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.: LeeThorogood's PAL LaserDisc Preservation Project :. - '97 SE Finished '95 THX Finished - '97 SE Uploaded '95 THX Uploaded to the newsgroup

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I originally started this project back in April 2010, after finding the originaltrilogy.com and learning that their was a higher then VHS quality release of the 1997 SE, namely LaserDisc. The project started as an attempt to preserve the UK PAL LaserDisc box set. To get me started I brought my player and discs from a well known auction site for £200 shipped. Then I purchased the ADVC-55 for about £150 shipped after some failed attempts at using a cheap £40 USB solution. Since starting I have been on a steep learning curve, having spent many hours reading online forums for advice, help and information, not to mention the months of trial and error using different configurations, settings and filters.

It is now 6 months since I started this project and I have successfully completed Version 1 of my 1997 SE preservation, with Version 2 about 66% complete. I am also considering expanding this project to include a preservation of the 1995 PAL (French) THX OUT LaserDiscs, using the English audio from the PAL GOUT DVDs.

From the outset I had planned to release this preservation on DL DVDs using an Anamorphic 16:9 aspect ratio and including the special features from side 3 of Return of the Jedi. Originally I had planned to use the 2.0 stereo audio from the PAL LaserDiscs however I have since been supplied with the DolbyDigital 5.1 surround sound audio for each film from the NTSC 1997 SE release, which I have retimed and synced to the PAL video.

Technical Details:

Source Material
Video from the 1997 Special Edition UK PAL LaserDiscs.
5.1 Dolby Digital Sourround soundtrack from the 1997 Special Edition US NTSC LaserDiscs

Hardware
Pioneer CLD-D925 Laserdisc player
Canopus ADVC-55
Belkin Quad Shielded Firewire (IEEE 1394) cable
Belkin PureAV Quad Shielded 24k Gold 1.2m Composite RCA Cable
2007 20" iMac 2.4ghz Core2Duo 4GB Ram 360GB Hard Drive
Lacie 1TB Firewire 800 External Hard Drive

Software
Capturing: Final Cut Pro using miniDV Codec
Post-processing: Final Cut Pro using Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) Codec
Encoding: Compressor 3
DVD Authoring: DVD Studio Pro 4

Project Log:

UPDATE 3/9/2010: I am now using segments from the Widescreen (Letterboxed) VHS versions of the 1997 Special Edition to bridge the gap between changes in the LaserDisc sides.

UPDATE 15/9/10: Thanks to Darth Editous and Jetrell Fo I now have the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio from the 1997 Special Edition NTSC LaserDiscs and will now be using this audio instead.

UPDATE 19/9/2010: Version 1 of this is project is close to being finished, with V2 in the planning stages.

UPDATE 23/9/2010: Version 1 of this project is now complete, any one interested in a copy should PM me.

UPDATE 24/9/2010: Planned changes between Version1 and Version 2 of this project;
1. Use of Belkin PureAV Quad-Shielded 24k Gold S-Video cable.
2. Use of Belkin Quad-Shielded Firewire 6-pin to 6-pin cable.
3. 5-Capture averaging to reduce any random analog noise.
4. Use of Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec.
5. No longer using automatic Gamma Correction in ProRes codec.
6. Changed the filter chain to just use the "G Chroma Sharpen Interlaced" filter, set to anti-alias only.
7. Droped the Color Choker filter as previously used in V1 ESB & V1 ROTJ from the filter chain.

In addition to these changes I am thinking about doing an NTSC release.

UPDATE 25/9/10: Just did a quick compare between using the Belkin PureAV Quad Shielded 24k Gold S-Video and Composite Cables, and I think the composite has come out on top, so I will be using this now instead of the S-Video.

UPDATE 9/10/10: The DVD image for ANH V2 is completely finished, it just needs burning and testing in a DVD player.

UPDATE 10/10/10: The DVD image for ESB V2 is completely finished, it just needs burning and testing in a DVD player.

UPDATE 13/10/10: The DVD image for ROTJ V2 is completely finished, it just needs burning and testing in a DVD player.

UPDATE 14/10/10: V2 of the 1997 SE release is now completely finished, having successfully burned to Verbatim DL DVDs and played successfully in a number of DVD players.

This post has been edited.

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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Hey LeeThorogood,

Those pics of the '97 SE ROTJ look fantastic! The more projects preserving Star Wars stuff the better I think. 

