Digital restoration is a very difficult process. It inherently includes historical research, which defines the technological conditions and artistic vision under which the work was produced and released for distribution. The aim of restoration is to restore the film’s picture and sound quality to match that of the film at the time of its original premiere.
Restoration is performed by a team of experts that includes cinematographers, colourists, restorers, film technologists, archivists, data processing specialists and last, but not least, retouchers. Our long-term partners on these projects are UPP and the Soundsquare sound studio. We consult ongoing results with the film’s creators. All restoration work conforms to technology-related methodologies in the field of digitalisation of audiovisual heritage, and complies with the ethical principles of restoring audiovisual works and current copyright legislation.
Compared to traditional “analogue” techniques, digital restoration technology permits much more extensive manipulation of film picture and sound. The process of digital restoration itself begins by scanning the film in 4K resolution. This is done using a special device with sprocket pins that ensure maximum picture stability. This is followed by the removal of dirt and blemishes, both in picture and sound, which is the most time consuming part of the whole process. Experts first do this semi-automatically, then clean the film manually, frame by frame. Final picture restoration takes place in a motion-picture theatre that meets today’s digital cinema standards (DCI). The soundtrack is digitalised from both the original audio negative and a period copy. When eliminating audio flaws, experts begin with the most disruptive “noises”, then eliminate distortion in the next stage. The final, restored soundtrack is recorded in a special, certified mixing hall. The original audio format is preserved and equalisation adjusted to achieve uniform coverage of the entire theatre. Finally, digital masters that meet internationally recognised specifications (DCI or SMPTE) are made and stored in MAP format, designed for long-term film archiving.
The mission of the Czech Film foundation is to support Czech cinema in the form of fine Czech movies digital restoration. Using this principle the foundation picks such movies for digital restoration that are considered as among the 200 best Czech films by professional public, respectively are included in the Golden fund of Czech cinematography.