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600 PowerMacs Make One DVD 269

vaporland writes " has this story about using a network of 600 PowerMac G5's to scan original movie negatives at 4000 lines per inch and create high-resolution digital recreations of classic movies."
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600 PowerMacs Make One DVD

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  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:00AM (#8902927)
    It's not like these are crisp, sharp modern prints. Jesus, at 4000 dpi, the film grains will be dozens of pixels in diameter...
    • by Repugnant_Shit ( 263651 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:02AM (#8902934)
      I guess having a crazy high-res version will help when they scale it down for DVD/VHS/Broadcast.
    • by Vampo ( 771827 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:06AM (#8902952)
      once digitised, could they not be processed to remove those? I don't know much about image processing but I'm sure someone would be able to come up with a filter that would pick up such spots and remove them (based on previous and next clean frames maybe?).
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:14AM (#8902993)
        Film grain represents the physical resolution of the film, it's not dust or something which can be removed by duplicating adjacent pixels. Moreover film grain is aestethically much nicer than any rounding and blurring the kind of filter you are proposing would produce.
        • Film grain represents the physical resolution of the film

          One thing to keep in mind is that there are varying sizes of film grain, and having multiple grain sizes is a good thing, larger grains are good for low light image capture, smaller grains are good for capturing detail. Thus, one would want to make sure that the scanning resolution is higher than the finest grain in the image.

          Also, there are good filter available in much more sophisticated means than simple blurring. If you ever get a chance to s
        • That's the whole point of scanning at a higher resolution. Since the pixels and the location of the grains in the film are never going to match up 1:1, currently the best solution is to scan at vastly higher resolution than the source media can provide, to provide the truest possible digital representation of the appearance of that particular frame.

          It may also be possible to construct a virtual frame in memory at a much higher resolution, then use positional manipulation of the frame (I.E. move it) while imaging it. Just as the handheld "scanner" technology for cellphones etc will allow you to wave a camera over a printed page and build a high resolution scan based on multiple passes, correlation, and interpolation, so we could do with movies. The problem with digital scans is of course that your scan quality is limited by the CCD pixel element size, the film grain size, the difference in their sizes, and the correlation (or lack thereof) of their positions.

          As for duplicating adjacent pixels, no one uses that for a scaling algorithm any more unless they are a complete nincompoop, since so many other algorithms are readily available, but you're correct (obviously) in that data is always lost when using digital enhancement, which makes it useful for things like trying to decipher what license plate is on the back of a car, but not so useful for improving the quality of digital media.

      • by OglinTatas ( 710589 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:14AM (#8902999)
        once digitized, they could be processed to replace the guns in the movie with walkie-talkies.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It makes it easier to work with when they are cleaning up and removing artifacts later on.

    • the poster got it right wrong. The film isn't scanned 4000 times per square inch, the entire film is scanned at 4000 LINES of resolution.

      Current HDTV displays 1080 lines interlaced.
    • at 4000 dpi, the film grains will be dozens of pixels in diameter

      Doubtful, given that a standard 35mm print is only 24 mm tall (barely an inch).
      • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:09AM (#8903357) Homepage Journal
        Actually, it's about 2-3 film grains per pixel.

        I used to make 35mm slides from computer files with my Agfa QCR-Z slide writer (and I still do from time to time for the few places that still use 35mms for projection).

        It has the same resolution of 4k (4000 lpi) that these films are being scanned at. The pixels are significantly bigger than film grains, but are just about too small to bring into focus with a really good 35mm projector.

        Later on, they made 8k and 16k resolution versions, which were mostly used for larger format than 35mm output because of the film grain issue (and the fact that the damn device used an RS-232 connection and therefore took 4-5 minutes to image a 4k line file)
    • The point could be to get new theater prints from the scans. Or material for the new digital projectors.
    • 4000 lines per inch..
      the grain is even mentioned for the post capture processing as an occasionally desired element.

    • by Sancho ( 17056 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:24AM (#8903074) Homepage
      How you sample analog material plays a big part in the overal quality of the finished product. For music, you typically think of samples per second (CDs play at 44.1khz). But typically for the initial digitization of analog material, you oversample (perhaps sampling the analog music at 88.2khz, or even higher). This gives you something that's much closer to the original work than normal, and allows you to work with a higher quality, well, sample. Performing digital transformations, including cleaning up the video, removing scratches, etc. always works better if you have more samples to work from. So a higher resolution picture will make it easier to get rid of any scratches or imperfections in the original film.

