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Robotech: The Untold Story / The Movie

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Hey there,

Long time reader... and a used-to-be poster, however, I completely forget what my username was here so many years ago.

So any oldschool anime fan probably knows about the Robotech movie, and how it was a huge flop. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robotech_The_Movie What exists out there for it is pretty much some captures from VHS. The Movie blendered Megazone 23, some scenes from Southern Cross, and a whole new animated ending together.

Currently I'm working on a project to restore Robotech: The Untold Story to DVD quality using the recent Megazone 23 DVDs, the recent Southern Cross DVDs, and footage from the international version of Megazone 23 part 2 (the original ending sequence.)

I've always wanted to watch this in better-than-VHS quality, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I feel this weird chapter in the Robotech saga needs to be restored and preserved.

Currently, I have everything but the ending sequence in DVD quality. 

So I'm coming here, hoping for some help. :)

-First, the hardest. I need the alternate ending. This is just a matter of finding someone who happens to have one of the two following DVDs. They're both the 'International' version of Megazone part 2.

 --First is the extras disk for this game: http://www.ebay.com/itm/PS3-Megazone-23-Aoi-Garland-Limited-Edition-USED-Japan-/370159606164?pt=Video_Games_Games&hash=item562f3b5994#ht_1985wt_1022  It's a DVD with this International version on it, and it has, at the very beginning, the original footage.

 --Secondly, there was apparently an extras disk you could get for ordering all three parts of Megazone in Japan that also has this version of MZ part 2 on it.

I'm hoping someone out there happens to have one or the other, and is willing to pull the scenes off the disk for me. The game is 70 dollars, and that's pretty steep for a game I'm not going to play.

-I wasn't a big fan of the Southern Cross portion of Robotech, so I have no idea which episode the footage they pulled for this movie is from. I have Southern Cross, I just don't know which episode to pull the footage from. If someone has an idea of which episode(s) this movie pulls video from, that would be awesome.

-I need to figure out which font they used for the titling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYxduwj7DLU&feature=related here. I haven't done any searching yet, though the font looks super familiar.

-I need to figure out where the generic starfield/cosmos footage from the beginning of the movie were from. I need to ascertain if this is yoinked from something like Macross, Southern Cross, or Mospeada, or if it's completely original footage they created.

Thanks so much for your time!

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Wasn't the "alternate ending" included on one of the US releases of MegaZone 23? I don't know how complete it was, but I know I have both US releases of it.

Where are you sourcing the audio? I remember there was a rumor back when the original ADV sets were coming out that they were considering including the audio of the movie on it, since they didnt't own the rights to the footage.

I've actually considered doing the same thing, so I look forward to your finished product. It's not a great movie, nor is it a great part of the series, but it's still part of the show's history and shouldn't be buried.

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Wow, an actual reply!

I've found a possible lead on the ending footage... As for the audio, the best I can do, unfortunately, is a VHS tape.  I don't think it was ever released on anything but VHS... and despite this, it's good enough to watch.

Do you know anything about the Southern Cross footage used in the movie?

I got about 10 minutes synced the other day; the movie is almost like they applied a Blender to Megazone. One of the very first shots is the very last shot of the oav reversed.

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Robotech the movie never got a wide release. 

A Few showings hardly counts as a failed movie.  Especially since they never even bothered to advertise the movie really.

I have never even seen prints of the film show up it is such an obscure item.

A bootleg VHS tape of the british or canadian broadcasts exist, but in PAL.

A VHS screener also is on the web illicitly.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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The "generic starfield/cosmos footage from the beginning of the movie" is original, I believe. Actually, a fairly high quality version of it exists on DVD. A heavily truncated version of Robotech the Movie exists on A&E Home Video's Robotech: The Complete Series. Basically, it's a 30 or so minute version of the film with all of the Megazone footage cut out. You might check it out.


I hope that helps. Good luck.

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MD Geist:

That's very helpful! Went ahead and ordered it. Does the original ending segment animation exist there as well? Or does that count as a 'Megazone' segment?

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Kushami said:

MD Geist:

That's very helpful! Went ahead and ordered it. Does the original ending segment animation exist there as well? Or does that count as a 'Megazone' segment?

There're, like, two shots of the ending segment on the DVD. It's from right after Mark and Becky embrace. It's the shot of the airfield (or wherever they were) wrecked and smoldering after the battle. Then we see another shot of the ruined airfield before the credits. The only thing is the credits differ slightly from the copy that's be floating around the internet.

