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Army of Darkness | Television Cut Reconstruction - HD

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This is my favorite cut of the film - my Primitive Screwhead Edition was essentially an extended version of this cut - so this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but the sources out there have been very unsatisfactory. As far as I know, the tv cut has only been released commercially by two companies (please correct me if this is wrong):

  1. Koch - An interlaced PAL DVD badly converted from a good looking NTSC source (much better than my SciFi channel recording). The playback has almost unnoticeable back and forth speed shifts. Even a short scene will not line up at all on a timeline with my old SciFi recording. AviSynth SRestore added to a deinterlaced 50p version of this produces unusable results.

  2. Scream Factory - It appears they simply took the Koch PAL DVD itself and did an extra poor conversion to NTSC. It has the same MPEG-2 blocking as the Koch DVD, but the resolution appears to have been further reduced and looks very poor.

So what appears to work here is to use a deinterlaced 50p version of the Koch and to go through and weed out unnecessary frames manually and make sure it matches my SciFi recording. I almost have the first tv-cut exclusive scene finished with this method and it looks very nice. But this is hugely time consuming (what I wouldn’t give for a high quality copy of the SD master!).

In the end, these scenes in addition to a high def copy of the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut will be used to help reconstruct the tv cut in HD. Audio will be taken from my recording the SciFi broadcast.

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Australia got the TV Cut on DVD, also.
It is in “The Definitive Collection” 5 Disc set.

I do not know how it compares to the German and US ones.

"I kill Gandalf." - Igor, Dork Tower

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I believe it’s on the current Blu Ray, but I’m not sure how great the quality is.

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Sounds great RidgeShark! Frankly, you could just upscale the versions of the deleted scenes you made for the Primitive Screwhead Edition and I’d be happy 😃

I was excited to see the TV cut on the Scream Factory edition (on which I couldn’t help but notice you got a thank-you) but within seconds let out an involuntary “URGH!”. Very shabby of Scream to literally just rip it from the Koch DVD; they did the same to the various EPK segments, but this time slowed down from 25fps to 23.976, giving everyone (especially Sam) slightly deeper voices than they should have. It’s bizarre that Koch didn’t convert to PAL properly; irritatingly, they recently did the same thing to the ultra-rare Darkman TV pilot (transferred from the director’s Betacam copy) on their newly-released boxset of that trilogy.

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Love to hear what you guys think. This was an early test to see how this process looks when upscaled to 1080p. This is processed from the Koch version using the manual process I described above. I’m not completely happy with the motion of the shots of Ash looking upward. I’ve gotten better at the process and will likely redo those two shots.

Be sure to download the full 1080p mkv copy for a full inspection.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5eEa2k1FrDHc0pSTmRGQXlLTDg/view?usp=sharing

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May have made an interesting discovery. It appears the Koch DVD was vertically blurred, similar to the GOUT DVDs, to hide aliasing. My SciFi recording is lower resolution, but was not vertically blurred, so some horizontal lines and details are preserved better in the SciFi recording, despite it being generally inferior looking to the Koch. Modifying an AviSynth script I found for extracting grain and reinserting it later, I think I found a way to reinsert that missing vertical resolution.

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/176668

This avisynth script goes like this:


AviSource(“C:\SciFiChannelAlignedtoKoch.avs”)
grain1=mt_makediff(Blur(0,1.58).Blur(0,1.58)) #this extracts vertical resolution details

AviSource(“C:\KochDVDAlignedtoSciFi.avs”)
mt_adddiff(grain1) #this adds the extracted vertical resolution details to a different source


You’ll notice in the bottom right you can slightly see the SciFi Channel logo being added into the Koch image.

Although not 100% perfect, it appears to restore more detail than it takes away. Definitely requires perfect 1:1 alignment between sources. Not really needed anymore for Star Wars, but this would have been useful for taking vertical resolution detail from the Star Wars laserdiscs and adding back to the blurred GOUT.

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MrBrown said:

Australia got the TV Cut on DVD, also.
It is in “The Definitive Collection” 5 Disc set.

I do not know how it compares to the German and US ones.

