Opaque Media has recently partnered with the indie media company Error 4444, which specializes in Asian B films and Cult films. Error 4444 also partners with Reel Revival who provides the scans for Fortunato’s work, and through their acquaintance was recommended to work on some upcoming releases.
Together, they have three projects in the works: Run And Kill (Fortunato provided 45 minutes worth of the grading) , Red To Kill (which requires a full restoration and base Color Correction – this will be Fortunato’s first official ‘end to end’ restoration excluding the audio remixing), and an old Japanese film that can’t be spoken about yet.
Despite being scans from the original negative, the condition of the films were very rough – the humidity and hot temperature in Asia seemed to have done a number on these films. Not only was there mould growth but the blue channel was almost gone, so the colour tones shift constantly in both films. During each film there are also a number of frame jumps mid scene, as well as at scene cuts. Phoenix was used to remove serious artefacts, tears in the film, mould growth, frame stabilisation and some initial colour stabilisation too.
As a massive Beatles fan, Fortunato has acquired for his own private project a black and white 16mm copy of The Beatles at Shea Stadium which was intended to be broadcast on TV. Initially intended for ABC, the full network broadcast material includes commercial ads and there is even an introduction from the Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fielder. It also contains footage of the other performers along with backstage footage of the Beatles preparing for the show. It was in surprisingly great condition and he believes it may be linked to the original source film.
That being said, Phoenix was still needed to remove scratches and standard artefacts, and then to remove as much noise as possible while maintaining a consistent fine film grain to the image. Interestingly, for a few songs, studio versions were dubbed in due to some audio troubles, and Fortunato hopes to mix in the original line feed audio to restore the actual live performances.
In the last year, Fortunato has also been building on his Phoenix skills and refining his self-titled “efficiency workflow”, by using two less steps in film clean up and expanding the ways he can use the DVO Dry Clean and DVO Fix tools. Ever looking to the future, Fortunato is still working towards increasing the volume of film restored everyday without compromising the quality. He’s continuing to learn Color Theory for Color Correction, although he’s had years of experience restoring photograph negatives, there’s always more to learn with physical film stocks – “once you get to the digital side, it’s all 1s and 0s code so it is important to consider the physical reels at time of scanning.”’.
Opaque Media is still hoping to find its first direct client but is working on a few public domain films that could be possibly released. , one of which is 1978s Italian produced animated Pinnochio. .
“The next 3 years should be interesting – keep an eye on us”