Screen Time Images (formerly Sensory Technologies) Gears up for Restorations, and Purchases The First Revival Digital Film Restoration System from Sierra Design Labs
Riding high on the success and critical acclaim of their 1999 restoration/remastering of Orson Welles’ classic film “Othello” for DVD release with producer Michael Dawson of Intermission Productions, Sensory Technologies Inc. has purchased the first Revival Digital film restoration system from Sierra Design Labs. “This represents a giant step forward towards bringing more of this type of work to Chicago”, says Sean McKee, owner of Screen Time Images. McKee and partner Karen Sheehan are currently collaborating with Dawson on other film restoration projects.
According to McKee, “We’ve secured several contracts, and are targeting archival footage sources as future clients. We have set up an infrastructure geared towards providing the highest quality images, as well as a relatively fast turn-around time, depending on the quality of the original film transfers, and also depending on the degree of restoration the client desires”.
With the addition of the Revival Digital restoration system, Screen Time Images has positioned itself to become a leader in this emerging market. Revival runs on multi-processor SGI hardware, and works in conjunction with a Sierra digital disk recorder and a VTR, such as Digital Betacam. “We look at each film in Revival on a shot by shot basis”, says McKee. “We then determine the regions of interest where scratches and dirt are, and with the proper settings, the system assists us in removing the troublesome areas. For really difficult scenarios, such as half a frame missing due to emulsion chipping, the system offers manual paintbox-type tools for touching up by hand. It’ll handle splice damage between scenes, speckles and grain reduction as well, which is ideal for DVD pre-mastering, allowing for less MPEG-2 compression artifacts due to high grain/noise levels. The end result is absolutely breathtaking. The image quality is far superior to anything else on the market”. The system also has the ability to handle HD resolution images, says McKee.
“We worked very closely with the whole Revival Digital team for about a month during our evaluation, communicating almost daily”, says McKee. “They worked with us to determine what our work flow needs were, and how their system could fit in. We were able to make feature suggestions to suit our needs, and their implementation response time was amazing. They have provided us with a truly efficient, custom solution, and we will be using it on all of our upcoming film restorations”.
In addition to Revival, Screen Time Images also offers other restoration tools, including the Chicago suburbs’ only Discreet Logic Flame and Flint compositing and effects systems, hardware filtering, as well as proprietary in-house software and techniques developed by Screen Time. “We can also recreate an entire scene digitally”, claims McKee. “In the opening scene of Jack the Ripper, the image was so bad, filtering techniques could not cleanly remove all of the flaws on the image without leftover artifacts, so we rebuilt it. The film opens with a shot of the London bridge. We digitally created new water and a new sky, matte paintings for each, cleaned up the buildings, recreated the people and vehicles, color corrected and blended it all together. We displaced our digital water on the Y-axis using the luminance values from the original scene’s water to match the motion, and ended up with a very convincing recreation.”
Complementing image restoration services, Screen Time Images provides full audio restoration services as well, including high end Cedar-Audio noise reduction hardware, useful for removing clicks, crackles and hiss. Other audio services include re-synchronizing dialogue that has drifted from the picture, adding or recreating sound effects, re-scoring soundtracks, and 48 tracks of fully automated digital mixdown with 5.1 surround sound, using Chicago’s only Neve Libra digital mixer, and their newly upgraded Pro Tools 5.0 Mix|Plus system. The company is currently looking at various DVD authoring and mastering solutions, and looks to provide an end-to-end restoration solution for clients by mid-year.
Screen Time Images (formerly Sensory Technologies Inc.) is located at 974 Estes Court Schaumburg,IL 60193 - phone, 847-534-9000