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Metro Broadcast restores ‘heavenly’ footage for Led Zeppelin DVD

A Snell & Wilcox ‘Archangel’, fittingly situated up the stairs in the second floor suite in Metro Broadcast, London, is where footage was restored for 'Led Zeppelin' the fastest-selling music DVD of all time.
Directed by Dick Carruthers, who co-produced with Jimmy Page, the multi-year labour of love initiated by Page now provides what is the definitive visual account of the rock legend. In all, five and a half hours of video material were culled from more than 132 cans of film negatives, some of it bootleg material that was acquired by Page and Carruthers.
But once the footage was cut together at Edit Video in London, Carruthers realised they still had a problem.
"I had a phone call one day from Dick, who said he had some damaged footage and he'd heard that we had some equipment that could help," said Metro Technical Facilities Manager Mike Smith. "He came along with some footage and we did a five-minute test in our Archangel Suite. They went back, compared the restored footage to the rest in their edit suite and said, 'You've got the job.'"
Archangel has the ability to correct all the artefacts common to archive media, such as noise, dirt, scratches, unsteadiness and flicker - in realtime.
According to Metro's specialist Archangel operator, Steve Willsmore, "When Dick brought in the footage, it was actually in final cut form. He was, however, concerned about the numerous tramlines that remained, and asked if we could help to clean it up.
"Of course, Archangel can deal with that and more. We also found some dirt and sparkle that hadn't been noticed, plus some film grain, mainly because the provenance of the footage was so varied."
Although removing the tramlines was a start-stop procedure, because of the multi-camera material on Archangel the process took only one day.
Willsmore added: "I told Dick that if he has another job like this, he could just bring in all the original footage and we could correct it ahead of time. It would subsequently save a lot of time and money in the edit suite."
The DVD includes key performances of the band from 1970 at the Royal Albert Hall, through to 1979 in front of more that 200,000 at Knebworth. Poignantly, Knebworth was to be Led Zeppelin's last ever UK appearance.
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