Thursday, May 30, 2019

How Archivists Saved Damaged WWII Film

How Archivists Saved Damaged WWII Film for 'The Cold Blue'. Chuck Thompson. Popular Mechanics. May 23, 2019.
    Shrinkage is the biggest problem with old film according to the article. To use original footage for a new movie, the archivist transferred 15 hours of 16mm film to 4K for the World War II documentary The Cold Blue. The film stock that was shot in 1943 has shrunk since it was created. Kodachrome maintains its vibrancy, but tends to lose pliability and moisture over time. All of the outtakes had shrunk to an average of 1.4 percent, which is "considered an immediate preservation risk. Once the film reaches that stage, it’s difficult to preserve the film photochemically because the pitch of the sprocket holes won’t seat accurately on the sprocket teeth of the printers, causing registration and stability issues on the new copy".  “Photochemical preservation” means preservation of a film by printing a new copy on new film stock and then developing and fixing the image  using traditional photographic processes.

The largest outtake reel had 36,880 frames, at 922 feet long, generating 2.6 TBs of data for 25 minutes of run time. The entire project generated just over 80 TBs of material. The preservation DPX files were wrapped with Bagger and written off  LTO-6 tape. The  three copies of the tapes: one in near-line storage, another is offline, and the last that is sent offsite to maintain geographical separation. The original film was returned to its 25-degree Fahrenheit vault, which slows down any deterioration that may continue.

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