Remastering / restoration

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when a Studio says they’ve “remastered” a film, that just means they’ve created a new master, right? I doesn’t mean they’ve restored it, unless they specifically say they’ve restored it?

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Kevin Collins

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24 Comments

  1. I suppose it depends on the element that the studios have remastered from. If they scan an interpositive, then I'd think that's quite straightforward, it has no joins & has the original colour grading, & if it's been wet gate printed it should have a very clean picture. Scanning from the original cut negatives is another matter, it could be dry cement joins coming apart, damage, faded dupes, & of course it has to be graded from scratch, & that's a huge margin for error – oh yes, we think the picture should be golden, or blue, or cyan…we know best. A lot of the time they do get it right. Personally I'd think going from the original cut negatives for a film over forty years old has a right to be called a restoration.

    …& of course there's restorations & there's restorations. A forties three strip Technicolor film is going to be massively more complex than a fifties/sixties film. I suppose it's on a case by case basis.

  2. I've seen "Digitally Remastered" to mean that they took an old laserdisc transfer and encoded it for DVD, so it's kind of meaningless. "Restored" at least usually means at the very least, they've done some tweaking to an existing transfer before encoding it. That doesn't mean much either, sadly. The only reliable gauge for the quality of a release is usually reviews and, even then, it depends on the skill of the reviewer.

  3. My uneducated guess is that "restored" means the studio had the existing elements brought back to their as-near-as-feasible original state and stored on some format, be it digital or film. It doesn't need to be released on home video for it to be called "restored." "Remastered" means they have created a new master from whatever elements they found (or selected) to make future home video copies. It doesn't mean that the elements were restored at all, but I would think they should be.

    But that's just my uneducated guess.

  4. Plus when one or more deleted/missing/extended footage is put back into a movie => restored ?

    Definitely swamp thing and that’s coming from me the one with least technical knowledge in this field!

    Regards

  5. The problem is that so many different studios, home video labels, marketing executives and licensees have used the words "remastered" and "restored" in so many different contexts, and to mean so many different things, that they've inadvertently stripped all meaning from the words

  6. Josh Steinberg

    The problem is that so many different studios, home video labels, marketing executives and licensees have used the words "remastered" and "restored" in so many different contexts, and to mean so many different things, that they've inadvertently stripped all meaning from the words

    So true.

  7. I like it when they tell us more information on the case artwork or pre-release info, sometimes they will say scanned in 2k or 4K which in the case of an older film usually means you are getting a quality release.

    Remastered can mean many things, sometimes it just means they added noise reduction, some sharpening algorithms and that was it, usually making things worse, other times it can mean massive improvements, you can never tell till someone’s watched the film.

  8. Josh Steinberg

    The problem is that so many different studios, home video labels, marketing executives and licensees have used the words "remastered" and "restored" in so many different contexts, and to mean so many different things, that they've inadvertently stripped all meaning from the words

    "Inadvertently"? Kiss my hindquarters.

  9. Josh Steinberg

    The problem is that so many different studios, home video labels, marketing executives and licensees have used the words "remastered" and "restored" in so many different contexts, and to mean so many different things, that they've inadvertently stripped all meaning from the words

    Remember the early days of CDs, they all had digitally remastered on the case, along with AAD & ADD. Film is analogue, so any DVD or Blu-ray quite rightly states digitally remastered, as for restored, well that can mean anything, I don't think the law covers it at all. Look at the studio that's worked on it, read the reviews & comments, take a deep breath…& part with your money (or not).

  10. Billy Batson

    Remember the early days of CDs, they all had digitally remastered on the case, along with AAD & ADD.

    All it meant was that the CD was made from a digital tape copy of the final mix instead of an analog one as they all were (there was never such a thing as a AAA cd). Now RCA actually coined the term "remaster" when they launched their Gold Seal reissue lps in the 1970s. It was basically a way of saying that they had gone back to their old multis and made new 1/4" mixdowns using Dolby tech they didn't have at the time (classical buyers just loooooved Dolby A-Type in those days). Then came the first true Digital Remaster in 1975, an LP of historic old Caruso shellac recordings transferred by Thomas Stockham and his team at Soundstream which allowed for even less added hiss.

  11. Reading these comments is extremely interesting, and in ways, enlightening, as in many cases the reality does shine through.

    What many people, including some filmmakers, still don’t understand, is that peculiar mythos which surrounds that “stuff” which is considered film. Keep in mind that in most cases, we’re no longer making “films,” we’re making something else. Datas? They’re certainly no longer “flickers,” as they no longer flicker.

    But more important, especially when it comes to true film restoration, is our ability to scan film, or multiple bits and types (generations) of film, turning it into data, create a digitally restored representation of that film, as data, and then record it back to film.

    If all functions are properly performed – beginning with searching inventories, selecting and testing various film and audio elements – that data stream(s), can then once again be reborn as film, and with proper projection, an audience will not know what it is that they’re seeing.

    Is it film, is it data, or is it film derived from data?

  12. Not exactly a simulacrum, I think, as that is a manufactured reality via computer simulation that has no basis in reality, whereas this is something that is created through computer or digital simulation, and has no real basis in physical reality, as it's just a bunch of data, plus and minus signs and various numerical calculations, that perfectly matches something that does exist in reality, a motion picture film. More a paradox, I think, than a simulacrum. Though when all the film prints finally disintegrate and only data is left, will it at that point be a simulacrum?

  13. Just as in the words remastered and restored with multiple meanings – film has a another definition of "movie or motion picture" The source of the product be it celluloid or magnetic particles is of no matter. One is analog and one is digital both become shadows on the wall and are not real.

    ADDED:
    Does this count as my argument with Mr. Harris?:wub:

  14. Mysto

    Just as in the words remastered and restored with multiple meanings – film has a another definition of "movie or motion picture" The source of the product be it celluloid or magnetic particles is of no matter. One is analog and one is digital both become shadows on the wall and are not real.

    ADDED:
    Does this count as my argument with Mr. Harris?:wub:

    No. But digital can no longer be considered “flickers.”

  15. Re the Gould Goldbergs and Sony being forced to revert to an analog copy of the early '80s recording … at the time it was claimed that the fortunately preserved analog tape did carry aurally superior audio to the early fairly sterile digital recording so the enforced obsolescence of the digital recording was quite fortunate really….

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