      Eventually, of course, you have to downsample to fit the format that you will be distributing. For CDs, you downsample to 44.1khz. For DVDs, you downsample (the resolution) to 720x480 NTSC or 720x576 PAL. Note that that's somewhere around 1/8th the resolution that they're scanning.
      The idea is simple. With this one scan, they can be prepared for format changes. Once high definition DVDs come out, they can downsample to whatever that resolution will be. If they want to broadcast a movie on an HD television channel, they can downsample to 1080i or whatever HD format they wish.

      This seems to be about making a high-resolution copy now for archival purposes, so that if the film itself degrades (as it is prone to do) there will still be something really close to the original to work from. Not a bad idea, I think.
    • Yeah - why don't they just use a $50 TV capture card and capture the film off a video? It'd work out a darn sight cheaper. Surely they'd have these movies on VHS somewhere? ;-)
  • by SmackCrackandPot ( 641205 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:04AM (#8902946)
    Given that DVD's perform lossy compression, to fit an entire movie into one disc, is there going to be much noticable difference between using the original final cut and a 3rd/4th generation copy?
    • by Snuffub ( 173401 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:11AM (#8902979) Homepage
      As the article clearly points out the big difference isnt on DVDs but rather the ability to archive a digital master in such a high quality format. So 500 years down the road when we're all watching movies at 4000p instead of 480i they dont have to go back to the original film which will undoubtedly be nearly destroyed.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:24AM (#8903067)
        So, in 500 years, the copyrights will be expired, right?

        I can only wish.
        • So, in 500 years, the copyrights will be expired, right?

          Copyright for Mickey Mouse is an ever advancing target ...

        • Probably not. A good reason to start making opencontent movies now. If we can make an OS why couldn't we make a movie? Probably not cutting edge special effect monster blockbusters (not to begin anyway) but decent movies. We have film and sound editing software and a decent video camera doesn't cost any more than a good computer (~$3500). I'm sure we could come up with a script better than most of the crap Hollywood comes up with. We could do the actting ourselves, talk unemployed new actors into doing it f
      • There are a lot of old films that are slowly decaying away by just sitting around, this could really save those films for future generations.

        Once they got it cleaned up though, I hope they make film backups of the restored digital films. Incase of something that hits and wipes out all digital data. Be a shame if they all got restored and suddenly deleted by some weird natural phenomina or a stupid mistake.
      • by downix ( 84795 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @10:43AM (#8904184) Homepage
        I would disagree there about the film being nearly destroyed. In a test, Kodak ran film shot by Edison in 1898, and it was as clear as the day it was developed. Using electron microscopes, kodak has estimated that the film will be viewable well into the 24th century. One area where degredation might occur would be with color-stocks. But, using the same process on early kodachrome, they've found a life expectancy in the hundreds of years. With technicolor, about the same. With the newer stocks however, the aging is occuring faster, so only 150-200 years for an original stock before some loss occurs.
        • Assuming.... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kjella ( 173770 )
 don't actually have to view it, or make copies from it, causing wear and tear. Or the place it's stored isn't struck by fire, flood or somesuch disaster. Or more likely, lost, mistreated or otherwise damaged.

          You're right, IF preserved perfectly it'll be just fine. But the beauty of digital copies is that they can take a beating, as long as not all copies are destroyed (beyond the ability of error correction), it doesn't matter.

          Just me. On completely standard, consumer equipment. No expensive, tempe
    • Yes (Score:5, Informative)

      by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @10:01AM (#8903795)
      From what I gathered, from this article and the profile of Lowry on Apple's website, the software doesn't just remove dust and scratches but also film grain, by comparing each frame in the context of the surrounding frames and then softening or even removing irregularities. Yes, the difference will be huge.

      Even on DVD; a 4th generation copy is like a movie that has had compression added 4 times, and each copy is progressively worse. Ideally, you want the cleanest print possible before you add lossy compression.
  • Macs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basil montreal ( 714771 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:05AM (#8902949) Homepage
    Macs are great for stuff like this, sometimes I wish they had had the marketing smarts to get the market share PCs have now. They have alot going for them...

    Ah well, "Macs for productivity, Linux for stability, Windows for solitaire"
    • Re:Macs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ethanms ( 319039 )
      obligitory slashdot: "Damn mac zealot! You could do this same thing on a Linux machine for free using 73 different editing packages!"

