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DROIDS PAL VHS Preservation 4-DVD set

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 (Edited)

Hi all.

After seeing RetardedTed's magnificent release of the NTSC versions of the Droids, I figured now was the time to do a PAL set as well.

I've been sitting on these transfers for two years, along with the Ewoks transfers I provided for Pittrek's Ewoks project. Pittrek is too busy to do a Droids set in the near future so I decided to just go ahead and author the discs myself.

These are warts-and-all transfers of the PAL VHS tapes, with one set of opening and closing credits per tape. The UK opening credits have a voice-over advertising the availability of other Droids tapes, so it differs somewhat from the US version. No clean-up or enhancements have been performed on the transfers other than cropping of the noisy edges.

I took the liberty of adding the "missing" Coby and the Starhunters episode to volume two (with a basic NTSC-to-PAL conversion) to complete the set.

The set comes with cover and disc art evoking the source tapes, and disc four has DVD-ROM extras with interviews and episode guides I scanned back in 2011.

Now, here's the rub. While everything is completed and ready to go, I need some kind souls to help make these things available to the community. Anyone who thinks they can aid me in this, please contact me via PM.

May 14th Update: Discs are on their way to  a kind soul who will make them available through the usual channels. I'll update the thread once the deed is done.

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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PM sent.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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retartedted said:

Damn, that artwork looks slick.  I like it.

Thanks Ted.

Not sure how much call there is for this set after you came out with yours, but at least I got to do the DVD thing. Ha ha. :-)

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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Im very interested, collector how do they hold up to retardtedted's project, picture and sound wise?

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lpd said:

Im very interested, collector how do they hold up to retardtedted's project, picture and sound wise?

LOL, they probably don't hold up at all. Retardedted did an amazing job with noise-reducing, deinterlacing and stabilizing his NTSC sources. I'm sure a raw PAL capture can't compete.

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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Video Collector said:

lpd said:

Im very interested, collector how do they hold up to retardtedted's project, picture and sound wise?

LOL, they probably don't hold up at all. Retardedted did an amazing job with noise-reducing, deinterlacing and stabilizing his NTSC sources. I'm sure a raw PAL capture can't compete.

Can you provide us with some details?

  1. What equipment did you use?
  2. The source was interlaced 25fps, right?
  3. Were the VHSs real PAL transfers or NTSC->PAL transfers?

 

I might be able to NTSCify them and then run them through my Panasonic DMR-ES10 for improved stabilization.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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The aim in capturing was to do as little as possible to the original files. It was always assumed there'd be some clean-up applied later, but in the end I decided to release the transfers as-is. I just wanted to make them available.

  1. The capture was done using the Packard Bell ehr2080 DVD/HD-recorder, meaning real-time MPEG2 encoding @ constant 9.5 Mbit/s.
  2. Trimming of files using VideoReDo.
  3. TMPEGEnc: 2-pass Re-encoding to variable bitrate with an average of 6 Mbit/s to fit the required number of episodes per disc. The masking of noisy edges was also performed at this stage. Just masking, no resizing of the original pixels. Encoded audio as well in 224kbit/s AC3.
  4. DVD-authoring using TMPEG DVD-author. Simple track menu with fonts and colours corresponding to the cover artwork.

 

We all assume the PAL tapes are converted from NTSC due to the blended frames. They do look "different" from the NTSC versions I've seen. Just different, not necessarily better. The episodes have more subdued colour than the NTSC sources I've seen, and may just be a little sharper, but nothing major. Some of the PAL tapes have less pronounced edge-enhancement halos than the NTSC versions though. At this point it's all conjecture, as we don't know what format the animation studio delivered their masters in. Odds are it was NTSC originally and all PAL versions are standards converted.

Pictures > Words:

Here are a few grabs using MediaPlayerClassic, comparing Retardedted's MP4s to my raw MPEG2s. The added resolution of the PAL standard means those images are bigger. These are not the exact same frames but you get the idea. Note that the PALs also look horizontally squeezed compared to the NTSC versions, something we saw on the Ewoks tapes as well.

I'm including an example of the PALs blended frames too.

 

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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 (Edited)

Just for fun, here's a comparison of retartedted's version of Great Heep, which he had to standards convert from the same PAL release I used. I'm starting to suspect the subdued colour in my versions is just the playback characteristics of my particular VHS player (a Philips cheapo) and may not be source related after all.

Anyway, here you can see my RAW PAL captures and retartedted's noise-reduced NTSC conversion. To be fair, the noise reduction is more obvious on the Great Heep episode so I believe he applied a heavier setting than on his native NTSC transfers.

RetartedTed: Top, VideoCollector: Bottom

 

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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Yeah, the Great Heep got a little bit more than the rest, as well as more color adjustments to look more like the rest of the NTSC episodes.  But to be honest, I really didn't apply all that much.  I think that your particular deck just has some really good sharpening capabilities. 

There is no doubt that there is more detail in the PAL tapes.  It really is a shame about the blended NTSC->PAL conversion. 

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retartedted said:

Yeah, the Great Heep got a little bit more than the rest, as well as more color adjustments to look more like the rest of the NTSC episodes.  But to be honest, I really didn't apply all that much.  I think that your particular deck just has some really good sharpening capabilities. 

