MUMBAI: Lowry Digital, a division of Adlabs Films, has completed the initial phase of the restoration of footage sent back to Earth from Apollo 11, including Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the mission this month.
NASA commissioned Lowry Digital to restore roughly two-and-a-half hours of material that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin captured during their 1969 expedition. The preliminary restoration includes highlight sequences such as Armstrong’s famous descent of the ladder and the planting of the American flag. The overall restoration is ongoing, and images will continue to be refined, with a planned completion in September. A sneak peek of the footage will be presented by NASA at a press conference in Washington, D.C., at the Newseum.
The footage is being digitally restored utilizing the company’s proprietary Lowry Process, which incorporates powerful imaging algorithms that have been fine-tuned over the course of more than 400 major feature film restorations. The technology uses temporal image processing science to reduce noise, improve detail, and to regain proper contrast, resolution and noise levels.
Adlabs Films CEO Anil Arjun said, "As a part of Adlabs Films, Lowry Digital is committed to creating collaborative services to make ground-breaking technological advancements. We are honored to have been selected by NASA to handle the restoration of this historic footage, which we hope will be lauded by generations to come. Armstrong’s walk on the moon is a defining event in human history and we are proud to now be part of that history."
"Lowry Digital’s unparalleled proprietary technology and experience in repairing moving images was essential to achieving NASA’s goals for the restoration. Given that the original recordings did not survive, our ability to recover picture detail and eliminate increased noise and other artifacts introduced later was crucial. The disparate source elements each had their own unique issues, and we developed new tools to address them," says Lowry Digital COO Mike Inchalik.
"We’re delighted by the progress we’ve seen so far, and all of us at NASA are excited by the possibilities that Lowry Digital’s technology is bringing to the restoration of this historic event," says Richard Nafzger, an engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who oversaw television processing at the ground tracking sites during Apollo 11.
"This work for NASA represents the first real effort to apply Lowry Digital’s proprietary image processing technology and repair tools outside the entertainment space. The underlying science that John Lowry first invented is now so much more advanced at Lowry Digital, and it applies just as well to the scientific, medical, security and military fields. We’re excited by those opportunities," adds Inchalik.