PRODUCTION NOTES / Ed Jones describes how he and his team restored Disney's Snow White

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The Independent Culture
SNOW WHITE and the Seven Dwarfs is the first film that has been entirely digitised, restored, then put back out to film. The first thing we did in 1992 was to work closely with the Walt Disney company to identify the elements that needed working on in each of the 119,500 frames. That alone took a good six weeks.

Once we had identified the problems, we had to scan the film into a digital format using technology developed by Kodak. There was a huge amount of data involved. The hardest thing was keeping track of the truckloads of digital tapes. We had up to 40 people working for us. Two of the original animators acted as our eyes to validate the correct colours for each scene.

We then used a piece of software called Dust-busting, which allowed us to remove dirt and blemishes. Even so we were only able to automate the process by 60 to 70 per cent, the rest had to be done by hand. Then we recorded it back out to film, being careful to match the grain of the 1937 original. The next day we would send it back to the negative cutters to start reassembling the film.

For us, the intention was to restore the film to its integrity. We were very cautious about what we might remove or fix. Because it involved making a value judgment as to the original integrity, we needed the eyes of the Walt Disney team. . Their words were 'Walt would be happy'.

When we started, we did 4,000 frames in two weeks. By the last month we had cranked it up to 2,000 frames a day. It was a great challenge. I spent 14 years with George Lucas and Industrial Light & Magic, but when this came up, well . . . The overall production took 18 weeks and we missed every deadline except the last one.

'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (U) is on general release

(Photographs omitted)

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