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A.D. Anno Domini (1985)

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This was a big TV miniseries that ran on NBC in the 1980s. All star cast, budget over $30 million ($70 million in today’s money), made by the same people that did critically acclaimed Jesus of Nazareth.

A.D. follows the important events that took place between Rome and Judea in the middle of the first century. Jewish, Christian, and Roman stories are all explored. It was a very good miniseries, if sometimes stilted and structured compared to what is normal today. I do recommend it.

The problem with this miniseries though is that…like Star Wars…it was altered from its original release and not made available in a high quality modern format. A religious group bought the rights and turned the miniseries into an instructional DVD for Bible schools. The Christian content was kept but mixed into lessons; meanwhile, nearly all of the Roman and most of the Jewish storylines were simply eliminated.

If you are looking for the original version of this miniseries, IMDB only lists the “Special” edition DVDs. Likewise, online vendors only sell the altered DVDs. There are a few collector’s edition VHS tapes of the original cut, but as best as I can tell, they’re only available for rent at a few Christian universities across the country.

Anyway, that brings everyone up to speed, and I have started working on this project. I have acquired the original version of A.D. Anno Domini, complete with all of the Roman and Jewish scenes as well, via multiple .VOB files. I was just editing them for my own collection, but then I thought why not post here and maybe work with some other people to restore this fine miniseries, so other people can watch it in the future?

The quality is good but not good. What I mean is that there is some damage and it’s obviously not HD, but with minor cropping and restoration work, I think it’s still easy to watch. The textures are good, and the people’s faces aren’t made of digital wax. On the other hand, there is a lot of noise and color damage. All-in-all, it’s not in bad shape though, all things considered.

I’ll keep posting updates in this thread, and since I have very little technical expertise, if anyone wants to help enhance the video or audio quality, or convert to .MKV files and upload them, etc. Please feel free to offer in this thread or send me a PM.

In case you’re interested, here is a trailer of the series I found on Youtube. Thankfully, my audio and video quality is already much better than this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqG8DEawkkc&t

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The biggest issue with the image quality is the yellow leaching that appears on flesh tones and elsewhere throughout the film. The same problem exists in the commercially available DVDs, waxy faces and all, so I can only assume the 35mm film negative has serious degradation issues. Then, when it was already damaged, it was used to make the VHS and DVD copies.

Here’s a still frame of the .VOB file I’m working with on Premiere Pro. The color damage is there but not as noticeable in my editing software:

Unfortunately, this is the output I get whenever I render, and it sadly resembles the source file I received, as well as the DVDs. Notice the yellow blotches all over the man’s face:

This problem persists throughout the entire movie, so I can only surmise that the original film source used to make the DVDs and VHS tapes was already damaged. Is there any way to correct this? The first image doesn’t look nearly as bad.

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I am VERY interested in this project! I had the 5 VHS set of this about 15 years ago, but I only have now the afore mentioned 6 hour edited DVD set. Such a great miniseries. I would love if this could be remastered from a high quality source.

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Hi Slug, glad to see someone else who loves this mini-series!

I see you’ve worked on some other projects here, so if you ever want to get involved just let me know.

Anyway, here are some more screenshots from my film source, contrasted against a foreign language version of the DVD. The DVD is kind of weird because the yellowing, while still present in some scenes, was mostly replaced with a weird purple color shift. I think the grain and difference in detail will stand out.

My source:

DVD:

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Your source definitely shows much more detail.

“You don’t really mean you’ll kill me, do you?” - Juror 8
“Silence, Earthling! My name is Darth Vader. I am an extra-terrestrial from the planet Vulcan!” - Calvin “Marty” Klein

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While I’m working out this sync issue, here’s a clip from Anno Domini I just uploaded. One of my favorite scenes of all time. The Holy Spirit descends on Mary and the Apostles, giving them the word of God, while the Jewish holiday of Pentecost is celebrated outside. All of this is crosscut with a Roman crucifixion procession, accompanied by Lalo Schifrin’s rousing score.

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, this is such a fantastic scene because of the way it was shot and edited. Honestly, this might be the best blocking I’ve ever seen, based on the massive scale alone. I love the way Mary lingers in the Upper Room, and the camera just holds onto her for a few extra seconds. Then the symbolic long shots down the dark corridors and into the light. Then the sweeping shots of masses of people spontaneously moving through arches and down stairs and the across the square.

This is one of the special moments in this miniseries that makes it more than worth preserving.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RY3OoFrID4&feature=youtu.be

Happy Easter everyone!

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Good news and bad news on this.

First, the good: I figured out that I had a latency problem with my audio playback. Found a workaround with another codec, and so everything is good now in Premiere Pro. Files have all been combined, everything is working smoothly now.

Bad news: the sync in the original files is all ****ed up and all over the place. For a few scenes the audio leads the video by a couple frames. Then there’s a scene where the audio lags by a frame or two. And so on.

Only choice now is to go back and fix the sync scene by scene … for all 9 or 10 hours.

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Honestly I want to drink now. The idea of going through and manually fixing the sync by a couple frames in either direction, scene after scene, sometimes shot after shot, for almost 10 hours of footage makes me feel ill.

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OK just an idea of what I’m working on right now. The sync in the first sequence in Episode 1 is all over the ****ing map. It starts with an audio lead of a couple frames. Then there is a cut and the next part has the proper sync. But then later there is a brief cut in the same scene where the audio lags way behind, but that’s the only shot in the scene with an audio lag, then it’s back to normal.

Anyway you move onto the next sequence and the sync is right. But then the third sequence the audio leads by a couple frames again. Then you go about 20 minutes where the sync is good, and then randomly at the end of one very long scene, there is randomly a moment where the audio lags by half a dozen frames.

It’s a ****ing trainwreck. Curse whoever the hell put out the DVDs and VHS tapes for this. I can’t imagine it was ever produced or aired on TV this way.

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Lastsonofkrypton said:

Hello i am late but have you seen A.D. the german import version…its the 9 hour in 5 dvds and the picture quality is superb

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0XSWzgJs8FM

WOAH! That is absolutely superb! The best I’ve seen! Thank you so much for letting me know!
Unbelievable that I would find the link to the best version available, on originaltrilogy, of all places! 😛 😄