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"Fortress of Peace"
70mm Remastering In 2K Digital

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Dave Strohmaier Date: 22.10.2013
70mm Title card from the film

One of the titles I was always interested in remastering was the Cinerama 20 minute short called "Fortress of Peace". I remembered it has some wonderful aerials and a lot of action footage of the Swiss Army training exercises in the Alps.

A few weeks ago I had asked Andrew Oren at Fotokem’s large format department if he could get me a good price on an HD telecine of the 70mm print. We had no original negatives for this title in the vaults so the only option was a faded print source.
More in 70mm reading:

"Vigilant Switzerland" found in Archives of the Swiss Army

Cinerama Remaster

Credits for "Fortress of Peace"

Robert Gaffney, cinematographer

The M.C.S.-70 Process and European Cinema of the 1960s
Image from faded print

Andrew helped us out with the 70mm rate and we decided to proceed. There was little funding left in the Cinerama restoration grant budget so Tom March and I decided make up the difference on the more than reasonable quote to get the job done. I took both existing 70mm prints from the vaults down to Todd-AO in Hollywood for a digital transfer from the original 6 channel magnetic striped print. We brought both 70mm prints to make sure to check that at least one of them would have a usable track. A few days later I got a call from the guys at Todd AO transfer room and they said the sound on the prints was fine and the new digital track was ready for pick up.
Internet link:

L'armée à l'Expo 64
Image of telecine color recovery from print

Now that I knew we had a good sound track I then dropped off both prints at Fotokem where each print was inspected and hand cleaned. The determination was that that print #2 was in the best shape as far as dirt and scratches were concerned so it was to be our “hero” print source. Both prints had faded at the same rate and were extremely pink, but no vinegar smell or warp age was detected. The day was set for the telecine session and Robert Tomaszewski was to be our colorist. We sampled multiple shots and were able to get some very general preliminary color out of the pink pint images.
Color recovery enhancement session final results

After the session Robert was going to work on the digital files further to extract even better color with another session a few days later. Then Fotokem called me in to see the results with Robert and I would say he got at least 80 percent of the color back in most all shots. Robert and I both noticed that much of the original photography was done on somewhat dull cloudy days, which did add a lot of difficulty to the color recovery work and digging out details in the shadows. I went into another session with him a few days later and we tweaked further about 30 or more shots.
Actual 70mm faded print color

The next part of the process was for me to take the files to my workstation, where we are doing all the final finishing work on the 3-panel films, and sync up the new picture to the track. This is where I do the final clean up work such as “dust busting” flicker removal fixes, splice repair and any further tweaks needed on the soundtrack. I think the results came out fine considering what we had to work with.
Color recovered in telecine session
Color session Final results

Credits at telecine

Final results
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Updated 21-01-24