Post Magazine

November 2012

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release, Point 360 had multiple colorists man- ning DaVinci 2K systems to color grade epi- sodes. "It's not feasible having one person work on a series, so you need to make sure every- one is consistent with their corrections after we balance and set a look," Infuso explains. Point 360 deployed manual DRS on its Revival system to remove the usual stains, dirt and hair, and perform minor image stabiliza- tion. The company delivered HDCAM mas- ters to Brownstein for Blu-ray compression. Point 360 has a formidable arsenal of res- toration tools. In addition to ART, which was also recently used for the feature Predator, several Revivals are on hand along with Reel Align for reregistering color separations. Infuso hopes to see more classic TV series heading to Blu-ray. In fact, his Dick Van Dyke Show client is so pleased with the results of restoration that he's sending The Danny Thomas Show next. "There are so many methods of getting entertainment — everyone is streaming everything," he says. "There's an audience that's pretty hungry for content out there." INTERNATIONAL HISTORIC FILMS As a film archive specializing in the military, political and social history of the 20th Cen- tury, Chicago-based International Historic Films ( finds itself "pretty much restoring everything" that comes in for licensing or theatrical exhibition at art hous- es, says president Peter Bernotas. "Until recently, we restricted restoration with software methods like Revival to the more important titles, and we outsourced that work. Then we discovered Snell's Arch- angel late last year, and since we imple- mented it in-house in April we've done 14 films, including the Soviet wartime docu- mentaries Ukraine in Flames, The Battle of Sevastopol and Defeat of the German Forces Near Moscow, the Nazi propaganda film Stukas and the (1959) documentary March to Aldermaston about the first anti-nuclear protest in Britain." Bernotas reminds us that "dealing with rare historical documentaries and features we never get ideal elements, we have to work with whatever's available, including banged up release prints" and original nitrate elements. "We were looking for something that worked in realtime so we could tell in a mat- ter of minutes if it was effective or not. It speeds production, and we can use it to dif- ferent levels, running it at the auto level as a dirt remover and giving more attention and time to issues at the higher end." He hails the tool's performance on the SESAME STREET Big Bird and his cohorts have been getting an audio makeover in preparation for the November 6 DVD release of Sesame Street: Old School Vol. 3. Award-winning post mixer/ big three restoration issues his films require: scratch and dirt removal, and image stabili- zation. "It does scratch removal on the base or emulsion side — something we used wetgate systems on before. It gets rid of 80-90 percent of dirt on an auto level, and allows us to perform image stabilization in realtime: films often shrink 1-2 percent over time and a shaky image can actually make viewers sick." Bernotas is also a fan of Izotope RX for audio restoration. "It beats every former system we had and makes everything else unnecessary," he says. "It's similar to Archan- gel in terms of being a good tool for film people to master. It has a very graphical interface, a very clear spectographic display." Izotope proved itself on the rare, uncut Nazi propaganda film Aircrew Dora, which had never been seen in the West. "The audio had terrible perf buzz on it, a machine- gun rattling sound. It was a difficult noise to remove with conventional tools; I sent samples to a few audio technicians. But we found we could use an aggressive level of Izotope filtering on it and get rid of 95 per- cent of the perf buzz." Izotope also was put to work on March to Aldermaston, which was narrated by Richard Burton. "It just had a bad inherent soundtrack," says Bernotas, "with artifacts of noise gain, mostly during the narration, which was diffi- cult to isolate. "The client applied a telecine transfer with different focal lengths of the exciter and we applied Izotope" and the documentary was greatly improved. The picture quality of Russian wartime docs suffers from "typical age issues," he reports, including image inconsistency since footage for a single doc was often captured from an array of sources. "We're working on A Day of War, a documentary for which the Russians sent out 140 cameramen to capture the action on a specific day on the Eastern Front. Those 140 reels of film were edited in a wartime post production pro- cess complete with fingerprints on the foot- age. There were scratches, dirt and grain differences. So we asked ourselves do we restore it completely to make it all look alike or do we let it go? We decided we wanted viewers to see the variations. We used our restoration tools to maintain the integrity of the original." composer Bill Lacey performed audio resto- ration on selected episodes from the show's 1979-84 seasons; Lacey often partners with New York City's Sandblast Productions ( on proj- ects, which are done at the Creative Group facility in Manhattan. Lacey says the Sesame Street episodes exhibited the hum and buzz that are "typical problems of that era in TV broadcasting. It's usually not steady, but they come with quite a lot of harmonics, which is extremely com- plicated to remove because it impacts music and dialogue." The Sesame Street shows also had hiss, crackle, electronic noises and occasional drop outs, the latter an age-related issue. Lacey worked with WAV or AIF files of the stereo tracks from 3/4-inch video transfers. "It was fun to work on Sesame Street," he says. "Sometimes restoration focuses on the worst-sounding stuff, so it was nice to have something pleasant to listen to from Big Bird and Bert and Ernie and their friends — it was live TV basically." Lacey is a longtime user of Cedar Audio tools. "I probably used their first system in America in 1990 at RCA Studios when I was mastering and restoring Toscanini and the NBC Symphony recordings. When I started in the business we were editing clicks one at a time with old Sony DAE1000 editors — it was brutal. Then Cedar came along and allowed for a background process and later a realtime process. So I've seen the evolution of noise reduction products!" Lacey's home studio now sports a Cedar Cambridge V.8 system and a rack-mounted DNS module that's paired with Pro Tools. The latest version of Cedar Cambridge incorporates video for the first time, he notes. Having a visual reference integral to Cedar Cambridge makes things "a lot easier" continued on page 45 Bill Lacey employed Cedar tools to clean up noise in episodes of Sesame Street.

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