Store IT again Sam

When Humphrey Bogart utters the famous lines in Casablanca, “here’s looking at you kid,” he probably didn’t have serial ATA hard drives in mind.

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By  Peter Branton Published  July 4, 2004

When Humphrey Bogart utters the famous lines in Casablanca, “here’s looking at you kid,” he probably didn’t have serial ATA hard drives in mind. But that’s exactly what is being used to restore classic films for DVD distribution today. A California, USA, based company, Lowry Digital Images, is using Cavier SE SATA drives from Western Digital to give new life to some of cinema’s most enduring (in some senses) films. Lowry Digital Images uses no less than 600 Power Mac G5s with dual processors and a massive storage complex built using hundreds of WD Caviar SE 250 GB SATA hard drives. Films are scanned on to the hard drives and searched for problems, such as dirty prints, soft-focus, graining, and other imperfections. These are then removed using proprietary software. The firm currently has 370 TB of on-line storage capacity but high resolution films can require as much as 75MB of storage for each individual frame – up to 13TB for an entire film. Western Digital is hoping this story will showcase exactly what people can do with its drives. “The kind of innovation represented in these hard drives is helping many companies in non-PC markets build digital data storage systems that improve their methods and results,” said Richard E Rutlidge, vice president of marketing for the company. “Western Digital is designing drives with many applications in mind in addition to PCs.” Lowry Digital Images’ CEO John Lowry has been processing motion images since 1972, when he cleaned-up and enhanced the live television broadcasts from the moon during the Apollo 16 and 17 lunar landings. Films processed at Lowry Digital Images include Citizen Kane, North by Northwest, Sunset Boulevard and the much-quoted Casablanca.

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