Restauration of the video 'The jewels of the night'
The restauration process of the video, The Jewels of the Night, is an interesting example of the work done in the video archive. This piece, directed by Tibor Hajas and shot by János Vető, was produced by BBS and is an early example of the artistic use of video in a Hungarian context. It was made in 1978 with an Akai recorder. The main protagonist was played by Udo Kier, who enjoyed fame in underground circles from his acting in Andy Warhol’s Dracula. The restauration was carried out in anticipation of the Tibor Hajas retrospective at the Ludwig Museum of Budapest.
The first step in the restauration process was to collect all available copies of a piece from multiple sources and an in various formats. The Akai proto-tape was among these copies (this was the first system available in Budapest, and allowed recording on an open-reel tape). Sándor Murányi kept his friend’s old recorder after his death, as well as his tapes.
Playing the tapes and digitizing them concurrently was a challenge. It was an experimental endeavour that lacked prescribed protocol and restauration experience. Media artist Gábor Tálosi worked on the nineteen-and-a-half-minute-long record for half a year. It was so disintegrated that it needed frame-by-frame correction.The quality of the restored image may appear “bad” to an uninvolved viewer with eyes trained on today’s imaging technology, but, at the very least, it is visible. Those familiar with the original will notice a striking difference compared to its earlier, practically unwatchable state. The intention never was to redraw, but to clean up the video, which is now part of the collection of the Ludwig Museum of Budapest.
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Author(s) of this page
- Beöthy, Balázs