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Film History and Restoration

COW Library : Film History and Restoration
An old photograph, stained with a gentle sepia toning, tears and scratches from years of storage, a favorite movie classic that you watched on a B & W screen at your grandparents' house, an old vinyl 78 RPM gramophone record of a voice long-gone that you found in a dusty antique shop... these bring back irreplaceable moments of times and events that have vanished forever. We cling with nostalgia to the movies that forever changed us, and having the ability not only to see these films in perfect restoration, but also to preserve them for future generations is absolutely priceless.

This series is dedicated to film and television history, film restoration, and film preservation.
 
Cinematography
Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, 1930 - 2016 - Remembering the Genius

Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, 1930 - 2016 - Remembering the Genius

Winner of an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the long list of official accolades for Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC doesn't begin to illustrate the impact his work has had on generations of artists around the world. Friend, colleague, and Global Cinematography Institute co-founder Yuri Neyman, ASC shares some of his memories with us.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Yuri Neyman, ASC
TV & Movie Appreciation
Orson Welles' Brief, Passionate Love Affair with Betacam

Orson Welles' Brief, Passionate Love Affair with Betacam

A video production pioneer who shot with the first Sony Betacam camera and set up the first Betacam to 1-inch edit suite, Frank Beacham also worked with Orson Welles on Welles’ final project before passing away in 1985. Welles was exceptionally engaged with the most technical aspects of the cutting edge technology that was just beginning to emerge, including a passionate belief in the possibilities that Betacam could offer. This is a truly astounding tale of creativity at the crossroads, and an intimate look inside the mind and work of one of the 20th century’s most influential storytellers.

Feature
Frank Beacham
TV & Movie Appreciation
FotoKem Restores The 1965 Classic, The Sound of Music

FotoKem Restores The 1965 Classic, The Sound of Music

Restoring a beloved classic requires even more finesse than usual. Fortunately, today's tools offer more power than ever, along with more finesse, to enable the film experts at FotoKem to create a truly celebratory release of 1965's The Sound of Music.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Tim Wilson
Cinematography
The Last Film Lab?

The Last Film Lab?

Sure, some of the biggest movies are still being shot on film, but in a world where film cameras haven't been in production for years, where only one company still makes motion picture film, and by the end of the year, there may be no more film prints for theatrical distribution, it's no wonder that the number of businesses who can sustain themselves by processing film has plummeted. In this latest dispatch from the film BUSINESS, Creative COW Contributing Editor Debra Kaufman finds industry leaders asking themselves, will 2014 be the year we see the last film lab?

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Cinematography
History of the Film Lab

History of the Film Lab

A closer look at the history of film labs shows that business has been getting tougher for quite a while, and offers some insights into the specifics of what's coming soon.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Restoring Orson Welles' Classic Lady From Shanghai

Restoring Orson Welles' Classic Lady From Shanghai

The Lady From Shanghai may be the most notorious Orson Welles film you've never seen: his deliberately disorienting noir murder mystery from 1947, whose road to restoration may be more complicated than the movie itself.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Remembering Peter O'Toole

Remembering Peter O'Toole

Having seen "Lawrence of Arabia" as a wide-eyed child, Debra Kaufman had no idea that one day she would interview the star with the flowing white robes and piercing blue eyes. Here, she recalls her interview with Peter O'Toole for The Hollywood Reporter and what makes him an actor whose movies will endure.

Editorial, Feature
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Restoring the Frank Capra Classic, It Happened One Night

Restoring the Frank Capra Classic, It Happened One Night

Frank Capra's 1934 comedy "It Happened One Night" was recently the subject of a lovingly painstaking 4K restoration by Sony Pictures Entertainment. With tender care to retain the soft, glowing look that Director of Photography Joseph Walker, ASC was so well known for, Colorworks beautifully restored the film with all of the nuance and elegance of the original.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Creative COW
TV & Movie Appreciation
Prime Focus Brings The Last Emperor into 3D

Prime Focus Brings The Last Emperor into 3D

Rumors had buzzed for two years that director Bernardo Bertolucci was interested in converting his masterpiece The Last Emperor to 3D. That became a reality when the 3D version debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The sensitive job of handling the conversion went to Prime Focus in London, which dedicated hundreds of rotoscope artists, proprietary tools and artistic intention to uphold the intention of the original version. The verdict? Bertolucci called it "beautiful and magical."

