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Re-release of Yellow Submarine - Exclusive Q & A with Paul Rutan Jr.

Read the exclusive details of the restoration process of The Beatles Yellow Submarine in this email interview by Dr. Bob Hieronimus with Paul Rutan Jr. of Triage Motion Picture Services in May 2012.

Dr. Bob: Paul, as the lead of Triage Motion Picture Services, your company performed the restoration work. You have 38 years experience in the field of Film Restoration. Please tell us about this project.

Paul Rutan Jr.:

Here is a brief synopsis of the work we did on restoring Yellow Submarine:

Apple sent Triage all the material on "Yellow Submarine" for inspection in 2008. After the inspection, we believed it would be in everyone's best interest to create new photochemically restored elements from the Original Negative. As the 1998  Interpositive used for that DVD release was really a mess. R1 and 2 were made digitally in 1998 and we found them to be obsolete. The Reels 3, 4 and 5 Interpositive was made in 1968, when the feature was new. This IP was primitive, poorly exposed and full of defects. We cleaned and color graded the Original Negative and created a new color Answer Print, that was approved by Apple and some of the original artists. The Original Negative was pretty beat up. But we preserved everything photochemically using liquid gate technology, incorporating the new timing. Any damage from the O-Neg was preserved from the 1968 IP. We created a brand new wetgate timed Interpositive from the Original Negative. We had no Original Negative on the "Hey Bulldog" sequence so we had to track down an early generation element. I found it in a 1968 Interpositive and we preserved it photochemically,as well. 

Thus the Original Materials had been photochemically restored and preserved.Nucoda work station at Eque

As you know, technology has moved on. So, when Apple wanted to scan and digitally restore "Yellow Submarine", we were ready. Eque and Pixel Perception had become sister companies to Triage. Pixel Perception offered 4K scanning and Eque had an onsite digital Nucoda work station and over 40 trained artists at Eque in India. I had worked on several shows with the Eque team and I consider them a superb and talented  crew. I would settle for no less then the best. This included Rayan Raghuram and our head Digital Artist and Colorist, Randy Walker, whom I worked with. 

So the entire new Interpositive was scanned in 4K resolution, along with the "Hey Bulldog" 1968 Interpositive. Chris Dusendschon's scans were excellent and provided an excellent platform for digital mastering/restoration.

We digitally restored the entire feature using the most modern proprietary tools, and matched and edited in the "Hey Bulldog" sequence.

As you know, in 1968 "Yellow Submarine" was groundbreaking animation, incorporating live action with art. Each cell was hand painted. So, it was my number one priority to retain the subtle nuances of the "art" while using modern tools and frame by frame digital hand cleaning to clean, brighten and highlight the beauty of this work.

Fortunately, Bob Balser and his wife Cima viewed and approved the direction we were going with this new version of  "Yellow Submarine". 

Watch Beatlefan Magazine for a transcript of a portion of the 21st Century Radio interview with Paul Rutan, Jr. and Bob and Cima Balser, aired 5/13/12.