Restoration of world class masterpiece
Mr. Norshteyn’s works, Yozhik v tumane (Hedgehog in the Fog) or Skazka skazok (Tale of Tales) to name some of his most famous films, are praised highly around the world. There are many Japanese fans of his works and he has visited the country on many occasions where he interacted with local animators.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of IMAGICA BS channel [operated by IMAGICA TV], IMAGICA was responsible for restoring six of Mr. Norshteyn’s films created during the Soviet era, which could very well be called “visual world heritage.” The original negative was scanned in 2K and restored at IMAGICA.
The Path to Restoration, Direction, color grading, and restoration complete!IMAGICA TV’s Yasushi Yamashita of Content and media strategy division, who directed the restoration, recalls the event with a satisfied smile; “I was alongside Mr. Norshteyn when he first visited Japan in 1987, back when I started working at a LaserDisk distributor. I feel very proud to be in this position after 30 years. This restoration project was a huge responsibility for me but the professionals at IMAGICA made everything possible and I believe we had a very successful restoration.”
Scanning in Russia ~Transcoding to digital from filmThe 35mm original negatives of the six animations were scanned in 2K at Gosfilmond, an organization focused on preserving and collecting films, and the largest film archive in Russia. The films were digitized into sequential files by scanning frame by frame with the quality of approximately 2000 pixels wide per frame.
Digital Restoration; Repairing the damage with great careCountless creators have put in a lot of passion into creating films and visual works throughout the visual imaging history, for about 120 years. However, all physical film deteriorates as time passes; no matter how notable and acclaimed the film or work is. The purpose of restoration is to digitize these works in high resolution; utilizing the latest technology and restoring them to a clean image.
Yoko Arai, restoration supervisor who’s worked on hundreds for restoration work, says; “We start [the process on these animations] with reducing the swaying of the picture caused by the deteriorating film, then digitally clean the visually distracting scratches and dust that became attached to the film over the years. The goal is to return the picture’s quality to what people may have watched when the work was first released. These animation pieces, in particular, took extra caution and neatness because they had the finest details of any of the animation restorations we’ve done in the past.“
Grading ~Tormented in adjusting brightness, contrast, and colorOur colorist, Yoshiaki Abe, recalls how the detailed Norshteyn drawing challenged him in these poetic animation he’s never encountered before. “I usually refer to real objects; for instance, the sky or trees if I’m working on a live action film. However, we scratched our heads with this project as these were animation and not painted in one solid color [where many animations tend to be]. We looked at the original drawings found in ‘behind the scenes’ pictures of the actual production or referenced DVDs, possibly telecined from prints. Mr. Yamashita, the director, and I looked for Mr. Norshteyn intentions through these research.”
The restoration is now complete. Mr. Norshteyn was very pleased with the results upon delivery and requested he would like to show these restored films at a film festival where he was a member of the judges.
A visual poet
Born 1941. Studied animation at Soyuzmultfilm in Moscow and debuted as a director in 1968. Though he’s directed only six films, the themes of his visually stunning films vary from fairy tales to poetic stories that questions life itself. His technique of creating depth is purely “masterful,” as he increases the presence of the detailed characters drawn by his spouse, Francheska Yarbusova. The Overcoat, Mr. Norshteyn’s latest film has been in development for over 30 years and is currently ongoing.
Now showing !
Animation masterpieces by Yuriy Norshteyn, an animator beloved by creators around the world, restored by IMAGICA’s archive group.
Now showing as part of Yuriy Norshteyn special; “The stunning world of the Animation master”