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#186055 - 11/28/07 10:51 PM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: CV]
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
When done well, an old film can look absolutely spectacular on dvd and/or high def. 35mm film has a resolution close to 6K (some say only 4K, but we've proven otherwise here at IMAX). The very best restoration work thus far has typcially come from Lowry Digital (now known as DTS Digital Images) in Burbank, CA. Grab a copy of 'Sunset Blvd' or especially 'Once Upon a Time in the West' and you'll be shocked at just how good an old film can look.

The basic process (when done right) is first to scan the original negative (when available) at a minimum of 4096x3112. This will usually be saved as a 10-bit (log space) or 16-bit (linear file).

At that point, you then have a super high resolution digital file of the entire film. But due to age, it's likely scratched, dirty, and the colors are probably funky.

The next step is likely to run those files through some sort of software that will detect and automatically remove dirt and scratches. Every place will likely have a different software package to do this, but most all work essentially the same way. The software will look at a series of frames (often up to five frames before and after the current frame) and can "see" the natural motion in the scene. Anomolies that pop up, such as dust, dirt and scratches, are flagged. Once it's confirmed that these flagged spots are not actual content, they can be automatically removed. (by sampling the pixels from that area in the frame before or after).

So...now you've got a "clean" digital file of the entire picture. But it's likely rather grainy (due to old film stock technology) and the color is still messed up.

Degraining isn't tough, but keeping the image looking sharp AND grain free is. This is where very sophisticated proprietary software comes in. IMAX has a system, Lowry does...there are others. Basically what it does is analyze the particular grain structure of the film, detect the moving imagery, and remove or reduce the grain. This typically is going to soften the look of the image, so you then need to re-sharpen the image. It's a fine balance, and needs to be carefully tweaked by the operator so that you don't end up with an image that is too soft, or overly sharpened.

An added benefit to degraining is that when the files ultimately need to be compressed for dvd/hd dvd/blu-ray, the less grain there is, the more they can compress. A grainy image is very, very difficult to compress. What many studios are doing now is running all their films, even brand new ones, through a degraining process prior to making the dvd's. A quick degraining pass makes the dvd authoring process a lot easier.

Lastly is color. When possible, the original director or cinematographer will sit with the restoration people and re-time the entire show. Digital color correction is LIGHT years ahead of what was possible even a decade ago. Restorative color correction can fix just about anything. When done right, it's a long laborious process, hand color correcting each and every shot, but the results are brilliant.

Sooo...in the end you'll have a 4K fully restored file of the entire film. That can be down-rez'd to standard def dvd, and high def dvd. It's most likely going to be recorded back out to film at 4K, which will create a brand new 35mm negative of the entire film. Which if they want they can make prints of for theatres, but most often it's done for archiving purposes. (Film is still the safest medium to archive to).

Glad you asked?

\:\)

oh...I should probably tell you how a BAD high def "restoration" is done.

1) scan the easiest thing you can get your hands on...be it negative, inter-positive, or even a 35mm print at 2K (2048x1556)

2) run it through automatic dust/dirt removal (if your lucky), and likely no one will check it.

3) give it one quick pass of color correction to fix the worst color issues, and at least try to have reel breaks match color.

Down rez for dvd and high def...and start printing discs. The major difference being the 2k vs 4k scanning (which allows for MUCH better restoration work to be done). The fact that they most likely won't degrain/sharpen the files at all, and finally the color correction will be done quickly. A good job takes a long time, and time is money. There's a reason really, REALLY good restoration jobs are so rare. They're expensive!

FYI...the entire James Bond series has recently been re-released on dvd...yes AGAIN, but this latest release got the full monty from Lowry Digital. I'd hold out for high def discs to be released, but these are certainly the versions to buy.






