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Screen Time and Da Vinci Revive Classic Cartoons

Chicago Superstation WGN's 50-year-old tradition of airing classic cartoons every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve took on new life this year when Screen Time Images restored the shorts to their former glory. Using the da Vinci Revival image restoration system and other da Vinci color enhancement tools, the Schaumberg, Illinois-based company was able to complete the task in just two weeks.

"Animation, unlike live-action material, does not always have 24 unique frames of motion per second and can have identical consecutive frames, which often confuses systems," said McKee. "But together with a critical eye, Revival handled this with ease. After piecing together new masters from the only remaining 16mm prints available, all of the footage received a scene-by-scene, semi-automated process with Revival to take care of small particles of dirt."

Once the automated process was complete, McKee used Revival's interactive scratch removal, and tool and splice repair features, to go through frame by frame and manually remove larger defects. After the audio had been restored, masters of the four cartoons were created in D5-HD, SD, and SD with logo bugs. The cartoons aired on WGN on Thanksgiving and again on Christmas Eve. McKee thought Screen Time's job was done.

However, on Dec. 22, WGN made a last-minute decision to improve the look of the two-hour BOZO, GAR, AND RAY show, which was made up of clips compiled from 50 years of children's television on WGN. Origination formats included kinescope, two-inch quad, one-inch, three-quarter inch, and even VHS. To improve the quality of the entire two hours in only two days' time, Screen Time had to prioritize.

Much of the footage had a greenish hue so that the people looked unnatural, and it was decided that scene-by-scene color correction on the da Vinci 2K would make the biggest difference overall. After skin tones and balance were restored, Screen Time then deployed Revival to eliminate video noise and dropouts. The results achieved in a very short time were quite impressive.

"These shows have been enjoyed by so many Chicago viewers over the years and it is wonderful to see them looking new again," said Dean Lyon, director of marketing at da Vinci. "This is yet another example of how the high-speed processing power of Revival and the powerful, efficient 2K system continues to help postproduction houses meet tight deadlines and improve overall productivity -- and most of all, how they make the end result the best quality for the viewing public."

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