Post Magazine

November 2011

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Page 37 of 51

Restorat Making classic films and TV look — and sound — as intended. By Christine Bunish rom a legendary piece of cinema history dating to 1902 and iconic fea- tures celebrating important milestones to 1980's indie films and episodic TV, projects requiring picture and sound restoration to assure their future as valuable cultural and commercial assets truly run the gamut. A TRIP TO THE MOON Restoring vintage films has become commonplace, but restoring one of the world's first narrative films and preserving it for posterity is a rare experience for all those lucky enough to be involved. All hand-tinted versions of George Méliès's 1902 14-minute short, A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune), were presumed lost until Paris-based Lobster Films' Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange discovered a severely damaged color print during an element exchange with Spain's Filmoteca de Catalunya 18 years ago. Technicolor used every restoration tool in its toolbox to fix A Trip to the Moon. As Bromberg has said, "It's one of the most famous films in the world. The shot of the man in the moon with a rocket in his eye is one of the 10 images everyone knows, except nobody has seen it like this." At first the nitrate-based film, which was fused together in a chunk that could not be unspooled, was thought to be irretrievable. Bromberg and Lange were up to the challenge, however, and spent the next several years softening the film's emulsion in a humid environment of chemical vapors. "They had some initial suc- cess; the center part of the film was not so welded together as the edges," says Tom Burton, executive director of Technicolor Restoration Services ( in Los Angeles. "They got some film unrolled, but if they waited too long to work with it, it would crystallize again and break." Over a two-year period they were able to peel off and unroll the film, and, downshooting with a digital camera they backlit and captured thousands of indi- 36 Post • November 2011 MTI Film spruced up Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver for its 35th anniversary. See page 38 for more.

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