VidFIRE, or Video Field Interpolation Restoration Effect, is a restoration technique by which a film telerecording, with a framerate of 25/second, are re-interpreted to have a framerate of 50/second, so as to better approximate a video recording. The result is something that "looks like video". The technique thus allows for the recreation of a new "video master", presumed to be essentially indistinguishable from the original, lost master.
VidFIRE is sometimes casually thought of as the entire process of "cleaning up" a telerecording, but it actually refers only to the restoration of the video framerate. However, VidFIRE-ing requires that the surviving telerecording be cleaned and stabilised before the process can begin. Although some VidFIRE'd episodes have had minor production errors corrected (examples of this include The Pilot Episode, The Daleks and The Chase), these a separate from the VidFIRE process. Not all telerecording/film footage is suitable for the VidFIRE process, as evidenced by the fact some fragments from lost stories featured in the Lost in Time set were VidFIRE'd while others were not.
The process has been used extensively on the DVD releases of episodes of Doctor Who. Though the vast majority of VidFIREd episodes were originally broadcast in the 1960s, a few Jon Pertwee episodes, like The Ambassadors of Death epsiodes 2-7 and Planet of the Daleks episode 3, have also been VidFIREd, because the best surviving "master" is a telerecording.
Though heavily associated with the restoration of Doctor Who episodes, VidFIRE has been used on other programmes, as well. In fact, the broadcast debut of the process was on BBC Two on Christmas 2001, with a couple of episodes of Dad's Army.
The first public release of VidFIRE footage from Doctor Who was a scene from TV: The Tomb of the Cybermen which was included as a test in a bonus feature on the (non-VidFIRE) DVD release in the early 2000s; a fully VidFIRE'd version of that story was released in a special edition DVD in 2012.
- More detailed information about VidFIRE from the Restoration Team's website
- Examination of the recording technology used on Doctor Who at The Pamela Nash Experience website