Post Magazine

November 2013

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Picture & Sound Resto r "For any successful restoration, the prime archival tenet of find- ing the most original element in the best condition always holds true," says Bob Heiber, vice president/audio, at Deluxe Media's Chace Audio ( in Burbank, CA. Sometimes that involves complex detective work to locate picture and sound elements; sometimes projects luck out and optimum resources are close at hand. Always, restoration seeks to preserve the integrity of the content so viewers see and hear what the filmmakers and TV producers of the time originally intended. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT The first motion picture to sweep all the top categories in the Academy Awards of 1934, Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, has been an audience favorite for eight decades. "Our restoration work on It Happened One Night goes back to 1993, and we've been waiting for the day when the 'better element' that archivists are always looking for would turn up," says Chace Audio's Heiber. Spurred by the demand to create 4K content for Sony's Ultra High Definition Network, Rita Belda, executive director of asset management/film restoration and digital mastering at Sony Pictures Entertainment, pursued the "better element" to 30 Post • November 2013 solve audio problems that remained in previous restorations. According to Belda, "The previous Chace restorations from 1993 and 2006 were based on an original 1933 nitrate variable density optical soundtrack negative. This element had a lot of physical damage due to its heavy use to make new prints of the popular and highlyacclaimed film. The numerous reprints ordered over the years really took their toll on the original sound negative, causing many areas of missing dialogue and film noise due to damage." Scouring the Sony Film Asset Inventory, Belda and Bob Simmons, a technical specialist for Sony, discovered a nitrate print made for Capra in 1939 and acquired it from the director's estate. "This nitrate print proved to be both a more-original and less-damaged source," Simmons says. For the audio restoration, the newly discovered print was digitized using the Chace Optical Sound Processor - Extended Intelligence (COSP-XI). The proprietary sound scanner's user interface allowed for numerous exposure adjustments to reduce intermodulation distortion caused by improper printing densities found in early soundtracks.   Brian Jensen, senior digital audio restoration engineer at Chace, used the full array of tools at his disposal to restore the track. "The biggest areas of improvement

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