Did Disney Patent AI Tech To Remaster Content For Disney+?


Have you ever watched an older film or show on Disney+ and been disappointed by the quality of the video? AI may soon be used to improve this content.

The Walt Disney Company has recently submitted a patent application for a “deep learning framework for video remastering” that will be used to help improve the content on Disney+. The background section of the patent application will try to solve the issues where “video content of legacy films is typically degraded – that is, video content, captured by low-resolution cameras, based on old sensor technologies, may be blurry, noisy, and scratched.

Considering how cash-strapped Disney appears to be at the moment, it would make sense that the company would want to take advantage of a deep learning AI to fix pixelated or graining videos from the vault. Mr. Boogedy sure could use a touchup!

OK, Disney probably didn’t come up with this due to their current economic circumstances because the patent was filed on February 11th, 2022. It was not published until May 2023. However, this process described below is probably far more cost-effective than having a team of people cleaning up and fixing each frame of a digital video:

Disclosed in the present application are video restoration models that jointly target common degradations that are typically present in legacy films. These video restoration models utilize a new contrastive training strategy to learn interpretable and controllable representations of different types of content degradation. Techniques disclosed herein employ contrastive learning to learn degradation representations (namely, latent vectors) in a discriminative representation space. Training of networks described herein is based on pairs of degraded video samples, forming positive, negative, and hard negative examples. Given a low-resolution corrupted input video, the remastering systems described herein produce a denoised low-resolution output video as well as a denoised high-resolution output video. The denoised high-resolution output video can be produced at any scale—a feature that is useful when the input video is to be restored to various video standards (e.g., NTSC).

I can think of several movies, shows, and various Disney specials that would be prime targets for this system if it is put in place. Of course, the Major Effects episode of The Magical World of Disney would be my first pick, but that’s because I’m a massive fan of Mike Jittlov’s work.

Those who have been collecting Walt Disney’s films through various video formats will no doubt know that too much remastering can ruin the animators’ art. Take a look at Cinderella, for example. Throughout the years, the film has been “fixed” so much that the subtle lines found in the characters’ clothing have vanished.

What do you think about AI being used to remaster older Disney projects? Let us know below.

[Source: Justia Patents]

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