Sign In

Godzilla 1985 - Reconstruction Project

Replies
64
Author
Time

Godzilla 1985 v1.0 is available now!

The full 1080p reconstruction of Godzilla 1985 is completed and available to download! Send a private message for details.

Notes on this version:

  • The Japanese footage was sourced from the Kraken Releasing Blu-ray as opposed to the TV broadcast recording used for previous versions, so the TV station icon is no longer there.
  • The Toho transfer has had its contrast adjusted to help alleviate the issues with the black levels and also been slightly color corrected.
  • The opening credits have been stabilized somewhat.
  • The English subtitles for the Russian dialogue have been carefully digitally recreated based on an Australian VHS rip that featured the original optical subtitles.
  • The stock footage from Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is sourced from the Criterion Blu-ray on this version.
  • Grain has been applied to the entire project to help the standard-definition US footage blend a bit better with the HD Japanese footage.

Hope you all enjoy it! Keep an eye out for the Grindhouse-style double feature presentation of KotM and this film with a few added bonuses! Given the decreased response on OT, I’ll probably mostly be promoting and updating on Toho Kingdom in the future, but I’ll definitely post here when it’s available! In the meantime, feel free to keep an eye on my blog at http://redmenaceofficial.tumblr.com/ for further updates and information.

Toho Kingdom thread

Original post:

I’m sure most of the people reading this post are probably Godzilla fans or at least vaguely aware of the history of this film, but for anyone who doesn’t know:

Godzilla 1985 is the edited US version of the 1984 Godzilla series reboot The Return of Godzilla. Aside from dubbing the film into English, American distributor New World Pictures shortened or cut numerous scenes, added several music cues from the Def-Con 4 score by Christopher Young, altered the film’s Cold War themes to exhibit a distinctly anti-Soviet slant, and shot new scenes featuring American actors (and numerous Dr. Pepper product placements, part of a deal that combined New World’s marketing with an existing Dr. Pepper ad campaign featuring Godzilla, which also produced a bizarre promotional music video with scenes from the movie set to Dr. Pepper’s then-current advertising jingle). This version is perhaps most notable (and fondly regarded by fans) for Raymond Burr’s reprisal of his role as American journalist Steve Martin, who was inserted into the original Godzilla in a similar fashion.

This film has long been out of print in the US, having only been issued a handful of times on VHS between its original theatrical release and the late 1990s. The Return of Godzilla, thankfully, has recently been picked up by Kraken Releasing, an imprint of Section23, for a DVD/Blu-ray release in September. However, this release will not include the US cut of the film, due to royalty issues concerning the added music cues from Def-Con 4. No doubt these issues could be sorted out, but Kraken, being a budget label aimed at casual shoppers, can’t be bothered.

The only options available to anyone wishing to see the film, therefore, are aging pan-and-scan VHS tapes, or low-quality, standard definition recordings of a 2006 Monsters HD broadcast of the film. A 1080i recording has been rumored to be out there somewhere for years, but if it exists, the person said to own it has explicitly refused to share it. The standard definition copies suffer from numerous digital artifacts, interlacing, and also lack subtitles for the Russian dialogue. Basically, there are few options, and no good ones.

I intend to change that by undertaking a project along the lines of Harmy’s Despecialized Editions, assembling the best possible copy of the film from various sources.

What this will entail is taking the best known copy of the American version of the film, the anamorphic recording of the Monsters HD broadcast from 2006, and utilizing the soundtrack and American footage from that recording while substituting video from higher-quality Japanese sources wherever possible. I’ve already obtained a doctored copy of the MHD recording from Echo3, who’s made some adjustments to the video and improved its quality to a more acceptable level, and I’ll be using this copy as the source for the US material. Kraken’s Blu-ray will be my source for the Japanese footage. The trickiest part will most likely be recreating the English subtitles for the Russian dialogue. Since these are missing in the Monsters HD version, and I know of no reference material for how they appeared in theatrical prints, I’ll be using the home video version of the film as a reference for the appearance, placement and timing of the subtitles until a better reference miraculously appears.

