I remember a conversation that I had once had with my grandmother. We were talking about our favorite movie stars. Hers was Claudette Colbert. A quick check of IMDB shows that Claudette Colbert received a credit in 87 endeavors in a career that spanned 50 years, from 1927 through 1987.
So, why would a New Media Evangelist bring up an actress from a bygone era? Well, this morning I turned on my television and saw a black and white film called Three Came Home. This isn’t an uncommon experience. For as long as I can remember, if you flipped through the television channels, the odds are that you’ll always find an old movie. However, there was something different about this particular movie — because it was in High Definition (HD).
In the past, we’ve always been able to watch old movies on our standard television sets. But lest we forget, these old classics were intended to be projected onto the big screen, and therefore were filmed at a much higher resolution than our generation is used to viewing them. We have been deprived of the original beauty of these films, not because of a limitation on the original content’s part, but rather on the limitations of our viewing devices. Today, that limitation is gone.
One of my favorite bloggers is Mark Cuban. Back in July, Mark put out a challenge to recommend new Programming for HDTV. To me, the answer is obvious: start digitizing the warehouses of great content that have been lost to generations of consumers. It would be a monumental effort, similar to what Google is attempting with books, but one that would serve the public well, by reconnecting us with the richness of our storytelling past.