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TMR designs new motion rig to help restore rare golfing footage

TMR, part of the VTR Media Services Group, has designed an innovative motion rig to enable the restoration, animation and preservation of some never-seen-before archive golf footage held on 100-year old Kinora film drums.
The new motion rig has been used as part of a major restoration project for The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
The rig is the result of a year’s worth of product development based on a design by TMR’s archive specialist David Atkinson. It holds the Kinora reels securely and ensures that the cracked, curled and faded frames are not damaged any further during the scanning and digitisation process. Making the process more complex is the fact that Kinora footage is made up of flip-card photographs rather than celluloid.
The first project for The R&A Archive was to restore, preserve and animate a collection of unique archive footage of golfing legend Harry Vardon, which dated back to the early 1900s. The only available footage was held on Kinora film drums as the original negatives are thought to have been lost when the Kinora factory burned down in 1914. Despite its deteriorating condition, The R&A was keen to preserve the footage by transferring it to a future-proof medium.
“This was a major undertaking as this has never before been achieved. Our precision engineer painstakingly crafted the rig from my initial design and pulled together a solution that meant this unique footage could be accurately scanned and digitally restored,” said Atkinson. “The entire development process took almost a year before we were able to scan the first frames, confident in the knowledge that the irreplaceable pictures would not be harmed in any way.”
Using the specially made rig, TMR digitally scanned each frame and saved it at high resolution to ensure the best possible quality. The frames were then burned to a DVD disk as uncompressed data files so that no information was lost. From there the material was imported into the company’s smoke system for repair, clean up, stabilisation and animation of the 600 or so frames from the first Kinora reel. Once restored, the frames were preserved onto 35mm polyester negative film for long-term archive storage. Video copies in high definition, digi-beta and DVD formats were also produced for access purposes. The restored footage will be commercially available for new programming via The R&A Archive, which is managed on its behalf by TWI.
TMR’s success in restoring the Harry Vardon footage resulted in The R&A Archive asking the facility to restore and animate five other Kinora reels - including rare footage of the two other members of the famous golfing trio, JH Taylor and James Braid.
TMR spent over 250 hours preserving this historical footage for The R&A.

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