A 4K, 60hz up-scaled, colorized scene from Fritz Lang's 1927 film, "Metropolis"


Stool Chef
Apr 12, 2005
San Francisco area, CA, USA
2015 Mazda 3 S GT, 2015 VW e-Golf
I've seen this movie a couple dozen times. I used to put it on as background white "noise" (though usually played along with Skinny Puppy's Too Dark Park album) when I was in my teens and 20s. Seeing it in this "remixed" video quality is a bit hypnotic and unsettling how "real" it looks.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be955EMr13o
For comparison, this is how I was used to seeing it (worse, actually, because the DVD transfer I had was dogshit)

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJWhaRz7_VA
I think this is a nice proof of the power of technology, but is it "real"? It is a fully computer-generated approximation of how this may or may not have looked back then in Babelsberg.
Also, it is missing the aura (in a Benjamin sense) of the original.
I sort of agree.
It is certainly impressive. It also shows that all the styling, make-up and even the sets were designed for the black and white medium. Seeing it in a high resolution and in colour, it crosses over from artsy to downright uncanny for me.
I very much enjoy seeing old film re-scanned at 4K, the amount of detail captured never fails to impress. I'm not so sure about this colourisation. It appears to be well done and the technique works well for photos but I don't know if it adds anything here.

Over the last week or so lots of old films of the Queen have been shown on the news, the detail really is impressive. Then it hits the video tape era and the quality takes a big dive, limited as it is to the magnetic tape format.
Make no mistake, I make no claims that this is an "improvement" over the original, in anything other than image fidelity. I agree that it transforms the film into something it wasn't meant to be. For me, because I was so familiar with the original, this was SUCH a new, and different experience with this specific film, I thought it was worth sharing. I put "real" in quotes, because it was really more "surreal". Realistic looking, yet somehow more affected by it's new medium than even the stylized original.
Over the last week or so lots of old films of the Queen have been shown on the news, the detail really is impressive. Then it hits the video tape era and the quality takes a big dive, limited as it is to the magnetic tape format.

It's weird how easy it is to forget just how good the quality at the time COULD have been if magnetic tape hasn't come on so strong so early in it's development, and also analog. My entire mental image of the video of this era was of fuzzy video with shitty color, tracking issues, static-y artifacts, etc.

Then one stumbles upon a video like this, where it's basically HD, and it almost doesn't look real. It looks like...if a 2002 filmmaker was making a dramatic retelling of the band's story, filmed with modern equipment, and then spend massive amounts of time and money on wardrobe, makeup, and hair styling, to make it feel authentic. It looks like a museum diorama recreation. To be clear, this was shot on high-definition tape.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0QDB9FtnUM
Some shots are better than others. It starts soft, but then you get a good in-focus medium shots like at 1:00, close-ups like at 2:00, and the piano closeup at 5:33...blows my mind that this quality existed outside of movies filmed on film.

Compare that to this video of the same song, recorded just one year prior.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flHccK69gOA
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That video is gorgeous, but I don't think that was recorded on film. There aren't many shots with other cameras in (impressive considering how many there are) but I can't see anywhere for the reels.


I can't work out exactly what this camera is, but there were analogue HDTV systems available at the time. They were just rarely used and cost a fortune.

Back to film, even 8mm can look really good when re-scanned using modern hardware.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwhvFNtm3vw
Yeah, you are right, that Toto video was recorded on videotape, but indeed a "high definition" (though probably not technically, by today's standards) example. I worded my point poorly...that the consumer grade, and commonly used video tape quality was so bad compared to what was possible with more advanced tech even at the time. The world jumping to video tape like it did was a great disservice to quality, though no doubt the low cost gave us more quantity than we'd ever have had from that time otherwise.

Again, back to film, I never did get a chance to see the Peter Jackson film with the upscaled WWI film...I really wanted to see that in a theater.
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