Recently I’ve been looking for high definition remasters of old music videos. By that I mean proper scans of 16mm or 35mm film. Youtube has been uploading many upscaled music videos advertising them as HD. Some people also have been attempting to upscale videos using machine learning, but results aren’t great.
A lot of music videos from 80s and 90s were made by people who would later become acclaimed film directors, like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, Anton Corbijn. Hell, even Michael Bay. Some great pieces of art were made in the era of SD television.
Of course original film needs to still exist for a proper remaster to be even possible. If any special effects were originally done in post production in low resolution, those would have to be redone from scratch, which would be expensive. More on the subject by Tom Scott.
A lot of those scanned films aren’t truly 4k or even 1080p. Quality will depend on size of film, how well it’s preserved, its light sensitivity, and of course lenses used. At 1080p 35mm film grain is already noticeable. Heavy video compression may smooth it out, since it’s treated like an unnecessary noise. Bluray has enough bitrate to display film grain at 1080 but Youtube has a lot bigger compression. That’s why on Youtube at 1080 most of the grain is gone. However, at 4k even fine grain is clearly visible.
I created a Youtube playlist with all the videos I found. Similar lists have been made, some good, some worse.
Here’s a list with remastered live performances.