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Pinewood restoration team restores Hell Drivers

15 November 2016

Article from 4rfv.co.uk:

Hell Drivers starring Stanley Baker, Patrick McGoohan, Peggy Cummins and a young Sean Connery, was shot mostly in and around Pinewood Studios in 1957, so it seems fitting for the new 2016 restoration to be completed at the iconic studios.

Commissioned by the BFI, the work was carried out by Pinewood's award-winning archive and restoration team, as part of Pinewood's role as a preferred supplier to the BFI.

Thanks to the BFI National Archive's preservation of an original, eight-perforation fine grain positive, printed from the original negative in 1957, Pinewood Restoration and the BFI were able to work from the best existing source.

To ensure that every frame of Hell Drivers was restored to its full glory, the restoration team at Pinewood utilised a Northlight Pin registered scanner with a custom 8 perf VistaVision gate, which was specially developed by Northlight's research and development team in partnership with Pinewood.

Utilizing the eight-perforation fine grain positive, printed from the original negative in 1957, Pinewood Restoration scanned open gate at 6K resolution. Though the BFI originally commissioned 4K scans, the Pinewood team and the BFI decided it would be best to scan the film as 6330 x 4280 at 10 bit due to the film being originally shot as VistaVision. This resulted in richer scans, giving the grader the opportunity to present the photography in its glistening tones. However, this process took 10 hours per 10 minutes of run time, with the total raw scans being approximately 20 Terabytes of data. The final graded files were resized to 2k (2048 x 1556) reducing the 110-minute film to a manageable 2 TB master file.

VistaVision used 35mm film stock in the camera, but ran it horizontally so that images were captured across an area usually encountered in still photography: almost 36mm side by 24mm high. After production and editing, the original negative