Feeds

BBC rebuilds Civilisation in HD

Seminal 1960s documentary restored for transmission

The essential guide to IT transformation

Kenneth Clark's Civilisation was a genuine television event when it was first broadcast in 1969. Thanks to restoration work carried out on the more than 40-year-old film stock it may be about to repeat its success.

The BBC has remastered the 13-part series into HD and will broadcast the critically acclaimed documentary on the BBC HD channel next month.

While Civilisation was produced for transmission in standard definition - and in black and white, to boot - it was considered sufficiently prestigious to be shot entirely on 35mm colour film.

Almost all other television film footage at the time, and for many years after, was shot on 16mm film.

The bigger frame size would have given the Corporation's technicians a better source for digitising the work, having sonically cleaned the film stock and scanned it using something like the Spirit one-light telecine system used so effectively in the BBC's Doctor Who DVD restorations.

Manually and automatically cleaning up remaining dirt and grain, will have generated a top quality digital copy which can then be re-graded to restore the colour vibrancy.

Technical jiggery-pokery aside, will the programme still stand up? Clark was a toff - he was a Knight of the Realm and sat in the House of Lords - and an art historian of the old school, disdaining most modern works, when the programme was made. His conclusions won't match those of a more down-to-Earth colleague making such a show today.

But it will a good to get away for a moment from the current vogue for filling historical programmes with dramatic reconstructions - do extras dressed up as Goëring or Roman legionaries really help us understand history more? - and return to the old style talking heads approach, something only Simon Schama's A History of Britain production team has ever quite managed to come close to.

Civilisation will be shown in weekly parts from Monday, 21 February. A Blu-ray Disc release will almost certainly follow. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Judge nixes HP deal for director amnesty after $8.8bn Autonomy snafu
Lawyers will have to earn their keep the hard way, says court
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.