Pinewood Studios Embarks on Major Restoration Effort

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Tue, 07/13/2010 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Pinewood Studios Group has acquired a Northlight 2 film scanner from FilmLight for use in its newly established media preservation restoration and archive facility. The new scanner will be used in restoring film-based titles from the StudioCanal British Library archive comprising some 140 000 items including the renowned Ealing film library. The archive has been based at Pinewood for 20 years. Northlight which recently earned FilmLight’s development team one of four AMPAS Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards sets the standard for 4K scanning with Northlight 2 delivering the highest quality alias free 4K resolution images. Pinewood selected the system after conducting a rigorous review of high-end film scanners over several months. “We chose Northlight because of the quality of the scans ” says Darren Woolfson group director of technology for Pinewood Studios Group. “We were also impressed with the company itself. The quality of FilmLight’s engineers and R&D team is exceedingly high.” Northlight 2 will be part of a workflow devoted exclusively to film restoration. Pinewood’s new facility also includes two state-of-the-art temperature and humidity controlled vaults for storing archival elements. “Restoration work has often been undertaken by companies with a DI infrastructure who do a bit of restoration during downtime ” Woolfson says. “We’ve come to this from a different angle. We have built a restoration department to deal exclusively with restoration work. We have a film handling area and an area for performing physical repairs to film media. We also have an area devoted to restoring film sound. It is a fully set up picture and sound restoration department.” Pinewood’s work on the StudioCanal British Library archive began after an agreement with StudioCanal and Optimum Releasing in last November. Restoration has been completed on Lionel Jeffries’ The Railway Children which has subsequently been re-released and made available on BluRay/DVD.   Other classic titles that are being worked on include Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom and Robert Hamer’s Kind Hearts and Coronets. Additionally Pinewood will serve as a FilmLight beta site for developing film scanning technologies for restoration. “We feel very good about this aspect of our relationship ” Woolfson says. “FilmLight is working hard to improve what is already an extremely good scanner.”