London, United Kingdom (MMD Newswire) June 18, 2012 -- Deluxe 142, a subsidiary of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc., together with the BFI (British Film Institute) have digitally restored nine of Alfred Hitchcock's earliest films, nearly ninety years after they first premiered to audiences.
Building on many months of the BFI's technical and curatorial research, Deluxe 142 undertook the challenging process of restoring the irreplaceable and delicate original source material, something which took thousands of hours to complete.
Made between the years 1925 and 1929, these historical works represent key moments in the history of British silent cinema. The Ring (1928), The Manxman (1928), Blackmail (1929), The Farmer's Wife, Champagne (1928) and Easy Virtue (1927) are presented in black and white. The Lodger (1926), The Pleasure Garden (1925) and Downhill (1927) will be presented with their original tinting and toning.
Paul Collard, who is leading Deluxe 142's operation for the BFI's Hitchcock 9 project, describes the complexity of the process: "As would be expected with films made on nitrate and other unstable films stocks of that era, the original source material had seen a fair amount of wear and tear as prints were repeatedly made from the original negative. The celluloid had degraded, and parts of the film were either lost or unusable."
"In places where the original celluloid had deteriorated too far we seamlessly replaced it with copy material. The key was not to try to improve or enhance the original in any way but to present it authentically, in the way it would have been seen by our grandparents and great-grandparents," adds Collard.
The stunning results are only due to Deluxe's ongoing investment in the very latest restoration and preservation technology. That, combined with its expert staff of two senior graders and eight digital restoration artists has made the company European leaders in restoration and preservation services.
Charles Fairall, Head of Conservation at the BFI National Archive, explains, "These films, more than eighty years old, are delicately complex artefacts and their restoration is consequently extremely demanding. We chose to work with Deluxe on this ambitious and technically challenging project, assured of their expertise in restoration techniques and confident that their impressive investment in technology, coupled with a deep understanding of archival processes, would produce the finest quality results. The whole project, which culminates thousands of hours of historic research and technical expertise by the BFI restoration team, has been a wonderful example of co-operation and the beautiful, digitally-preserved images certainly prove the value of this collaboration."
Head of Restoration at Deluxe 142, Mark Bonnici, adds, "This assignment is a once in a life time opportunity. It was an honour to be entrusted with such a valuable part of British film history and cultural heritage."
Some of the films were scanned by the BFI itself, whilst others were digitised at Deluxe 142's own London facility. This in itself is no easy task with highly flammable nitrate negatives; nitrate, acetate and polyester fine grain positives, nitrate prints and newly created polyester inter-titles all being used in combination.
After examination, preparation and cleaning, each element was scanned through Deluxe 142's Arriscan pin registered and Spirit 2 4K scanners to create 2K data files (DPX files), with final selects approved in conjunction with the BFI. The next stage was creating a 2K Digital Intermediate, graded by Deluxe 142's restoration colourists, Stephen Bearman and Trevor Brown, with supervision by the BFI. Tint and tone colours were accurately recreated to match the film originals. The graded, conformed scans were then digitally restored to remove defects such as scratches, warping, fluctuations, mould and frame damage.
After a final review screening with the BFI, a 35mm fully restored, colour or B/W polyester digital negative was recorded out to film frame by frame on the latest Arri laser film recorders. Show prints of the new restoration were made along with a 2K data archive of all scans and restored files, a digital cinema package and TV Masters.
The Pleasure Garden, Blackmail, The Ring and The Lodger will be presented with specially commissioned scores in a series of spectacular screenings in venues across the capital in June and July during the upcoming London 2012 Festival, part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Newly restored prints of Downhill, Easy Virtue, Champagne, The Farmer's Wife and The Manxman (including screenings of The Pleasure Garden, Blackmail, The Ring and an extended run of The Lodger) will be presented as part of the major Hitchcock retrospective at BFI Southbank from August to October.
Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., is the leading provider of a broad range of entertainment industry services and technologies to the worldwide entertainment industry including the Hollywood studios, broadcast/cable/satellite providers, digital distribution, gaming as well as content owners and creators. Services for content creation in features, television and commercials are offered in production, post production, digital distribution, marketing services and asset management. They include EFILM® and Company 3® digital intermediates; post production and subtitling services; titles design and digital VFX; DVD compression, encoding and authoring; advertising distribution and syndication services; digital cinema services, motion picture film processing and printing; and 2D to 3D conversion. Deluxe has facilities in North America, Europe, India, Australia and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit
About Deluxe 142
Deluxe 142 is a leading provider of Restoration, Digital Media and Post Production Services in the UK. The restoration department team uses cutting edge technologies and techniques with highly skilled technicians to provide restoration and preservation solutions for some of the world's most prestigious archives. www.deluxe142.co.uk
About the BFI National Archive
The BFI National Archive was founded in 1935 and has grown to become the largest collection of film and television in the world with over 180,000 films and 750,000 television programmes. Expert teams undertake the time consuming and complex task of restoring films. With specialist storage facilities in Warwickshire and Hertfordshire the archive also boasts significant collections of stills, posters and designs along with original scripts, press books and related ephemera. The BFI are funded partly by OfCom as the official archive for ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five. The BFI record a representative sample of television across Britain's terrestrial channels and are the official archive of moving image records of Parliament