With digital imaging technology having made such grand leaps and bounds in the last few years, it is easy for one to take today’s innovations for granted and become desensitized to what we are now able to easily capture with such small digital cameras and smartphones.
As a result, I find it interesting to stop for a moment at times and reflect upon how far we’ve come within such a short period of time as it helps to better appreciate the new hyper visual world we all live in.
The seven minute documentary below covering an intensive film restoration project undertaken in 2007 – to create a simple HD digital output of the 1992 film Baraka – serves as an interesting retrospective to look back on where digital imaging technology was placed only just a decade ago.
The video explains how an upscaled, high-quality 8K scan was first created from the original 65mm film negative, how it took 3 weeks to scan over 150,000 segments of film – frame by frame – then how a detailed retouching offensive was applied to the aged film scan in order to arrive at a mere 1080p digital version. A process that is no longer needed today now that film has become largely obsolete and native 1080p video is being easily captured with just about any camera, even the average smartphone.
What is also amazing to me about the methods discussed is to think that 10 years ago 8K digital video was already being made possible when most camcorders were still shooting at only 480p (DVD quality) at that time.
And when they made that scan of Baraka, it took up 30TB of storage space, which, back then, probably required a large multiple of hard drives in order to store just the one full movie scan. This is something that you can now store on only a few 3.5″ large-capacity hard drives or just one small RAID setup.
In the end, they only managed to produce a remastered 1080p version of the original film as I mentioned, but yet it required so much intensive scanning and post production work.
As a result of documented projects like this one on Baraka, it gives us the opportunity to realize how the process of capturing high definition video has been so greatly simplified in the last 10 years. I do hope you enjoy the video though and the short trip backwards in technological time.