June 29th, 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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