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Matinee: 'Apollo Remastered' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

27 August 2022

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 463rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Apollo Remastered.

BBC News broadcast this 3:07 segment earlier this week featuring Andy Saunders's 10-year project of remastering the film archives of NASA's Apollo space mission from the 1960s and 1970s.

Saunders is a British author, science writer and expert of NASA digital restoration. His photographic work has been exhibited internationally and regularly appears on the BBC News, CBS News, Daily Telegraph, New York Times, USA Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Fox News, among others.

The project was to digitally remaster and restore the original flight film from the first missions to the Moon. The original film consisting of 35,000 images is stored in a freezer at Johnson Space Center in Houston. So almost every Apollo image ever seen has been based on copies of master duplicates, or copies of copies.

The original 70mm Hasselblad stills were typically very under-exposed and are difficult to process. Each 70mm Hasselblad frame scans to a 1.3-GB, 16-bit TIFF file.

Enhancing the scan to show detail also introduces noise. Saunders had to apply noise removal techniques, local edits and spot removal (not to mention color correction) to bring the images to life.

For reference, Walter Cunningham (Apollo 7), Rusty Schweickart (Apollo 9), Fred Haise (Apollo 13) and Charlie Duke (Apollo 16) checked and critiqued the images prior to printing them to ensure they were as accurate as possible and represent what they witnessed during their missions.

The project will be published in book form as Apollo Remastered: The Ultimate Photographic Record on Oct. 25 "to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the last steps taken on the moon."

An exhibition of 50 of the prints will travel within the United Kingdom starting in September. And there are also plans to make individual prints available to the general public.

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