Digital restoration and build of the DCP of the feature film “The people” by Alex Van Warmerdam

17 December 2012. Published by Benoît Labourdette.

The company ED Distribution has launched in theaters December 26, 2012 “The people” Dutch movie by Alex Van Warmerdam (1992), the twentieth anniversary of its realization.

Quidam production supported the restoration of the digital master and manufactured the DCP of this film. Feedback:

The image restoration

  • This is a film shot in 35mm, which was “scanned” (postponed Digital) quickly ... the digital master is unusable as such (two laboratories had previously tried to make a DCP without success, the quality of the image on the movie screen is deplorable).
  • The digital master that we supported were several technical flaws:
  • Whiteout on the image.
  • At the same time, images are too dark.
  • Strong dominant green.
  • Slight motion blur.
  • Heavy grain.
  • But “behind” these flaws, the film was technically there, and recoverable by operations of digital restoration.
  • There was a first fault, which was unacceptable to the other laboratories, color space conversion (a bit long to explain ...) which produced the white veil. Easy to adjust.

Original image (with white veil)

And its histogram:

Whiteout deleted:

And its histogram:

  • And then we could find the original image very grainy, lacking dynamics and a green cast.

Corrections were therefore at the calibration, gamma (contrast curve of the image) and “cleaning” the grain of the image and its sharpness. What gave this:

And histogram:

We see that it is visually or histogram, the image has been restored in its “dynamic range” original.

After this operation, which showed that it was possible to “recover” the film we watched the original 35mm print, projection of good quality, to have a real referent. With this reference, we have continued to work calibration, to come as close to the original, and we worked a lot more accurate cleaning of the grain of the image (because the 35mm copy n ’ was not at all grainy).

In summary, taking another shot of the film, the digital master we initially recovered was as follows:

And after all the stages of our treatment, under and in compliance with the original 35mm print, it has become as follows:

The images of the film are “revived” in cinema.

The adaptation of sound

The sound of the original film was mixed in Dolby Stereo. Two stereo tracks are recovered, that usually is placed in the left and right of the room speakers. Specifically, this operation, which seems obvious, completely destroys the sound perception original film. The sound no longer occupies the whole sound space of the room, but seems “crashed to the bottom”, without any bass, and if you do not sit perfectly in the center, that seems out of one side.

We produce what is called a “remapping” of the tracks, to give him his space, its deployment in the room, his serious, short, to restore as it should be.

This is an operation which, unfortunately, some people think, most often ... then it is essential. Because the sound space of a cinema is not at all the same as the sound space of a stereo broadcast. Broadcasting standard stereo sound without “remapping” in the sound space multichannel film produced a disastrous effect.

And also, we also cleaned “cracks” due to wear of the original optical sound track.

Conclusion on the restoration

From a digital master a priori unusable, we could find the film in its original intrinsic qualities. It has necessitated a careful investigative work, which has made possible the exploitation of the film in all its qualities, without the high costs that would have represented a new scan of a 35mm print (redo everything from scratch. ..).

Making DCP

When the film had found its qualities, making subtitled DCP (Digital Cinema Package - digital copies of films for cinema) was made in the rules of the art, so that there has no compatibility issues with servers in cinemas. Technical compliance is verified in detail.

Delivery of the DCP

The DCP is delivered on a hard drive to withstand falls of 1.20 m (LaCie Rugged Mini) in a waterproof Pelican case and a lifetime guarantee ... to withstand transport and handling all!