      (meanwhile I'm writing this from a Mac, because hell, it's just better... it's like breathing standing in a forest far away from civilization as opposed to at an underground train station, sure you get air in both places but the quality is much better)
  • cool (Score:2, Funny)

    by iLEZ ( 594245 )
    Pretty cool. =)
    Commence pc/mac flamewar!

    • Re:cool (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:42AM (#8903187)
      Actually the workstation that controls the scanner runs linux.

      You can see an overview here [] of the machine.

      If you look at the press releases they came out with an add-on that allows the machine to scan at 10k lines in 12 seconds.

      As an aside, the smaller film scanners that capture 35mm slides have Digital Ice [] to remove surface blemishes. Part of it works by shining an infrared light through the film []. The infrared light is unaffected by the different shades of color, but the dust "stops" it and therefore is detected. Quite ingenious.

      I imagine as expensive as this machine is, it uses this and other techniques to remove surface and film imperfections. If you use an original to scan that has been well cared for, the results should be impressive.

      I toyed around with the idea of homebrewing such a machine to convert some old family super8 movies.

      The two problems that you are going to have is the film transport, and the amount of time it takes to scan the film. As it stands, it would be time intensive to build such a machine and technically challenging. That and not having a workspace, it will have to wait for another day.

  • Great... (Score:4, Funny)

    by beeglebug ( 767468 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:07AM (#8902954)
    So now I'm going to have to go out and buy a whole new set of DVD's when they release the '4K Edition' of all my favourite films. And I thought I was safe until Blu-Ray came out...
  • by lith2k ( 184946 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:07AM (#8902957)
    click! []
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06@ema i l .com> on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:08AM (#8902961)
    The Ultimate Extended Special Director's Edition Complete 4K Restored/Remastered Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers AND Return of the King.

    I've already pre-ordered mine. Hurry now, while supplies last!

    • by Odin's Raven ( 145278 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:37AM (#8903155)
      The Ultimate Extended Special Director's Edition Complete 4K Restored/Remastered Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers AND Return of the King.

      Oh dude, you should've waited another month for the release of The Ultimate Extended Special Director's Edition Complete 4K Restored/Remastered Lord of the Rings, Collector's Edition.

      There's going to be four versions available, each packaged with a different collectible playset -- Helm's Deep, Isengard, Minas Tirith, and Mount Doom. And they're all lovingly handcrafted out of genuine styrofoam, just like in the movies!

  • by CvD ( 94050 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:10AM (#8902973) Homepage Journal
    What are the Macs being used for?

    Yes, I RTFA, and they mention the Imagica 4000 lines/frame scanner and the 600 Macs, but not what the Macs are used for. Only that the frames are offloaded to a server with a large hard disk.

    So WHAT part of the process are they being used for? Someone enlighten me please.
    • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:16AM (#8903012) Homepage Journal
      cleanup-- "He then processed the images with his film-restoration software, which he'd programmed onto some Macintosh G4 computers. (The effort took months, as the faster G5's weren't out yet.) The processed picture was clearer, sharper and more detailed still. He could see every divot on the turf. What had once looked like a smudge in the background was now recognizable as a boat on the lake."
    • If you RTFA, then how did you miss this?

      Thirty-five years ago, Mr. Lowry, who is now 71, patented a method of cleaning up NASA's live televised transmissions from the moon. Six years ago, as the DVD took off, he set up Lowry Digital -- then a two-man R & D shop -- to apply his techniques to digital restoration.

      He hired a photographer to make a short 35-millimeter film clip of some children playing soccer on a lakeshore. He paid a local lab to transfer the film to digital video, using a 4K scanner.

    • They are being used to 'enhance' and 'clean up' the scanned frames.
    • You needed to click to the second page. The macs are being used for image processing after the frames are scanned. The 4000 line scanning is only the first step in the archival process which is then followed by the image processing algorithm and probably some manual restoration (digitally of course) where needed. According to the article the image processing noticably sharpens the image along with other benefits.
    • You Only Live Twice is 117 minutes long.

      At 24 frames per second, it contains 168480 frames.

      The article says there are a pair of Imager XE-Advanced scanners.

      Each scanner takes four minutes per frame.

      Using these numbers, You Only Live Twice will take about 25 days to scan.

