When the film buff, technician, innovator and collector Ruud Molleman died in July 2019, his collection of around 300 cans of mainly nitrate films was donated to EYE Filmmuseum. The nitrate film reels were checked right away and a lot of treasures were found. One of them was a collection of four reels of wonderfully stencilled fashion compilation films from the 1910s and 1920s with meticulous details and an amazingly vibrant but sometimes also a sensitive, restrained colour palette. The first of the four films, Parijsche Mode No. 25, was recently preserved at Haghefilm Digitaal.
The big advantage of going digital with the preservation of stencil-coloured films is that during grading all the different stencil colours can be handled individually and the black-and-white base remains neutral. A purely photochemical preservation would always bring a certain colour hue to the neutral black-and-white parts and the colours could only be adjusted simultaneously with less brilliant and accurate results.
Apart from the usual digital deliverables the film will also be written out on to colour internegative stock to create a full preservation package.
Going through the film frame by frame during grading revealed an interesting colour cross-fade. You can see that the coloured areas are changing just as gradually as the images. A very well-thought-through stencil cross-fade!