Check out Robert A. Harris‘ article “DNR… and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night” at thedigitalbits.com. For those unfamiliar with his work, Robert is a highly respected film producer, historian and preservation expert, who has been responsible for some of the most important work to save and restore our favorite classic films.* His restoration work includes such films as: Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, My Fair Lady, Napoléon and many, many others.
In his new article, Mr. Harris discusses the current dangers facing our cinematic heritage on Blu-ray discs via the removal of not only film grain (which is an inherent part of a film and a film’s look), but of important details lost in the removal of high frequency information through the use of DNR (Digital Noise Reduction).
And, as with so many things, this danger exists in large part due to a combination of fear and misinformation. But with a little education, Mr. Harris shows us that we can nip this problem in the bud and have a bright future of films on Blu-Ray disc that look more like the films as they were intended, and less like video games.
As an example of what NOT to do, Mr. Harris uses the most recent Blu-Ray release of the 1970 Academy Award-winning film, Patton.
“When people see things they don’t understand, they become frightened, and the concept of what [a film] is — or was — still eludes some people. We all tend to reduce or expand things to a level we understand, and it can be fatal to a film… if what someone understands is Petticoat Junction.”
–cinematographer Gordon Willis
Update: Apparently Robert Harris’ post was removed from thedigitalbits per his request. More on that as I learn.