EXCLUSIVE: DGene, an emerging content creation company, has set an agreement with post-production specialist MTI Film to develop and use an advanced set of film restoration tools. The goal of the collaboration is to revive a number of classic films and TV series.
The companies are not yet identifying specific titles, but MTI has restored more than 100 classics, including Lawrence Of Arabia, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Godfather II and many more. It has worked on titles from Sony Pictures, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. MoMA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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With the streaming boom placing a premium on film and TV libraries, all displayed on better and better TV sets, the demand for restoration has been on the rise.
DGene’s technology employs artificial intelligence to create tools to revive old or damaged films so they can be uploaded onto streaming platforms. It can remove scratches, coloration issues, and can also fill in a gap if a part of a reel was lost or damaged in storage. The company says its methods make the restoration process faster and cheaper, with high-quality results.
“Film restoration is such important work in our industry and now that our tools make it more affordable, faster and produce clearer results for the viewer, we’ve opened up an endless possibility of content flow,” said Helena Packer, SVP and GM of DGene U.S. “MTI Film is a trusted expert in Hollywood as they have brought many great films back to life for new audiences, and we’re looking forward to partnering with them on future works.”
DGene’s focus on AI and machine learning “will provide valuable additions to our software offerings for our customers who use our software to restore the most revered films and classic television shows,” MTI Film CEO Larry Chernoff said. ”The DGene team is offering tech that will be extremely useful to us and our restoration work, making it quicker and also producing higher quality results that meet the expectations of today’s streaming audiences.”
DGene, which was founded by computer scientists, last month announced a $20 million Series A funding round it had locked up in 2017, led by Alibaba. In addition to restoration work, the company is also teaming with producer Jeff Apple on a project with the working title Secret Agent. The episodic series uses AI-driven characters combined with real-life actors’ performances on a volumetric capture stage in Baton Rouge, LA.
“From a technology perspective, our research team at DGene has long been working on building AI-based tools for a variety of industries and we’re excited to bring the power of artificial intelligence to the entertainment industry,” said Jason Yang, co-founder and CTO, DGene. “With tech that makes film restoration and editing more efficient and effective, it opens content libraries to be enjoyed by a broad range of audiences.”
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