Dragon DI has been shortlisted for the FOCAL International Awards 2007 for the Award for Archive Restoration or Preservation Project, for its restoration of the iconic and priceless Battle of the Somme.
The Battle of the Somme (1916) documents the opening stages of one of the most important and bloodiest campaigns in British military history. It was filmed by two newsreel cameramen who were given unprecedented access to record the battle as it unfolded from positions right in the front-line. From 4,000ft of rushes, the War Office produced a 73 minute film which covered the artillery bombardment, the infantry offensive and its aftermath, including candid scenes of the wounded and dead. Released in cinemas in August 1916 it created such a sensation that was seen by over half the population of the UK - making it the biggest box office in the history British cinema even today.
The old master copy of the Somme has all the scratches, breaks and duped sections which were in the original (no longer extant) negative. There is little detail in distant shots, and continuous exposure variations means features in different parts of the image appear and disappear from frame to frame. So severe are these problems that Dragon DI were obliged to work manually frame by frame for much of the film, teasing out the details from the background and stabilising the flicker. The result, coupled with a superb new orchestral score, has an impact not experienced since its original release.