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Last of the Mohicans - Original Theatrical Cut - BD-50 *RELEASED*

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So, while I'm working on my pain in the arse "new adventures of winnie the pooh" restoration project, I decided that I need something to distract me from the tediousness of seeing that every night. That's where this project comes to play...

I don't know about you guys, but I was severely disappointed with the fact that there is NO OTR on Bluray of this movie and instead we have this DEC and DDC bullsh*t to contend with. Now don't get me wrong, I like the extra footage as just that, "an extra" but the fact that we are stuck with ONLY that sucks IMHO. There are pros and cons to those releases and the fact that I had to get a PAL R2 DVD just to have the theatrical cut pissed me off. I started looking around the net for alternatives and found a "Hybrid cut," which is also not the OTR, but I really did like it, however its only an SD cut... sh*t, sorry guys, I'm side-tracking...

After some extensive research I found that I can have a proper NTSC speed theatrical of the movie if I get the R4 DVD which I ordered for $7 (including shipping) and I just received it today. I am really happy to have a theatrical cut without having to re-encode the audio, after slowing it back down to NTSC speed from the R2 DVD... but, alas, it's still only an SD copy...

So, I searched the internet, and discovered a 1080i copy of the movie ripped from a SKY-HD broadcast of the theatrical version. YAY!!! but, it too, is a PAL transfer, and to boot it ONLY has a 2.0 (despite what the torrent description says) English audio track. I have a copy of the DDC Bluray as well and then it dawned on me that I can reproduce the OTR using, mostly, footage from the Bluray with the scenes that need changing from the 1080i broadcast once I change the framerate from 25fps back to 23.976. Unfortuantely the 1080i broadcast has a bitrate of ~6400kbps whereas the bluray is around 28000kbps so there is some (lots of) grain structure missing from that HDTV copy. However, this is ok if I apply REAL 35mm grain back onto it and judging from my tests so far should be very doable.

Interestingly though, when I changed the fps of the R2 DVD and of the PAL HDTV broadcast and aligned them to the R4 DVD I discovered an interesting discrepancy in the total frame count. What I mean by that is that the R4 DVD is 2 frames longer than the R2 DVD and the HDTV broadcast is 10 frames longer than the R4 DVD. These are very subtle changes, but they are there, therefore none of the copies actually line up perfectly. This is more as a novelty information than anything else but I just wanted to mention it.

Anyway, I am ripping the (unfortunately) lossy 5.1 English AC3 track from the R4 DVD and will be timing the video to that release, as since I'm using a lossy audio source, I don't want to re-encode it and degrade the sound even more. There are too many changes and different audio for me to use the lossless DTS-HDMA track that's on the bluray, hence the decision to use the audio off the R4 DVD.

For the video editing, I am using the R4 DVD (as that will be the audio that it needs to be synced to) as a reference, where all the video will be used from the bluray, except when there are changes, where I will use the HDTV (with a REAL 35mm grain-plate overlayed onto it) edition to fill in those blanks as that's much better than using upscaled DVD footage.

All of this will be re-encoded using AVC at ~30000kbps and then...

well, if I can figure out how to author a BD-25 out of it then I'll go that route, or I will just remux it into an MKV file depending on how hard that sh*t is to figure out. I will also include the English subtitles from the R4 DVD as I won't have to re-sync them.

There are two things I am wondering though, before I finish this project (and it's easy and I should have it complete within the next few days, except for, maybe, the proper BD authoring) and I was hoping you wonderful people could help me.


First, I am aware of the fact that there was a Laserdisc edition, which some claim is the theatrical cut and some say there are minor changes, but would the laserdisc audio be a better fit for this than using the R4 DVD audio?
Second, would there be any interest in this "preservation" once it's complete?

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Jerry, first of all congratulations for this project; because it's interesting, and you needed it to distract a bit from the other one - you know it, I know it!

