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Lowry Digital

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lowry Digital
IndustryFilm restoration
Founded1988; 36 years ago (1988)
HeadquartersBurbank, California
Key people
John D. Lowry, founder
Ramki Sankaranarayanan, President
ParentReliance Entertainment

Lowry Digital is a digital film restoration company based in Burbank, California. John D. Lowry (June 2, 1932 – January 21, 2012) was a Canadian film restoration expert and innovator who founded Lowry Digital Images in 1988.

Company History[edit]

John D. Lowry (June 2, 1932 – January 21, 2012) was a Canadian film restoration expert and innovator who founded Lowry Digital Images in 1988.

Lowry Digital Image was largely shaped by the needs of its first studio clients. The company was known as DTS Digital Images while it was owned by digital audio company DTS from 2005 to 2008. It then changed its name to Lowry Digital in April 2008, when it was acquired by India's Reliance MediaWorks, which is part of the Reliance ADA Group owned by Indian businessman Anil Ambani. Lowry Digital was later acquired by Prime Focus Technologies (PFT) as part of a merger of the film and media services business of Reliance MediaWorks (the media & entertainment arm of Reliance Group) and Prime Focus Ltd (PFL), a public limited company.[1]

The Lowry Digital Process was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Scientific and Technical awards category in 2012.[2]

Workflow Pipeline[edit]

John D. Lowry gained industry recognition in 2008 for his computer-based proprietary algorithms used in the restoration of the NASA Apollo 16 and 17 mission films.[3] As of December 15, 2006, Lowry Digital had 700 Apple Power Mac G5s, a server bay with 700 terabytes of storage and two $300,000 digital motion picture film scanners.

The company is becoming increasingly involved in work on digital 3-D films, such as U2 3D and Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D.[4] Lowry Digital was instrumental in adapting existing technology and developing new image processing techniques that set a new standard for 3-D in the landmark film Avatar. The company was lauded for helping Avatar — the highest-grossing film in history — to earn its Academy Awards for technical achievement.[5]

Lowry describes the restoration process as overcoming three obstacles: wear and tear, age, and multiple generations of optical copies. Each frame is scanned into a high-resolution digital format, where the computer first checks for common problems. Then the files go through the lab's render farm for dirt removal, which is then checked frame-by-frame by a human operator. The system works natively in a 32-bit floating-point, can process any format like HD and 4K, and outputs to a pristine digital master. Lowry Digital's advanced digital image processing is also used to minimize grain without losing any quality, even in modern major motion picture releases like Miami Vice and Zodiac.[6]

On 16 July 2009, in time for the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing, NASA tasked Lowry Digital to restore original video footage of the missing Apollo Moon landing tapes at a price of $230,000. Lowry president Mike Inchalik commented that the video was "far and away from the lowest quality" the company has dealt with.[7]

Marquee Projects[citation needed][edit]

  • The Simpsons: Upconversion from SD to HD in 4:3 and 16:9 with tilt and pan for 342 episodes of the series.
  • NASA: Restoration of the original video footage of the missing Apollo moon landing tapes, in time for the 40th anniversary of the moon landing on 16 July 2009.
  • Prometheus: In addition to grain reduction and image processing, all 3D related issues were fixed, and the Z axis was made acceptable for theatrical release.
  • Star Wars: The first three Star Wars feature films were all scanned at 4K with full restoration including stabilization, grain reduction, and dust & dirt removal.
  • Avatar & Titanic: In addition to image processing and grain reduction, Z axis issues that had occurred during the original 3D shooting were fixed.
  • Disney: Short films and classic films like Dumbo, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and several others were scanned at 4K, color corrected and restored. Dirt and dust were removed from each of these films, and scratches and grains were cleaned up.

Films worked on[edit]


  1. ^ India, Prime Focus (February 17, 2015). "PRESS RELEASES: PFL-RMW FMS Business merger update". Prime Focus India. Archived from the original on January 17, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  2. ^ Staff, Exchange4Media (January 9, 2012). "Reliance MediaWorks wins Academy award". Exchange4Media. p. 1. Retrieved June 6, 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Cellini, Joe. "John D. Lowry, Restoration Software". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-10-26. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  4. ^ "DTS Digital Images Fine Tunes Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D for Upcoming Summer 2008 Release". Business Wire. Reuters. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-08-04.[dead link]
  5. ^ "'Avatar' producer lauds Reliance MediaWorks for its Oscar". Reliance – Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  6. ^ http://www.lowrydigital.com/noise.html
  7. ^ "NASA lost moon footage, but Hollywood restores it - Yahoo! News". Archived from the original on 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2009-07-17.

External links[edit]