I'm geeked. Absolutely can't wait for the PBS 25th Anniversary rebroadcast of Ken Burns Civil War. As we mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, this year is also the 25th anniversary of Ken Burns’ superlative and iconic documentary on the conflict, 1990’s The Civil War. To this day, the documentary stands as the highest-rated PBS series broadcast; it attracted 38.9 million viewers during its September 1990 debut. Now, 25 years to the month that the film series originally premiered, PBS will re-air The Civil War over five nights, Sept. 7-11, 2015, at 9pm.
The rebroadcast of The Civil War will present for the first time a newly restored high-definition version. Over the course of two months, 50,000 feet of the original 16mm film negative, which is preserved at the George Eastman House, was scanned frame by frame at 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels, the resolution used for Ultra High Definition). The standard definition 1990 broadcast was taken from a duplicate of the original negative, resulting in a loss of quality. PBS says that this is the first time the film will be seen with the exact same fidelity and framing as the negative that Burns and his co-cinematographers Allen Moore and Buddy Squires shot over 25 years ago.
“The Civil War series has never been seen in such visual clarity,” said Daniel J. White, who did the restoration. “The colors are brighter and you will see more details in the images. With this transfer, The Civil War will be preserved at the highest quality for generations to come.”
“Whenever you work on a film, especially one with the extraordinary endurance of The Civil War, there are always little details that you wish you could tweak so viewers can experience the film under the best possible conditions,” said Paul Barnes, the lead editor of The Civil War who supervised the restoration. “Now, with high definition screens and the new digital transfer technologies that we used in this restoration, I think the film will finally be seen exactly as Ken originally intended.”
“I’m beyond excited,” said Ken Burns. “For the first time, viewers will see what I saw when I looked through the lens of my camera. It is truly remarkable.”
To reach a whole new audience with the story of America's greatest crisis, and to offer those who have already seen the series a far more compelling experience, THE CIVIL WAR series has been completely restored to Ultra High Definition – 4K resolution – to bring it up to the standards current audiences demand.