Remastured: Modernising Vintage Erotica

PornHub’s colorisation project is probably not the vintage erotica restoration that we need.

PornHub has been getting a bit of a bashing recently, and far be it from us to join in, especially when their heart seems to be in the right place – but the company’s new Remastured project seems to be a good idea, mishandled.

The concept sounds great – a new project aimed at remastering and restoring vintage porn titles, at this point from 1896 to 1948. God knows, these films – often dismissed as worthless but of course of huge social and historical (not to mention artistic) interest – need to be salvaged, as prints that were never especially commonplace to begin with vanish and the copies transferred to video frequently need improving; most vintage porn was transferred to tape long before the days of HD and has never been upgraded.

Unfortunately, the Pornhub project seems less about taking these old movies and re-digitizing, salvaging and restoring them as it is about colorising them. Well, I get it – you can’t get most people to sit through black and white movies, so why are they going to watch monochrome porn? But a colorised copy of a vintage movie is not a restored one – it’s a new creation, perhaps worthwhile in itself, but hardly what we really need.

While companies like Vinegar Syndrome are doing a fine job in saving 1970s and 1980s adult features for future generations, there’s only so much they can do.  It’s a shame that PornHub is not putting the technology towards picking up the slack and either sourcing the rare movies now literally crumbling away for new digitisation or tidying up existing transfers without losing the essence of what the films actually are. Colorising these movies is hardly going to make them seem more modern and is at best a novelty more than a restoration or preservation job.

Still, anything that opens these classic stag films to a potential new audience should be encouraged. Check it out:

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  1. From what they’ve made available it’s not even a good attempt at clourising them either. Seems as though somebody chucked it through an automated process without any human intervention so you end up with colour not staying within the right areas as the people move, made worse by the inevitable and continual changes in brightness older films tend have due to deterioration.

    It really feels like nothing more than a stunt to get some publicity.

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