I was actually surprised by how blue/purple ROTJ looks in the 1997 SE like the 2004 SE DVD. I thought it wouldn't have the same colour timing (it's been a while since I saw the '97SE) but it looks like it's very close. Still, one thing I know for sure with ROTJ '97 SE is  that the lightsaber colours are definitely great unlike 2004 SE :-P

I will definitely be following your work.

 

Nice work!

 

by the way, the pics were a little slow to load, for me anyway.

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Hi EvilSupes,

Thanks for checking out my thread! I was worried no one would be that interested especially as Dark_Jedi is about to release his Take2 Trilogy based on the DVB releases.

I have moved the snapshots to an external server so they should load as quickly as possible now, if they are still slow its because they are between .25 and .5 of a MB in size.

I personally like the '97 SEs just as much as the OOT. I personally feel George Lucas went too far with the 2004 release, and the less I say about that release the better!

I'll try and post some more snapshots of ROTJ tomorrow.

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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I think the blue ray release might blow all your efforts down.

I kinda remember my grand brother reading me an article at the time of RotJ when I was young reporting that Georges Lucas was developping a "blue laser" technology for the future. I also "kinda remember" this was stated in "STARFIX Hors Serie n°1 - Le Retour Du Jedi" in France.

I also remember GL didn't want to release Star Wars on DVD at the origin because he waited a better format to be available.

And I finally remember the fake RotJ title: "Blue Harvest"...

Secret Plans ?... Sorry to say, but I think you're all going to be the big "blue harvest", guys.

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George Lucas has stated that only the 2004 versions of the films will be in the blu-ray release.

Can't wait to download this. I haven't seen the '97 SE in years.

Judge

rubber baby buggy bumpers

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LeeThorogood said:

... just to check I did test the output from the Composite against the S-Video and found the S-video to give a slightly less noisy and slightly sharper image, so I went with this.

Do you still have those test images? Would be interesting to see.

Here are some frames from the ROTJ Master which is the original capture, edited, filtered (de-interlace, colour correction, noise reduction) and cropped using the Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec. this file weighs in at about 50GB.

There is no need to deinterlace.

LeeThorogood said:

I have moved the snapshots to an external server so they should load as quickly as possible now, if they are still slow its because they are between .25 and .5 of a MB in size.

Ahem. Does your school know you are abusing their bandwidth during the summer holidays? ;-)

LeeThorogood said:

I just wanted to mention that the colour correction filter I am using is only doing some very basic things, restoring blacks, fixing washed out colour, nothing to fundamentally alter the '97 SE look.

I think the black may have been "restored" a little too much - the shots look pretty dark. Otherwise (apart from the timecode and logo of course) the images look promising. 

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Hi Moth3r

Unfortunately I don't have the test captures anymore, the difference was as I said slight, my face had to be about 2 inches or closer to my iMac screen to see the difference. I think the only thing the composite had going for it was it had again slightly less dot-crawl. If you like when I get onto ESB I will do some test captures again to show the difference.

When you say "There is no need to deinterlace" whats the reasoning behind this? I will confess I know very little about interlacing and progressive scan, however I have tried to look this topic up on the web. I read online that when scaling video the process is quicker when the source is progressive rather then interlaced, is this a load of rubbish? I know DVDs can be either interlaced or progressive so I realise there is no advantage in this regard. I know Compressor can convert this ProRes master to H.264 a lot quicker (about 5 hours) when its progressive compared to say 2-3 days if its interlaced! 

To do the colour correcting I cropped off the black borders (letterboxing and overscan area) leaving a clean black background generated by my video editing software. I then used a space scene to carefully adjust the blacks until the space background matched the black borders. Talking of blacks, has anyone else with the PAL '97 SE LD set noticed that ANH seems to be darker then ESB and ROTJ or have I got a duff set?

All these snapshots are on their way over to imageshack ;) the current host is a temporary solution!

To A B C I'm not going to let the Blu-Ray release put me off doing this or any other preservation project, mainly because while the video and audio quality in theory should be outstanding assuming LFL can exercise some quality control this time! The actual movies will be based off the 2004 versions which I personally dislike, so unless things change and he at least gives us the OUT on Blu-Ray which I doubt he will this time around, I wont be buying.

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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well i dont know about the pal 97 set but i have the american set and a new hope seems a tad darker than my faces ld and the other 97 laserdisc's

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Even the Reivax and Flunk versions seem quite dark in general so I guess that is just the way they are.

