Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 groundbreaking classic Akira is coming to Blu-Ray disc at the end of the month, and news is starting to circulate about the restoration that the film has undergone for the upcoming release. From the sound of things, fans of the film have every reason to look forward to the new transfer. Blu-Ray.com, which has a comprehensive story on the work that was needed to be done on the film, reports-
Even though Akira had major restoration work done for the 2001 DVD release, including a 1080p theatrical quality master, advances in digital restoration and film transfer technologies have increased to the point where a brand new transfer was warranted. As with the audio, a new inter-positive was struck from the original film negative for a new scan into a digital intermediate (DI); the master computer file upon which all of the remastering work was performed.
The article does into detail (Warning: Some mid-to-high level tech talk involved) about how the film was restored. It also talks about how the restoration producers tackled one of the on-going dilemmas of transferring film to Blu-Rau- How to accurately represent the cinematic experience of a film in a medium that can substantially change the look of that film-
Even though modern audiences have grown used to computer painted animation it is very easy to go overboard during the cleaning process in an attempt to come closer to that look and feel, as has been the case with some Hollywood films where processing and noise reduction has been used to excess. Subsequently, AKIRA was given a thorough color correction and [restoration producer] Mr. Takei believes the restoration team has gotten very close to the luster of the original animation cels, restoring the picture to a condition that allows AKIRA to be experienced as its creators had intended.
The Blu-Ray release of Akira hits shelves on February 24. You can pre-order it at Amazon.com.