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TMR helps bring Mitchell and Kenyon archive to life

TMR, part of the VTR Media Services Group, has completed telecine and picture grading on rare archive footage dating from the early 1900s.
The collection of original film negatives was discovered in 1994, stored in barrels in the basement of a shop in Blackburn, and has recently been restored by the British Film Institute (bfi).
Shot by Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon – famous for their fake Boer War films that were shot entirely in the Lancashire countryside – the collection comprises around 800 reels of early nitrate film showing everyday life in Edwardian Britain.
The film collection was donated to the bfi in 2000 and painstakingly restored at the bfi National Film and Television Archive laboratories in Berkhamsted. A combination of specially constructed duplication equipment and a liquid gate optical printer enabled each frame to be copied from the nitrate negative onto a safety fine grain positive. The result was a new master and a duplicate negative from which film and video viewing copies were made.
In one of its biggest projects for the bfi to date and taking over 12 months, TMR has completed the telecine on the entire collection in SD using its Shadow. It also completed picture grading using Pogle Platinum.
“With this kind of material, each piece of footage presents its own set of challenges and we have to treat it all individually when it comes to telecine,” explained David Atkinson, archive specialist at TMR. “The project has been a massive undertaking but has resulted in a unique and valuable archive.”
Archival footage Sales Manager at the bfi, Jan Faull, said: “The results of the work undertaken by TMR will change the audience’s perception of archival footage and set a benchmark for future projects.”
Some of this footage is being used as part of a three-part BBC 2 documentary, 'The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon', which airs in January.
TMR has also been involved in transferring selected footage from the collection to HD, again using Shadow. This has been edited and a new score commissioned to make a 70-minute HD film that is being shown at the bfi National Film Theatre (NFT) in February. This film will also tour the UK, and will be followed by a US tour.
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