My plan is basically this: Once I obtain the Monsters HD source, I’ll start by conducting a sort of standard definition test run using an old bootleg sourced from Toho’s R2 as my source for the Japanese footage. This will be a rough pass to acquaint myself with the work that needs to be done, and will involve minimal, if any, color correction or other in-depth work. We’ll call that version 0.5.

Once the Kraken Blu-ray is out, I’ll begin work on version 1.0, which will likely be similar to 0.5, only in HD and with more work done on the sources, including basic color correction where applicable and possibly attempting to enhance the upscaled MHD footage to make it fit better alongside the HD Japanese footage.

After this, further revisions might be made to improve subtler aspects of the film. A few things I can think of include creating custom shapes to enhance/sharpen the edges of the areas through which flames are visible in the opening credits, recreating the text of the opening credits, adding appropriate amounts of telecine wobble to the subtitles to match the footage behind them, and recreating the end credits from scratch in HD. I’m not completely certain I’ll do all of these things, but it’s a possibility.

If anyone can lend advice or suggestions on some of the finer points of encoding, color correction, image enhancement or other related aspects of the project, I’m all ears - this is the first project of this kind I’ve attempted, so any guidance is greatly appreciated. I’ll also probably need a few test viewers to help check for problems and make sure the quality’s achieving high enough standards.

If any of you are on Toho Kingdom, you can see my original thread for this project on that board here. I’ll probably be keeping a closer eye on that thread, but I’ll be checking in here too, and any major updates will be posted in both threads.

Announcement of v0.5:

The 720p preliminary test version of Godzilla 1985 is completed and available to download! Send a private message for details.

Notes on this version:

  • The recording of the MHD I have starts a few frames into the New World logo; this version starts there as well, but v1.0 will have the complete logo, sourced from a 1080p Blu-ray rip of another New World movie.
  • The Japanese footage is sourced from a 720p recording of a TV broadcast, which means that a small movie camera station logo is visible in the lower right.
  • There are a few minor problem frames in this version that will be rectified in v1.0, the full HD version.
  • While most of the film is accurate frame-for-frame, some minor differences in the timing of cuts and reel changes between the Toho and MHD transfers means that some shots will be about a frame out of sync - this isn’t noticeable while watching, though.
  • The subtitles for the Russian dialogue in this version are not precise recreations of the theatrical subtitles, but v1.0 will feature more accurate recreations based on the Australian VHS rip provided by Tamura from Toho Kingdom.

The 1080p v1.0 will be created and released in the fall, using Japanese footage sourced from the upcoming Kraken Blu-ray of The Return of Godzilla.

Announcement of v0.6:

The revised 720p test version of Godzilla 1985 is completed and available to download! Send a private message for details.

Notes on this version:

  • The New World logo now starts from the beginning and is sourced from a 1080p Blu-ray rip of Creepshow 2, another New World movie.
  • The couple of remaining single-frame problems with v0.5 are corrected in this version.
  • The color matching on some of the masking jobs has been improved.
  • The added credits at the end listing my sources and special thanks now run a bit longer as a result of adding several people to the latter category - if you posted here or inquired about a download prior to when I rendered this version, keep an eye out for your username!
  • The subtitles still aren’t precise recreations of the theatrical subtitles and the occasional one- or two-frame image sync discrepancies are still present. The subtitles will be redone for v1.0, the full HD version, but there’s not really a way around the latter issue (thankfully it’s not noticeable while simply watching the movie).

The 1080p v1.0 will be created and released in the fall, using Japanese footage sourced from the upcoming Kraken Blu-ray of The Return of Godzilla.

This post has been edited.

Author
Time

Is this still happening?

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

― Socrates

Author
Time

Sorry, LOL. I wasn’t paying attention to the time, at the time I posted it, which I think makes sense.

