UNESCO declared October 27 the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage in 2005. This was primarily to draw attention to the fact that much of the audiovisual artifacts of the 20th and 21st centuries — including reels of beloved film and television — were in danger of being lost due to source degradation and obsolete technology. Despite this, effectively digitizing and modernizing decades’ worth of audiovisual archives has proven to be resource-intensive, time-consuming and expensive.
Jon Frydensbjerg and Morten Kolle set out to fix the problem in 2017. Inspired by recent advances in machine learning and AI, they went to work building a cloud-based video enhancement service called the Pixop Platform (pixop.com).
“We’re deeply invested in bringing classic stories back to life. Right now, reels of footage are gathering dust with very little hope of being broadcast again. Even if they are digitized and screened, they look dated and fall well short of what people have come to expect visually,” Morten Kolle, Pixop’s CEO, explains.
“We wanted to build a solution to solve that problem — one that was fully automated, consistent and better at enhancing and upscaling than manual methods for a fraction of the cost.”
Pixop recently worked with film distributor Screenbound International Pictures to upscale and enhance CI5: The New Professionals, a TV show from the 1990s.
As for how it works, Jon Frydensbjerg, Pixop’s CTO, explains:
“We applied a combination of classic noise reduction and proprietary deep learning algorithms to the letterboxed SD PAL digital master producing the 1080p HD version. In a nutshell, recent advances in machine learning provide us with a way of drastically enhancing degraded video.”
As for what the future holds, Morten and Jon are committed to breathing new life into as many classic movies and TV shows as they can.
Jon sums it up best: “Great stories deserve a second showing.”