. This approach is connected to a thorough material analysis including colorimetric measurements executed by the DIASTOR research team in collaboration with Giorgio Trumpy (Digital Humanities Lab University of Basel; National Gallery of Art Washington) who contributed to the spectral analysis.
Various insights will be presented at the panel discussion Challenges and Opportunities in Restoring Technicolor, in which Barbara Flueckiger will be joined by some of the leading experts in the field: Paolo Cherchi Usai, Head Curator at the George Eastman House, Ulrich Ruedel, analytical chemist and film restorer, and Schawn Belston, Executive Vice President, Media and Library Services at 20th Century Fox Film. The discussion will be hosted by Martin Koerber, Head Curator of the Film Archive at the Deutsche Kinemathek.