Facility partners with
Paramount Pictures and Park Circus to restore 1968 classic in celebration of
Shakespearean  centenary.

BURBANK— Roundabout Entertainment recently collaborated with
Paramount Pictures and Park Circus on a luminous, 4K restoration of Franco
Zeffirelli’s 1968 classic Romeo and
Juliet.
The restored film is currently enjoying a new theatrical run as
part of Shakespeare Lives, a
worldwide program of special events commemorating the 400th
anniversary of the Bard’s death.  The project was
made possible through funding from the British Council and the British Film
Institute.
Zeffirelli’s stunning and audacious film
earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, and won
Oscars for Cinematography and Costume Design. It drew critical praise for its
sensitive portrayal of Shakespeare’s themes of love and senseless violence, and
for Zeffirelli’s daring choice of casting teenage actors (Leonard Whiting and
Olivia Hussey) in the title roles. It remains among the best film adaptations
of Shakespeare.

For the new restoration,
Roundabout Entertainment acted under the direction of Paramount
Pictures’ Archive Preservation group.
Working
from new 4K scans of the original 35mm film negative, Roundabout restoration
specialists addressed the dirt, scratches and the damaged areas of the original
negative as well as several “duped” sections. “Typically, the most popular movies
were also the ones whose negatives were used to make additional film prints,” said
Roundabout Entertainment Executive Director of Mastering and Restoration
Ron Smith. “Over time, the negatives inevitably sustain emulsion damage, stains,
tears and persistent scratches. Those damaged sections were often replaced with
second or third generation film materials.” Getting those inserts to conform to
the body of the film requires special attention, as even small differences in
color, texture and sharpness are apparent in 4K, Smith adds.
The opening and closing credits of Romeo and Juliet also needed special treatment. “The title
sequences were made as CRIs (color reversal inter-negatives) and had not aged
as well as the rest of the film,” Smith explained. “Paramount found the
original textless main and end title elements, and the high-contrast film
titles. The backgrounds were cleaned and color corrected and, together with the
titles, re-composited in 4K.”
Once restoration was complete, the entire film was color
graded in 4K by Senior Colorist Michael Smollin in one of Roundabout’s DI
theaters. Smollin’s color reference was a previous restoration produced with
video technology. “That was a challenge because, in going to 4K, we were
working with a lot more resolution and color information,” he explains. “It
took a lot of hours to get it right and arrive at a look that reflected Franco Zeffirelli’s
original intent.”
In the final step in the process, Smollin and his team
prepared a 4K DCP for the theatrical release. The newly-restored Romeo and Juliet made its world premiere
May 20th at BFI Southbank in London.
About Roundabout
Entertainment
Roundabout Entertainment is a full-service post production
facility serving all sectors of the entertainment industry. It features the
latest technology for editorial finishing, color correction, sound editorial,
sound mixing, restoration and more, and a staff of more than 80 post production
operators who are among the best and most dedicated in the industry. The
facility’s technical infrastructure includes secure servers and a 40GB,
fiber-base LAN network.
Founded in 1992, Roundabout remains a youthful, growing
company with a startup mentality. Its mission is to solve problems and produce
great work. It is committed to remaining at the forefront of technology and
building mutually fruitful, long-term relationships with it clients.
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