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Heinie and Louie: restoring missing frames in a lost film


There were about 50 Heinie & Louie titles made by the Mittenthal Company in Yonkers, NY of which only four have been found. HEINIE AND THE MAGIC MAN was released on October 28, 1916. During this film's life, frames had been removed from the print in 32 places to make repair splices which caused the action to jump. This is the only print in existence, and there is no way to replace these missing frames except to reanimate them.

The first scene when Heinie picks up the ticket is a good example of animating missing frames. The action jumps after Heinie looks down and then continues when he touches the ticket on the pavement. Recreating the missing interval was done by opening several nearby frames in Photoshop where pieces were separated into layers. The PSD layers were imported into the After Effects project and animated. The film grain must be kept alive, particularly in static areas where it might be seen to freeze. As Heinie's head and torso bend down, the change in perspective is helped in Photoshop with transform/warp, and by painting with the brush and the clone stamp tool.

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by John Conning