Warner reveals all about Blu-ray classics

warner reveal HD classic strategy
warner reveal HD classic strategy

The Senior Vice President in charge of Warner Home Video's classic catalogue has been speaking about some of the technology behind releasing classic films on Blu-ray, and admits the task to bring old movies up to a 1080p standard is an expensive one.

In an interview with High-def digest.com, George Feltenstein of Warner speaks about the restoration process, explaining: "Blu-ray demands perfection and our consumers demand that these films achieve the best possible image quality. I assure you they will, but there will always be people out there who will nitpick and find something wrong with them."

Setting a new standard

Feltenstein mentions the cost of restoring a classic, and uses one of the company's most-famous films as an example: "We thought Gone With the Wind would be good to go on Blu-ray with what was done previously, plus $200,000 for dirt cleaning. But to look perfect, we had to start all over from scratch at enormous cost."

Not that money was an issue, when dealing with a classic: "I took it to management and there was no hesitation," he said.

"Having a film like Gone With the Wind on Blu-ray will set a new standard and pave the way for more classic releases."

HD mastering since 2002

Getting classic movies HD Ready is something of a bone of contention in the movie industry. Recently, Sky commented on the lack of titles available being the reason why the company has yet to release a dedicated classic movie HD channel.

Feltenstein agrees that there's not enough titles given the HD treatment, and this is something that is set to change.

"I don't think you'll find anyone on the planet complaining more about the lack of classic releases on Blu-ray than me," he explained.

"Some titles will take longer than others, but a film's vintage will not keep it from Blu-ray.

"Because we've been mastering in 1080p since 2002, we have gorgeous high-definition masters on more than 250 black-and-white 4x3 movies. They're just not the kind of movies that will lure people into Blu-ray."

Read the full interview at High-def digest.com.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.