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Remastered music videos


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I just saw HD remaster of "Zombie" by The Cranberries and it looks spectacular.

Video came out in 1994. It was directed by Samuel Bayer who also did "Smells like teen spirit", among many others.

Recently I've been mildly obsessed with the idea of high definition remasters of old music videos. When I saw "Alien" movies for the first time on Blu-Ray after watching them for years on vhs tapes recorded from television, it was like seeing them for the first time. I'm of course talking about proper scans of 16mm or 35mm film. Youtube recently has been uploading many upscaled music videos advertising them as HD. Some people have been attempting to upscale videos using machine learning, but results aren't good.

Some music videos from 80s and 90s are true pieces of art. A lot were made by acclaimed directors like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, Anton Corbijn. Hell, even Michael Bay.

Of course original film needs to still exist for a proper remaster to be even possible. If any special effects were originally done in post production in low resolution, those would have to be redone from scratch, which would be expensive. More on the subject by Tom Scott,

Some other examples:

Directed by Dom and Nic; premiered in 1997. At 2:49 you can see people cloned in post production.

Not an MTV era, but definitely worth seeing. Directed by Peter Goldmann (1967):

 

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Some videos by Eurythmics and Annie Lennox where also remastered. The company that did the scanning also did other music videos, some of which have not been published yet. There's some great cinematography here and Annie Lennox is a good actress.

1986, directed by Willy Smax. Stop motion scenes sadly remained in low resolution:

1987, directed by Sophie Muller

1989, directed by Sophie Muller

1990, directed by Sophie Muller

1992, directed by Sophie Muller. Starring Hugh Laurie and John Malkovich. For some reason uploaded only in 1080p.

1995, directed by Lennox and Joe Dyer:

 

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They'll be releasing couple of remastered videos of Alanis Morissette over the next week. Starting with "Ironic" from 1996, directed by Stéphane Sednaoui:

"Hand In My Pocket"; directed by Mark Kohr, 1995

"You Learn", directed by Liz Friedlander, 1996

"You Oughta Know"; directed by Nick Egan, 1995. This one's less sharp (recorded on 8mm perhaps?). Parts that are crisp look like they have been edited from photos. Flea plays on bass and Dave Navarro on guitar (they are not in the video though),

"Head Over Feet"; directed by Michee Laurita and Alanis Morissette, 1996:

 

 

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Though not exactly a remaster, I was struck how just one concept of music journalism from 2005 became the most clever Rap battle series I ever saw. Still not surpassed even by the Honest Government satire from The Juice Media.

The original concept:

 

And the epic rap videos themselves:

Fun fact, YouTube/Google algorithms never led me to these videos despite me watching every Epic Rap Battle video religiously.

Edited by Anderson

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Released earlier this month. Uncensored version of Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" which shows more clearly what happened to the main character. Actor who played Jeremy died in 2016. Directed by Mark Pellington, 1992.

 

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The most captivating for our imagination is of course the famous hologram of Tupac Shakur:

However I find it sad that some good techno/electronic/drum&bass isn't remastered that much. Of course, the question that begs asking, is, if it needs a remaster? Stuff like UNKLE or Massive Attack looks just as fresh as if it was made in the 2000's.

 

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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4 hours ago, Anderson said:

The most captivating for our imagination is of course the famous hologram of Tupac Shakur

I don't really have a strong opinion on that. I love Gorillaz, they did that first, but it seems like a gimmick.

4 hours ago, Anderson said:

However I find it sad that some good techno/electronic/drum&bass isn't remastered that much. Of course, the question that begs asking, is, if it needs a remaster? Stuff like UNKLE or Massive Attack looks just as fresh as if it was made in the 2000's.

That UNKLE video, just like many old videos on Youtube has only 480 lines of image. Analogue television in Europe used to have 576 lines. Add to that Youtube's compression and it's possible that now it actually looks worse than in the nineties. I just checked and for example Massive Attack's "Angel" is only 360p on Youtube. It was uploaded in 2009. Sound probably suffers from heavy compression too.

By the way, Massive Attack's music video for "Unfinished Sympathy" was an inspiration for the "Bitter Sweet Symphony" video. I certainly would like to see it in high resolution. "Streets of Philadelphia" is also so similar, that it had to be inspired by Massive Attack.

Anyway, here's one drum and bass music video remastered that I recently came across. Directed by Mike Lipscombe, 1994:

 

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15 hours ago, Arcturus said:

I don't really have a strong opinion on that. I love Gorillaz, they did that first, but it seems like a gimmick.