😃

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

― Socrates

Author
Time

I’ve definitely been there

Anyway, a progress update on v0.5: I’m something like 15-18 minutes into the movie, and currently slogging through the scene where the Russian sub is destroyed. I’m having to mask off all the Japanese subtitles for the Russian dialogue using the US version source (I’d replace the whole shots, but I want to take as much from the Japanese source as I possibly can to maintain a high level of quality), which is challenging since the US source has slightly different framing, different colors and I think the image is a little distorted as well, so I’m having to fiddle with the placement and colors a lot. However, I think I’ve gotten them close enough that you can really only tell the difference if you’re looking for it. I’ve also had to do this for a good deal of location supers and other expository titles, which isn’t so bad, but the sheer number of times I’m having to do it in this scene is maddening. At this point I’m debating whether to go back and add the English subtitles after I finish masking off the Japanese ones, or just come back to them later, because I’m so sick of staring closely at the collars on Soviet sailors’ uniforms while I mess with color sliders and positioning.

Don’t get me wrong, by and large I’m having a lot of fun with this project, but god, dealing with all these subtitles is a bitch. Until this point I’ve had to do one of these masking procedures maybe once every few scenes, and in this scene it’s averaging out to something like once or twice every shot.

Also, having been provided with a 720p copy of the Japanese version at the proper frame rate by a Toho Kingdom member, I’ve been spared the ordeal of doing this test run with a DVD rip at 30fps. What’s more, while I was initially expecting to have to go back through and do the whole project over again for v1.0, this source is probably the same transfer used for the upcoming Kraken Blu-ray, which means I might be able to use the same Vegas project file and just go back through substituting the 1080p Blu-ray rip and have all the other work I’ve done (masking, titles and subtitles, etc.) remain intact.

Author
Time

I haven’t seen the 720p, does it look nice? I cannot wait for the Kraken Bluray though, it’s about time.

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

― Socrates

Author
Time

Jetrell Fo said:

I haven’t seen the 720p, does it look nice? I cannot wait for the Kraken Bluray though, it’s about time.

It’s a Toho transfer, so it’s decent but unremarkable. That said, the Toho HD master is the best source we have to work with at the moment, so it’ll have to do. The 720p TV recording I’m working with also has a little movie camera channel logo in the bottom right corner, which is a drawback, but that’s why this isn’t the final version.

IsanRido said:

I don’t think it’s a good idea to use the Japanese version as a main source. Your best bet would be trying to improve the MHD as much as possible, perhaps only using the Japanese footage for the 2 shots that have macroblocking.

The MHD isn’t available in HD. The point is to try and prepare a decent-looking HD copy of the film with as little upscaled SD material as possible.

Anyway, a progress report:

It’s been a grunt, but I’ve finally finished the Russian sub scene. I had to make three passes at this scene: one to line up the Japanese footage with the US version’s editing, another to mask off the Japanese subtitles, and a third to add the English subtitles. The English subtitles aren’t precise recreations of what’s on the video version, seeing as we have no reference for the theatrical subtitles that I’m aware of, so I took a few minor liberties.

The line breaks in the video subtitles are preserved, though the positioning is different since the video version was severely cropped to remove the theatrical subs, meaning that lining mine up with the video subtitles would put them in very awkward-looking positions. I positioned them roughly the same distance above the bottom of the frame, with similar line spacing. Since the font, as far as I could tell, was the same one used for the opening “100 MILES SOUTH OF TOKYO” location super, I used the same font for the subtitles that I’d previously used to recreate that. There was a heavy black outline/shadow on the video subtitles that I didn’t replicate exactly, but I did add a subtler version to help make the text a little more distinguishable from the background. The video subs had other idiosyncrasies such as putting spaces before question marks or exclamation points, which I confess I didn’t replicate because it just looked really odd to me. Also, except for a few cases where a subtitle appeared in the video version one frame before a cut to a different shot (I simply started those at the same time as the cut), the timing should otherwise be a frame-for-frame match.

Here are a few before and after samples to compare:

sub

sub

sub

sub

sub

sub

For now I’m taking a break to catch up on today’s Steven Universe with my girlfriend, but after that I’ll be back at it.

Author
Time

Great job, and I am very much looking forward to seeing the finished product. Looking very good from those caps. I can’t see where the Japanese subs were masked, at least not in those stills. Is it just as seamless in motion, I wonder?

How will you handle distribution once it’s done?

