Originally Posted by Ken H
By the 19th.
Great news! Thanks!
What I've seen so far is Academy (~4:3) aspect ratio films in Academy ratio and widescreen films (16:9 or 2.35:1) in widescreen. It can be hard to tell which are native HD and which are upconverted. I haven't seen any film that did not fill the screen either from top to bottom (Academy), or from left to right (widescreen), and none of them have been stretched so far.
Also great news! None of that crap the IFC is doing. I understand that little, if any, is true HD yet, but they are moving that way over the next year, including production facilities for their in-house stuff in HD.
They get a film print, and have it transferred to HD video. Old prints are stored in film vaults (climate and temperature controlled) across the country, but finding a good print, or good ones, is sometimes difficult. The transfer itself is the same process used for current release films, assuming they are on film and not electronic, which most current releases still are. Additional digital processing can be done to help eliminate film flaws when transfering old films, at additional cost. Sometimes, a frame by frame restoration is done, for particularly valued films, but it's very expensive and very time consuming.
Well, I knew that. My question was really rhetorical, meant to point out that HD transfers of TCM's vast library of old films aren't just sitting on a shelf. Most of what they show looks to be in good condition, so if they have prints as good as what they are showing, they should be able to avoid major, frame-by-frame restoration.
They are going to have a Sherlock Holmes marathon starting Christmas night, showing all but one of the Rathbone/Bruce films. I have read that those were recently restored by the UCLA Film Archive, and that TCM would be showing the restorations. Hope that is true, even if they are in SD.