That UNKLE video, just like many old videos on Youtube has only 480 lines of image. Analogue television in Europe used to have 576 lines. Add to that Youtube's compression and it's possible that now it actually looks worse than in the nineties. I just checked and for example Massive Attack's "Angel" is only 360p on Youtube. It was uploaded in 2009. Sound probably suffers from heavy compression too.

By the way, Massive Attack's music video for "Unfinished Sympathy" was an inspiration for the "Bitter Sweet Symphony" video. I certainly would like to see it in high resolution. "Streets of Philadelphia" is also so similar, that it had to be inspired by Massive Attack.

Anyway, here's one drum and bass music video remastered that I recently came across. Directed by Mike Lipscombe, 1994:

 

At least the hologram gimmick seems futuristic enough so that it would be worth pursuing.

I always had some weird impression of being cheated on some remastered, presumably high resolution videos which were, in reality simply resized/stretched. Ofc this is coming from a layman that always acquired and still acquires warez. I reckon there are ways to give this optical illusion, whereas actually the video remains of the same quality. It's kind of hard to spot the difference between 480 p and 720 p. A fortiori it's harder when talking of 1080 p and 4K. Not that I don't appreciate the quality! We just need to get there hardware wise as well. Many home computers/internet connections struggle to deliver anything more than 720 p.

With respect to the drum & bass video you posted, I think this is the problem. It's not obvious that there's a 1440 p option unless you look into settings. And, per a contrario there's just some video clips with great shots where it may not be obvious that it's even 360 or 480 p.

That being said I hope 1080 p will be increasingly available/affordable/standardized and not something extremely demanding such as Blu-Ray was.

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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6 hours ago, Anderson said:

I always had some weird impression of being cheated on some remastered, presumably high resolution videos which were, in reality simply resized/stretched

Lots of videos on Youtube that are labeled as HD are in fact upscaled SD. They will usually look better than 360p or 480p videos that were uploaded decade ago. I try to find videos that were scanned from film in high definition and re-uploaded recently.

Film of course doesn't have resolution the same way as digital images. Quality will depend on type of film, its light sensitivity, lenses used. Typically at 1080 film grain is already noticeable. Heavy video compression may smooth out that grain, since it's treated like an unnecessary noise. Bluray has enough bitrate to display film grain at 1080 although some films on Bluray had it filtered out, which caused some controversy among fans.

Here are some music videos from the eighties that are super grainy. At 1080 most of the grain is gone, due to Youtube's lower bitrate. However, at 4k even fine grain is clearly visible.

directed by Peter Israelson, 1986

 

Warning! Next two aren't safe for work because of butts.

"I'm Still Standing", 1983. Shot in Cannes. Directed by Russell Mulcahy, who did one of my favorite movies from the 80s - Highlander. According to Wikipedia it was shot on 16 mm film, which explains why the grain is so huge.

"It's So Easy", 1989. Directed by Nigel Dick.

 

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Ditto! But what about black & white?

I mean, it is like this monochrome thing going on with the „Inner City Life” video.

Edited by Anderson

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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I love that song and video but It's an upscale. It just doesn't have enough sharpness to be HD. Plus the author of the song himself, Jyoti Mishra says so under the video:

Quote

The video is stylized as an old silent film. I suspect all the effects like vignetting where done in post production in SD, and an HD master doesn't exist. If they wanted to make a proper remaster, they would have to scan original negatives in HD (if they still exist) and redo all the editing. IMDB says it was shot on 16mm. Interesting that they have such info.

À propos, here's an example where musician himself scanned original 16mm negative and then edited the video in high resolution on his own. Directed by Philip Harder, 1996:

And here the singer Ken Andrews and the director talk about shooting of the music video in the 90's and remastering it 24 years later:

 

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Some videos from Pink Floyd.

 

Next two were directed by Storm Thorgerson who also designed many of the band's album covers.

1987:

Alternative version has more characters in it. Some sources state that this is the original version:

1994:

 

Two clips that were displayed at concerts, I believe also by Thorgerson (though couldn't quickly find sources confirming that):

 

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I'm looking for live shows in HD too. Here's The Jimmy Hendrix Experience, shot in Maui on July 30, 1970. Drums seem to be overdubbed as they don't match the footage.

 

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Came out two days ago. “Stuck in a moment you can’t get out of”; directed by Kevin Godley, filmed in Los Angeles in November 2000:

From U2’s website:

Quote

Over the next year the band’s music video catalogue will be remastered in HD and launched exclusively on YouTube in that format. (…) best known music videos upgraded to HD for the first time ever, up to 4K quality when possible.

Yesterday they uploaded “Beautiful Day”, but it’s clearly been merely upscaled to 1080p from low res video. So not every U2 music video will be properly remastered from original negatives.

BTW, here's a link to a playlist with all the remastered music videos I could find. Here's a playlist with concerts in HD.

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