Friday, April 27, 2012

Restoring Silents

Good talk & screening by the affable Robin Baker (Head of BFI's Film Archives) this evening at UCCA in 798: from the painstaking intricacies of conservation to how to make the archives accessible as possible to the public. Their big project at the moment is restoring Hitchcock's 9 surviving (one is lost) silent movies. First they have to find who owns the best extant prints, which could be anywhere in the world. Then they have to take decent bits from each to make the best composite print possible. Sometimes they're so warped it's difficult to run them through the machine. Then they have to digitally touch up all the scratches & blemishes frame by frame. Occasionally they'll have to restore the hue of a film which might originally have been shown with a blue tinge, not straight B&W. And in the case of the Hitchcocks, they're commissioning new soundtracks by different composers, young and old. Robin gave as sneak 2-minute preview of the restored version of Hitch's first film, The Pleasure Garden (1925), made at the age of 26. Looks great. All nine will be screened in the UK this summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment