It looks like that in addition to pretty women and pretty guns, James Bond has developed an insatiable appetite for pretty computers, acquiring a whopping 600 PowerMac G5s to, er, penetrate his secure network. Now don't cringe in anticipation that this is a massive product-placement campaign to top even the excesses of the 133-minute commercial that was Die Another Day. These PowerMacs instead are working with Moneypenny-ish devotion behind the scenes to complete a massive digital restoration of all 20 James Bond films to date.
The movies will be released on July 17 in the James Bond Ultimate Edition DVD Collection, and getting them ready for the event was quite a process. Each frame of the 42 miles of film was scanned at a 4,000×3,000 pixel resolution (to leave a door open for future release on other formats) requiring 45MB of drive space per frame and that was after digitally removing 37 million pieces of dirt and 74,000 hairs (really, James, where have you been?). No wonder the restoration team required some 700TB of storage to bring Bond back to his full splendor (and make Q positively green with envy). And according to DTS Images (the company that did the restoration work) "Certainly, the Mac is the only computer that's touched this project."
Given how particular Bond is about who he grants such priviledged access to, why were there only Macs on her majesty's secret service? Reliability was definitely a big factor, as were cost (purchase and repair) and power demands. Apparently, like tomorrow, the G5 never dies (which thrilled DTS) and the producers felt that for gigaflops of computing performance per operating dollar, nobody does it better.
And while James Bond will look more pristine than ever as he saves the world yet again, DTS is already looking ahead to new projects. Not only are they excited to work on better quality DVD and HD releases, but they also are looking into ways to enhance the viewing quality on iPods and other small screens. Which means that the next Bond film you indulge in could well be for your eyes only.