May 23rd, 2017

Restoring the opening sequence of Seven Chances, one frame at a time

Eric Grayson, film historian and preservationist, spoke to the classic film preservation website NitrateVille1 about his work restoring the two-strip Technicolor opening sequence of Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances for its Kino Blu-ray release:

I assume you used some sort of movie program like Final Cut Pro on this.

No. Final Cut Pro doesn’t have color correction to the level I needed. I had to load it frame by frame into Photoshop. Each shot of the film had its own set of color curves based on the fading for that particular shot.

[…]

Did you sleep?

A little, but I didn’t leave the house or shower. It took me a day and a half to figure out how to automate this process, but even then I had to compose a Photoshop script that forced me to click by hand on the movie one frame at a time. Then I had to figure out how they’ve changed the aspect ratio of the pixels in HD vs. old NTSC, which caused a lot of headaches. It took about two hours to run a single iteration of the restoration; I couldn’t look at it until it was finished, and it meant clicking the mouse 2000+ times on the Photoshop script. I think I ran five iterations before I got something I could use.

(via Anna Gardner.)


  1. Now there’s a corner of the web I didn’t know existed.
About Bradley J. Dixon

Bradley J. Dixon is a freelance writer and blogger from Melbourne.

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