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Classic Films Restored by DTS Digital Images to Premiere at NYFF


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#1 Tim Tyler

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 02:30 PM

The classic films DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (1939)
and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) were recently restored by DTS Digital Images
utilizing the company?s proprietary Lowry Process?. The films will premiere at
the 45th New York Film Festival on October 12. The facility, a division of DTS
Digital Cinema, provided full, 2K restoration services on both films. The
movies are part of the festival?s retrospective program ?In Glorious
Technicolor: Martin Scorsese Presents,? sponsored by American Express and The
Film Foundation. Scorsese will introduce the films and discuss the importance
of preservation prior to the screenings.

?These classic films are an important part of our motion picture history and
culture,? says Schawn Belston, vice president of film preservation at 20th
Century Fox. ?The restoration and preservation of these films was a
collaborative effort by Fox, the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation.
DTS Digital Images restored these and other classic films in our library using
the most advanced image processing technology available today. We?re very
pleased and excited to see these Hollywood classics projected at the
festival.?

DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN were both produced in three-
strip Technicolor format. DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK was directed by John Ford
with Bert Glennon, ASC and Ray Rennahan, ASC sharing the cinematography
credit. LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN was directed by John Stahl, and Leon Shamroy, ASC
earned an Oscar® for Best Color Cinematography for his work on the film.

?DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK presented some of the most difficult types of
restoration challenges,? says Mike Inchalik, vice president, Strategy and
Marketing, DTS Digital Images. ?We were dealing with film elements that were
several generations removed from the original. Because of significant fading
of the CRIs (color reversal intermediates) in particular, most of the color
information from the blue layer of the original camera negative was gone.
There were also tricky issues to resolve, including misregistration, flicker,
color breathing and grain build-up and image softening that results from the
creation of second and third generation film preservation elements.?

Since the original three-strip negatives were no longer available, DTS Digital
Images worked from color reversal protection copies and black-and-white YCM
separations to reconstruct the films. Those elements were scanned and
converted to digital files using IMAGICA® film scanners that are specially
designed to gently handle older, shrunken films. The images were then
faithfully restored using the Lowry Process? embedded in proprietary DTS
software.

?The Lowry Process? incorporates some very powerful imaging algorithms that
have been fine-tuned over the course of more than 200 major feature film
restorations performed over the past eight years,? explains Inchalik. ?We?ve
put a great deal of energy into inventing the right tools and putting enough
computing power behind them.?

Inchalik notes that the original three-strip negatives had shrunk at different
rates. As a result, there was significant misregistration photographed into
the color reversal copies.

?There?s quite a science to digitally recombining those records and adjusting
for the various rates of shrinkage to create a perfectly recombined registered
image,? adds Inchalik.

In both restorations, DTS delivered a new negative, a digital archive, and a
new HD master for serving home video markets that are all true to the restored
films. The prints that will screen at the New York Film Festival were made
from these new negatives.

?Restoring classics like DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is a
tremendous responsibility that we take very seriously,? says Inchalik. ?The
breathtaking rate of technological change helps us recover and recreate the
amazing experience of seeing these cinematic treasures as they were originally
meant to be seen, and that?s exciting. Using the Lowry Process?, we have also
prepared the films for today?s high-definition home viewing environments, and
for whatever formats the future brings as well.?

The Preservation Screening Program was created by American Express and The
Film Foundation to screen motion pictures that have been preserved/ restored
with funding from the Foundation. The goals are to connect today?s moviegoers
with film art and culture from the past, and to highlight the importance of
film preservation.

The 45th New York Film Festival runs September 28 through October 14 at the
Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The festival,
presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and sponsored by Sardinia
Region Tourism and The New York Times, features showcases, music documentaries
and retrospective films. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com/nyff.
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