By Aditi Patwardhan. Posted on November 17, 2015
Classics are classics. Be it Charlie Chaplin's silent comedy-dramas or Alfred Hitchcock's spine-chilling thrillers or Satyajit Ray's timeless dramas rooted in the Indian ethos, classics have a special place in every film lover's heart. The Criterion Collection is, therefore, loved by film aficionados all over, for bringing back to life some of our beloved classics.
In this Gizmodo video, Criterion's Technical Director Lee Kline and his team talk about the restoration process of Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940). Restoration of an old film is a meticulous and time-consuming process. The process starts with tracking down a print that's in a fairly decent condition. Then the negative is scanned frame by frame into digital files, which can take from 2 days to a week, depending on the resolution. Most of the times, these old films are in a bad condition with dirt, scratches, torn edges and glue marks on them, all of which needs to be corrected. The sound needs to be remastered too.
Restoration is not simply a process of polishing the film. To determine the look of the film, the team researches the works of cinematographers and directors from that time period, the locations and shots used in the film and accordingly determines how the film should ideally look like. Sound remastering, colour grading and restoration is then carried out in line with that. This video gives us an opportunity to peep into the process behind the impressive glossy covers of the Collection and makes us appreciate the effort that the team puts into the process.