One thing: do you mean the R2 DVD, right? Because R4 (usually from Australia) is PAL... or is your R4 NTSC? If so, from which country is it?

Well, I will be very interested in it, and happy you decided to use a grain plate to improve the quality of the HDTV parts; also, it is a good idea to stick with the audio track as reference, so you have to not re-encode it; even if it will be 10 frames lost, I bet they are all at scene change, and so not too important.

I have both AC3 and DS laserdisc versions, but frankly I don't know if they are different from the DVD...

BD authoring: you know my "policy" (^^,) I like to release BD compliant discs, so if you have some spare time, I strongly suggest to use MultiAVCHD; it's free, and could make also menus; if few days you will be able to discover all its functions, and it worth the time!

[spoRv] projects: released | in progress | future | homepage: blog.spoRv.com| fan preservation forum: fanres.com|

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The R4 is a Brazilian R4 NTSC DVD. I am using that video and audio as my timing reference points for the HD footage I am using for the video assembly however there is an interesting development here...

You are probably right about the extra frames being at scene change, thus they are not really too important and I'm not worried about cutting 10 frames throughout an entire movie.

Thanx for the MultiAVCHD suggestion, Andrea. I do have the app, just have never used it yet. I guess now is as good of a time as any;)

While trying to align the footage in Vegas, I discovered something interesting though. Apparently, the color timing of the DVDs and the HDTV broadcast are struck from one master, while the Bluray has been SEVERELY altered.

The best way for me to illustrate my point is with screenshots, so here we go...

SHOT 1 (DVD/HDTV/Bluray):



SHOT 2 (DVD/HDTV/Bluray) :



SHOT 3 (DVD/HDTV/Bluray - notice in this shot how the HDTV is actually sharper than the Bluray which looks like the frame is blurred to the point where even the DVD has more detail and there are other shot like that in the movie as well) :





SHOT 4 (HDTV/Bluray - no more DVD shot as I've already illustrated that the DVD and HDTV are from the same master, just slightly different cropping) :


SHOT 5 (HDTV/Bluray) :


SHOT 6 (HDTV/Bluray) :


So as you guys can see, not only is it a different color-timing, but it also appears that the bluray has been substantially darkened. Interesting, also, is how they changed the font for the subtitles of the foreign parts.

Hmmm... what am I going to do with this now??? I'm open to suggestions, even though I have an idea of how I'm going to go about this, would love some input from others first...

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Brazilian R4 NTSC DVD? Really interesting, and a good find!

Happy you are considering MultiAVCHD; it sit in my HDD for literally years, before I decided to use it extensively - read: make my own custom menu - and now I use it for every project.

Well, it is not the first BD regrading, and sadly I think will be not the last... personally, I like most the original one, with no so crushed blacks as the BD, and without teal skies... maybe I'll increase a bit saturation and decrease brightness, but just a little bit.

You have two choices, if you want to retain the DVD/HDTV grading (as I think you would):

  1. use only the HDTV as source, and apply the grain plate over it, with a lower overall quality, but perfect color grading
  2. regrade the BD using the HDTV as color reference, with a better quality but probably a not perfect color grading match.

Your choice, but I'll try the second; if the difference in color grading will be too much, then I'll try the first; to be sure, just make some fast tests using the most offending (color wise) shots - let's say, three shots of thirty seconds each, to save time; they will be the ones to base your initial choice (that could be changed later if needed, of course).

[spoRv] projects: released | in progress | future | homepage: blog.spoRv.com| fan preservation forum: fanres.com|

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Yeah, the Brazilian NTSC R4 DVDs is an interesting thing...

You can read up more about it here (although wiki is confusing) :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAL-M

And explained better by others, as far as DVD format and such:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/dvd-authoring/71031-what-dvd-standard-brazil.html
http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/227967-PAL-M-and-NTSC

where that last link probably has the most extensive info about the subject. Long story short, Brazil had to be different, LOL ;)

Here's an example of a store selling the Brazilian DVD (not specifying whether it's PAL or NTSC but does specify the NTSC runtime of 112 minutes):
http://dvdworld.com.br/dvdworld.hts?+ZP12619+acha

Anyway, back to topic...