In the VHS rip that I have (and I assume the OP is getting the audio from), the screen goes black and the credits roll as "The Future Is Now" plays. The DVD version, however, goes to a shot of the earth as the credits roll and eventually goes black, and the credits continue to roll over that. It's minor, but it's noteworthy.

Still, this DVD provides a higher quality version of the opening and ending credits than I've ever seen online. They clearly aren't remastered, but they look better than what's been available until now.

As for finding the ending in high quality, there's a YouTube user who might be able to help. He reconstructed the ending here. He might be a great authority on Robotech in general since he has the LaserDisc release of the movie from Belgium. Not to mention a bunch of other Robotech the Movie rarities.

Hopefully this helps.

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twistybit,

I just stumbled across this forum topic yesterday and I have also considered cobbling together a better version of the Robotech movie from the existing DVD sources.  But, since I've only seen a few episodes of the series itself, I have yet to do so as it would probably prove itself to be too difficult a task for me.  Mostly due to the random Southern Cross footage in the film.

In any event, I was wondering about the progress you were making with your project thus far (if any). 

Regardless, I wish you the best!

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Funny you mentioned...  I just sourced the Megazone 23 R2s in hopes I could do something with it.  Haven't found the 29-minute cut of the movie (from the 2011 A&E DVD box) though - that might really help things too, apparently it's everything *but* the Megazone 23 footage?

This post has been edited.

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

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Okay fans...

After 4 months I can honestly say that I have done it.  I have reconstructed the original 1986 "Robotech: The Movie" using the following sources...

Megazone 23-Part 1 (DVD) - this is the majority of the film.

Robotech: The Complete Series - Disc #4: The Robotech Archives (DVD) - this contains the 30 minutes of Southern Cross footage with the original movie audio and also the original movie's complete opening and closing credits.

Megazone 23: Blue Garland-Limited Edition (PlayStation 3 video game) - this is bundled with a bonus DVD that has the alternate ending of "Megazone 23-Part 1" which was used as the ending for the Robotech movie.  This is tougher to come by.  This bonus disc is exclusive included only within this special bundle which is an exclusive import from Japan.

Robotech: The Movie (VHS) - this movie was released only in Europe and is EXTREMELY difficult to obtain!  All European VHS tapes are in PAL format.  You will need a PAL to NTSC converter in order to play this tape in North America.  I don't have one myself, but a friend of mine was able to convert it for me.  The tape, being over 25-years-old, wasn't in the best shape, but it served several uses: 1.) it's a guide to place which scenes where and for how long.  This is especially helpful regarding the hideously mixed up Megazone 23 footage.  2.) It is currently the complete audio source for the entire film.  

I did some major editing on my Nero Vision software and while the end result isn't perfect, it's a solid B+ grade.  Probably an 8.75 out of 10 as far as quality goes.  If anyone is interested in further details, let me know and I'll enter more posts on this major project that made up a bulk of my summer vacation.

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Heartbreaker said:

Okay fans...

After 4 months I can honestly say that I have done it.  I have reconstructed the original 1986 "Robotech: The Movie" using the following sources...

Megazone 23-Part 1 (DVD) - this is the majority of the film.

Robotech: The Complete Series - Disc #4: The Robotech Archives (DVD) - this contains the 30 minutes of Southern Cross footage with the original movie audio and also the original movie's complete opening and closing credits.

Megazone 23: Blue Garland-Limited Edition (PlayStation 3 video game) - this is bundled with a bonus DVD that has the alternate ending of "Megazone 23-Part 1" which was used as the ending for the Robotech movie.  This is tougher to come by.  This bonus disc is exclusive included only within this special bundle which is an exclusive import from Japan.

Robotech: The Movie (VHS) - this movie was released only in Europe and is EXTREMELY difficult to obtain!  All European VHS tapes are in PAL format.  You will need a PAL to NTSC converter in order to play this tape in North America.  I don't have one myself, but a friend of mine was able to convert it for me.  The tape, being over 25-years-old, wasn't in the best shape, but it served several uses: 1.) it's a guide to place which scenes where and for how long.  This is especially helpful regarding the hideously mixed up Megazone 23 footage.  2.) It is currently the complete audio source for the entire film.  

I did some major editing on my Nero Vision software and while the end result isn't perfect, it's a solid B+ grade.  Probably an 8.75 out of 10 as far as quality goes.  If anyone is interested in further details, let me know and I'll enter more posts on this major project that made up a bulk of my summer vacation.