There’s screengrab comparisons between the TV cuts on the Madman and Scream discs at this review:
http://www.dvdexotica.com/2015/06/the-definitive-army-of-darkness-many.html
The Madman looks a little better, though probably equal to the Koch.

This forum user reports that the TV cut is 90 minutes on the PAL Madman DVD:
http://www.horrordvds.com/community/threads/army-of-darkness-definitive-collection-australasia.45489/
So it would appear that PAL speed-up wasn’t applied here either. Again, it may be derived from the Koch master.

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RidgeShark! Nice to see you still out there, poking away at this movie in all its forms. 😃

What are you planning to do about the aspect ratio? My understanding is that the TV cut is more open-matte than the commercially available Blus.

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Good to see you too Jeph!

The aspect ratio will be cropped to match the blu-rays. What’s great is that the Koch release has a bit more picture info on the left and right sides when compared to my old SciFi recording, so the cropping will be less severe than it was on the PSE. Additionally, I will slowly degrade the surrounding footage so the jump in quality will be much less jarring, or hopefully not jarring at all. I’ve already figured out the proper resolution decrease and blurring to make the HD Director’s Cut look just like the TV Cut. So a slow fade from HD to lower res, and then vice versa should suffice. I’m excited to play with that when I get some time.

And generally, I’m still ecstatic that I can extract vertical resolution from the SciFi Recording and then place it into the Koch. I had no idea such a thing was possible. It’s a huge help to the upscaling process.

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RidgeShark said:

Good to see you too Jeph!

The aspect ratio will be cropped to match the blu-rays. What’s great is that the Koch release has a bit more picture info on the left and right sides when compared to my old SciFi recording, so the cropping will be less severe than it was on the PSE. Additionally, I will slowly degrade the surrounding footage so the jump in quality will be much less jarring, or hopefully not jarring at all. I’ve already figured out the proper resolution decrease and blurring to make the HD Director’s Cut look just like the TV Cut. So a slow fade from HD to lower res, and then vice versa should suffice. I’m excited to play with that when I get some time.

And generally, I’m still ecstatic that I can extract vertical resolution from the SciFi Recording and then place it into the Koch. I had no idea such a thing was possible. It’s a huge help to the upscaling process.

ridgeshark when it comes to which footage to use. use the 4k transfer international cut footage with good bad i’m the guy with the gun line the theatrical ending and the tv scenes and the director’s cut footage.

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Ridgeshark knows a thing or two about the several dozen releases of this film. 😉 I’m sure he’ll use the best available version of each shot.

The aspect ratio will be cropped to match the blu-rays.

Aww. I’m a little disappointed to hear this, since the open-matte nature of the TV cut is one of its biggest appeals to me. Then again, I suppose I understand it – since your only other option is to restore every single frame of the Koch version manually, and that’s a pain in the tuchus.

I’m still ecstatic that I can extract vertical resolution from the SciFi Recording and then place it into the Koch. I had no idea such a thing was possible. It’s a huge help to the upscaling process.

This is, indeed, astoundingly cool. How do you plan to delete the SciFi logo?

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Too bad the deleted scenes and the scenes from the tv cut couldn’t have been remastered in hd by shout 😦

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jedimasterobiwan said:
ridgeshark when it comes to which footage to use. use the 4k transfer international cut footage with good bad i’m the guy with the gun line the theatrical ending and the tv scenes and the director’s cut footage.

Once I’m done picking out the frames, I’ll consider each transfer and see what works best with the tv scenes. One of my main goals is to make the transition to the upscaled SD scenes as seamless as possible. It may be that the older HD transfer of the Director’s Cut is more up to the job. We’ll see.

jephyork said:

The aspect ratio will be cropped to match the blu-rays.

Aww. I’m a little disappointed to hear this, since the open-matte nature of the TV cut is one of its biggest appeals to me. Then again, I suppose I understand it – since your only other option is to restore every single frame of the Koch version manually, and that’s a pain in the tuchus.

You speak much truth, Jeph. 😉 Maybe we’ll get lucky and a NTSC region somewhere in the world will do an appropriate release of the TV Cut.