I was thinking along the same lines as you were Andrea. I'll see if I can regrade the BD, but I doubt that it will be a "perfect" match and I might have to end up using the HDTV footage as many scenes are just so dark on the bluray that the blacks are completely crushed and, thus, the detail there is gone. I agree that the HDTV footage needs a very slight saturation adjustment and just slightly darkened in some scenes, but not all. I will be running some tests on this now and see what results I get. I'm really mad that they changed the color-timing on the bluray. Why are so many movies getting this treatment? Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to change the look of, damn nearly, every movie released on bluray. It's like rebuilding an engine in a car and then driving with no oil - what's the point? YAAY, I have better sharpness and detail but colors/blacks/whites/etc. are all messed up... Booo, not cool.

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Last idea: if you could find another, different HDTV version, you could always "merge" them, to obtain a final version with more details and less noise and compression artifacts.

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I have searched all over the internet and the only copy I have been able to find is the 1080i SKY-HD broadcast copy or re-encodes of that 1080i copy;(

SIDE-NOTE: I have been trying to fix the broken links on the screenshot for the last 30 minutes and everytime I fix one of them another one messes up. I don't know what's going on there... I gotta take a nap right now, but when I wake up I'll re-update those links after I find a better image-sharing service. Any suggestions for that are welcome;)

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That's funny, my friend in Brazil says pretty much everything's pan-and-scan there. o.o;

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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HUGE thanx to Andrea (yet again, LOL) for all the advice and suggestions in the e-mail exchange we had. It turns out that, yes, the blu-ray release has completely crushed blacks regardless of scene, even in the daylight, bright, outdoor scenes, and the footage there is absolute garbage, on top of the fact that it has a WAY different color-timing from the OTR. So even though it may have a higher bitrate and slightly better detail and sharpness, it's still unusable. So, keeping that in mind, I ran numerous tests on different settings for the HDTV source that I'm forced to use. After a few hours, and a broken cup I threw at the wall from frustration, LOL, (just kidding, but the urge was there)... anyway... I finally got a very nice result where I applied a very slight filter to decrease brightness/contrast (where, now, the blacks look black, but not crushed, and the whites are not too bright to the point of being blown out), I applied a very slight, selective, saturation boost, where the skin tones look more vibrant now and some of the "washed" out scenes look better without over-boosting ANY of the colors. I, also, applied, the slightest (literally) sharpening to the video (where I used the first change to the right of no sharpening at all, a level of 1.1%, as anything more looked like sh*t and no sharpening left the image a little soft, so used that as a happy "medium" and in many test I concluded along with a few other viewers here, both on an 1080p HDTV 46 inches in size and the 100 inch projected image onto the wall from my projector, that it looks better this way.... bla,bla,bla...LOL) WOW, side-tracking, sorry guys but I'm trying to cover all the steps I had to go through... I found out why there were some 10 frames more than the DVD OTR that I'm syncing the audio from. There are a couple of scenes where the last 3 frames and first 2 frames where either doubled on the HDTV release or missing, depending on scene. I managed to fix these transitions, by means of cutting and, in two cases, dupping one frame as I wasn't going to upscale a slightly more cropped DVD sources frame (BOO, no way!) Then I applied a REAL 35mm film grain plate and am now encoding it, using the AVC codec, at a bitrate of 27000kbps(which, apparently, is the max that sony vegas will allow me for the project and codec) and am nearly the middle of finishing the final rendering...

