Digital restoration of film & video

Not just for ancient films

Australia has a proud history in film production, dating back to the world’s very first feature film, ‘The Kelly Gang’, released in 1906. Unfortunately Australia also has a shameful history in preserving our film history, with most of the original footage of ‘The Kelly Gang’ later used to fuel the fire on a burning ship on another film. Only fragments of this original footage now survive.

The controversy of digital restoration

There has been a great deal of controversy about digital restoration, much of which to do with colourising films that originally appeared in black and white. The reality is that digital restoration is essential to the preservation of film and video. Digital restoration can reverse the effects of time on a film or video and allow an entirely new generation to see a film or video as it was originally intended. Like the restoration of the Sistine Chapel, digital film and video restoration will always have its detractors but without this process, much of which is culturally significant will be lost forever, as was the case with ‘The Kelly Gang’.

Digital restoration is not just for ancient films

Without knowing it, many of your favourite films have been digitally restored. If you’re a fan of the Bond films, the Indiana Jones trilogy or even Star Wars, you’ve probably seen digital restorations. Most of these restorations have been to done to make these films suitable for the latest digital cinemas or consumer release technology (e.g. Blu-ray). Others have been done to add additional effects (e.g. Star Wars) or create Directors cuts. Even a 5-year-old corporate video can benefit greatly from digital restoration.

View an example of digital restoration

Preserving a legacy for future generations

The film and video we take for granted today is of great importance for future generations. It is a time capsule of who were and what was important at a certain time and place in history. We have the responsibility of investing in the preservation of the past, as well as what we create today. We are the custodian of a culture preserved only in film and video.

When is it practical to use digital restoration?

The main reason for digital restoration is the commercialisation of an existing asset. As such, most digital restoration decisions are made on a purely commercial basis. To make this decision you first need to understand the cost of a digital restoration. This is where Promoscape can help.

Digital restoration of film and video for a new generation

The restoration of film and tape-based content is a balance of quality versus cost, whether delivering media for DVD, Blu-ray, HDTV, Digital Cinema, or simply archiving. Damage to the film (caused by tears on the print, curling of the film base, due to intense light exposure, temperature, humidity, scratches, dust and so on) all impacts on the viability and cost of digital restoration.

Digital restoration of film

Once a film is inspected and cleaned, it is transferred (via telecine) to a digital tape or disk. The audio is then synced to create a new master.

Digital restoration of video

With tape-based masters such as TV shows, Promoscape captures to a digital file, before beginning the digital restoration process.

Common film and video fixes provided by Promoscape

Promoscape have invested in technology that allows us to offer affordable digital restoration. Just some of the areas in which we can fix video are:

Single frame defects
Dust, dirt
Instabilities or shaking
Local and global colour and brightness instability like flicker
Film grain, noise
Vertical line scratches
Destroyed images or parts of images
Bad splices
Burned frames
Warped images
Dead pixels