How do you plan to delete the SciFi logo?

Thankfully that will be easy. I’ll just patch in the plain Koch back over that spot. It will be unnoticeable.

jedimasterobiwan said:

Too bad the deleted scenes and the scenes from the tv cut couldn’t have been remastered in hd by shout 😦

I love Shout and typically defend their work, but this was a letdown. Universal has a very good looking SD NTSC master of the tv cut and it looks great upscaled. I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt - It may have been a budget or deadline issue? At least they corrected the issues with the US Theatrical and International Cuts. Unfortunately, the TV Cut is more unknown and a lesser priority.

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The first tv sequence is finished. And so begins scene 2. The very first shot will be whittled down from 1,486 frames of the Koch 50p to match the 698 frames of the SciFi 24p. Crazy…this is going to take a while.

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Since the TV cut has not been given a great release thus far I really doubt it ever will, hopefully you can pull this off and it look good, I thought about doing this as well but we just have to much shit going lol.

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RidgeShark said:

The first tv sequence is finished. And so begins scene 2. The very first shot will be whittled down from 1,486 frames of the Koch 50p to match the 698 frames of the SciFi 24p. Crazy…this is going to take a while.

so is this going to have the edited lines please say it won’t

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jedimasterobiwan said:

RidgeShark said:

The first tv sequence is finished. And so begins scene 2. The very first shot will be whittled down from 1,486 frames of the Koch 50p to match the 698 frames of the SciFi 24p. Crazy…this is going to take a while.

so is this going to have the edited lines please say it won’t

“Apeheads” “Jack and Spit” “Buzzards!” - Yes, it will all be there. And so will the alternate take of Ash getting punched in the stomach at the graveyard. This is to be an exact recreation of the Tv Cut. Others can modify it as they wish.

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RidgeShark said:

jedimasterobiwan said:

RidgeShark said:

The first tv sequence is finished. And so begins scene 2. The very first shot will be whittled down from 1,486 frames of the Koch 50p to match the 698 frames of the SciFi 24p. Crazy…this is going to take a while.

so is this going to have the edited lines please say it won’t

“Apeheads” “Jack and Spit” “Buzzards!” - Yes, it will all be there. And so will the alternate take of Ash getting punched in the stomach at the graveyard. This is to be an exact recreation of the Tv Cut. Others can modify it as they wish.

i thought your edit would have the two tv scenes but extended with the director’s cut the good bad i’m the guy with the gun line and the theatrical ending and uncut dialog 😦

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You, uh, thought wrong. His first post clearly says that he’s reconstructing the TV cut.

Feel free to make your own version of the film!

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RidgeShark said:

jedimasterobiwan said:

RidgeShark said:

The first tv sequence is finished. And so begins scene 2. The very first shot will be whittled down from 1,486 frames of the Koch 50p to match the 698 frames of the SciFi 24p. Crazy…this is going to take a while.

so is this going to have the edited lines please say it won’t

“Apeheads” “Jack and Spit” “Buzzards!” - Yes, it will all be there. And so will the alternate take of Ash getting punched in the stomach at the graveyard. This is to be an exact recreation of the Tv Cut. Others can modify it as they wish.

ridgeshark can you do a non edited version with everything that was censored made uncensored as well?

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I was considering a 2nd audio option with the swearing restored. I was never sure why “buckethead” was censored, lol. But this will come later. Still lots of work to be done.

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RidgeShark said:

I was considering a 2nd audio option with the swearing restored. I was never sure why “buckethead” was censored, lol. But this will come later. Still lots of work to be done.

oh thank you i really appreciate it. also what take of this is better the alternate take of Ash getting punched in the stomach at the graveyard or the original?

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I really don’t have a preference, but the stomach punch will be used since this a recreation of the tv cut. Which one do you think is better?

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RidgeShark said:

I really don’t have a preference, but the stomach punch will be used since this a recreation of the tv cut. Which one do you think is better?

i don’t know can you show me a clip of both versions of that scene when you have the time? does this version you are doing including all director’s cut scenes excluding the director’s cut ending?