National Film Center / National Museum of Modern Art – Tokyo (Japan)
The Thousand-Stitch Belt (1937), a film by Genjiro Saegusa, was spotted by the National Film Center / National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (NFC) in the Russian Gosfilmofond archive in 2015. The film was scanned in 4K and sent to Japan for a restoration process involving the partnership of three institutions.
With the help of IMAGICA Corp, the scan data was sized down to 2K and polished through a specialised software to remove scratches and other imperfections. Multicolor uses two black-and-white negative films coupled to capture red and blue colours, and two colour subtractive processes. Our main challenge was to restore the specific colours of the film; for which our team needed the experience of IMAGICA WEST Corp. The team reproduced as closely as possible the colouring process of mutlicolor films to determine the right colour balance for the restored copy.
A well-preserved documentary film, shot in mutlicolor and dated from 1940, and present in the NFC archive, was used as reference during this process. This paper will explain with much detail the entire digital/analog restoration process that took place, and how the experience of analog film is necessary to well use the digital tool.
In conclusion, the cooperation of three institutions was fundamental to accomplish this restoration: digital tools, to easily adjust colours; analog expertise, to analyse reference film; and, of course, the preservation of such films through time and history by different archives.
Assistant Curator of Film, National Film Center / National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo)