Panel #3

On Sound Restoration

Sonia Campanini

Goethe- Universität, Frankfurt am Main

Roberto Calabretto

Università degli Studi di Udine

Daniela Currò

Centro Sperimentale Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale

Federico Savina

Sound technician, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale

Tuesday - November 3rd
10:30 - 11:30 Playlist #3
11:30 - 12:30 Sound discussion #3
Channel 2

Early Film Sounds between Restoration and Presentation

Sonia Campanini (Goethe- Universität, Frankfurt am Main)

The aim of this paper is to reflect on early film sound technologies and the practices of restoring and presenting early film sound. As case study I focus on the Biophon system: one of the first devices, together with the French Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre and the Chronophone, that enabled the synchronization of recorded sounds with moving images.

In the first part of the paper I analyze the historical and technological dimensions of the Biophon system and offer interpretive tools for understanding the functioning of early sound-on-disc systems in general, i.e. systems that used the recording of sound on discs to accompany film exhibition.

In the second part I analyze and reflect on the practices of preservation, restoration and presentation of the Tonbilder films, referring to a recent restoration project of the Deutsches Filminstitute and Filmmuseum. The question is tackled referring to the concepts of device, dispositif, and performance, which constitute the theoretical framework exposed in the first part of the paper.

Sonia Campanini

Sonia Campanini is assistant professor of film culture at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, where she is responsible for the master program “Film Culture: Archiving, Programming, Presentation”. She co-edited L’archivio/ The Archive and recently published the chapter “Understanding Early Film Sound: The Biophon Sound-on-Disc System”. Her monograph Film Sound in Preservation and Presentation will be published in 2020.

PANEL: Two or three things I know about it: experiences in sound restoration between theory and practice

Roberto Calabretto (Università degli studi di Udine), Daniela Currò (Cineteca nazionale/CSC), Federico Savina(sound recordist/Cineteca Nazionale/CSC)

Moving image preservationists are generally better educated in discerning good from bad when we talk about image restoration, much less they are able to discern good from bad, ethical from unethical in restored sound. Whether we are restorers, scholars or simply spectators, on average our eyes are trained to see and judge images better than our hears are trained to "hear" sound and its complexities, and even less we are aware of legacy technology for sound recording and reproduction, that is key to approximating sound to how it was originally experienced by contemporary audiences.

This panel aims at discussing sound theories and experiences in restoration of cinema classics such as Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) or Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972), pointing out a few DOs and DON'Ts in sound restoration.

Roberto Calabretto

Roberto Calabretto is Associate Professor at Università degli Studi di Udine, where he teaches the "Music for Film" course, and collaborates with the Università degli Studi di Padova. His research focuses on contemporary music and aural language in moving images. He has published books and essays on music in films by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Bresson, Alain Resnais, Luchino Visconti, Andrej Tarkovskij and many others. In 2010 he published Lo schermo sonoro, which was awarded by the Italian National Union of the Cinema Journalists the "Efebo d'oro" award for the best cinema book published in that year.

Daniela Currò

Daniela Currò is Head Curator of Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale, the Italian national film archive in Rome, where she oversees all the collections and activities of the archive, from acquisitions to preservation to programming. Before joining Cineteca Nazionale she was Preservation Manager at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. In previous years she also served as Film Preservation Specialist at Haghefilm laboratories and Project Manager for the Haghefilm Foundation in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and worked as researcher for Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, Italy.

Federico Savina

Federico Savina comes from a family of musicians (his brother was the composer Carlo Savina) and started his career over 50 years ago specializing in sound recording. Over the years he had the opportunity to meet some of the greatest composers making music for film, from Nino Rota to Ennio Morricone, and mixed soundtracks for directors such as Visconti, Fellini, Rosi and Zeffirelli. Starting from 1985 he was responsible for the Italian market for DOLBY until retirement in 2002. He has consulted for ANICA, AGIS, RAI, Mediaset and a number of specialized courses in Italian universities. Since 1985 has been teaching sound courses at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, and since 2017 supervises sound restoration projects for CSC-Cineteca Nazionale.