Originally, Dutch Light was shot on 35mm negative. For decades, this has been the standard technical filming format for motion pictures. In 2003, the film premiered at the theatres that were still using traditional, huge and indestructible projectors to display 35mm film prints.
In 2012 a new world wide technical digital projection standard emerged. A digital projection copy, also referred to as DCP or Digital Cinema Package has a high 2k resolution (1998 x 1080 pixels at an aspect ratio of 1:1.85). Most films that we get to watch at the theatre are offered in 2K resolution. It means they are digitally completed, distributed and projected in 2K.
The original 35mm negative, however, has much more potential compared to today’s 2K standard alternative. The negative seems to contain a lot more information in terms of resolution, dynamics and colour range than used to be visible with the traditional 35mm film print.
A very high resolution
In association with Cineco/Haghe Film Digital Laboratory, the original 35mm edited negative of Dutch Light has been completely restored and digitised in ultrahigh 4K. The results are impressive. In fact, you could call it the best of both worlds. An analogue 35mm original, completed as Digital Intermediate in the ultrahigh 4K resolution of 3996×2160 (10 bit Log) pixels per frame. No more visible digital particles and an outstanding image projection stability, though never surrendering the beauty and atmosphere of the traditional 35mm analogue film. What more could you wish for. The contrast range and colours are truly phenomenal. The quality that so far remained dormant in the original negative is now displayed in all its splendour.
In 2013 Dutch Light will be screened in 4K for the very first time. In the Netherlands, 4K projection is only possible at some theatres. Now what to expect you might wonder? Well, compared to 2K, you will feel like you have just got yourself a new pair of glasses and everything has more air to it. The image has more impact, not only technically but also in terms of emotional perception. It is quite an experience with more added value. The Dutch Masters’ paintings, landscapes, details, the huge contrasts between light and dark, the tragic nature of low heavy clouds, they have never been this magnificent.
The technical process
Throughout the years, Cineco/Haghe film has meticulously stored the 35mm negative, keeping it in a dry, dust-free and dark area inside acid-free boxes. The entire film consists of 5 acts covering 600 metres in length each (1 metre equals 52 frames which is slightly over 2 seconds). The entire film lasts 94 minutes which comes down to 2578 metres in length or 135,360 frames. The roll films were first inspected manually and then cleaned ultrasonically.
Haghe film Digital is the only digital post production lab in the Netherlands holding the licenses and equipment required for this process. They guarantee the cleanest negatives west of the Wolga. The negative was then digitised using an Arri data scanner in the 4k ultrahigh resolution. First, each film frame was digitised to reach 4096 x 3072 pixels. In this process, one image after the other is taken care of, very slowly. Each film frame requires 1.3 second; that is over 31 seconds per second to have 1 high-resolution digital film second (1/24th of a second). Images are written to harddisk in DPX (Digital Picture Exchange) format. Obviously, the same process is required with a perfect image stability. The entire file was approximately 12 Terabytes (21,000,000.000,000 bytes). This is a seriously costly downside of the process. It flows with the dynamics of watching paint dry.
The next step was to treat the now digital files with a digital dust scratch remover programme by Eastman Kodak, called Digital Ice. This software programme compares film frames recognising infallibly small particles or any damage such as scratches and “cables”.
Applying the Digital Vision Nucoda colour correcting system, the entire film was ‘upgraded’ one shot after the other, correcting its colour. In this high-resolution digital domain, it turned out a huge amount of information existed inside the negative. Using the original film prints and paintings displayed as references in the film, we were able to reach the most realistic results. Eventually, the digital format was tuned to the specifications of 4K DCP cinema projection package with an aspect ratio of 1:1.85. 3996 x 2160 pixels.
The original digital sound files (in 5 acts) were put together once again and tuned to the right specifications and SMTP 5.1 norm for DCP mastering. The main advantage of joining hands with Haghe film was that all technical stages were possible at the same lab, avoiding any unpleasant surprises afterwards such as mismatching LUT’s ( look up tables ) What you see is what you get.
On the big screen
In 2013 Dutch Light will be displayed in 4K at several theatres. To receive your programme update or if you have any questions, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 4K premiere will be held at the first 4K festival at the Filmhuis Den Haag Sunday Februari 17th. 17:00 with an introduction by director Pieter-Rim de Kroon
More information on digital restoration, preservation and mastering process.
Haghe Film Digitaal Gerard de Haan : email@example.com