Animation Guild

Fall 2018

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D E PA R T M E N T 33 KEYFRAME cleaning up the sound, and waiting for various elements to come back from the lab. However, projects can be a lot more complicated and challenging. "If you're working on a subject where you have to mix and match elements from different sources it could take six months." He recalls a Koko the Clown cartoon called Bed Time (1923) that they restored for ASIFA, which was more complicated because it came off multiple elements. Scenes had been removed from the nitrate camera negative when it was recut for TV in the 1950s. They had full-length 16mm prints from the 1920s and 1930s that were very degraded in quality and also had a nitrate print from 1922 that had decomposition and losses. Pieces from the secondary materials needed to be used to fill in the scenes that were cut from the original. Other problems can arise when older nitrate film shrinks due to moisture loss, making it difficult to print. In these instances, specially machined register pins need to be used to engage the sprockets so that the film doesn't tear or jump—16mm film requires optical printing to enlarge it so it can cut into the same space field as the 35mm frame. Density and contrast also have to be matched. There are different methods to do a single color printing of a black-and-white negative and at UCLA they were able to replicate the old-fashioned tinting, just like it was done in the '20s. These are all issues and challenges that can come into play. MacQueen lauds the efforts of ASIFA-Hollywood's preservation project and the way they're giving back to their profession, because without them, he says, these cartoons wouldn't be restored. While the preservation program has been around for decades, it's only in the last few years that they've been able to renew their restoration efforts. Frank Gladstone, Executive Director of ASIFA- Hollywood says, that the non-profit has reached a point where they're now spending about 40,000 dollars a year on restoration. From restoring about one film every two years, they now do up to three or four films per year. Funding comes from the organization's membership, studio sponsors and corporate memberships. He adds that "with each passing year it becomes more urgent to do this. Beck finds these things that are on death's door, so to speak, and if we don't restore them then nobody is going to see them." The aim is to show these rescued cartoons in museums and other venues such as ASIFA-Hollywood's yearly screening. It's a labor of love and there's nothing Beck likes more than showing a restored cartoon to an audience. As a historian and collector he's grown used to faded, muddy prints that looked horrible. The restored films look the way they did when they were first released with wonderful, vibrant colors. Beck believes that showing the old films inspires the younger generation of new artists. He points out that many of today's cartoons are throwbacks, inspired by earlier works. The recent video game, Cuphead, for example, is "totally inspired by Max Fleischer and the old cartoons of the 1930s. We need to see that history, we need to be inspired by it and that's what we're doing with our restoration program." Gladstone echoes this sentiment: "We do it because we feel we're being good stewards of that particular art form—we don't want to forget them" "We need to see that history, we need to be inspired by it and that's what we're doing with our restoration program." above: Scott MacQueen of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. FALL 2018 33 and contrast There single negative replicate like it all issues into ASIFA-Hollywood's and the profession, says, While been last few renew Gladstone, Hollywood says, that the non-profit has reached

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