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How Peter Jackson Colorized 100-Year-Old WWI Footage


Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is out with a new highly-acclaimed World War I documentary titled They Shall Not Grow Old. Here’s a 5-minute look at how Jackson colorized 100-year-old footage to give the world a fresh look at the Great War.

“To memorialize these soldiers a hundred years later is to try to bring some of their humanity back into the world again,” Jackson says, “[to] stop them being a black-and-white cliche.

“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?”

Jackson and his team had to account for much more than simply adding color. The project included correcting the speed and jerkiness of the film, which was difficult given that cameramen during the war used hand-cranked cameras, meaning the speed of the film can differ within the same shot.

And using Photoshop and other software, the black-and-white shots were colorized with more realism and accuracy than ever before.

The result of Jackson’s efforts is a new documentary film that has a ridiculously high score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here’s the official trailer:

Here’s an introduction to the film and interview with Jackson by BBC Click:

Here’s an interview Jackson gave film critic Mark Kermode:

They Shall Not Grow Old will hit select US theaters on December 17th and 27th.