Hollywood zooms in on Super-Resolution

Hollywood zooms in on Super-Resolution

Technology improves quality of standard definition film

As the film industry comes to terms with the recent victory of Blu-ray over HD-DVD, a US company is promising to help producers enhance the quality of standard definition films.

US image enhancement firm Topaz Labs has announced a partnership with independent filmmaker Ryan Humphries, director of a film called Sounds, to demonstrate its Super-Resolution Technology.

Super-Resolution has primarily been used by spy satellites, the military, the CIA, a few hi-tech forensic labs and US law enforcement agencies.

Topaz claims to be the first company to develop and introduce the technology to the film industry.

Topaz has spent the past few years researching and designing ways to improve video quality.

The result is a series of proprietary video enhancement algorithms which the firm claims is radically more effective than typical scaling-based editing programs using so-called video enhancement features.

Super-Resolution extracts image information from multiple adjacent video frames and combines them to "resynthesise" video signals at much higher resolutions.

The software allows producers to bump-up standard definition film to high definition, or even high definition to digital film of 4,000 pixels.

Topaz claims that the system mirrors the difference in quality of Blu-ray over standard DVD, and complements Blu-ray in a number of ways to provide greater marketing and revenue possibilities for film producers.

Feng Yang, founder of Topaz Labs, said: "If you shot a movie in standard definition, which is generally 720 x 480, you can process it with Super-Resolution and achieve a high-definition quality 1920 x 1080 version of the movie.

"There are a lot of TV shows that were shot in film and can now be given much better image quality with Super-Resolution."