ulight was asked by David Sproxton, co-founder of animation powerhouse, Aardman Animation, to digitally remaster the first ever short films they made.
These included the two five minute claymation shorts Down and Out (1977) and Confessions of a Foyer Girl (1978) as well as the first ever hard drawn animation made by David and his partner Peter Lord, and eventual namesake of their company, Aardman and the Hole (1971).
The claymations were scanned at 4K, 16-bit colour from original 16mm, A&B roll negatives before being re-edited together and synced to new audio captured from magnetic track.
The newly composed films then underwent weeks of meticulous restoration followed by colour grading in a P3 cinema colourspace.
David Sproxton described the process:
Working with Nulight to restore our early 16mm films was simply a delight. Being local to us in Bristol really helped the communication and allowed us to see progress at regular intervals. The results were simply staggering, suffice it say I’d never seen these films looking so good, even when they were prints fresh from the laboratory. The negative rolls were often in a delicate condition but Nulight took great care in ensuring that every detail was preserved and restored and beautifully graded. The analogue audio was also treated to give it that “newly mixed” quality. Altogether a really excellent result.
Unlike the claymations, the only surviving copy of Aardman and the Hole was a 16mm print and the audio was missing, believed to be lost forever. However, research by Nulight tracked down a tape in the BBC archives of the only time the animation was screened during a 1972 episode of Vision On. While the picture was unusable, the audio track had survived and could be used with the newly restored print, allowing the animation to be watched with sound for the first time in over 45 years.