The bicycle thief

Reliance Mediaworks will prepare titles for HD video

In a nondescript building in Burbank, Reliance MediaWorks has begun work on bringing a thousand films — some of them cult classics, many rarely seen for decades — back to life.

The list is wildly eclectic, ranging from classics of world cinema (“The Bicycle Thief,” “Notorious,” “The Third Man”) to cult hits (“Andy Warhol’s Dracula” and “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein”) to early Bruce Lee, Hammer horror films, exploitation titles and foreign films. Almost every film on the list has a recognizable actor or director, but many have never been released for home viewing.

RMW hopes that the new releases will not only bring life back to audience favorites, but also introduce the works to new eyes.

“What makes this collection of movies extremely unique is that many of the films have never been released on DVD, let alone Blu-ray,” said Naresh Malik, president of media and creative services.

Most of the titles are being up-converted from existing standard definition masters to high definition, not remastered from the original negatives. In many cases, the original film elements are not available, though RMW believes they will still achieve a quality result. RMW will also restore the audio of many of the titles.

RMW will use the award-winning Lowry Process, developed by John D. Lowry for film restoration. The key to the Lowry Process is temporal noise reduction, which allows for the removal of noise and other artifacts from film without sacrificing detail or quality. The proprietary software tracks images pixel-by-pixel and across multiple frames to create the most perfect picture possible.

Reliance MediaWorks built its reputation under the Lowry Digital moniker. It is now a branch of India’s Reliance Entertainment Group. It has restored films ranging from Hollywood classics such as “Gone With the Wind” and “North by Northwest” to the original “Star Wars” trilogy and all of the James Bond titles. The Lowry Process has also been used to remove digital artifacts from recent releases, including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Avatar.”

Malik hopes this is just the beginning. “What is 1,000 (films) today should be 10,000 in the future,” he said.

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