Regulars on the Farscape subreddit will already know that Owen Davies has completed his epic AI Remaster Project, releasing all 88 episodes – plus the two-part Peacekeeper Wars miniseries – to YouTube in 4K.
Upscaling the existing Farscape 15th Anniversary Blu-ray footage was undertaken using the commercially available Topaz Video AI software. However, Davies – who works as a Freelance digital designer/multimedia developer – balks at referring to it as a mere “upscale.” A lot of highly technical preparation is done on the Blu-ray footage, such as sharpening the image, correcting the contrast, and retouching the color grading to take it with a breath of a full remaster.
All in all, the process has taken him four to five hours per episode and I challenge you to find fault with the results in this side-by-side comparison video:
Davies held an AMA on YouTube where he explained that the Farscape AI Remaster Project hasn’t received any pushback from the rights holder, the Jim Henson Company.
“When you upload a video to YouTube, it does a scan upfront to see if the video contains any copyrighted material, whether it’s video, music, or whatever,” Davies explains. “Obviously, pretty much everything I post is copyrighted, because I'm remastering owned intellectual properties.
“However, just because something is copyright protected, that doesn’t mean it gets immediately blocked or struck. IP owners can mark their content as ‘Allowed for use on YouTube’, in which case you’re allowed to post it; you’re just not allowed to monetize it. So why would an IP owner do that? It’s because an IP can monetize it. They can gather ad revenue, viewing metrics, or, more usually, both.”
That Farscape – along with Jim Henson’s The Storyteller – have not only remained on the channel but come with ads, is a sign that perhaps someone at the Jim Henson Company thinks Davies is onto something pretty special, or at least, isn’t doing them any harm.
You can see more of his work, including the remastered Space: Above and Beyond, on his YouTube channel.
Whilst you’re there, make sure you subscribe as once Davies has caught his breath he’ll be working on the shortlived 2001 series Robocop: Prime Directives and 1999’s Total Recall 2070.
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