      To answer your question, I have no fucking idea why so many Macs are being used, except maybe for their hard drives.

      • Yeah, it sure pays to click page 2, alright.

        It pays even more to recheck the parent before clicking submit.

      • by brianvan ( 42539 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:50AM (#8903705)
        Simple, it's the scan time. It's not that the computers are slow in processing the image data, it's that the actual scanner takes such a damn long time.

        Of course, with such a setup, a G5 is a little more future-proof than a barebones computer that can just handle the task at hand for a lot cheaper.

        I think this is a good setup for now... there are a lot of films that are in very poor shape that could use this kind of remastering. You WON'T find most of these out on DVD already because there was simply no way available prior to this to make an acceptable copy of the movie. Hollywood has had a big problem on their hands with this sort of thing for a while; preservation was a distant afterthought for years and now they're frantically rushing to save these movies before the prints completely deteriorate and we have nothing left.

        Remember, there's no original print left of Citizen Kane, widely considered the best movie ever. We can't let that happen to every movie. I think any type of scanning project like this - film, drawings, portraits, photography - is noble when you consider how the original media can simply crumble to dust, losing the art forever.

        Besides, this sort of thing keeps Apple rolling in the dough, eh? I don't see any Microsoft products listed here, so it seems like the regular crowd here should be happy with that sort of thing. *shrug*
    • "What are the Macs being used for?"

      You cant even imagine a beowulf cluster of those?!

    • From Imagica's web site [], the digital scanner has a frame resolution of 4096*3112 and 14-bits channel RGB.

      Then a single frame requires:

      4096x3112x3(channels)x(2 bytes per channel)

      = 76480512 bytes (76 Megabytes/frame).

      Presumably there are some run-length encoding formats to reduce this.

      Assuming 24 frames/second for a 90 minute movie, you need to store/process:

      24x60x90 = 129600 frames.

      From the article, the company are automatically cleaning up each frame of the movie (getting rid off scratches,
  • Common misconception (Score:3, Informative)

    by Digitus1337 ( 671442 ) <lk_digitus AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:12AM (#8902991) Homepage
    Most people are confusing 4000 DPI (dots per inch) with 4000 Lines Per Inch. A line could be any length, as the inch is only a measurement one way; this is one of those techniques for making something seem bigger and/or better than it really is (think weight loss commercials).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is neither 4000dpi nor 4000lpi. Its 4000 lines per frame of film. Think 4000p vs 720p in HDTV or 480p in DVD.
    • by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:46AM (#8903678)
      Lines per inch refers to lines that can be seperated, for example black lines with a white space between them.

      So to get 4000 lines per inch, you need a lot more dpi, most likely 8000.
      • Agreed. I always read LPI (lines per inch) as "line PAIRS per inch", as it is a black/white pair which must be resolved. Of course, I think in mm, as that's how most kodak 35mm films are spec'd.

        FWIW, most color negs run 60-80 line pairs per millimeter (1500-2000 lpi). Ektar 25 color neg claimed 125 line pairs per mm, comparable to kodak's Tmax b&w negative films. Kodak TechPan - a high contrast technical film - can be shot at 25-40ASA and developed in a special low contrast developer to yield (IMHO be
  • Imagine.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:15AM (#8903002)
    a beowulf cluster of... oh wait.
  • by mosel-saar-ruwer ( 732341 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:20AM (#8903045)

    Great, so he's doing optical at 4000 lines per inch.

    But what about the sound? Is he using non-compressed 24-bit samples at [at least] 96KSS [kilo samples per second]?

    Your ear is a vastly more sophisticated sampling device than your eye; I don't know of a single sound compression technology on the market that can fool the human ear.

    It would be a real tragedy to go to all that trouble to make good digital copies of the optical prints, only to try to cheat on storage space by downgrading the soundtracks to one of these abominable undersampled, compressed audio standards.

    • Commence the Audible Zealot vs. Visible Zealot flame war!

      No, I hear you and I'm with you. I guess the 6+/- Gb ceiling on today's "versatile" discs will leave high quality sound by the wayside. Featurettes on Haley Joel Osmont are more important :P

      Bring the Blue Ray!

