'My Fair Lady' Gets 8K Restoration

My Fair Lady-Film Still-Photofest-H 2019
Warner Bros. Pictures/Photofest

The 1964 classic musical My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, just received an 8K restoration that will air this weekend on Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, which recently launched an 8K broadcast channel.

It's an unusual restoration, as ultra-sharp 8K resolution represents four times the resolution of 4K and 16 times greater than 2K, but outside of Japan there are little to no opportunities for consumers to see native 8K. The TVs are starting to come to market, but U.S. broadcasters, streaming services and studios are nowhere near ready to build their businesses around 8K. In fact, the U.S. broadcasting system isn't even designed for (and can't) send an 8K signal to one's TV.

The My Fair Lady restoration was completed at Burbank-based postproduction house Fotokem, which is now offering its 8K capabilities to all clients as the format slowly gets off the ground. This restoration was commissioned by CBS for NHK, which is actively looking to develop 8K content for its new service — which was developed to be in place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. NHK plans to broadcast the games in 8K resolution.

In the case of My Fair Lady, Fotokem completed a 4K restoration of the movie a few years ago, and at that time, scanned the 65mm 5-perf negative and archived the material in 8K. This was the basis for the new version, with Fotokem colorist Mark "Griff" Griffith using the 4K restored version (which he also graded) as a guide to the look. (He used the latest 8K-upgraded version of the widely used Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve color grading system. And for display, Fotokem assembled four 4K OLED panels to create an 8K video wall.)

Fotokem's  vp digital intermediate services Tom Vice told The Hollywood Reporter that the company has started to get additional interest in 8K from filmmakers with an eye toward creating content for large-format theaters such as Imax.