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RESTORATION REPORT #16:
A Deadly Gift

September 2008

After a lengthy lay-off (we know!), the Restoration Project is back. Over two and a half years since we completed the most recent restoration, All Done By Mirrors, we have got the bit between our respective teeth and are taking a last run at the remaining restorations, starting with this one, A Deadly Gift, the radio series version of television's The Cybernauts. This story is interesting in that it gives a glimpse at the original name for the Cybernauts - Pabulum Robots - since these productions were adapted from television scripts (though of course it is possible that Dennis Folbigge just didn't like the Cybernaut name). Anyway, to business:

Monday 8th September 2008: The serial is transferred from John Wright's original quarter-inch recordings to Adobe Audition as CD quality WAV files. During the copying, we noticed a small section of audio in Hugh Rouse's opening narration for Episode One that had been obscured by a severe drop-out. Checking our older recording received from a source other than John, we realised that this was a fault common to all copies doing the rounds - and this would seem to prove that all recordings of this story in circulation have John's recording as their source. Naturally, the technical quality of his actual tapes are much better than the much-copied bootlegs! Anyway, the good news is that it is just possible to hear the dialogue being said in the obscured section and we were able to recreate it exactly using words and syllables from elsewhere in Hugh Rouse's narration. Good as new!

While transferring Episode Five, we noticed a couple of nasty faults. Remarkably, John had two copies of this episode on the tape (one not quite fitting complete at the end of the first side, then the full episode complete on the other), and each recording featured a different fault at a different point, meaning that it was easy to create a fully fixed version utilising the good footage on each alternate recording.

Saturday 13th September 2008: Graphic equalisation performed on all episodes. Episode Four would appear to have been recorded in two sections, one at a much higher recording level than the other. As this will effect noise reduction, we have split the file into two parts and will work on them separately before bringing them back together again. The sound quality on all episodes should be very good indeed, once all work is complete. Noise reduction work was also completed today, and Episode Four re-combined. A manual pass for clicks is next up.

We started the manual pass on the same day. We were instantly faced with a problem right at the start of Episode One, where are nasty series of clicks. [Example soundfile here.] With a little ingenuity and a modicum of luck, we were able to cover and recreate the damaged area using silences and syllables from elsewhere in Hugh Rouse's narration. [Listen to the fixed soundfile.] The remaining part of the episode presented no problems that were out of the ordinary or that needed difficult fixes. Episode Two and Three were also processed on the Saturday afternoon, each taking about an hour and a half to go through and apply the necessary fixes. Again, nothing out of the ordinary.

Sunday 14th September 2008: The declicking continues... with Episodes Four, Five and Six completed this morning. Routine problems, easily fixed. Episode Six exhibited a high number of clicks compared to the other episodes in this story, but none were particularly problematic, just labour intensive. The work is complete.

by Alan and Alys Hayes