Classics Restoration

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Director Wolfgang Petersenís Academy Award nominated "Das Boot" has undergone a complete restoration process. The German film was nominated for Best Sound in 1981 which meant that it was critical to maintain the original style of sound but with 1996 sound quality. The Academy Award winning sound facility Soundelux was selected to design and edit the sound elements for this classic action-drama. Michael Keller, a native of Munich, Germany was the perfect candidate as Sound Supervisor. Keller was honored to be a part of a film that told the story of his countrymen. Interestingly enough, he saw the original "Das Boot" when he was just 11 years old and was captured by the heroic efforts of the German submarine crew.

Soundelux President Charlie Meister articulates, "with the growing demand for high quality features, it was a great opportunity to restore an A-class feature film like "Das Boot". Soundelux looks forward to venturing into the sound restoration market and bringing life to older classics through audio enhancements."

The ultimate goal was to conform the European five hour television mini-series to a 3 hour and 26 minute feature film. The initial step in the process was for Keller to contact Picture Editor Hannes Nikel. It was Nikel, who originally edited the 5 hour version 15 years ago. Nikel located 351 original 35 mm stems at Bavaria Film Studios, however they were found wet and technically unsuited for play back. BASF Magnetics in Munich was contacted and it was suggested that the damp material be baked at 50 degrees Celsius and then a 35mm X-copy was made of each stem.

Unfortunately, the music stems which contained film leader between music cues had been melted in the baking process and could not be recovered. Klaus Doldinger, the original composer in Munich dutifully archived the original master recordings and graciously remixed all the music cues in 6 track format. Music Editors Bill Abbott and Denise Okimoto of Modern Music faced the challenge of recutting the suspenseful music to match the new feature version. The predominant sonar theme was used in addition to source material which included German folk songs. The militaristic powerful war score by Doldinger was skillfully edited to fit this theatrical release.


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