    • It would hardly make any sense to be cheat with storage space, as one second of the original movie could take 2 gigabytes of storage. If you just waste one 1/1000 of that to sound, you've already got 32 bit 300kHz sound..
    • I'm sure he's not an idiot - he'd probably sample the sound at an appropriate level of compression (which includes none at all), taking into account the age of the soundtrack and consequently the signal-to-noise ratio.
    • by Jonas the Bold ( 701271 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:47AM (#8903218)
      Your ear is a vastly more sophisticated sampling device than your eye; I don't know of a single sound compression technology on the market that can fool the human ear.

      Um, no it isn't. Your eye is vastly more sophisticated. Is it easier to recognize people by their faces or thier voice? Even musical instruments, is it easier to tell what kind of instrument is being played by looking at than listening to it.

      And there isn't any technology that can "fool" the eye either. When you look at a picture, you don't think it's real, you know it's a picture. Just like a recording, except a recording can come a lot closer.

      Super-hardcore audiophilia is a bit of a religion.
      • And there isn't any technology that can "fool" the eye either.

        Umm, have your heard of optical illusions. You may have seen your local magician perform some of these. If not David Copperfield performs regularly.

        Seriously, There is a difference between what you see, and what you know. You know David Copperfield didn't make an elephant disappear, but to your eyes, it did.
      • Um, no it isn't. Your eye is vastly more sophisticated. Is it easier to recognize people by their faces or thier voice?

        Actually, a lot of times it is easier for me to recognize people by their voices rather than their faces. I can be really bad at remembering faces sometimes, but I have had more than one situation where I remembered somebody by the way their voice sounded and the way they spoke.

        But I think I'm just a freak...
    • by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:50AM (#8903247)
      But what about the sound? Is he using non-compressed 24-bit samples at [at least] 96KSS [kilo samples per second]?

      While this is not my field, I have observed the audio track on 35mm movie film often times is encoded in the negative. So 4000 lpi and 18mm per 1/30 of a second. 540mm per second or 21.2 inches/sec. 21.2 * 4000 = 84.8KSS Unknown bit width.

      This figure is aproximate and doesn't take into account the fact that the audio track extends in the blank space between the frames. My point is if the audio is encoded photographicly, it can be extracted photographicly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:24AM (#8903071)
    Some of the stuff I get off emule is really low quality. If I can use this for porn I might buy a Mac
  • by KJE ( 640748 ) <> on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:32AM (#8903121) Homepage
    Nice artice, but where are the screenshots?
  • old tech (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MikeHunt69 ( 695265 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:42AM (#8903185) Journal
    This system has been used for telecine/non-linear editing for a few years now afaik.

    You digitise your originals, then "offline" edit with your scaled down versions on a PC/mac. Once you have everything editied to your liking, you get back on the big, expensive "online" system and it can build your film - even going to the point of writing out your 35mm print.

    The news here I guess is that they are using this technology to archive old films. I still don't see where the 600 macs fit in however.

  • WOOOO (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cap'n_fun ( 707719 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:43AM (#8903193)
    Do they have a schedule somewhere, I want to know when House Party 2 is slated for 4000k.
  • by mib ( 132909 ) <> on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:49AM (#8903238)
    How do they store these digitized movies? Even better, how do they transport them?

    Some back-of-the-envelope calculations assuming a 4000x4000 image, 24 bit color (too low?), lossless (optimistic) 4:1 compression and 24fps show that a 2 hour movie takes up over 1.8TiB.

    Is it just a box of 300GB tapes, or do they have something even cooler?

    Can you imagine the restore times for a movie from tape...

    - mib
    • They store them on huge multi-terabyte disk arrays....

      Here in the shop where I work, we have 1.5 TB of storage space, sitting in 2' of 19" rack space...

      Disk storage is NOT an issue for something like this...

      And for all you people who are asking what the macs are used for, it's to process the scanned frames.....
    • Well we've got a 60TB array capable of dozens of 135mbit playback streams, but that's nothing compared to the data Information and Archives goes through (imagine over half-a-million hours of standard definition programs, and thousands of HD programs).

      Very few places in the computer world hold a candle to the TV and Film world.
  • apple/pro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paradesign ( 561561 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @08:58AM (#8903295) Homepage
    this is old, but still cool
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:17AM (#8903432)
    That article is so full of incorrect statements, its sad it got published in such a reputable paper.

    It confuses horzontal and vertical resolutions left and right, mixing the 4k horizontal resolution of a 4k scan with the 1080 vertical resolution of HDTV and extrapolating silly figures from the result, as one example.

    4k scans of film aren't uncommon, although this might be the first time it was done for archival purposes.

