4K restoration challenges 3D as Blu-Ray money spinner

Sony continues to team up with cinemas across the world to screen films remastered with or shot with its 4K technology, which the company boasts offers over 8.8 million pixels on the screen.

Six years on from 4K’s launch, Sony is keen to highlight its initiative in remastering and restoring films for sale on Blu-Ray.

Speaking at a press event this week at the Everyman Screen on the Green cinema, Islington, a panel told journalists that we probably won’t need to progress beyond 4K, ever. Because the human eye just can’t see resolutions that high.

Watching the re-mastered classic, Dr Strangelove, touched-up with 4K technology there was a very visible difference in quality. Scratches on the original film were no longer there, and the deep contrast in black and white was, the panel promised us, exactly how Dr Strangelove was intended to be seen in the first place. A younger hackette admitted the improved quality helped keep her engaged, though film purists may spit blood at such claims.

It’s not about completely digitally remastering old cinema, though. The Sony spokesperson said the team’s intentions were never to take the character out of films – we all know in our hearts that Han shot first – but to clean up and restore them so that they have the character they were originally shot with.

A spokesperson for Everyman Cinema said watching films is an inherently social experience, and because it is, there will always be a demand for remastered or classic films to be shown on the big screen.

4K offers other possibilities which can be valuable culturally. A journalist asked the panel about its uses in restoring near-destroyed, unwatchable relics of film that are culturally significant. It is possible.

TechEye asked whether 4K Blu-Ray retouches or 3D Blu-Ray would be a bigger money spinner. The answer was as ambiguous as we expected. Consumers will vote with their Sterling and there will always be terrible films, in 3D or otherwise. However, looking at 4K restoration, it’s easy to see where the bigger catalogue lies – Sony has restored other films, like Taxi Driver, and is continuing to do so.