As you can see, this is a slow process and after 17 hours, I still have nearly 24 hours left to go. Once the video is finished, I will verify that it all looks good, mux the English audio from the R4 Brazilian NTSC DVD, mux the isolated-score track (that came as an option ONLY from the extras menu of the DVD, which is a 5.1 AC3 file at 384kbps, which is a cool extra) and since I have it the Brazilian Portuguese track from that same source, and then... well, I'm wondering if anyone has other languages of the OTR that they would like me to include. I looked at my R2 DVD but it's cracked and useless now :(

So I guess I'm asking if anyone has other language tracks they could share if they wanted me to include. I will also include the English subtitles from the R4 DVD, that I'm using as my reference point and am open to anyone sharing others for inclusion of the release. Once finished, so far the release is ~19GB so it will fit nicely on a BD-25. Screen shots before/after, and more news to follow after encoding finshed.... peace... :0)

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It's great that you're taking on this project, and that you are giving it the love and care it deserves.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the results.

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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Very happy about this project, in particular for the fact you are applying so high level techniques to increase final video quality!

I'd like to watch it with the italian audio track, and maybe also with the laserdisc english track as well - but it will take you other sync work to do, though...

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@ Video Collector - I'm looking forward to this being finish as well and will be posting it on my internal organ, LOL ;)

@ Andrea - With the amount of sync work on my "winnie the pooh" project, I have gotten pretty good at doing that, especially since I can match it by waveform using Audacity, so syncing the audio for this would not be an issue and if you would like me to include those extra tracks I would be happy to do so if you would be willing to share them with me for this project.

@kk650 - I wish there was a new higher quality mpeg transport stream of this version but, alas, it's sourced from the 1080i Sky-HD broadcast rip that has been floating around for a while and even though it's at a lower bitrate, it's a very decent source as it's encoded using the AVC codec and MediaInfo for it is (ONLY posting video section here):

Video
ID                               : 1
Format                           : AVC
Format/Info                      : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile                   : Main@L4.0
Format settings, CABAC           : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames        : 4 frames
Codec ID                         : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration                         : 1h 47mn
Bit rate mode                    : Variable
Bit rate                         : 6 411 Kbps
Maximum bit rate                 : 40.0 Mbps
Width                            : 1 920 pixels
Height                           : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio             : 16:9
Frame rate                       : 50.000 fps
Original frame rate              : 25.000 fps
Color space                      : YUV
Chroma subsampling               : 4:2:0
Bit depth                        : 8 bits
Scan type                        : Interlaced
Scan order                       : Top Field First
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)               : 0.062
Stream size                      : 4.81 GiB (89%)
Language                         : English
Color primaries                  : BT.709-5, BT.1361, IEC 61966-2-4, SMPTE RP177
Transfer characteristics         : BT.709-5, BT.1361
Matrix coefficients              : BT.709-5, BT.1361, IEC 61966-2-4 709, SMPTE RP177

For now, it's the best source available for this project, as ALL 1080i copies floating around, regardless of languages attached (as I've found a German edition that has dead link already, a French version on some private tracker site name t411.me where it's hard to build up ratio as a new user so I haven't been able to download this to include the audio from it, the Russian version which I'm sourcing the video from, and a Polish version on a polish torrent site but it has no seeds) and their video is all remuxed from that original SKY-HD broadcast rip. Then I looked at all 720p HDTV copies and they are ALL sourced from the 1080i. So, for now, that is the ONLY source in HD.

The BIGGEST problem with that 1080i source, aside from some compression artifacts that overall are actually not that often or that bad, is the nearly complete lack of grain (which is why I'm applying real 35mm film grain). Not saying that it's the infamous wax-o-vision that we see in "remastered" blurays due to too much DNR, it's just that the bitrate was too low to retain the grain. However, the bitrate was high enough to capture all of the film artecfacts such as dirty, occasional scratches on some frames, etc. (which are also visible, but barely, on the R2/R3(the Korean release)/Brazilian R4/ DVDs so I know that the HDTV broadcast was sourced from the same transfer)

I realize that this project can easily end up having a version 2.0, the moment a new higher quality source becomes available, but ATM this will be the best HD edition of the movie, as anyone that has the DVD edition mentioned above or the NTSC custom DVD sourced from the R2 release can watch the theatrical release now but only in SD. I just wanted a proper looking HD source and am working with what's available :o)

The encode has just under 11 more hours to completion and I will be posting source/my edit screenshot comparisons shortly after...

