Peter Jackson shares clips from his World War I film restoration

Originally published at:


Amazing, wonderful, can’t wait to see the finished film.

On the other hand, I predict that within the next decade no moving image will be trustworthy- computers have allowed us to make moving images that our eyes cannot tell are computer generated or enhanced (see the Obama things that Jordan Peele helped make). It is going to get weird.


With any luck programs able to detect forgeries will keep up with program forging images.


Interesting that colorized video is now embraced where it was shunned back in the 90s (80s?) when TimTed Turner tried it. Maybe we just got better at it? I remember colorized It’s A Wonderful Life was totally scorned when it came out.

edit: I don’t know how that Tim got in there…


I’m very much looking forward to seeing this, especially since he’s focusing on bringing the common soldier’s experience into sharp and clear focus narratively as well as technically.

It makes sense that the Imperial War Museum would have approached Jackson for the project. Not only is he a film craftsman and technologist of the highest order, but the experiences of the ANZACs in the Great War defined Australia and New Zealand as modern nations standing distinct from Britain.

I don’t know if they’ll colourise everything in this film, but they have gotten better at it. The reason Ted Turner got so much flak for trying to colourise It’s A Wonderful Life in the 1980s to make it more relatable to “the kids” was not only because the process was far from imperfect. The colourisation also made a jarring change in a work of art that was specifically shot within the limitations of B&W technology and in the process bent those limitations into an advantage; it made as much sense colourising a 1940s film noir.


Er, that was Ted Turner. And those colorized movies just looked wrong. A colorized Casablanca or M? Pure blasphemy. And then you got the weird artifacts like Frank (Ole Blue Eyes) getting brown eyes. If Turner had had his way he probably would have colorized every frame of The Wizard of Oz.


Some of those programs will be forgeries, designed to false-security-sense-lull.


A Wilderness of (Black) Mirrors.

I always thought he’d be the only director that could tackle a remake of the 1927 WWI film Wings.


I was gonna say: basically this.

I imagine Fox News will have their own detection program, and agenda. The people are going to believe what they want to believe. If a video shows someone they hate doing something horrible, it won’t matter who is shouting that it was faked. And vice versa.

Especially if the explanation as to why a video is detected to be fake relies on things they don’t understand…

Yes it is.

“Who you gonna trust?” “Hoax Busters!”


I take it you are familiar with the miniseries Anzacs.
One of the best television series devoted to The Great War.

If not, I highly recommend it.


Also bear in mind the restoration effort is not just the colorizing, but physical restoration of fragile combustible nitrate film which is near or over a century old. And being shown at a watchable frames per second speed as intended.


It never aired in the U.S. as far as I know, so thank you. Back in the 1980s I’d watch any Aussie movie about the Great War so I’m sure I’m in for a treat.


I have never felt as sorry for an inanimate object as I do for the shirt Peter Jackson is wearing in this clip… It looks like he hasn’t taken it off in four days. Who let him wear that in a promotional video!?

1 Like

Every time I see a WW I article, I’m obligated to tell people that the WW 1 memorial in Kansas City is fantastic. It’s architecturally fascinating and the museum is first-rate.


wow, this is stunning work. i hope the tech can salvage and digitize a ton more material from all over the world before it’s lost.


One aspect here is that Turner was colorizing movies where the director could be presumed to have made artistic choices based on how the black and white film would look. Colorizing it overrides those choices in much the same way as a “fan edit” does, and while that may be fine as a fan work, doing it commercially is a different thing, and by doing it while owning the platform the films could be viewed on he was essentially pushing his version over the original.

Jackson here is colorizing films that were just documenting what was happening–the director would not have been setting things up to look a certain way in black and white. There’s the separate issue that if the colorization gets something wrong it may distort the historical record, but the people who’d actually be using these films for historical research aren’t going to depend on the colorization.


our bbs regularly offers me three sets of discourse: things that i want that are not yet made … things that i want that are no longer available … and things that are in the boing boing store.


Oh, I agree … I think people may have been more turned off by Ted Turner’s arrogance as much as anything else. And I think they’ve gotten better about using less garish colors in the process.

I was watching a series that appeared on cable last year … America in Color … where they took archive footage from a particular decade, and colorized it in order to make it a little more relatable for modern audience’s eyes. I think they were much more successful at it than Turner was.


Well, for those interested in reading about how the “regular soldiers” fared, I’ll put in a recommendation for the books of Lyn Mcdonald.