Visit my *NEW* Star Wars on Video Collection site:

http://www.swonvideo.com

Author
Time

God Save Pop Punk said:
The MHD isn’t available in HD. The point is to try and prepare a decent-looking HD copy of the film with as little upscaled SD material as possible.

That’s the thing, though. Toho’s HDTV is less than stellar. The currently available copy of Godzilla 1985 at least has more accurate colors, and at least registers more detail, even if hampered by the compression and artifacts.

Caligula’s complete OST:
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Caligula-1979-Complete-score/id/48671

Author
Time

Video Collector said:

Great job, and I am very much looking forward to seeing the finished product. Looking very good from those caps. I can’t see where the Japanese subs were masked, at least not in those stills. Is it just as seamless in motion, I wonder?

How will you handle distribution once it’s done?

It’s not always as seamless in motion, but none of the masking work is really egregious. I might fine-tune it when I go back through for v1.0, but for the most part I think it’s satisfactory.

As for distribution, I’m kind of wondering about that myself. I’m somewhat limited by the fact that I’m on a university wifi connection with a pretty draconian anti-torrent policy, so while torrenting seems like the most widely used and convenient method, I won’t be able to upload it myself. I may start by sharing it on MEGA, then arrange to have somebody make it available to torrent. We’ll see.

IsanRido said:

God Save Pop Punk said:
The MHD isn’t available in HD. The point is to try and prepare a decent-looking HD copy of the film with as little upscaled SD material as possible.

That’s the thing, though. Toho’s HDTV is less than stellar. The currently available copy of Godzilla 1985 at least has more accurate colors, and at least registers more detail, even if hampered by the compression and artifacts.

I don’t know about the detail - I’ve yet to see a full HD copy of Toho’s transfer - but I disagree on the colors. I wouldn’t say Toho’s transfer is incredible when it comes to color, but it seems a bit more natural in comparison to the MHD, which has a pretty heavy blue tint by comparison.

In any case, though, if the MHD is that preferable an option, then it’s out there and readily available. I’m doing what I’m doing mainly so there’s at least a mostly-HD option available to people; if people prefer the SD MHD recording then it’s there too.

Anyway, I’ve just gotten past the scene where the Prime Minister meets with the ambassadors and the Soviet colonel makes contact with the missile-launching satellite, so I think most of the subtitle replacements are behind me now. From here on out it should mostly be matching edited scenes and masking the occasional location super, which is pretty quick and easy by comparison. The final touch will be re-creating the end credit crawl in HD, then probably adding brief credits for those who’ve contributed sources.

Author
Time

Well, I’m calling it a night with something like 14 minutes left in the movie. Should be finished and available to download within a week or so from today.

Author
Time

All right, well, I just got home and got back to work on this project. I ended up powering through the whole rest of the movie; I’ve just reached the end credits. It ended on a slightly frustrating note, as the final shot of the volcano erupting is present in the Japanese version, but the end credits start to roll over it before the point where the American version fades out, and between the near-impossibility of creating a mask that moves subtly up the frame to cover those credits and the sheer amount of the frame I’d have to mask off with SD material, I had to end up just leaving that shot sourced from the Monsters HD release. On the plus side, I’ve now scientifically confirmed that Raymond Burr’s closing speech never fails to give me chills, no matter how many times I hear it.

Anyway, now to recreate the end credits in HD. I’ll have to take about a million screenshots of the credits in the MHD recording, line them up so I have the whole column of text, then recreate the text. After that I take the finished image, add it to the project, and make sure it scrolls at the same speed as the original credits. I might actually be able to finish this tomorrow, if not tonight, and after that it’ll just be a matter of rendering the whole project, watching it to make sure everything came out right, and then uploading and sharing it.

Author
Time

Recreating the credits took a lot longer than I expected it to. Matching the font that was originally used turned out to be the easy part; I found an online font recognition tool that pointed me to the right font family, and after some searching I found what I think is an exact match. What was harder was lining up all the text - the original credits have unusually wide spaces between words and some minor kerning differences compared to the digital font, which meant individual words and in some cases letters (notably capital As and Is) had to be spaced manually. Once that was done, though, syncing my recreated version of the text up to the original crawl was a breeze by comparison.

