Restoration and Preservation Symposium Underway Now in Hollywood

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Thu, 08/21/2014 - 13:29 -- Nick Dager

A case study about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of the highlights at The Reel Thing.The Reel Thing (, the 33rd technical symposium on film restoration and preservation will be held August 21-23 at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood.

The Reel Thing includes panel discussions and technical presentations on a wide range of critical issues facing film archivists, technicians, asset managers and curators of image and sound in the new media/digital landscape. 

Film historian and critic Leonard Maltin says, “The Reel Thing is a unique gathering of people who care deeply about film and go above and beyond the call of duty to preserve it. Archivists, scholars, lab technicians, and devotees share their knowledge and screen some recent examples of cutting-edge film preservation. It’s a wonderful event.”

Topics include large format scanning and recording, preservation of film as data on film, the impact of color spaces on workflows and archiving, restoration of Satyajit Ray’s APU Trilogy, restoration of Bing Crosby’s personal Dictabelt recordings, audio restoration presentations and a special presentation on projecting silent cinema in the age of digital projection by visual effects legend Jonathan Erland. The event also features case study presentations and screenings of recently restored films including The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Exile (both with live music accompaniment) and a special 4K presentation of Steven Spielberg’s Duel.  Speakers include representatives of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Deluxe, FotoKem, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Piql AS and other industry leaders.

The Reel Thing opens on Thursday evening, August 21 with a reception, a special presentation to recently retired preservationist Bob O’Neil and a premiere screening of the new 4K restoration of The Day the Earth Stood Still.  

The Reel Thing is dedicated the film preservation and restoration.The Reel Thing was first held in 1994 at the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference in Boston, and has grown in scope and stature each year since. The event has been held sometimes twice a year and in Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as in cities across the United States and Canada.

“The Reel Thing is a unique event and attracts technologists, archivists, programmers and asset managers, as well as people who simply love movies, television and all things related to moving image and sound preservation,” says Grover Crisp, executive vice president for asset management, film restoraton and digital mastering at Sony Pictures Entertainment, and co-organizer of The Reel Thing with Michael Friend, director of digital archives at SPE.

John Bailey, ASC, who will be covering the event for his blog John Bailey’s Bailiwick on the American Cinematographer website, is looking forward to seeing the restored The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Criterion’s presentation on the restoration of Satyajit Ray’s APU Trilogy. “I approach The Reel Thing as a curious filmmaker,” Bailey says. “I am interested in the past, present and future of imaging technology and The Reel Thing gives me a chance to experience all three.”

Curtis Clark, ASC, an award-winning cinematographer and chairman of the ASC’s Technology Committee, is eager to learn about new advances in digital technology for the long-term preservation of creative content. “The development of a reliable, long-term digital storage solution for archiving is front and center for anyone interested in film preservation,” Clark observes. “The Reel Thing brings together many of the industry’s leading technologists and serves as an important forum for building a consensus on this urgent issue.”

Proceeds from The Reel Thing benefit the Association of Moving Image Archivists and help to support its programs.

The Reel Thing