Bridgeport, Conn.-based Film Chest recently installed a new Golden Eye III film scanner and Phoenix digital restoration and mastering system from Digital Vision, to power its expanded pipeline for television and motion picture restoration and distribution.
Film Chest owns and distributes thousands of titles, with one of the largest libraries of classic movies and television series in the world, providing content to pay cable, public and broadcast television, motion pictures, streaming, distribution, and a variety of other professional users. Their collection is also notable for its archive of orphan films and family collections. Film Chest delivers to networks, studios and the growing array of outlets including Hulu, Netflix, Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics, Amazon, iTunes, Verizon FiOs, and Vudu as well as servicing other libraries.
Given the nature of the projects Film Chest works on, and the condition of the elements, it was crucial that they develop a high-quality restoration workflow. “We were committed to building an in-house facility to create the highest quality elements possible, not just for our projects, but for the libraries that we manage on behalf of a number of content holders,” explained Phil Hopkins, founder and president of Film Chest. “In the midst of all of our extensive work, we realized that it was simply inefficient to send negatives away for scanning. After we investigated all of our options, we found that the Golden Eye III and Phoenix offered us an amazing solution, from scan to final with great Digital Vision support, and hardware and software integration.”
After quality, output became the top priority for the Film Chest team. According to Hopkins, “With 200 features to do each year, we had to have a high degree of accuracy and efficiency. Beginning the process with Golden Eye III and going through the process of Phoenix is an extremely proficient model. In the near future, when the integration of metadata is complete, we will be incredibly efficient in our service.”
Hopkins and co-founder Ralph Stevens were familiar with the Digital Vision product line from references in the industry and their extensive research. Stevens stated, “Working with Digital Vision’s products, we considered them to be the high-bar of quality, and Phoenix had become our reference point into the world of restoration. We knew that Digital Vision had nailed the algorithms for dust-busting and grain reduction. Some of the other platforms could accomplish similar goals, but in weeks, not in hours. Phoenix was the only one that could do it on the time scale we needed. Hands down, Phoenix has been the best solution for our needs.”
Hopkins offered an example of how efficient the pipeline is for Film Chest. “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is a perfect example of a problematic film. The print belongs to the Library of Congress, and we were working with them towards a Blu-ray release of the film. We asked The Library to make a transfer, but when we began to work on the restored master they sent, the film was shrunken and destabilized. I spoke with the head curator, and they agreed to send us the original film elements, which is an extremely rare occurrence. The Golden Eye III transfer was absolutely as good as it could be, and the restoration was much better than it would have been on its own.”
“We must have a powerful ability to work with problem films, from S8, to 16, to old 35, we need to make the very best elements possible,” he added. “We manage a complex and frequently problematic library. This pipeline has given us an arsenal of tools that help us create beautiful and lasting projects. We couldn’t be happier with the Golden Eye III and the Phoenix.”
Kelvin Bolah, president of Digital Vision, noted, “The Film Chest team have been very thorough in the evaluation of our technology and competitive solutions. They are a very impressive group of people, and based on their in-depth knowledge and due diligence they have chosen to work with what they consider to be the best tools in the market.”