Restore vs Remaster ?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott W., Aug 12, 2004.

  1. Scott W.

    Scott W. Second Unit

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    With the star wars trilogy coming up soon, I'm just wondering... what is the meaning and difference between restoring and re-mastering? These terms are included in every dvd description that I've read on the net about the upcoming star wars trilogy. Thanks in advance guys.

    Scott
     
  2. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    BEWARE: these terms are grossly misused. This is what they REALLY mean:

    Restore: to restore a film or audio recording is to bring it back to its original condition. Example: Lawrence of Arabia was originally released at a length of X minutes. Over the years, not only did it deteriorate due to age, it was also shortened as bits were removed. The restoration process consisted of repairing damage and re-inserting bits of footage that had been removed. It is my understanding that the "restored" version is not 100% identical to the original, but it is as close as possible, given the available materials.

    Remaster: when a film or record is mass produced, the copies are made from a "master" copy. This master copy comes from some other source material, such as an archival film print or a studio master tape. When too many copies have been made, the "master" begins to wear out. Remastering means literally making another master for copies to be mass-produced from, by going back to the source materials. Often a DVD will be released and folks will complain, "it should have been remastered" when it often WAS. Remastering does not mean digitally cleaning up all flaws, removing all grain, and making a 30 year old production look like it was shot yesterday.

    I eagerly await any improvements or corrections to the above. [​IMG]

    The industry uses these terms pretty much interchangably to mean "bigger and better, new and improved". Take them with a grain of salt.

    EDIT: Technically, I would call the Star Wars DVDs "remastered" but not really "restored". George Lucas is kicking himself in the crotch by continuing to, I believe "fuck with" is the technical term, these films unnecessarily. If the 77, 80, and 83 versions are ever truly "restored", I would dearly love to have them on DVD.
     
  3. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    One note: With DVDs and similar the "stamper" used to make the physical duplicates is not necessarily the same as the "master", which is generally a digital tape containing the compiled DVD-format video file [or CD-DA file, or whatever]. Typically, we have a multistep chain: original film via telecine chain to master videotape; master videotape via DVD authoring suite to DVD master tape; DVD master tape via mastering lathe to stamper. So, when people say "remastered" about DVD they generally mean either "retransferred" or "reauthored" [which latter may involve a different compression algorithm implementation, a big deal with MPEG-2]. Most people don't have the slightest idea what stamper their DVDs came from, and wouldn't know what to do with the information anyway [​IMG] .
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Thanks, Christopher. I can see how my explanation, without your clarification, could be misleading and/or confusing.

    A DVD would need to be remastered NOT because the stamper wears out, but for the following reasons:

    Re-authored: in the case of improved compression technology, or someone applying too much Edge Enhancement to the old version.

    Re-transferred (with the new transfer then re-authored): improved transfer technology, or higher quality source material made available.

    If a film print were to be restored, the resulting print would have to be re-transferred and re-authored in order for the consumer to benefit from it.

    I hope everything is crystal clear now. :b
     
  5. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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    For those that know is it a good idea to use the Inter-negative over an Inter-positive when creating a new film transfer for home video release?
     
  6. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    According to my film textbook, the interpositive is one step closer to the original camera negative than is the internegative. For image quality one always wants to be as close as possible to that original, but on the other hand the internegative is edited into the final cut of the film to provide the prints. The answer, then, in the absence of special circumstances, is: to work from the interpositive would be preferable for PQ but almost totally impracticable from a physical standpoint.
     
  7. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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    When studios decided they want to re-master a movie, they go to the film's Inter-positive for processing in the Telecine?
     
  8. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Marcus,

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that the difference between a transfer from an IP and one from an IN is that the IN will have reel changing marks (i.e. "cigarette burns") in the upper right corner every 12-15 minutes, while the IP will not. Therefore, most laserdiscs and DVDs are from IPs.

    Isn't that correct, everyone? As always, I am happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.
     
  9. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Well, prints will always have the reel-change marks. Internegatives, not necessarily -- particularly recent ones, since some facilities use larger reels nowadays which do not require changing at the same interval, and they are printed from the IN same as everything else.
    As noted above, "remastering" does not always mean a new transfer. Anything can be used in a telecine, from the original camera negative to a regular theatrical print.
    A conscientious house will try to get as close to that original negative as possible, but often as I said neither original negative nor interpositive is available in a form which can readily be handled by the transfer process, even if they still exist. Neither of them has, typically, been edited, and the telecine people can hardly be expected to go back and duplicate the editor's work!
     
  10. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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    This maybe a bit off topic but I was wondering about who “New Line” chooses to do the authoring of there DVD(s). Always gorgeous, clear, sharp and detailed the picture quality. I just finished re-watching my copy of Boomerang which I recently bitched about in the software thread, yes I know it’s a Paramount title but it made me think why doesn’t everybody look as crisp as New Line?
     
  11. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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    [c] thread bump[/c]
     

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