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Feature: The Indiana Jones Trilogy

In the issue...

It's been a long time coming to disc, but according to Paramount’s Senior Vice Chairman of DVD, Jeff Radoycis, restoration expert John Lowry and DVD Producer Laurent Bouzereau it’s been well worth the wait...

While all three films have been available on VHS for some time, the growing home cinema market has resulted in considerable demand for their release on DVD. Prayers are answered this month, as The Adventures of Indiana Jones – The Complete DVD Movie Collection arrives in stores, featuring a bonus disc of supplementary material and stunning transfers of all three films.

Now two decades old, the movies required considerable renovation before they met the high standards demanded by Lucas and Spielberg. The restoration process was supervised by Jeff Radoycis, Senior Vice President of World-wide DVD Production at Paramount Home Entertainment, who had previously worked on The Godfather DVD Collection and Titanic. The repairs and augmentations were time consuming and complex, as Radoycis tells Ultimate DVD.

“We went back to the original camera negative and created new film,” he says. “We took that inter-positive and transferred that into high definition tape, and used Steven’s original colourist and the man who has supervised the transfer of about every movie he has done, Lou Levinson. We went through this process so that when you get to that environment you are starting to see things you’ve never seen before: you’ve dramatically upgraded the visibility of what’s on the film originally.”

The cleaning and repair of individual frames was undertaken by John Lowry whose company, Lowry Digital Images, had previous been responsible for the make-overs of classic including Sunset Boulevard, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Roman Holiday.

“These movies were generally in very good shape,” says Lowry, “but bear in mind there are three films here of 170,000 frames each, so we had half a million individual pictures, and then we worked on two versions of each. So we went through about a million pictures.

“We start with, in this case, videotape, and in real time we convert that into computer data. We put the entire the entire movie onto our servers. We analyze what’s in the movie and put 300 computers to work to do the processing, each with about 1.5 gigabytes of RAM. They’ve all worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to process the images.

“The biggest problems were dirt – we were under orders that these should be pristine – and we removed about half a million pieces of dirt. There was a piece about every second frame. There was a very serious scratch on Raiders, right down the middle, which went on for over 20 minutes, so something like 30,000 frames had to have a scratch removed. These things are challenging.”

by David Richardson

Find out more about these DVDs and many, many other releases this month, in
Ultimate DVD #48

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd, Indian Jones © Paramount Home Video
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

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Ultimate DVD #48, see below for ordering options
Ultimate DVD #48
November 2003
ships from Oct 9 2003
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