    No matter what the article author says, you'll see zero difference between a 4k, or 2k scan on a DVD transfer. A 2k scan is aproximately HD resolution, so there would be a benefit for HD formats to have a 4k scan, to eliminate noise, etc.

    The article was also unclear why such horsepower is needed for such a mundane process as scanning and storing film. Thats a problem thats been solved for a decade or more by the film industry, where working with 4k frames is commonplace.
    • The article was also unclear why such horsepower is needed for such a mundane process as scanning and storing film.

      One word: time. You can't speed up the scanning process without buying another scanner, and the time overhead it takes to dump the data to storage is negligable. But they're fiddling around with gf/x for each frame -- removing spots, evening out the color, etc. That takes processing power.
    • The article was also unclear why such horsepower is needed for such a mundane process as scanning and storing film.

      Oh, I don't know, let's try reading the article, shall we?
      He then processed the images with his film-restoration software, which he'd programmed onto some Macintosh G4 computers. (The effort took months, as the faster G5's weren't out yet.) The processed picture was clearer, sharper and more detailed still. He could see every divot on the turf. What had once looked like a smudge in the ba

  • by Kurt Gray ( 935 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:21AM (#8903453) Homepage Journal
    Another dimension I hope projects like this expand into is capturing a much higher dynamic range of the color information stored on the film. If you scan a negative (or positive) at 128-bit color depth instead of 32-bit color depth or the more standard 24-bit color depth, capture very subtle diferrences of light and shadow which are not visible to the naked eye, but with careful image processing you can enhance and amplify those subtle color shifts and nearly normalize an under/overexposed picture, pulling details from the light/shadow/color which no one has ever seen before. Some might argue that the director did not intend for the audience to see Brando's face in full light in "The Godfather" and that the heavy shadows were intentional, but in most cases any director would agree that some of the detail they wanted in some shots was obscured by poor lighting/exposure and they would like to tweak that.

    On the consumer side, putting a wide screen high-res video track on a DVD is one thing, but making that video (plus audio and subtracks) fit within 4.7GB (if you want to keep it all one disc)*and* having it play back reasonably well on the average consumer-level DVD player (which can only handle around 7Mbs bitrate) means you have to compress the hell out of each track which means reducing the quality of the picture with compression artifacts. So it seems to fully appreciate a high-res film-to-DVD transfer you'll have to have a nearly uncompressed DVD transfer (very little MPEG2 compression applied, probably spanning 6 discs or more) and a high-bandwidth DVD player that can handle a very high bitrate.

    • The CINEON file format, which is the standard for digital movie pictures, use a density-linear bitdepth of 10 (or 12, can't remember) bits per channel. Due to the fact that it is density linear (and not light linear), you get much more precise information of what the film stock captured.

      One has to understand that the density of a negative film stock is not linear to the intensity of light it received, but linear to i^some_gamma_value, where i is the intensity and some_gamma_value is roughly a constant that
    • Another dimension I hope projects like this expand into is capturing a much higher dynamic range of the color information stored on the film.

      Since the scan is on the untimed camera negative rather than a timed print there is little chance that it uses a 24 or 32 bits depth. "Talking" of untimed negative the article completetly forget to mention that the raw scan will be pretty unwatchable and need a lengthy color timing process. There is a bonus in the Seven 2 DVDs edition showing how the scanned camera n
  • by NDPTAL85 ( 260093 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:29AM (#8903510)
    ....Big Macs!
  • by The Gline ( 173269 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @09:33AM (#8903534) Homepage
    ...most definitely affects the final product. I am currently working on a digital film myself with some friends where the original images are being done at Hi-Def resolution (1080 lines) and then downsampled to 525 for output to DVD. In the event this does wind up going to celluloid (unlikely, but possible), we might need to ramp things back up to 2,000 lines. If we're stuck halfway through, rather than redraw a lot of the material, we might be able to use a product like PhotoZoom Pro to make up the difference (at a slight cost).

    I suspected we would need to start making 4K digital safeties of film as a standard practice at some point. Hi-Def telecines are good as telecines, but not for archiving.
  • Snow White (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @10:15AM (#8903924)
    This is similar to the techniques that Disney did in the restoration of Snow White for DVD.

