How Peter Jackson colourised WWI footage for his new documentary

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Peter Jackson, Director of Lord of the Rings, has long maintained an interest in war history, something the oscar-winning filmmaker has been exploring as part of his new World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.

In this video, he explains some of the painstaking work that went into colourising the 100-year-old footage in the documentary, including using Photoshop and other software to revitalise the footage for a new era.

Beyond the frame-by-frame colourisation, Jackson's team also had to correct the speed and jerkiness of the film. The fluctuating speed is a product of the hand-cranked cameras used by camera operators at the turn of the century. For the editors, it often meant correcting the speed of film from within the same shot.

For Jackson, the project is about humanising the soldiers beyond being just black and white cliches.

“Because they didn’t see the war in black and white. They did not experience this war in black and white. They experienced the war in full living color, so why shouldn’t we now with the technology we have turn it from a black-and-white war back into a color war again?”

You can watch a trailer on the film, which is out now, below:

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