Advanced Television

RRsat restores Vivien Leigh Collection

March 11, 2014

RRsat Europe was recently tasked with the restoration of a trio of films that form part of British cinema history, the Vivien Leigh Collection (1937-1938). This collection features a selection of classic Leigh films prior to her international success in Gone With The Wind.

This collection features other giants of British acting such as Charles Laughton and Rex Harrison, as well as the first time Leigh and Laurence Olivier appeared onscreen together in Fire Over England.

Cohen Film Collection sourced the necessary elements for this project, delivering them to RRsat Europe to be checked and assessed. As with all restoration projects, the team in West London prepared, cleaned and scanned the components ready for restoration.

They delivered the nitrate elements from the BFI archive, which had dramatic weave, distortion and instability present, especially in the Storm In A Teacup film. All three films required extensive work to restore both picture and audio, on a relatively modest budget.

Due to the complex and delicate nature of the restoration, around 2 months work was required for each film, with the team at RRsat Europe developing new techniques and workflows specifically to restore these films to their former glory. Finishing Post added the final touches to the project, viewing and approving the respiration process, and managed the tracking of elements to ensure the restoration was satisfactory.

The end result of this project was the removal of bad film weave and warping, processing of scratches, dirt passes and tears, and final assembly with a HDCAM SR 4:4:4 Master created and stored within the Cohen Film Collection Archive.

Matt Bowman, commercial director at RRsat Europe, said: “Our restoration team has a reputation for being the best in the business, and so it’s testament to their work that Cohen Films turned to us to help with this collection. Our team even implemented some new techniques to help with the restoration and ensure the final result was as best as it could possibly be.”

Tim Lanza from the Cohen Film Collection said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that Vivien Leigh is one of the most iconic British film stars of the 20th century. This collection brings together some of her classic work, including the first partnership with Laurence Olivier, and so bringing it back to life for future generations to enjoy was very important.”


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