Friday, July 19, 2013

8K Digital Technology Breathes New Life Into Classic Films

Blue File Folder Holding Film Reels
image from www.istockphoto.com
After looking closer at the future of television and 4K resolution, we were shocked to discover that 8K resolution is already a thing! While 4K tv’s can display near-film quality images at 3840 x 2160 pixels, or 4 times more than current 1080i high definition, it turns out that 8K technology is able to create an image at a jaw-dropping 7680 x 4320 pixels. This image is 16 times the resolution of 1080i. While the technology of 8K is not expected to reach the home theater market until 2020 or later, the technology is being used for a surprising purpose: restoring and remastering classic film prints.

Warner Home Video is already using the technology to bring many of their classic movies to Blu-ray DVD. Even though many of the original camera negatives of these films are stored in climate controlled vaults, they still show some degradation over the years. Original dyes and developing processes of the time were not foolproof, so many negatives experience loss of color and other signs of aging. With 8K technology, each frame of film is scanned into an 8K image. This image can then be color corrected, cleaned up or modified to better showcase the picture as it was meant to be seen.

Classic Warner Brothers movies that have gone through the 8K process and are now available on Blu-ray include Wizard of Oz, Ben-Hur, Gone with the Wind and North by Northwest to name a few. More titles from Warner Brothers and other classic studios are being restored with the 8K process even as we speak. Even on a current HD TV, the remastered films display vibrant colors, deep blacks and a crisp audio track that has been scrubbed to remove old pops and hiss.

The only drawback? Many of these films were shot at a 4:3 aspect ratio, so black bars were added for wide screen viewing. Despite that, you will be sure that the classic movie on your silver screen is sure to look as good as it did when it first came out in theaters.

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