I would love to hear more about how you did this. Also, B+ quality has to be WAY better than what we have now.

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Yes, excited to see screenshots

Remember, Highlander, you’ve both still got your full measure of life. Use it well, and your future will be glorious.

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Wow.  I’m surprised that anyone is actually reading my posts!  LOL!

I’m also surprised to find people asking me to upload this reconstruction online so that it can be downloaded for free.  HA!  Sorry folks, but there is NO WAY that I’m just going to give all of my hard work away for free.  Would I ever consider selling it?  Maybe, but I also know that once I do, others will just upload online for free download anyway and I kind of like having the only copy in existence for now.  But if I were to sell it, it wouldn’t be for $19.95 … it’d be considerably higher - FYI. 

But I’m more than happy to share with you how I did it so that you can reconstruct your own version if you wish.

First gather all of the source material that was mentioned in the earlier post and upload it digitally into your computer.  I used NeroVision 10 video editing software to put it all together...


1.) ROBOTECH: THE MOVIE – VHS

Start with the core material.  The PAL VHS of Robotech the movie.  I had an old co worker convert the PAL video to an NTSC DVD and I just took that file and left it whole in NeroVision.  This served not only as my audio track but also as a guide as to which scenes went where.

 

2.) MEGAZONE 23 – PART 1 DVD

Someone once mentioned in a  post years ago that “it looks like they put Megazone 23 in a blender,” while making the Robotech movie and I find that statement sums it up best.  Megazone’s scenes are all out of order and in almost random places.  I warn everyone that this is a TEDIOUS, ANNOYING, and FRUSTRATING task at times.  Especially since the movie’s VHS audio on the tape seems to be a few frames faster than the video on the Megazone 23-Part 1 DVD so a lot of the scenes must be trimmed accordingly so that characters’ mouths are in sync with the audio.  In fact, there were so many cuts and edits to the Megazone 23 footage that NeroVision itself started crashing because there were too many transitions going on and I had to keep exporting what I already had (however unfinished) to the hard drive so that I could start over with one big block of a file as opposed to thousands of little ones so the sake of the software.  I think I exported about 10 times when all was said and done during this process.

 

3.) MEGAZONE 23 -ALTERNATE ENDING

This footage is tricky!  First off, it’s slightly darker in color and overall video brightness when compared to the Megazone 23 Part 1 footage but it’s really not that noticeable.  The main problem here is that the footage available on the market today has Japanese subtitles!  Plus, the subtitles aren’t even accurate of what’s being said by the characters!  This footage is just an English narration of the events of the original Megazone 23 – Part 1 movie and the Japanese subtitles are of that English narration.  Apparently this video was used as a tool to teach Japanese children English in school systems.  At least, that’s what I heard.  When the narration finally stops, the rest of the footage is just some generic music playing while the final battles occur.    Just like with Megazone 23 – Part 1, the video doesn’t perfectly match up with the VHS audio so a lot of cutting and pasting and clipping must be done.  Again, very tedious!

 

4.) SOUTHERN CROSS DVD      

 The only footage that is truly related to Robotech is actually the easiest to integrate because the way it’s been released is all of the Southern Cross footage in order as a “movie supplemental” on the “Robotech: The Complete Series” DVD set.  These scenes include the original theatrical opening and closing credits and all scenes have the original audio from the movie but it’s presented together as one 30 minute bundle when these scenes aren’t all together for 30 straight minutes in the actual movie.   It’s a relatively easy cut and splice job but there are some scenes where the audio overlaps into other scenes and the video dissolves into other scenes that are not like the original theatrical Robotech release so some extra cutting, splicing, and personal creative movie magic must be done.  There’s really no wrong or right way to do this either as it’s all a matter of personal preference.  This is the only time I replaced the VHS audio with the source material audio.  It was quicker and easier to do it this way and lip sync issues don’t need to be addressed.

NOTE: The volume of the audio on the Southern Cross footage must be adjusted to the same level as the audio on the Robotech: The Movie VHS footage for consistency sake.

 

5.) OTHER IMPORTANT DETAILS….

Even with all of the footage together, there are still extra details that must be addressed.  First of all, the original Robotech Movie has fonts and titles over Megazone 23-Part 1 scenes where there are lacking in the original Megazone 23 footage.  It’s difficult trying to match the fonts up exactly.  I got close with the Haettenschweiler font.  I’m sure the exact font can be downloaded and applied from the internet but I couldn’t find it nor did in a timely fashion. 