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
John Dykstra, ASC: VFX Then and Now

John Dykstra, ASC: VFX Then and Now

Creative COW had the great pleasure of speaking to visual effects pioneer John Dykstra, who received his first Academy Award for his work on Star Wars, and, the same year, won an Academy Scientific and Engineering Award for the Dykstraflex motion-control camera that made so many of Star Wars' effects possible. Join us as he shares behind the scenes on Star Wars, speaks about his transition from an artist to a VFX supervisor, and gives us his thoughts on the state of VFX today.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
John Dykstra, ASC
TV & Movie Appreciation
Restoring Mary Pickford's Lost Film

Restoring Mary Pickford's Lost Film

Actor, screenwriter, producer and United Artists co-founder Mary Pickford made 205 films in her very productive life. Of those, ten features and 25 shorts were believed lost. Earlier this month, one of Mary Pickford's shorts - Their First Misunderstanding (1911) - was saved from oblivion. The incredible story of how a lost film was found and then salvaged involves more than a little luck, along with the knowledge and skillset of a group of committed film archivists and film preservationists. The story begins in a dilapidated barn. Read more...

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Storytelling, VFX and the Emotional Medium of Movies

Storytelling, VFX and the Emotional Medium of Movies

It wasn't the effects and it wasn't the cast that made 1933's King Kong the enduring classic that it is (though Fay Wray got a clear shot at immortality). It was the story. The story of a big lug with a soft spot a mile wide. Here's why young filmmakers should sit at Kong's feet.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Stephen Menick
TV & Movie Appreciation
The Wizard of Oz: A Hollywood Jewel Now in 3D and IMAX

The Wizard of Oz: A Hollywood Jewel Now in 3D and IMAX

The Wizard of Oz debuted in 3D and IMAX on September 20 for just one week, and it was a treat not to be missed. For almost a year, a Prime Focus team in Los Angeles and Mumbai carefully rotoscoped and composited each scene to create a respectful, eye-opening 3D version of this iconic movie. The result reveals all the beautiful artistry and craft that went into this much-loved classic.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Restoring Richard III: VistaVision to 4K

Restoring Richard III: VistaVision to 4K

When The Film Foundation decided to restore Richard III, the non-profit film preservation organization approached Grover Crisp, Sony Pictures Executive Vice President, Asset Management, Film Restoration & Digital Mastering, Sony Pictures Entertainment. The job was to return the film as close as possible to its original version, which involved restoring over 100 shots. Cineric in New York dug up the missing trims and provided the 4K wet-gate scan, and Crisp brought in MTI Film for much of the restoration, including creating missing frames. Sony Pictures' DI and restoration facility Colorworks finished the job with a careful DI, and the film -- which has been released on BluRay by Criterion -- is expected to have a theatrical release through Janus Films.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Jurassic Park 3D: A New Dimension For A Modern Classic

Jurassic Park 3D: A New Dimension For A Modern Classic

If you liked Jurassic Park the first time around, you're going to love it in 3D. If there was ever a movie that cried out for a third dimension, it was this one: T-Rex towering over the teetering SUV? Raptors skittering in the kitchen? Jurassic Park's already edge-of-your-seat scenes get even scarier in stereoscopic 3D. Conversions from 2D to 3D have gotten a bad rap due to a small handful of movies that were not done skillfully. Stereo D- which also did the conversion work for Titanic -- handled Jurassic Park. President William Sherak and Executive Vice President, Chief Creative Officer Aaron Parry talked to Creative COW about their work on Spielberg's dinosaur blockbuster, and why 2D-to-3D conversions are booming.

