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Case Study: She Didn't Say No! for the IFI

Apr 28 2021

The team at R3store Studios is incredibly proud to have scanned, graded, and remastered the 1958 film She Didn’t Say No! for the IFI Irish Film Archive, as part of the Association des Cinémathèques (ACE) A Season of Classic Films initiative. The film was digitised with funding from the EU Creative Media Programme.

She Didn’t Say No! tells the story of an unwed mother and her six children living in rural Ireland in the 1950's. The film is based on the novel by Una Troy and commentates on small-town Irish attitudes towards unmarried women and illegitimate children. Production of the film was banned in Ireland, as was its cinema release due to its controversial subject matter. She Didn’t Say No! features a strong cast of Abbey Theatre actors and was beautifully shot in Technicolor.

With the ongoing Covid pandemic, there were practical concerns about getting the film digitised, mastered, and delivered on time. “Communication on the project during Covid restrictions could have been an issue”, says Kasandra O’Connell, Head of IFI Irish Film Archive, “But as Jo and her team are very collaborative, and we have established excellent communication channels with them, there were no issues in that regard.”

In 2003 a 35mm film print was struck from the A&B negative housed at the IFI archive. This print was chosen for the digitisation as it was in excellent condition, although it had acquired some dirt and scratches from being used in cinema screenings. These were easily removed through ultrasonic cleaning and digital restoration by the team at R3store Studios.

The print was in such great condition, the Technicolor images were bright, saturated, and clean. “The film grading was very consistent”, says Gerry Gedge, Head of Grading at R3store Studios, “The main aim was to keep skin tones fairly even across the scenes, so the lighting, sets, and the overall Technicolour process means that some of the interior scenes are more blue than you would see these days.”

 The most challenging aspect of the project was establishing the aspect ratio. The film was initially thought to be 1.33:1 (also known as 4:3 or Academy). Once the team started scanning the film reels, it was clear the film was meant to be in widescreen due to the excessive headroom above the actors. While the film was shot and printed 1.33:1, this didn’t necessarily determine the screening ratio. When R3store sent the initial MP4 of the grade to the IFI it was agreed between the two teams that it should be a widescreen ratio. The most commonly accepted ratio for widescreen is 1.85:1, however the IFI decided to go with the less common 1.66:1 which was the European standard at the time the film was released.

“We have worked with Jo and her team often and have developed a strong working relationship with R3store”, says Kasandra, “R3store are skilled at working with archive material and understand the time and budget constraints that many archives operate within so are able to tailor options to the resources we have available.”

“It’s always a pleasure working with the IFI and their highly knowledgeable team”, says Jo Griffin, COO at R3store Studios, “We always approach their projects collaboratively which always helps these projects run smoothly. It’s great to see this feature being made available to a whole new audience.”

This newly mastered version is being presented on the IFI Player for ‘A Season of Classic Films’ initiative of ACE.


To find out more about the project, visit: https://ifi.ie/2021/04/she-didnt-say-no-from-the-archive-to-the-ifi-player/

 Watch She Didn’t Say No! on the IFI Player, here: https://ifiplayer.ie/she-didnt-say-no/

Find out more about IFI: https://ifi.ie/

Find out more about IFI Player: https://ifiplayer.ie/

Find out more about Association des Cinémathèques: https://ace-film.eu/

Find out about A Season of Classic Films initiative: https://youtu.be/I6t1DuueXow

Find out more about EU Creative Media Programme: https://www.creativeeuropeireland.eu/media