    Disney took the original camera negative, hand cleaned it frame by frame, and then scanned it one frame at a time using a specialized Kodak hi-res 6000 line scanner. If you have ever seen one of the pre digital restoration prints in the theatres and then see the DVD you will realize the miracle this restoration is. Ca mera/oct2002/snowwhite.shtml

  • Old News... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jollygreengiantlikes ( 701640 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @12:34PM (#8905696) Homepage Journal
    This story was posted in more and less confusing detail on Apple's own pro-user webspace months ago. The article written by Joe Cellini is much better at explaining why the high resolution of scans, etc. The primary purpose of this studio is to remaster degraded and degrading films.

    Here's the link: []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2004 @02:34PM (#8907266)
    Many of their cartoons were filmed separately in R, G and B. That allows them to scan each color frame separately and use the multiple copies to find and eliminate scratches, etc. They also eliminate the registration errors in the final combined prints.

    The net result is a version that is vastly superior to the originals.

    (Posting as AC so they don't have me killed.)
  • DVD's (Score:3, Funny)

    by meehawl ( 73285 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [maps.lwaheem]> on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:35PM (#8909213) Homepage Journal
    When even the NY Times sub eds let "DVD's" through instead of correcting it to "DVDs", then we know the End Times are at hand.
  • some tech details... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cwg_at_opc ( 762602 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:48PM (#8909451) Journal
    1 - scanning: the imagica XE can scan at a resolution of 4096x3112(1.31:1 aspect ratio), the just-announced
    xe-advanced uses a 10k capture device that allows overscanning and subsequent downsampling from
    8k(8192) to 4k. the 4096 pixels is the horizontal res. from perf-to-perf, and is nothing new(i've been
    doing 4k since ~1995). the reason for 4k at the moment, is that 4096 pixels across is just _below_ the
    grain of commonly used Oneg/intermediate stocks. using higher resolutions is a waste of processing
    time and disk-space when your scanned resolution is higher than the source(this applies to t-grained
    (tabular)films as well.)
    anyway, you shouldn't see any pixels unless the color calibration is sub-optimal, you're looking at a digital
    projection or there were hardware probs.
    kodak(cinesite) has had "dust-busting" on their menu for quite a while now, although it was originally
    done by hand, by artists using high-res paint programs(photoshop/matador, etc).
    as correctly noted by another poster, the scanner is run by a linux based machine. the previous version
    of their scanner used an SGI o2 running IRIX. see:
    Kodak used to make a commercial scanner(the cineon genesis scanner) that i believe is no longer avalable.
    another scanner to look at is the Oxberry Cinescan.
    this is the week to look for info as it's NAB time; new products and updates are typically announced there.

    2 - color: the dynamic range of film is described in logarithmic terms(due to the sensitivity function of the
    emulsion-processing chemistry) so it is appropriate to record/store using a log-based imaging format.
    in this case, a 14bit DAC is used to generate 10bit log/pixel color data stored in the industry standard
    Cineon format(created by Glenn Kennel @kodak and subsequently adopted industry-wide. see FIDO, Cineon)
    10bits log is equivalent to 14 bits linear and covers approximately a 10-stop range or a density
    range from zero(or film base) to somewhere around 2.048D to as much as 3.0D depending and the
    scanner and recorder.

    3 - lowry and warner: lowry and warner are both working on restoration systems. warner has a large library of
    SE(sequential exposure) shows that will need duplicate archives and cleaning for DVD releases. SE is a method
    for recording the RGB channels on individual-sequential frames. this process retains color integrity by
    maintaining channel separation as long as possible avoiding channel bleed/crossover. lowry is using
    the Macs to do the image processing; a feature-length film can be very, very large(90min x 24fps x @4k)
    since each image can be ~50MB each - lots of disk space and processing time. as previously mentioned,
    warner has a system which resizes/aligns each channel in a logical frame, resulting in a very clean image
    with no(virtually no) fringing or edge artifacts due to sep misalignment. this is normally not an
    issue with SE as each sep is on a single piece of film. for three-strip technicolor, the alignment is
    more critical as there are three individual pieces of film that were run through a special camera(the
    Technicolor camera) which i believe has a patent... for an interesting site with info on SE(w/pictures) goto: 303.html

    4 - some resolutions:
    HDTV - 1280x720 or 1920x1080
    NTSC - 640x480(4:3)
    PAL - 720x486
    film - 2048x1536(1.33:1 AR)
    4096x6144(vista-vision 8-perf)

    i can expound more if additional details/info is needed.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel