Athénée Français Culture Center Uses Blackmagic Cintel Scanner for Film Archiving and Restoration4 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Blackmagic Design has shared that Tokyo-based Athénée Français Cultural Center, Ltd. has used the Cintel Scanner with DaVinci Resolve Studio for the scanning and restoration of decades old animation and art films.
The cultural center, originated from a French language school with more than 100 years of history, was launched with the purpose of an international exchange between France and Japan through films, which were screened all over the world, as well as seminars and film workshops. The Athénée Français Cultural Center is now independent organization and has engaged in screening films and film production work, such as making movie subtitles and DCP versions of films.
One of Athénée Français tasks has been managing the digital restoration of old films, which due to the high costs of hardware was also done outsourced to other labs.
Yukihiro Akamatsu of Athénée Français said: “We had wanted to shift the scan work to inhouse production for a long time, so we actually considered installing Cintel when it was newly released. However, we considered the spec of peripherals and computers at that time to run a scan business and postponed the purchase. Finally, the peripherals are now a much higher spec while the costs are lower, so it was time to install a scanner. We chose the Cintel Scanner for its cost effectiveness and speed, which allows us to do real time scanning.”
Athénée Français regularly screens a number of independent art films and is planning to digitize films such as old Russian films, 70’s art films and underground films, Japanese documentaries from the 60’s to 70’s and Japanese independent films from the 90’s. “For example, we have restored the old works of director Takahisa Zeze, which he made in the 90’s from original negative and screened as a retrospective this March. Also, we have been restoring a number of documentary films by the director, Shinnosuke Ogawa.”
“The Cintel Scanner is compact, so we didn’t have to worry where to install it. And it is also simple to use and is designed so that we can handle film safely. It is also beneficial that we can check both visual and audio in realtime while scanning. We have hundreds of old films and used to use a German film editor to check the condition of those films. However, it has been difficult to keep it maintained so we now use the Cintel as a film viewer as well,” he continued.
Besides the Cintel Scanner, Athénée Français uses other Blackamagic products such as ATEM Television Studio, UltraStudio 4K, Teranex AV, DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel, Samart Scope Duos, SmartView HD, UltraStudio HD Mini, UltraStudio 3G, and HyperDeck Studio. “We purchased the ATEM switcher for switching during screening events, but these days we mostly use it for live streaming. DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel is portable, so we take it wherever as need, such as a scanning room for fine tuning colors when scanning, or a studio for more precise grading of scanned footage,” said Hirotaka Kuwahara who engaged in post production work at Athénée Français.
He continued: “It is such a benefit that Cintel and DaVinci work together. Because I handle old films, fixing color fading, dust and scratch and grain control are necessary. DaVinci Resolve can do it all. Having the Resolve Mini Panel also allows me to do more precise adjustments while grading, which I cannot do while looking at a GUI and using a mouse.”
Akamatsu concluded: “Working for screenings and film festivals, I have realized so many precious films were not seen and just forgotten. Of course, films we call masterpieces have been restored, but independent films which we mostly deal with are not even digitized due to budget issues. Plus, theaters that can play films are becoming scarce, so such films are difficult to be screened. Also, there are some digital masters which are telecine footage for TV broadcast and DVD use, so they are not enough quality for digital cinema. We want to bring audiences such pieces with better quality using the Cintel Scanner.”