When The Sandman was first shown in 1991 it was so unique that it earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film. It also went on to inspire a new genre of animation that continues to this day, most typified in films by Tim Burton.
Unfortunately, by the time the filmmaker Ian Mackinnon – and co-founder of Mackinnon and Saunders – approached Nulight the only remaining prints of the film had become so worn as to no longer watchable.
Therefore, Macinnon and Saunders decided it was time to digitally restore The Sandman in 4K using the original 16mm A&B roll negative. As ian recalls:
“After researching facilities, costs and recommendations within the industry, we approached Bristol-based restoration specialists Nulight Digital. From our first enquiry, their helpful approach guided us through all the processes and options, enabling us to find most creatively appropriate and cost-effective route to the restoration.”
The A&B rolls were ultrasonically cleaned to remove any loose debris that may have accumulated over time. Since the Sandman takes place at night it was scanned at just 2 frames per second to capture even the finest detail hidden in the shadows. This was followed by several weeks of meticulous, frame-by-frame restoration.
Finally, Ian attended a colour grading in our state-of-the-art Baselight grading suite. Ian recalls the day of the grade:
“It was fascinating to work with specialist grader Tony and to see the old friend brought back to its original colourful glory, frame by frame – textures and details that had been lost and forgotten over two decades are now astonishingly vivid.”