The Cannon Films logo at the beginning of the film isn’t included in any of these DVD releases so I ended up taking the logo from one of Cannon Films’ other DVDs.  It’s the same logo so anyone of their films will work.  For the record: I ended up using the logo at the beginning of the “Cyborg” movie DVD starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.   

Also, there are a few scenes where footage is reused, reversed, and even still Megazone 23 scenes that has the camera zooming in and panning around for the Robotech movie.  This is especially present during the music video sequences involving the “Eve” character.  The NeroVision software comes in handy here with a good duplication of all of these effects.  They aren’t a perfect replication of the original movie, but they are good enough.  Since Robotech: The Movie isn’t a widely seen/known movie, John Q. Public won’t know the difference.

 

6.) ASPECT RATIO

When all is and and done and pieced together, you will have the complete Robotech: The Movie reconstruction in the original 4:3 aspect ratio.  For those who don’t know, most HDTV and theatrical features are in 16:9 aspect ratio.  To convert a 4:3 to a 16:9 the 4:3 frame must be zoomed in until the horizontal lines of the scenes fill the wider 16:9 frame which results in the vertical portions of the scenes to be cropped out.   

I then converted the aspect ratio to 16:9 for a few reasons:  FIREST- Since this was a theatrical movie, I wanted the aspect ratio to 16:9 to mimic what was shown in the theaters.  SECOND – the vertical dropping allows the subtitles in the Megazone 23 Alternate Ending footage to be cropped out. 

This is also a very TEDIOUS and ANNOYING procedure but not quite as bad as the original splicing of the Megazone 23 footage.  The NeroVision software does have a feature that will automatically convert the 4:3 to 16:9 except it does a mediocre job in the sense that it just focuses on the middle of the scene so heads can be cut off or if something important is happening on the ground, it will also be cut off.  Every scene must be manually examined while converting from 4:3 to 16:9 so that the 16:9 rectangular area can be placed in the proper position from scene to scene so that the important parts of each scene are included in the viewing zone.  Even then, some sacrifices must be made per scene.     

 

THE END

Once all of this has been done, you should end up with the closest thing to a re-mastered, reconstructed “Robotech: The Movie” as it was briefly seen in 1986.  I’d say that the only downside to finally achieving the finished product is that the actual movie itself really isn’t very good. 

 So this begs the question: Is this entire project worth the time and effort?  For me it was because

1.) I’d never done anything like this before

and

2.) I have a one of a kind version of highly sought after movie. 

So, for Robotech purists who enjoy video editing?  Yes.  Everyone else?  Probably not.  Really, the movie itself just stinks on ice and I can see why the producers wanted it buried. 

Still, I’m going to try and upload some pics or videos from my reconstructed version for all to see so it will prove that I’m not some random person just telling fairy tales. 

In the meantime, best wishes to all!

 

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Here are some clips from my reconstruction....

 

OPENING CREDITS - Note how it says "Robotech: The Movie" as opposed to "The Untold Story" like it does in the movie supplementals DVD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JrHt7YG5r0&feature=plcp

 

CLIP #2 - This features some "Southern Cross" footage and some "Megazone 23 - Part 1" footage.  You can see how the font is slightly different in my reconstructed version than it is from the original "Robotech: The Movie" version.    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_PX7d9UTCg&feature=plcp

 

CLIP #3 - This is a scene from the "Megazone 23-Part 1" alternate ending with the Japanese subtitles cropped out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFRkC1rbqsc&feature=plcp

 

ENDING CREDITS - Splices the alternate ending of "Megazone 23 - Part 1" with the original ending credits as found on the movie supplementals DVD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3M87Qnh-sQ&feature=plcp

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This might be a bit late of a post but only saw it now. :/

 

Would lkove to get more info on your version. Do you have it available?

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denizen,

Aside from the youtube links I have posted, no. 

It took me a lot of hard work to create that version and there are 2 reasons why I won't put it up for viewing in its entirety...

1.) I don't want someone just copying my hard work and giving it away to others for free.  If I share it, it won't be for free.

2.) I don't have any legal rights to any of the material so even if I were try to try and share it or make a profit off of it, I'd be breaking the law. 

Sorry.  Just enjoy the Youtube clips to see some of my work and notice that it IS different from the other versions of the movie that are posted online.


Cheers.

-Mike D.

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