News

Watch Wham!’s Last Christmas promo video in restored 4K resolution

As well as releasing the white vinyl seven-inch single, Sony have restored Wham!‘s ‘Last Christmas’ video and it looks superb.

This video was clearly shot of film (great decision, with hindsight), since it’s now pin-sharp and colour-corrected, something that would not be possible if it had been filmed on video. Check out the image below (courtesy of a tweet by Ray Hahn) which shows a before-and-after comparison between the old video and the 4K version.


Click on the image to view enlarge

‘Last Christmas’ has famously never hit number one in the UK singles chart. It’s number seven right now so Sony have less than a week to see if they can claim the Christmas number one spot in 2019. You can play the 4k video and order the white vinyl seven-inch, below.

Compare prices and pre-order

Wham!

Last Christmas white vinyl seven-inch

Currency:

1. Last Christmas (single version)
2. Everything She Wants (remix/edit).

46 responses to Watch Wham!’s Last Christmas promo video in restored 4K resolution

  1. John McCann says:

    Very sad to hear his sister mel died on Xmas day, exactly 3 years after George,

  2. Roger Charles 3 says:

    superb ?
    it looks good but pretty much like sd upscaled to 4k
    definitely not shot yesterday !
    :D

  3. Jamez says:

    Always wondered…is there really no GATE at this ski lodge? They have to climb over the fence to get in and out?

  4. Dave says:

    Wow ! Look great . Now lets have all those christmas videos cleaned up like this and release a 4k box set . I appreciate probably would never happen label rights and all ! . But a nice thought eh ? Merry christmas . Everyone .!

  5. Chris says:

    If they wanted this to top the chart then a physical release on CD of the original single version, the alternative mix, the full original mix and the pudding mix would have sealed the deal.

  6. Peter john says:

    Where is Martin Kemp in Last Xmas video .

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      He’s not in it.

      • John McCann says:

        Doesn’t seem to be paul,but googling,,, does Martin Kemp appear in Wham’s last xmas video,,,,takes you to a bunch of websites that say he was in it,,, very briefly,,,,,,its a strange one,he was on loose women a couple of weeks ago promoting his xmas album with Shirley,but all they wanted to talk about was George,and Martin said that for 30 odd years he received a huge hamper from Harrods every xmas from George and that’s wot he really misses about him.

  7. John McCann says:

    Iv heard that Martin Kemp appears in this video,,, where abouts, Cheers

  8. Tim Abbott says:

    Come on Paul, this is just an excuse to take out a huge number of Whamageddon players in one go isn’t it? :)

    Will watch it with the sound down, but looks excellent!

  9. Bryan says:

    Amazon: “May arrive after Christmas”. Hmm.

  10. Gus Campbell says:

    That’s great! I’m seeing details I never noticed before. Like how much make-up George is rockin’!

  11. Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

    a simple question: the family of george michael confirmed this year that some great things are on the way. the film and the one unreleased song was that in all?
    or did i miss something ?

  12. Michael says:

    If the storyline of the video doesn’t make complete sense it’s because George Michael went into the editing suite & took out the shots of himself he didn’t like.

    Still love this song. If Sony want people to buy it again I would suggest more formats & including the different version of the song. I would buy it again for the 1984 version on CD or online or include Blue (armed with love) which is not commercially available to stream.

  13. Tony says:

    I enjoyed that way more than the truly dreadful Last Christmas film.

  14. eric says:

    Just glad that there are enough people and fans that care about WHAM!/George Michael to invest the time and resources to complete this restoration.

  15. mattNYC says:

    meanwhile i’m just awestruck by the budget set aside for hair mousse. #impressed.

  16. Jim Vandegrift says:

    Thanks everybody who chipped in the video restoration conversation. It was interesting and informative.

  17. Colm Kiernan says:

    Marvellous! But did the original video use the Pudding Mix 7”? All the mixes still leaves me confused.

    • Lenny K. says:

      No confusion!

