British sports journalist, Ned Boulting, famous for his coverage of the Tour de France, bought an old film reel of the race at a London auction house. Curious about what was on the reel, Ned began looking for a company to scan and digitise the footage. In his search he was advised that scanning the film may result in irreparable damage. “I was very worried when I was told that the sprockets were so torn it might not be possible to scan the film, because it might be destroyed in the process”.
R3store Studios was recommended for the scanning due to our sprocket-less scanner which allows us to scan and digitise even the most delicate and damaged film up to 4K.
Our Head of Grading, Gerry Gedge, expertly scanned the reel and graded it to bring out the best in the nearly hundred year old footage. “It was a fun job to work on as I'm a massive Tour de France fan”, says Gerry.
Our results speak for themselves. “I have been bowled over by the evocative nature of long-forgotten film. The clarity of some of the images is astonishing”, says Ned.
The footage has revealed to be a Pathé newsreel from stage 4 of the Tour de France.
“It's the most evocative thing I've ever held”, he says, “and gently unrolling it is like shining a light on something that's been hidden for years. I think it may be the only surviving copy.”
Ned has established the footage is from 1923, which was a historic edition of the Tour. “Trying to figure out when it was taken has led me to discover so much about the region and the time it was taken.”
The footage captures a true moment in time as many of the buildings shown on the film did not survive World War II.
This discovery is only the beginning of a larger project for Ned, who hopes this short film will form the backbone of a future investigative piece.
You can watch a clip from the reel on our Vimeo channel:
Follow Ned on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nedboulting
Find out more about the history of Tour de France: https://www.letour.fr/en/history
Find out more about our scanning process: https://r3storestudios.com/services/scanning