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Trailer: 'Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place'
Saw the trailer yesterday for the new documentary, "Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place" and had to pass it on:
The LA Times is running a great piece on the restoration of Kesey's footage:
The physical condition of the material presented a significant challenge, according to UCLA preservationist Nancy Mysel. "When we got our hands on the film it was muddy, severely faded and worn," she said. "Kesey over the years attempted to edit the film, so the footage had been cut and recut. The original film was often held together with masking tape and duct tape."
Mysel and two others began working on the material in 2008 and completed the restoration in 2009. They wound through all the canisters of film, then painstakingly cleaned the frames by hand to rid them of mud and other dirt, repairing all nicks and tears before doing a digital transfer.
"From an archival standpoint, we wanted to maintain the integrity of the material and preserve Kesey's edited sequences," Mysel said. Because the footage had faded over the years, "we used digital technology to recover the faded color. We also used digital technology to bring out some of the images that were obscured by extreme over- and underexposure since this was not photographed by professional filmmakers. We wanted to maintain the integrity of the amateur filmmakers."
There were also many problems with the audio, given that those amateur filmmakers were tripping on acid when they were making the tapes, said Don Fleming, the associate director of the Alan Lomax Archive in New York, who completed the audio restoration and previously worked with Ellwood and Gibney on "Gonzo." "They would change the speed [of the tape] as they were going on the bus, or they would turn it over and tape on the other side in an odd place."
"The Nagra speeds fluctuated and the recorder was often running on the bus' generator," added Ellwood. "Every time the bus changed gears, you would get a warble."