iO Film Turns Match-maker for Harryhausen Film

Fifty years in the making, the new Ray Harryhausen short, The Tortoise and the Hare, has received a lot of media attention recently, as have collaborators Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh of Screen Novelties. But one of the project’s unsung heroes is the team responsible for restoring footage shot in 1952 and seamlessly matching recent filmed scenes. The newly-formed, full-service digital film finishing boutique iO Film provided film scanning, digital restoration and film recording services for the stop-motion animated fable.

“We received a call from Mark and Seamus from their Screen Novelties garage studio, which was literally a five-minute walk from our facility, and we knew this was a project that iO Film was meant to be a part of,” says iO’s Tim Krubsack. “Our technology allowed both Ray’s and Mark and Seamus’ work to become integrated into one seamless piece, and it was really terrific to see the final film projected on screen.”

iO Film utilized its HDCinema process, which entailed transferring a low contrast print made from Harryhausen’s original 16mm footage, as well as new 16mm negative from Screen Novelties, to HD 24p. The HD was then loaded into iO Film’s Avid HD/DS Studio, which the company used to clean-up several dissolves and fades, remove extra frames and tighten the film editorially. The team also contributed some rotoscoping work, added several background elements and removed a rig used to drop an apple on the Hare’s head.

The iO Film finished master was processed using the company’s proprietary color transform software, which transforms 8-bit color space to 10-bit, while preparing the digital intermediate for final film out. The entire movie was then transfered to 35mm internegative using iO Film’s Arrilaser Film Recorder.

The Tortoise and the Hare will have its official premiere tomorrow (Dec. 5) as part of a Ray Harryhausen retrospective presented by the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Animation Magazine is sponsoring the event.