Exploring the Tech Revitalising Classic Entertainment in 2023

When an entertainment production takes off to reach millions of people, it becomes embedded in the social consciousness. Those with staying power become classics, but with the rate at which entertainment technology has developed, they can quickly seem outdated to newer consumers.

The core principles of what made them great will remain, but aesthetic or mechanical elements will lack appeal for not being modern enough. Thankfully, the same technological revolution that’s made modern entertainment so much grander in scope is also being manipulated to revitalise the classics.

Classic movies getting the remaster treatment

Home television sets have rapidly come on a very long way. It wasn’t all that long ago that Blu-ray defeated HD DVD to become the go-to premium brand for high-definition discs. It’s all about 4K Ultra HD television sets because, predominantly thanks to the options through premium TV and streaming, this grade of resolution is widely available. Of course, Blu-ray is also releasing smash-hit films in 4K Ultra HD formats, as well as some classics.

Compared to 1080p, or “Full HD,” 4K Ultra HD boasts four times the pixels. That’s 8 million in the same space, which makes for much clearer images, sharper colours, and even the ability to use the High Dynamic Range of modern TVs. It’s a huge improvement that requires a great deal of work – especially with older movies. To do this, the older film needs to be gathered and perhaps ever edited and restored if the film has deteriorated. From here, a machine then takes the film reel through to convert the cells into digital versions.

These can then be handed over to specialists in the software who will use their artistic and editing skills to sharpen colours and contrasts, remove outlying errors like debris or scratches, and perhaps apply some effects. In 2020, Peter Jackson remastered his magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos. Revisiting the 2001, 2002, and 2003 films, the director says that he found them to be inconsistent despite them all being shot on 35mm film. The remastered editions allow for a much smoother viewing experience through the epic story.

Advancing the base formula with new mechanics

While almost all forms of entertainment have experienced an upscale in graphics, and will certainly continue to as 8K HDMI 2.1 cables become more and more necessary, few have been adapted as mechanically as those in iGaming. Derived from some of the oldest forms of gaming that had barely changed for decades, once the move was made to the online space, the potential of digital designs and competitiveness formed a perfect storm.

One of the most prominent revelations to come from the digitisation of classic casino games is Megaways, which itself has even revolutionised older classic online video slots. As seen with Rainbow Riches, which moved online in 2009 as a 20-payline game with a few features. It comes with the Megaways mechanic, which rolls in with up to 117,649 paylines. This is down to the varied symbol sizes and additional spots above the middlemost reels. The tech allows for the game to roll in with a different payline count every time, and with cascading wins.

An application of new tech in classic entertainment

If there’s one element of technology that’s currently ruffling feathers across the board, it’s artificial intelligence. ChatGPT looks to have been the breaking point for many, with its capacity to read and write, but it’s in the increasingly valuable space of audiobooks that people now fear the encroachment of AI. Now, audiobooks have been around for quite some time, they’ve even been a staple of the mighty iTunes platform for years, but it’s not a cheap process to get them made.

In 2020, sales of audiobooks exceeded $1.3 billion, but it can cost around $1,000 for a professional actor per hour to get them read and recorded. There are platforms like the Audiobook Creation Exchange that seek to make the process more accessible to authors, but fees and cuts are still significant. So, with its capacity to read and even apply a synthetic voice, as Wired details, some are looking at AI software as the way forward. Naturally, voice actors are staunchly against this, and strangely, so is Amazon’s Audible, but Google and Apple have been deep in the tech for years.

Technology is doing tremendous things to keep the classics alive and relevant, but in the case of AI for audiobooks, there just might be a line being drawn.