LeeThorogood, let me be the first to say that the rest of those ROTJ '97SE images literally made my jaw drop to the ground. They look so damn good. Laserdisc still continues to surprise and impress me. Can't believe I missed the whole experience of it back in its day.

 

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i to missed the experience because im 15 but i bought a player last year and a good collection of movies for it

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In my opinion LaserDisc is just that its an experience, the feel of the 12" disc in your hand, the artwork on the massive covers, the impressive if slightly loud noise of the disc spinning up in the player, its all rather magical for me. When I first brought my player and discs I planned to do this project and then sell them on to get back as much of my money as possible, but I have to say when the player and discs arrived I instantly fell in love with them and have decided to keep them, in fact they are now integrated into my home theatre system.

EvilSupes I totally agree that LaserDisc continues to impress and surprise me, possibly because I keep expecting it to look like a VHS instead of the near DVD quality that I feel they have, well... near 4:3 Letterboxed DVD quality any way, I wouldn't dream of comparing Anamorphic DVD with LaserDisc as thats like comparing apples with pears.

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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i had the same feeling when i got my player and the covers are always nice. but sadly thats the only i hate about laserdisc is that they arent anamorphic so i cant watch them on any of my tv's without it looking like dung.

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LeeThorogood said:

...

When you say "There is no need to deinterlace" whats the reasoning behind this?

PAL video runs at 25 frames per second; each frame is made up two fields. Out of the 576 horizontal lines in a frame, the odd lines are from the first field and the even from the next. In your captured video, you will see that each frame contains fields from the same instant in time - this is known as progressive.

Interlaced video would have every field from a different instant in time, thus the odd and even lines in a frame would not exactly line up at the edges of moving objects, and you would be able to see combing artefacts. Deinterlacing filters are designed to remove these combing artefacts and give you progressive frames.

Simply put, if the source originates from film the frames are progressive, but if it was shot for TV (on a video camera) then they would be interlaced.

(I'm not going to talk about IVTC now because that's something you only need to understand if you're dealing with NTSC video). 

To do the colour correcting I cropped off the black borders (letterboxing and overscan area) leaving a clean black background generated by my video editing software. I then used a space scene to carefully adjust the blacks until the space background matched the black borders.

If you are doing this by eye, then your black level setting is dependent on the calibration of your display. I suggest you run the video through a luminance graph or waveform monitor, if such a thing exists for your software, and watch the levels while you make your adjustments.

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Moth3r said:

LeeThorogood said:

...

When you say "There is no need to deinterlace" whats the reasoning behind this?

PAL video runs at 25 frames per second; each frame is made up two fields. Out of the 576 horizontal lines in a frame, the odd lines are from the first field and the even from the next. In your captured video, you will see that each frame contains fields from the same instant in time - this is known as progressive.

Interlaced video would have every field from a different instant in time, thus the odd and even lines in a frame would not exactly line up at the edges of moving objects, and you would be able to see combing artefacts. Deinterlacing filters are designed to remove these combing artefacts and give you progressive frames.

Simply put, if the source originates from film the frames are progressive, but if it was shot for TV (on a video camera) then they would be interlaced.

(I'm not going to talk about IVTC now because that's something you only need to understand if you're dealing with NTSC video). 

Hi Moth3r thanks for the great explanation, thats one less filter/process to worry about! 

To do the colour correcting I cropped off the black borders (letterboxing and overscan area) leaving a clean black background generated by my video editing software. I then used a space scene to carefully adjust the blacks until the space background matched the black borders.

If you are doing this by eye, then your black level setting is dependent on the calibration of your display. I suggest you run the video through a luminance graph or waveform monitor, if such a thing exists for your software, and watch the levels while you make your adjustments.

Once again thanks for the advice. I have taken another look at this, using my softwares colour correction layout and turned the blacks down, my PC is rendering the timeline now so I will hopefully be able to post some new snapshots in a day or two.

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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Do you have an estimation of when you think they will be complete LeeThorogood? :-P

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Hi EvilSupes,

4-6 weeks if I don't bother with full English subtitles, probably twice or three times that if I do, but only because matching up the 2004 subtitles is a time consuming process not to mention mind numbing. Assuming I don't run into any problems.