But no matter…

rendering

I’ll update the thread when it’s done and uploaded, and I’ll probably PM you guys the link. I appreciate all the feedback, advice and support I’ve gotten from you all, and I’m excited to share this project with you.

Anyone who hasn’t posted here yet and would like the link is free to hit me up as well.

Author
Time

I had to go back and fix a good deal of the masking work early in the movie. I hadn’t actually looked at it in a while and most of what I’d done in the first half of the movie wasn’t up to the standards I’d reached by the end. I attribute this to the fact that I was still figuring out the color correction process; most of it turned out to be a pretty easy fix. I also had to fix a couple of points where a mask would disappear a frame or so early, leaving Japanese text briefly visible, and a couple where a stray frame of a shot would be left in between two others.

In any case, the movie is re-rendered, and while there are still one or two problem frames, I’m going ahead and uploading it. I’m not going to be too much of a stickler about this version, seeing as it’s a test run, but I’ll be sure to fix the remaining problems for the final, full HD version.

Author
Time

The upload is complete. Should have PMs with the link sent to folks in the next hour or two.

Author
Time

Downloaded and sampled. (Will try to give this a full watch this weekend). What a gift to the fans! Very impressive rebuild of the US version. The subtitle replacements appeared seamless to me. If I wasn’t looking for it I’d never notice the slight loss of resolution in those parts of the screen. The recreation of the end credits show the dedication and attention to detail that only a true fan would invest (and thanks for the shout-out, I’ll be showing that to all my friends) 😃

The station bug is the only thing that I can see being improved on the next version, other than that version 0.5 is a marvel in itself. Hope you can keep your energy and enthusiasm up so work on the next version goes smoothly.

Thank you!

Visit my *NEW* Star Wars on Video Collection site:

http://www.swonvideo.com

Author
Time

Thank you so much! The response this has gotten from both the folks here and on TK has meant quite a lot to me; I’m glad people are enjoying this project so much.

It’s also been something of an eye-opening experience for me. I’ve long wished certain versions of these movies would get the sort of treatment Harmy’s given Star Wars, and this has shown me that it’s really not such a difficult thing to do. I’ve been fruitlessly looking for a job lately, and I think the frustration and the urge to be occupied with something productive really motivated me to do this, combined with resenting Kraken Releasing’s approach to their release of The Return of Godzilla. Spite and boredom will change your life, folks!

In the meantime, while we’re waiting for the Kraken Blu-ray to come out in September, I intend to keep busy with a few less complicated preservations of these films’ US versions (Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Destroy All Monsters come to mind), as well as the minor fixes still left to do on v0.5, which will most likely mean a v0.6 being released in the next week or two.

Author
Time

I have to say, I really enjoyed what you did with this. I have a custom 25GB Bluray of the Japan release as well so it’s nice to have these 2 to watch til the Bluray shows up in September.

I also had a hard time noticing the issues with the subtitle replacements. And I totally agree with Video Collector on the end credits, very nice indeed.

Thanks for the work and the share with us G fans.

😃

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

― Socrates

Author
Time

Ah! So happy someone is doing this! I’m a huge Godzilla fan (use this same screen name at the monster zero and Toho kingdom boards, though I very seldom visit TK).

G84/85 is one of my favorites and has been since I was a kid. I’ve had a lousy copy of a copy of the SD monsters HD rip for a few years now. I’ve also had the original Japanese laserdiscs and bluray for a long time. But being able to watch a decent copy of the US cut on a modern home theater will be a dream come true.

I’m still reading the thread (at work so I’ve only skimmed it) so apologies if this is answered somewhere. But is there a reason you went with a 720p tv broadcast copy of the Japanese version instead of a straight rip of the Japanese bluray? The bluray is already 1080p and it doesn’t have any burned in logos and such. I cant check for a couple of days, but it’s even possible the subtitles you had to erase were video generated and not burned in too, which could’ve saved a lot of trouble. The bluray is easy to find and has come way down in price (when I got it it was about $70 but now can be found pretty easily for around $40).

Author
Time

Jetrell Fo said:

I have to say, I really enjoyed what you did with this. I have a custom 25GB Bluray of the Japan release as well so it’s nice to have these 2 to watch til the Bluray shows up in September.

