4K restoration breathes new life into movie classics

Hollywood’s past has never looked better. Remastering classic films digitally in detail-packed 4K lets modern moviegoers re-engage with cherished artistic landmarks in all their glory. And it’s great news for cinema operators, offering a wealth of fresh content to project at its best in breathtaking Sony 4K.

2K (simulated)

4K (simulated)

Great movies look better than ever

Movie studios, distributors and audiences are all seeing the benefits of remastering classic movies digitally in 4K. As well as preserving our rich cinematic heritage for a new generation of film lovers, remastering can literally make movies look better than ever.

Benefits of digital restoration

Transferring movies from celluloid to 4K digital gives studios an exciting opportunity to capture all the beauty of the original print, and even improve on it. Each frame can be digitally polished to remove noise and scratches. Colours and contrast from fast-fading film stock can also be sympathetically enhanced for an on-screen look that’s literally as good as new.

Once they’ve been digitally rejuvenated, movies are delivered to cinemas as a 4K DCP (Digital Cinema Package), ensuring that all the painstaking effort of the remastering process is faithfully retained from studio to screen. And the best way to enjoy the results is naturally with Sony’s industry-leading family of 4K projectors for every size of screen. With superlative colour, detail and contrast, it’s the ultimate compliment to the director’s original creative intent.

It’s great news for cinemas, offering a wealth of additional 4K content to attract audiences. And that’s not the only benefit of digital restoration. Projecting in 4K also means an end to the on-screen jitter that traditionally plagued celluloid… so today’s audiences can enjoy an experience that’s even better than the original theatrical release.

Past masters

Remastering is a painstaking process, with every frame of the negative being scanned electronically to create a digital facsimile. There’s a huge amount of information in the original film print, and 4K is the only option that can adequately capture all that detail. Anything mastered at less than 4K resolution is an inferior carbon copy, throwing away much of the subtle detail that gave the original its warm, rich sheen.

Specialist restorers like Park Circus have led the way in restoring dozens of titles – from Citizen Kane and Psycho to Ghostbusters – with unprecedented fidelity. With movies remastered and projected in 4K, audiences can experience the director’s creative vision as they pictured it, years or decades ago.

Sony Pictures Entertainment and other Hollywood studios have embarked on an ambitious programme to restore many classic films from the original 35mm or 70mm negatives. Here, remastering in 4K is the de facto choice for studios and distributors. At anything less than 4K resolution precious detail is thrown away forever, depriving audiences of a movie’s true integrity.

There’s a growing library of 4K reissues already available, giving movie-lovers the opportunity to re-evaluate iconic titles like Laurence of Arabia and Taxi Driver as the director intended. More recent cult hits have also been given the 4K treatment, like the 2004 shocker Saw that was specially remastered for a 10th anniversary Halloween release in the USA.

See movies that are already released in 4K >

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