I am in two minds when it comes to the subtitles, on the one hand the LDs didn't have them, and I don't really need them as I should know these films inside and out by now, but at the same time ideally I should include them for completeness sake. I dunno, what does everyone else think? If people aren't bothered about the full English subs I won't bother.

In the meantime here is the cover/artwork I have for ROTJ, its based on the PAL LaserDisc covers and is meant to fit in a standard CD Jewel Case.

Click the thumbnail to see the bigger version.

http://a.imageshack.us/img841/4863/returnofthejedi.th.png

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Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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LeeThorogood said:

Talking of blacks, has anyone else with the PAL '97 SE LD set noticed that ANH seems to be darker then ESB and ROTJ or have I got a duff set?

It's because the 97ANH was timed to match Lucas's Technicolor 3strip print. Plus it is known that the telecine for this version of ANH was messed up in processing (why Mos Eisley and other Tatooine scenes are pinkish).

To A B C I'm not going to let the Blu-Ray release put me off doing this or any other preservation project, mainly because while the video and audio quality in theory should be outstanding assuming LFL can exercise some quality control this time! The actual movies will be based off the 2004 versions which I personally dislike, so unless things change and he at least gives us the OUT on Blu-Ray which I doubt he will this time around, I wont be buying.

Hear, Hear! Fantastic looking caps, and I commend you for attempting this on a Mac. I tried with the NTSC set and ran into so many problems I eventually dropped it in favor of the broadcast versions.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.

"George didn't think there was any future in dead Han toys."-Harrison Ford

My review blog: thehificelluloidmonster.wordpress.com

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captainsolo said:

Hear, Hear! Fantastic looking caps, and I commend you for attempting this on a Mac. I tried with the NTSC set and ran into so many problems I eventually dropped it in favor of the broadcast versions.

I only wish I could have got my hands on the broadcast versions, but for the life of me the only one I could find was the Reivax ANH, that said its something of a good thing I couldn't get my hands on them, if I had then I probably wouldn't have experienced LaserDisc.

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You can find the broadcast, Flunk '97ANH on usenet, it have a couple of corrrupt frames in it though.

There is some heavy motion smearing on the broadcasted versions, especially the scenes in the canyon with Artoo, is it something that is also on these LD's ? It's even worse than the Gout in this scene.

As have already been said, the '97 ANH is dark sometimes, pink sometimes and blue shifted in other scenes, but it can easily be corrected compared to the horrible '04 DVD.

Your caps looking promising!

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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Was noticing that smearing on the Revivax and DJ's test clips. It really isn't present on the LDs. (from what I recall)

BTW: what method did you use on Mac for this? I used one while at school with an old LD player and FCP-which didn't work out well at all...the captures looked awful no matter what I did to them. Not to mention that trying to add the 5.1 ac3 was a nightmare b/c FCP does not accept ac3.

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VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.

"George didn't think there was any future in dead Han toys."-Harrison Ford

My review blog: thehificelluloidmonster.wordpress.com

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captainsolo said:

Was noticing that smearing on the Revivax and DJ's test clips. It really isn't present on the LDs. (from what I recall)

BTW: what method did you use on Mac for this? I used one while at school with an old LD player and FCP-which didn't work out well at all...the captures looked awful no matter what I did to them. Not to mention that trying to add the 5.1 ac3 was a nightmare b/c FCP does not accept ac3.


I can't comment on 5.1 audio in FCP as the PAL LDs only have stereo audio, but I would guess you would need to break up the 5.1 into the individual channels and then add them to your timeline as separate tracks.

For capturing I have my CLD-D925 hooked up to my ADVC-55 which is connected to my iMac via firewire, I then use FCP's Log and Capture feature using the PAL DV capture preset to capture to a DV encoded .mov file. From there I edit the capture removing side changes and any excess footage from the beginning and end of the recording. Then I apply the filters I have listed previously and render the timeline. Once that is done I export out a reference movie and use MPEGStreamclip to crop from 4:3 to 16:9 this time encoding as Apple ProRes 422 (HQ). I then take that file back into FCP add the alien language subtitles, chapter markers and then export the final timeline out as both m4v H.264 and MPEG2 for DVD.

I think a big part of how good the captures look is what LaserDisc Player, Capture Card/Device and AV Cables you use. If only Pioneer had made a PAL equivalent of the HLD-X0!

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You can definitely see more details in the shadows now, so I'd say that's probably better. 

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