Thanks for your sample - and since I used to work with NTSC Discs as well, I can see that the PAL Discs were definitely “down-mastered” from NTSC, which accounts for the detail and sharpness loss.
Your sample has definitely more detail and looks really nice, so let me take a bow and say “Fascinating!” 😉
I did some trial runs with Dione but found that with the PAL Discs (mixed material in the worst possible sense) it doesn’t “catch” all the problems, QTGMC however does. That unfortunately also means extrapolating image information which does not always help much with detail preservation.
Also, I am doing a little color regrading in DaVinci which darkens things slightly and reduces the shift toward the more warmer colors and gives it a bit of a cooler look (speaking about color temp here) - I was inspired by the DS9 Doc “What We Left Behind”. In rare cases (dark scenes) that can make a little detail disappear here and there, but not much.
As for the crop on the sides: My bad, sorry. I am usually doing manual cropping but for my samples I leave things on automatic with StaxRip. The problem lies with the PAL DVDs here: The image is not consistently centered, so there is no proper way to crop, since the values keep shifting (during one scene the image can have a black bar of about 2 pixels width on the left, the next scene can have 4 pixels width on the left).
I had it on automatic, so it made a bad choice. Usually, I skip through the episode and cut the smallest range. Again, sorry.
I only made the decision to work from PAL for the “smooth and stable” 23,976 FPS, otherwise I would have gladly used the NTSC.
On my workflow: Yes, it takes forever. Example for a standard 45 minute episode:
- StaxRip - 7 hours
- Topaz Gaia HQ 100% - 4 hours
- Topaz Artemis LQ 1080pHD - 3 hours
- Topaz Gaia CG 4K - 26 hours
- DaVinci Resolve Videostream rendering - 8 hours.
So it comes down to a total of about 48 hours, so 2 days for a single episode, providing I am there to make the switch between programs/input. I am crazy enough to invest that, running on a 2060 RTX.
Hope I could clear up all your questions.