Watch: How the Criterion Collection Restores Old Movies for Beautiful New Releases

Watch: How the Criterion Collection Restores Old Movies for Beautiful New Releases

Feb 17, 2014

You stalk its Blu-ray release calendar, you organize your collection by the spine number, and your dream job is working for the art department. We’re talking about the Criterion Collection, of course. If you’ve ever wondered how the company’s stellar remasters are produced, this is a video you won’t want to miss.

Using Hitchcock’s 1940 film Foreign Correspondent to lead us through the process, Gizmodo went behind the scenes while editors, retouchers and designers worked their wizardry on the maestro’s espionage thriller. Technical director Lee Kline explains that obtaining a negative or a print is the first step — and thankfully, Foreign Correspondent’s negative was in surprisingly good condition. Scanning the negative at a 2K resolution (frame by frame), Criterion takes the resulting digital files and starts to work things over. Looking at the director or cinematographer’s past work, they can determine what those blacks, whites, the lighting, the setting (studio or on location) and in-betweens are really supposed to look like. The audio track is given the same makeover, removing cracks, pops and hisses with aplomb. (Where can we get a “decrackler?” It would probably solve all of life’s problems.)

Once the files are fixed, the artwork plays a key role in delivering the work to the masses. Criterion is known for design that pays tribute to the artist’s vision, while thinking outside the box. Foreign Correspondent’s cover is no different.

See how one of the home video market’s leaders creates Criterion magic in this six-minute short.




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