Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A quick comment on aura

Just a quick comment: I wonder how Benjamin would feel about the colorization and digital restoration process that is often applied to old black and white films. If it indeed enhances the look and quality of the film, is there still something lost? But then again, who's to say that digital restoration enhances anything or makes anything better? Sure, it makes films look more like others of today, but isn't there something to be said for maintaining the original quality and essence of the original film stock? Who really wants to see Chaplin in HD? Something of the essence of the film is definitely lost.

I didn't think about this before, and was taking film as an unchanging medium, but with more and more restoration software available (ie: Film Fix 1.0, products by DIAMANT) there is a proliferation of old films that have been "enhanced," usually meaning that the colors have become more saturated, the overall look of the film more clear and sharp. Does this cause an addition decrease in the aura that Benjamin speaks of, or is film a medium that contains little aura to begin with?


Princess Leah said...

After Meekle's short animation screened at the Artivist Festival on Saturday night there was a Q&A session. One of the audience members wanted to know where the guys found the 'archival' footage of the scientist. Calvin explained that they created it with a green screen, and Michael added that the actor is his uncle. The guy who asked and other folks in the audience appeared surprised that the scientist live action explainy stuff was not from a cheesy, decades-old promotional film. So I would argue that the appearance of older film stock creates a additional layer of perception within the audience.

I'm just saying...

Katharine Relth said...

Just to make it clear, I'm not arguing for or justifying restoration. I don't agree with it, unless the film is damaged horribly and cannot be viewed without restoration.
I am, however, a huge advocate of PRESERVATION.