Edited by spiffnme (11/28/07 10:59 PM)
Edit Reason: had more to say!
_________________________
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#186060 - 11/28/07 10:57 PM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: spiffnme]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16268
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Fascinating, Craig. Welcome back!
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#186063 - 11/28/07 11:07 PM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: CV]
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
 Originally Posted By: CV
Also, I'll back up EFalardeau about Casablanca looking great on HD DVD. I was really wondering if I'd be able to tell much difference between it and the special edition DVD I had, but the difference was obvious.


fyi...I think Casablanca is another Lowry job...the special edition standard def disc is quite spectacular as well. They likey used the same restoration file from the standard def release, and down rez'd to 2k for the high def release. See? there's good reason to start at 4k...you help future proof yourself! All the 4K restorations that Lowry has done over the years, will be all ready for high def release, and 4k in the home when that comes around. (not that it'll ever be needed, but to sell new tv's and such, it'll come eventually).
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#186066 - 11/28/07 11:45 PM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: spiffnme]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7400
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Like Peter said, that was fascinating, Craig! When I was in film school I was amazed at how good some of the "old" movies looked. Some silent films from the '20s looked very nice. In particular, I remember "The Passion of Joan of Arc" was stunning. I now own it on DVD. I also have "Once Upon a Time in the West," and was pleasantly surprised by the image quality.
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#186070 - 11/29/07 05:41 AM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: St_PatGuy]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
And to think I almost passed over reading this part of the thread.

Thanks Craig.
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Jason
-----------------
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#186071 - 11/29/07 06:28 AM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: jakewash]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10856
Loc: Central NH
When I gave my quick answer earlier in the thread, I was hoping Craig would chime in....but assumed he wouldn't since he hasn't been around much. (For those of you that are fairly new to the forum, this is only one of the reasons why Craig is so missed around here!)

I only hoped that he would chime in on the topic, but instead he "bonged" like some big-ass cathedral! \:\)

Excellent read, Craig! Hang out with us more, will 'ya? \:D
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::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#186073 - 11/29/07 07:30 AM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: MarkSJohnson]
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6250
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Great read, Craig. You are missed around here.

Finally watched the HD DVD version of The Adventures of Robin Hood last night. It looked terrific. Was disappointed to find my ability to suspend reality, and be swept up in the story, has been diminished by more modern movies and computer generated special effects.

For example, in the past, when Robin and his men are "sneaking" into the Archery contest, I was able, without thinking about it, to overlook that Robin, et al., were easily recognizable, simply accepting that, though I could easily recognize them, none of the villains could. It wasn't even noticed that the disguise was more implied than literal (realistic).

Last night, I found myself saying "oh c'mon! The bad guys would know Robin in that getup from a mile away." And, of course the violence is stylized rather than graphic. "What? No blood spurting from those sword thrusts, no limbs hacked off and flying through the air?

Truth be told, I'm not certain which is the better way. The "reality" path is certainly more honest. But, just as when we changed from radio to TV ("theater of the mind" to visual reality), something is lost when moving from stylized fantasy to graphic reality. The ability to fantasize is a joyous gift. Perhaps that's why, since reading is "theater of the mind," I still love to read.

It would make sense that you younger people, though able to intellectually grasp my meaning, do not understand, emotionally, why I'm waxing poetic about the past. But, just stay alive long enough and you will. There is a price to pay for progress.

I've had the Robin Hood disc awhile but got hooked on all the special features included on the disc. I've been watching most of those over the past few days. Fun to see the 70 year old, behind the scenes stuff, IMHO. YMMV.

_________________________
Jack

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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#186088 - 11/29/07 09:54 AM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: Ajax]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3885
Loc: Up yonder
North by Northwest is another good example from Lowry. They do some very amazing work and is as close to HD as I've ever seen.

I'm a little confused what it is they are doing now that DTS bought them out. Are they still performing transfers and why did DTS buy them out in the first place??
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#186089 - 11/29/07 09:58 AM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: michael_d]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3885
Loc: Up yonder
I understand where you are coming from Jack. I still love a good John Wayne movie though, no matter how 'low tech' they are. The searchers and the the cowboys are still great movies and look excellent on HD.
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#186104 - 11/29/07 11:18 AM Re: Dumb question regarding HD and DVDs... [Re: michael_d]
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6250
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Love both those movies, Mike. IMHO, The Searchers is a classic. Interestingly, my favorite JW movie is one in which he plays a very atypical JW role as a naive, not too bright, Swedish merchant seaman during WWII, The Long Voyage Home (although, The Quiet Man gives it a run for it's money). Since he's not the main star, and since his role is quite different from the norm, I guess one could say it really isn't a "JW movie" per se. I love it nonetheless.
_________________________
Jack

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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