If you’re a fan of restored movies on DVD, chances are you’ve come across Lowry Digital Images’ work. Whether it’s classics like Sunset Boulevard or the recently released Indiana Jones box set, this company has restored the film, and Macs play an integral role. Now Apple has
to its Pro/Film Web site area.
Founded in 1988, Lowry Digital Images was the brainchild of John D. Lowry. Lowry got his start restoring film of the Apollo missions for NASA, and holds original patents on his film restoration work. Much of his most challenging work comes from movies made in the 1950s and earlier, because of the volatility of the film and the bad condition it can be in.
Lowry counts three major problems that face a film restoration: Wear and tear; age; and degradation caused by duplication. He calls his process “[removing the veil] so you can see everything that’s in the original.”
Precisely how Lowry does his work is a closely guarded secret, but the basic process is documented by Apple: The film is digitally scanned, it’s digitally restored on a bank of Macs, then it’s checked by eye, frame by frame.
Lowry said that the Power Mac G4 and G5 made it possible for his company to make their business economically feasible.
Lowry Digital Images uses 100 dual-processor Power Mac G5s and another 300 Power Mac G4s running Mac OS X and Lowry’s own proprietary software, working with 100 terabytes of available hard disk storage. More details are on Apple’s site.