Editorial, Feature
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Lawrence of Arabia: Sony's Beautiful 4K Restoration

Lawrence of Arabia: Sony's Beautiful 4K Restoration

Sony Pictures Entertainment recently finished a 3-year process culminating in a stunning 4K restoration of the 1962 masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia, completed just in time for the film's 50th anniversary. Guided by Sony Executive Vice President Grover Crisp, this massive project engaged cutting-edge technology and expertise from Sony Colorworks DI facility as well as Prasad Corporation and MTI Film, working together on a newly scanned negative. One of the most beautiful films of all time is now more gorgeous than ever.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Restoring Jaws

Restoring Jaws

Universal Pictures is celebrating its 100 years of filmmaking with a list of 100 of its most notable films, thirteen of which will be restored. Jaws is one of those films, and in this article, we take you back into the water to find out just how safe it is to scan an original negative and bring Jaws back to life.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Who Shot Rock & Roll - Arclight Productions

Who Shot Rock & Roll - Arclight Productions

Arclight Productions just finished an original documentary short, inspired by and presented at the Annenberg Space for Photography's exhibit Who Shot Rock & Roll. The documentary -- Who Shot Rock & Roll: The Film -- was produced and directed by Steven Kochones and celebrates the collaborations between photographers and recording artists who created some of the most enduring images in rock history.

Feature, People / Interview
Steven Kochones
TV & Movie Appreciation
Academy is the New Home for 70,000 Vintage Hollywood Stills

Academy is the New Home for 70,000 Vintage Hollywood Stills

The trove of still photographs and memorabilia that comprise the Bison Archives, a private collection of film historian Marc Wanamaker, now paint a comprehensive story of the history of film in America, from its earliest days to the present. Creative COW couldn't pass up the opportunity to know more about this impressive collection and the raison d'etre for its existence.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
These Amazing Shadows: An Editor's Journey

These Amazing Shadows: An Editor's Journey

An editor's journey through the films that made America (or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love the B-Roll). These Amazing Shadows, an 88-minute documentary, tells the history and importance of the National Film Registry and cameos some of history's most treasured films as it reveals how early films shaped and revealed a changing nation and why we most need to preserve them for posterity.

Feature, People / Interview
Doug Blush
Cinematography
Film Fading to Black

Film Fading to Black

ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have all quietly ceased production of their film cameras to focus exclusively on the design and manufacture of digital cameras. Film? Fade to black.

Editorial, Feature
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Restoring the Classic Beauty, Children of Paradise

Restoring the Classic Beauty, Children of Paradise

Children of Paradise [Les Enfants du Paradis] is perhaps the most stunning classic film you've probably never seen. The movie was made in 1943 - 1944, when the Nazis forbade the making of films longer than 90 minutes, and released in 1945. It was last shown in the U.S. 30 years ago, despite the fact that 600 French critics, directors, actors and technicians have voted it as "Best French Film Ever." Join Debra Kaufman as she brings the restoration of this classic beauty to light the story of how Éclair Labs in Paris battled a disintegrating nitrate original.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
Cinematography
Restoring Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver in Sony 4K Digital Cinema

Restoring Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver in Sony 4K Digital Cinema

As a landmark in American film history celebrates 35 years, Sony Pictures Entertainment leads a cutting-edge 4K restoration for Blu-ray and limited theatrical re-release. Debra Kaufman joins the COW team with an exclusive in-depth article describing the restoration of Taxi Driver in Sony 4K Digital Cinema for its 35th anniversary.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
The Library of Congress Unlocks The Ultimate Archive System

The Library of Congress Unlocks The Ultimate Archive System

The Library of Congress is working to preserve film for hundreds, even thousands of years. Seriously. In this article from Creative COW Magazine, Ken Weissman, Supervisor of the Library's Film Preservation Laboratory, tells the steps they're taking toward the ultimate archive system, starting with the restoration of films first printed on paper instead of film!

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Ken Weissman
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