      1. Single Version Early Mix (released on the first pressings of “Last Christmas as A-Side and on the B-Side of “Everything She Wants” Remix) 4:27

      2. Early Mix – Different Edit (on first pressings of the 12″, mislabelled as “Pudding Mix” and on B-side of “Everything She Wants” Remix 12″) 4:45
      notes: 3rd verse missing, long ending – released on some CD compilations

      3. Pudding Mix (on later pressings of 12″ – commonly available) 6:45

      4. Single Version (=Pudding Mix without Intro and with early fade – on later pressings of 7″ – commonly available) 4:24

      All versions were released in winter 1984/1985. The full early mix (i.e. with all verses and the long outro was never released in ist entirety. it can’t be recreated using the Edits due to different EQing/Stereo effects.)

  18. Kauwgompie says:

    Truly amazing!! Can they also do this with the Duran 80’s video’s?

  19. Rik Skyline says:

    One can only hope that the video for Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ receives a similar treatment. That clay head in 4K would be awesome.

  20. Marco says:

    It looks amazing!

    Three more 4K restorations that I know of are:

    Eurythmics – Beethoven (I Love to Listen To)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbuMXyzouJQ

    Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpmTe3TDdVU

    Elton John – I’m Still Standing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHwVBirqD2s

  21. vikerii says:

    Looks beautiful. And thank you to all the techies here who are able to break down the filming and editing process. I feel like I just sat it on an introductory course!!

    I’m very glad things are happening with regard to Wham! Hopefully more restoration is happening and we will see deluxe editions someday of the Wham catalog. Fingers crossed!!

  22. Craig Hedges says:

    It must look amazing but I can’t see it clearly as I’ve got tears in my eyes. Just wish George could have seen it, he’d have been complaining about his HD hair.

  23. Metal Mickey says:

    There are clearly some experts here, so I’ll tread carefully :-) but I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying that although many 80s videos were shot on film, they were often edited via then-new electronic editing technologies like Avid, which led to a “fuzzy” look due to multiple generations of image being compiled together – you see the same in US sitcoms of the time like “Soap” and “Golden Girls”. “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was the same, and in order to remaster it for Blu-Ray, they had to totally re-edit it from the original film elements to replicate each individual episode, which is essentially what has been done with Wham here.

    It does look excellent though, nice job, and well done Sony for going to the trouble… mind you, talking of the “looks-like-it-was-filmed-yesterday” quality, there’s a separate conversation to be had as to whether broadcast-quality video (an electronic process, like how our eyes create our vision) is actually more life-like than film (a chemical process)… :-)

    • MusicFan says:

      Well you are sort of in the right area, ish….

      As a generalisation ’80s videos were telecined from film to tape and edited on linear tape suites using u-matic tapes then later beta tapes – the broadcast standard of the time. To achieve multi-layered effects tapes would have to be duplicated multiple generations which would risk the quality of the final output as this is a very lossy process.

      The non-linear computer editing suites were not used until the early ’90s, yet they were just for off-line edits as they were not broadcast standard. However it was later in the ’90s when Avid launched an online suite which could output the signals to the technical levels for broadcast – such as the black and white signal and audio. This non-linear process was lossless so you would not at all see any degradation in the image at all.

      In the ’90s editing kit got rather hi-tech! As an alternative to Avid was the ultra awesome Quantel Paintbox and then came along ‘henry’ the first multilayer compositing system – and it all got rather exciting!

      This allowed a level of special effects unseen before and it was quick and affordable! Music videos were now using post production technology usually reserved for the budgets of feature films! The output was now typically onto digi beta – a digital broadcast tape!

      Sadly many ’90s videos cannot have the 4k treatment as I really can’t see how the graphic elements can be exported from these systems and upscaled. The edits and all of the effects would need to be re-created. A good example of this would be the video for Prince ‘I Wish U Heaven’.

      So in summary if the video was shot on film and the edit is ‘simple’ then it has more chance of being re-created in 4k.

      Sadly, in the ’00s and ’10s when footage was being shot digitally 720p and then 1080p, these videos will never be able to get the 4k treatment. They may have been shot digitally but it is not possible to stretch upwards pixels without ultimately destroying the image.