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Hi jerryshadoe!

First I'd like to congratulate you on this awesome project.

As it has been discussed ad nauseam on blu-ray.com and avsforum, LOTM BD is one of worst offenders in the revisionim department (edit, video, audio) and as a fan, it would be fantastic to have a reconstrucion of the Theatrical Cut with the best elements available.

Since you asked on the first post, I believe the best source for audio is the 1993 LD (http://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/04661/1986-85/Last-of-the-Mohicans-The-(1992)) as it features the best version of the original mix and overall a much better fidelity than the Brazilian TC DVD 5.1 remix (I'm from Brazil and I have this DVD).

LDs are unbeatable for audio on catalog titles

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@jerryshadoe: Damn. I was hoping that maybe a new german or japanese high quality transport stream had shown up. This 5gb 1080i stream really suffers from a lack of grain. I look forward to seeing how this looks when you add the grain plate over it.

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@ BDgeek - thanx for the kind words. The bluray, aside from NOT having a theatrical cut, is indeed an atrocious transfer and whoever approved it for release is blind. I was not aware of the fact that the Brazilian TC DVD is a 5.1 remix. It sounds better than the slowed-down R2 DVD mix.

@ kk650 - yeah, it's a damn shame that we don't have a better source for this. Read on and you will see screenshot comparisons;)

I am wondering if any of you wonderful people would be willing to share the Laserdisc English 5.1 AC3 audio with me for this project. For now, I have the Brazilian Portuguese 2.0 audio, the English 5.1 audio (from that Brazilian DVD), the isolated-score track, Italian 5.1 audio (thanx for sharing Andrea), finally got the French 5.1 audio, German 2.0 audio (there is a 5.1 but all links I found are dead), Polish 5.1 audio (which is still downloading but I should have it by end of day), and Russian 5.1 audio. Also, I have the R2 DVD English audio (which is probably useless for this project as I would have to slow it down and re-encode a lossy into a lossy format, but I do have it too).  For subtitles, I know I have English, Italian, Portuguese, and others I can find online so that should not be a problem. For now, as I'm still working on all of this, none of the audio is synced yet except for the audio I sourced from the Brazilian DVD.

Anyway, after watching this twice, I have to say that I'm happy with it but... This is where I will be waiting for feedback from others, as I think I could have boosted the saturation just a little bit more than I did. In fact, there is almost no visible difference for the most part, except in skin tones (and even that is not present in all scenes) so... well here they are:

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84007

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84008

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84010

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84012

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84013

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84015

Am now anxiously awaiting any comments and hoping that someone is willing to share the laserdisc audio. Peace

UPDATE: upon closer inspection, it appears that some of the screenshot on "my encode" are not de-interlaced properly and I will definitely have to do a second encode, however before I do that I am waiting for comments about the brightness/colors/grain first.

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Jerry, good job! Color adjustment is subtle, like grain, but definitely improve the quality - as mush as could be possible with a so low bitrate source IMHO; maybe I'll try to make the grain just a bit more evident.

May you post the not well de-interlaced frame(s)?

[spoRv] projects: released | in progress | future | homepage: blog.spoRv.com| fan preservation forum: fanres.com|

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@ Andrea - Thanx for the kind words;)
Do you suggest that I use a different setting for the grain overlay and maybe boost it by a couple percent?

If you look at the screenshot comparison:

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84013

you will notice that the letters in the subtitles in the source are round when they need to be, whereas on my encode, it appears that the letters are a little jagged if you look closely.

