HD Changing How We Look at History
In recent years two significant threats to the preservation of the history of World War II: the continued dying off of the Greatest Generation – the men and women who fought that great war, and the degradation of the film documenting the war.
Although nothing can be done to stop the natural course of life for the men who fought the Second World War, History Channel established the History Film Corps to ensure the later doesn’t mean the visual history of the war is lost to time and the elements.
The History Film Corps was established to help digitize and preserve everything from official military film to home movies taken by the men and women who served at home and overseas. History has put out the call to those same men and women and it has produced a treasure trove of footage. So much so that History produced a landmark series – World War II in HD – to show the world the submissions and the incredible work done by this project.
Because of the use of this HD technology, along with the digitalization of the film, not only are the images more stunning then when they were new, but now the film can be mastered and persevered digitally. This will allow future generations to continue to learn and feel what it was like during World War II.
The award-winning project then dovetailed into the same project to document the Vietnam War. Vietnam in HD debuted this past fall to the same critical reception as its World War II counterpart. Because the technology and film had drastically improved in the 20 years between the wars, the Vietnam footage is even more breathtaking.
When watching this footage, it’s important to remember it’s not true HD as we know today. Much of the source material is eight-millimeter home movies. But what the magicians at History Channel have done with both programs is truly amazing. Watching this grainy old footage restored in HD gives you more clarity and a transparent view into the people and places so long ago.
My grandfather was a Bronze Star winner in World War II and a proud vet. It’s refreshing to see what History Channel is doing, and they extent to which they’re going, to preserver what he and his fellow veterans did those so many years ago.
It might not be the most modern or clear HD programming on television today, but it’s the most important and the most significant.