Colorworks Completes Brilliant 4K Restoration of Frank Capra Classic “It Happened One Night”

Publish date:

Culver City, Calif. — Frank Capra’s 1934 comedy

It Happened One Night

was recently the subject of a lovingly painstaking 4K restoration by Sony Pictures Entertainment in advance of its release on Sony’s newly-launched Video Unlimited 4K download service. The first film to sweep the five top Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Best Adaptation), It Happened One Night is the first of five Capra classics slated for re-release in 4K over the next few years.

“This film is incredibly important to the studio,” observes Rita Belda, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Executive Director of Asset Management, Digital Mastering and Film Restoration. “It put Columbia on the map in terms of audience awareness and box office. It has been beloved and critically acclaimed from the moment it was released.”

The original 35mm negative that served as the basis for the restoration was in poor condition. Belda notes that in the 1930s it was common practice to use original negative to produce film prints for distribution. As a result, the negative suffered from damage due to overuse. Furthermore, a number of damaged scenes had been replaced by poor quality duplicate elements.

Restoration at Colorworks, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s DI facility, began with a newly manufactured wet-gate Fine Grain Master, which had been made from the Original Negative, and was scanned at 4K. The digital files then went through a lengthy digital film restoration process at Prasad Corporation, to address dirt, tears, scratches and other artifacts. The final restored files were graded in 4K at Colorworks.

Special care was taken to restore the film in a manner faithful to its original look. Belda points out that while dust and scratches were removed, the texture of the film grain was preserved. “The film was photographed by Joseph Walker who used filters to create a soft, glowing look, particularly in shots of the female stars,” Belda explains. “The result is a rich look with a lot of range in the mid-tones. The amount of detail in the negative was startling. It is so beautiful!”

Colorworks senior colorist Scott Ostrowsky notes that the Baselight system that he used to grade the film has sophisticated tools that allow him to apply subtle, highly nuanced adjustments. “This film has a soft, shadowy elegant look and we wanted to be sure to capture that without stepping on the image,” he says. “You don’t want to crush the blacks.”

The greatest challenge involved those scenes where damaged footage had been replaced by lesser quality duplicate frames. “It was very difficult to establish consistency between those scenes and the high quality, fine-grain print,” Ostrowsky says.

Successfully restoring films like It Happened One Night is not simply a matter of technology, Belda notes. It is a result of the passionate commitment of the restoration team, all of whom, she points out, are film lovers themselves. “We have a wonderful partnership with Colorworks,” she says. “Their colorists understand the value of our library, and the challenges we face.”

It Happened One Night

is now available on Sony Entertainment Network’s Unlimited 4K download service. The Video Unlimited 4K download service is accessible when using the Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player (FMP-X1) with Sony XBR-55X900 and XBR-65X900A Ultra HD TVs and the soon to be shipping XBR-55X850A and XBR-65X850A models.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to



More than 55 of the 2018 Fall Television and Streaming Series Rely on Blackmagic Design

More than 55 of the 2018 Fall Television and Streaming Series Rely on Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design today announced that the company’s production and post products were used to complete many of the fall 2018 season’s new and returning television shows and streaming series. More than 55 shows rely on Blackmagic Design’s digital film cameras; Fusion visual effects (VFX), compositing, 3D and motion graphics software; and DaVinci Resolve editing, color correction, VFX and digital audio software; as well as its switchers, routers, monitors and capture and playback devices.


Jingle All the Way: Luxul's XMS-1208P Managed Gigabit Switch is Available for All CI Integrators this Holiday Season

Luxul, the leading innovator of IP networking solutions for AV integrators, today announced that it's giving CI integrators the gift of enterprise-level performance at affordable price points this holiday season. It doesn't matter if they've been naughty or nice, the company's XMS-1208P 12-port/18 PoE+ managed Gigabit switch — that delivers high-speed performance while enabling simple network expansion — is now available for all. And to ring in the new year, Luxul will begin shipping its AMS-1816P 18-port/16 PoE+ L2/L3 managed Gigabit switch in early January.


HoverCam Transforms Classrooms Fit for Future-Ready Students at Val Verde USD

HoverCam, an innovative technology leader in the digital education market, announced that Val Verde Unified School District (USD) in Parris, California, successfully installed HoverCam's Pilot digital teaching stations and CenterStage interactive flat panels (IFPs) in new STEM labs in the elementary schools, with plans for an eventual rollout to the district's middle and high schools. As part of the district's goal to create future-ready students, Val Verde USD chose HoverCam digital education solutions to address the rising challenge of updating classrooms and introducing curriculum with advanced systems that will prepare students for a rapidly changing career landscape.


The Sigma Holiday Sale Is Back!

Nothing makes gift giving as enjoyable as special prices on award-winning Sigma lenses and accessories; get the lens you’ve always craved or surprise a fellow shooter with the perfect present.


Global News Agency Ruptly Relies on Riedel's MediorNet and Artist on Board New OB and DSNG Vehicles

Riedel's MediorNet real-time media network and Artist digital matrix intercom are providing the decentralized and redundant signal routing and communications backbone on board two all-new, state-of-the-art OB vehicles for Ruptly, a Berlin-based international news agency. Qvest Media, a world-leading system architect and integrator for the broadcast and media industries, designed and built the new broadcast van and DSNG vehicle.