This "jagged" effect can also be seen in this:

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84012

where you can see this also in the hat of the soldier standing behind the blue uniformed soldier, and it's noticeable in the red uniform of Col Monroe in the yellow stripes on his arm.

Furthermore, I'm not sure whether this is due to faulty de-interlacing or whether this is caused by the slight sharpening filter that I applied:0

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Now that you outlined the problem, I could clearly see it... probably a de-interlacing problem; just to be sure, make a fast test with NO added filters or tweaking, just de-interlacing; if the problem will persist, it's not due to the sharpening filter.

About grain: just make, let's say, grain 20% stronger and see what it does like; at the end, this is YOUR project and, even if advice is ever appreciated, YOU should decide which one to follow... (-^,)

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Well, I guess it's time for some more tests...

I suspect that it's a de-interlacing issue (or at least I hope it is, as the slight sharpening that I applied really does help.

As far as grain is concerned, I will do some test there, after I fix the de-interlacing issue, and see what results I get. You're right that it's MY project, BUT I'm relying on the opinions of users here that have a LOT more experience then I do in doing this and YOUR opinion matters.

UPDATE: I have resolved the problem with the de-interlacing and have adjusted the level of grain by a little bit (as before it was a little "soft" on the grain side) and now I just have to wait ~45 hours for the encode to complete.

As soon as it's finished I will post new, updated, screenshot comparisons between source/my encode. Still hoping that someone can share the laserdisc English audio for this project;)

Peace

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I have the 1993 Laserdisc and I am willing to share it but I do not think it has 5.1 AC3 Audio. It just states Stereo Extended Play digital sound. I have no way to "rip" the digital sound so I am willing to ship it to who ever  can.

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There are two editions, the old one was just PCM 2.0 (surround IIRC), and the new one was AC3 5.1 - the latter should retain the same PCM 2.0 tracks of the former, but *maybe* they did a new remix, even if I'm pretty sure this is not the case, like in the last decade...

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@ suntech - Thanx for the offer, but it turns out I won't be needing the LD audio after all. I have been doing LOTS of research on the matter and according to :
http://forum.lddb.com/viewtopic.php?t=1897&p=24841
AND, especially this:
http://forum.lddb.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=517&hilit=The+last+of+the+mohicans

the consensus is that the R2/R4 audio is the SAME as the Laserdisc transfer.

@ Andrea - Thanx for the private e-mail session and the help there;o)

@ ALL - Finally, after a nearly 70 hour (!) encoding time, the video is complete and I now have 10 screenshot comparisons to share with you wonderful people (all in the same link) :

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/84555/

For this second encode, I managed to properly de-interlace the video and applied the REAL 35mm film grain at a slightly higher percentage rate where, now, I'm happy with the way it looks.

Within the next couple of days I plan on taking the DTS-HDMA audio from the BD and re-cutting it to fit this Theatrical Cut. Granted, there will be about a minute or so of audio from the lossy 5.1 sourced from the R4 DVD (due to a couple scenes being cut from the BD edition) BUT nearly all audio will still be from a lossless source and re-encoded back into lossless DTS-HDMA. I will still include the 5.1 audio sourced from the R4 DVD, but my aim is to provide the best video AND audio possible for this release. I know that there were a couple sound FX that were changed for the BD release, so I will have to go through it VERY carefully as I want to retain ALL of the original audio, using the lossless audio as much as possible.

As always, ALL comments/suggestions are welcome ;o)

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The difference between the source and the final result is subtle, still it's noticeable; contrast is finally right (before the black bars were... well, grey!) and the grain gives back the texture and perceived details lost in the high compression, while masking the little compression artifacts; this is a good thing for a fan preservation, where you take a good source and make it better without change it too much; good job!

Now we are awaiting for the DTS-HD MA track, that will be perfect for sure, thanks to your experience!

The only missing part now is the BD menu (and eventual intro)...

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