      Personally, if I was to shoot a video today, I think I’d prefer to shoot on film and then telecine to a digital format at the highest possible bitrate and frame size.

      On a different note, the early Police videos look amazing on DVD and would certainly benefit from a 4k treatment!

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        I will chip in to this discussion because people might be interested to know that I worked in a video post-production house in London in 1994-1996. I was mainly a ‘bookings’ person, but I did some offline video editing on Avid Media and Film Composers. They were Apple-based systems that cost about £40k each. I remember being gutted when a booking to edit Supergrass’ ‘Going Out’ was cancelled!

        • MusicFan says:

          Which one?

          There were so many awesome post production house in London around that time…. Molinare, Blue, Framestore, Rushes….

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            It was called Sunrise Post Production in Sackville Street. Molinare ended up taking them over (with the associated production company) and everyone was made redundant!

  24. MusicFan says:

    The end result is truly spectacular!

    Incidentally, shooting on film wasn’t hindsight as it was the norm for music videos shot in the ’80s to the ’00s until the technology of digital cameras progresssed.

    The norm would be to shoot on 16mm using an Arriflex camera, but as this is a 16:9 ratio, S16mm would have been used (unless of course the top and bottom where masked). It is very unlikely this was shot on 35mm due to portability issues and cost yet 35mm can give extra clarity and colour depth. The exteriors would have used a S16mm handheld Bolex – as they are portable!!!

    The original film positive (not negative) would have had to be re-telecined at a 4k specification – they can go further as film is optical and 4k, 8k, 16k etc are digital calibrations of optical.

    I do very much like the colour grading but they need to be careful with the chroma and luminance levels. On some exterior shots there is a little too much contrast between the people and the background. If done wrongly this can be disasterous as it can look like the people are ‘stuck on’ and disassociated from the background. As the exteriors are shot in damp / misty weather it is evident the chroma values have been pumped up to compensate and they really do teeter on the edge.

    I highly suspect the edit was completely reconstructed as some of the dissolves are slightly different frame lengths from the original edit and during the final fade out to white, some of the people are completely cut off too early! I very much doubt the original EDL (edit decision list) would be of any great technical use – but the origianl EDL would make this job much easier.

    We do need to bear in mind this is a very easy video to re-create as it just consists of cuts and a few dissolves. There are no special efects and no composited layers – which were very much the norm in ’90s videos.

    Ultimately this does look spectacular!!!!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Good insights… thanks

    • Mike the Fish says:

      This would not have been shot in a 16:9 ratio as that didn’t become a broadcast standard until years later.

      • Philip says:

        It’s always been shown in 16:9 though for as long as I can remember. Even in the days of 4:3 it was shown with 16:9 letterboxing. That’s why the framing doesn’t look off like when most 4:3 material is zoomed to 16:9. So, good decisions in hindsight to shoot on film and in 16:9, whether matted or not!

  25. Tim-Meh says:

    Has anybody invented a drinking game around Last Christmas?

  26. John Duckworth says:

    This looks amazing. Hope to see more restored videos from the Eighties where possible

    After the recent short retrospective documentaries about a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’, I expected an official HD version to show up. Maybe they’ll do it when it reaches a billion views.

  27. Christian says:

    Definitely an amazing job in cleaning this video up – makes it look like the video was just filmed.

  28. Chris Squires says:

    OM effin’ G!

    I’m 17 again, that was stunning. I watched it on a proper 4K TV and they have done a really good job. They have made a couple of mistakes (possibly – they could have done it on purpose), but I am picky because this is what I actually do for a living for the last two decades.
    You have to take your hat off to Sony as they have breathed life into the whole promo film. I am assuming they shot it on 35mm, really expensive, rather than just 16mm, just expensive.

    To be honest it looks like they shot it yesterday and that, in a way, makes me really sad, to see George so full of life in the last video we ever saw of him clean shaven…
    Bravo Sony.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *