The 4K UHD restoration of the classic movie ““Lawrence of Arabia”” is simply stunning
Stephan Jukic – January 14, 2016
Film shooting has a number of nostalgic benefits to millions of consumers and more than a few big name movie directors but what it also offers up is a simple and powerful technological advantage, namely its lack of restriction via pixel limits.
This is why a lot of older film reel movies actually lend themselves extremely well to remastering in beautiful ultra-high resolution digital video in ways that simply aren’t possible with digitally shot movies of more recent days.
Thus, while many movies from the early to mid-2000’s which were shot with 1080p digital video cameras will remain 1080p in their resolution no matter how much technology advances, older films shot in 35mm and 65 mm film can actually be digitized to extraordinarily sharp 4K, 8K and even 12K digital resolutions. This is the case because the actual native resolution of these film reels goes far beyond the limits of normal Full HD digital film and while the display technologies that existed throughout decades of film reel movie production never allowed audiences to truly appreciate the full detail and sharpness of those reel movies in 35mm and 65mm film, modern technology is finally catching up with the past in some spectacular ways.
The most recent example of this at work is the new digital remastering of the classic 1962 movie ““Lawrence of Arabia”” starring Peter O’Toole. The original production was captured on 65mm film and that film can actually yield a maximum digital resolution of a stunning 12K pixel count. Thus, in 2012, the movie itself got an 8K scan that was then actually reduced to 4K resolution for a 50th anniversary release in some of the most stunning detail ever seen for this landmark film of the cinematic Golden Age.
In Fact, the level of detail found in the digitization of the original movie even at one point showed the sort of vague concentric lines that were consistent with a fingerprint mark on a section of film –something which would have never been seen in theatrical or previous DVD or VHS releases of the movie without digital remastery of the full resolution inherent in the 65mm film reels used in it.
The digitized 4K version of “Lawrence of Arabia” was restored by Sony Pictures and according to Grover Crisp, VP of restoration at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, “We’ve never been able to see this kind of detail before –It’s always been kind of submerged… but now with this 8K scan, it’s more obvious.”
Film is currently slowly losing out to digital video production and recording in the wider race for more advanced cinema but some major directors like Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan remain as major fans of the medium.
According to Nolan’s view, “If you want the choice, it’s very important to support film now. Filmmakers are going out of their way to shoot film and talk about it. We want to see a world where there’s a choice. It’s important to preserve it for future generations”.
“Lawrence of Arabia” is just one of many examples of older film-reel movies being restored to digital glory in 4K UHD resolution. We can expect to see this become a much more common process in the next years and some superb examples of the 4K remastering trend already in action also include a 2014 restoration of the original “Godzilla” movie from the 1950’s in 8K digital resolution, later reduced to 4K for the sake of release.
Story by 4k.com