I also had a hard time noticing the issues with the subtitle replacements. And I totally agree with Video Collector on the end credits, very nice indeed.

Thanks for the work and the share with us G fans.

😃

I’m glad you’re enjoying it! And I’m glad I thought to give it a test viewing once I’d rendered it the first time, because the original subtitle/other masking work looked pretty awful. Thankfully redoing it was fairly easy.

canofhumdingers said:

I’m still reading the thread (at work so I’ve only skimmed it) so apologies if this is answered somewhere. But is there a reason you went with a 720p tv broadcast copy of the Japanese version instead of a straight rip of the Japanese bluray? The bluray is already 1080p and it doesn’t have any burned in logos and such. I cant check for a couple of days, but it’s even possible the subtitles you had to erase were video generated and not burned in too, which could’ve saved a lot of trouble. The bluray is easy to find and has come way down in price (when I got it it was about $70 but now can be found pretty easily for around $40).

Echo3, who provided me with the copy of the MHD recording that I used for this project, asked me the same thing, so I’ll copy over that exchange:

Echo3 said:

i noticed you used the 720p HDTV broadcast for the japanese scenes. is there a reason you didnt us the higher quality bluray source? its on myspleen.

God Save Pop Punk said:

My university more or less suspends your wifi access if they see torrent activity, so even if I had a spleen account, I couldn’t download or seed anything.

Also, the current version is more or less a test run. I’m waiting for the Kraken Blu-ray to come out so I have as high-quality a source as possible to work directly from for the 1080p version.

(It also gives me a good reason to take a break from this movie and maybe work on a couple other similar but less involved projects.)

As to what those projects might be, I’ve been considering recreating some of the other US versions that’ve been neglected on recent home video releases, like Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster or Destroy All Monsters, for instance. I’ll make sure and put a thread up whenever I start actively working on those.

(EDIT: I noticed you mentioned the possibility that the subs aren’t burned in on the Blu-ray. I’m fairly confident the TV broadcast was from the same master, and not only did the subtitles look potentially handwritten, I’m pretty sure I noticed some telecine wobble on them too. I don’t think they were generated digitally; I think those are the original optically-added subtitles.)

ray_afraid said:

I’m really looking forward seeing to this release! Looks good!
Any chance of a PM? And are there .rar links or torrent only?
SKREEEEEEEOOOONNNNKK!

I actually haven’t got this up on any torrent trackers or more paradoxical forms of distribution for the moment; right now I’ve just got MEGA and MediaFire links. Like I said above, my university keeps an eye out for torrent activity on their wifi network, and I haven’t bothered learning how to make multiple-.rar copies of large files yet. I’ll probably make the effort to get this project out on those platforms once I’ve made the 1080p final version.

And yeah, I’ll PM those of you I haven’t yet with the link in just a second.

This post has been edited.

Author
Time

Well, v0.6 is done. The MEGA upload is in the home stretch; after that’s done I’ll upload it to MediaFire, update the OP and then send the links around.

Author
Time

I sat down to watch version 0.5 yesterday and was again awed by the seamlessness of the presentation. Having never seen the US version in its entirety before I found it a fresh take on the original film, and the editing tightened up the narrative quite a bit. I enjoyed it immensely, and a welcome change to the Return of Godzilla international version I’ve been accustomed to until now.

On the tech side, these are the things I noticed:

  • The wobble on the opening credits. Would be nice to have that stabilised.
  • Was there an on-screen caption when the sub first appears? Looks like there was a square patch on the bottom part of the screen. (There was one more instance of a noticeable patch, but I can’t remember where I saw it.)
  • The upscaling of the US footage was very good, but I wonder if it couldn’t do with a grain layer overlay to make it appear sharper and better match the surrounding footage. I can only imagine the difference becoming even more pronounced when you start using the Kraken Blu as source material.

Still, a stellar presentation and if it wasn’t for the station bug this would be just fine as it is. I can only imagine what the final full HD version will be like.

Visit my *NEW* Star Wars on Video Collection site:

http://www.swonvideo.com

To the top