There is no doubt that there is more detail in the PAL tapes.  It really is a shame about the blended NTSC->PAL conversion. 

OMG, I've been referring to you as Retarded Ted when that's not what your nick is! No insult intended. I really thought that was your nick. Sorry.

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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Video Collector said:

retartedted said:

Yeah, the Great Heep got a little bit more than the rest, as well as more color adjustments to look more like the rest of the NTSC episodes.  But to be honest, I really didn't apply all that much.  I think that your particular deck just has some really good sharpening capabilities. 

There is no doubt that there is more detail in the PAL tapes.  It really is a shame about the blended NTSC->PAL conversion. 

OMG, I've been referring to you as Retarded Ted when that's not what your nick is! No insult intended. I really thought that was your nick. Sorry.

Haha, that is my username.  Retarded is spelled wrong, to make it look goofy and match Ted.  I thought it was hilarious back in the early 2000's when I was playing CounterStrike, Unreal and all that stuff.  Now it kind of makes me cringe when I think about it too much.

I use a different username everywhere else but this account at OT.com (and Myspleen for that matter) are older than dirt and still have my old username.   I wish I could change it at both locations to something that isn't so immature.

Oh well.

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Look good to me. Have you had any joy with anyone helping to distribute? Also thought Id chime in and say I really like your site too, has been a go to for checks on different releases for ages for me, thanks.

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Video Collector said:

Note that the PALs also look horizontally squeezed compared to the NTSC versions, something we saw on the Ewoks tapes as well.

That's only because PAL DVD stores images at 1.25:1 (NTSC stores them at 1.5:1 so "raw" screenshots of NTSC fullscreen DVDs are stretched instead of squeezed).

I didn't crop off all of the black padding but this approximates how your DVD would look on a TV: http://check2pic.ru/compare/28601/

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drngr said:

Video Collector said:

Note that the PALs also look horizontally squeezed compared to the NTSC versions, something we saw on the Ewoks tapes as well.

That's only because PAL DVD stores images at 1.25:1 (NTSC stores them at 1.5:1 so "raw" screenshots of NTSC fullscreen DVDs are stretched instead of squeezed).

I didn't crop off all of the black padding but this approximates how your DVD would look on a TV: http://check2pic.ru/compare/28601/

Probably a combination of that and the mp4 files are only 640 horizontal.  All the raw AVI's I worked with are 720, and whenever I get a DVD set together I'll leave them at 720.

We did a couple of experiments around here with a 720x480 MP4 and somebody had issues with their software recognizing the ratio flags.  So I figured 640x480 would probably be easiest to disseminate.

MP4 file

My 720x480 processed AVI

 

VideoCollectors capture

 

I would say that the downconversion to 640x480 took a little more detail out of the video than I would have liked.  But I think it is still doable to keep the file size down and to make them as universally playable as possible.

In the end though, Video Collector's PAL capture still has a little bit of an edge on this video.  Maybe something to do with having a PAL native VCR, as opposed to my Universal VCR.

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About the DVD 1-4. I assume that they are set up in the order Episode 1-13 (On disc 1-3) and then The Great Heep (on disc 4), as that was the airdates in chronological order. But in the star wars "in-universe" time chronology, the The Great Heep is placed before Uncharted Space.

(as the droids meet master Mungo Baobab for the first time in The Great Heep and continue their adventures whit this guy in Uncharted Space/Epi 10-13.)

Video Collector, didn't you consider switching disc 3 to 4 and 4 to 3? Just asking as I would have done it :)

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Davidvcsandersen said:

Video Collector, didn't you consider switching disc 3 to 4 and 4 to 3? Just asking as I would have done it :)

I considered it, as The Great Heep is indeed a "prequel" to the last story cycle even though it was produced last.

The reason I kept The Great Heep as "Disc 4" was to avoid confusion with the established content of the PAL tapes. If I'd moved the contents of VHS tape#3 to DVD#4 that would have just been asking for trouble.

As it is, I think I took enough liberties renaming The Great Heep to Droids 4. I should probably just have left it as they did with the VHS and not assigned it a tape #. I'm not going to change it now, though.

To answer a previous question, a generous person has agreed to take care of the dissemination of these discs. Once he's set it all up it will be annonced here in this thread.

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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do you release this only in english or with other languages?

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English only. Like I said, this is just a straight port of the UK tapes, not meant as an authoritative release of Droids.

Since this is a PAL source it should be possible to synch these to the German dubs.

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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Are you also going to do the Ewoks Pal tapes?

“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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skyjedi2005 said:

Are you also going to do the Ewoks Pal tapes?

No. Pittrek got my caps for Ewoks and released a pretty good set of them. He did DNR them slightly, but the loss of detail was negligible. He did a great job and I don't see how I could improve on it.

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

http://www.swonvideo.com

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You answered my question but i found the thread and they are Indeed PAL standards DVD's.

Wish there was a NTSC version like droids.  I know standards conversion is bad.  But i notice Pal speedup every time.

Only reason i wanted original PAL caps was better color had no idea that was what Pittrek put out only dvnr.

“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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I have these now, but it's going to take me a little time to upload them, as I'm having some problems with my desktop computer.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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AntcuFaalb said:

I have these now, but it's going to take me a little time to upload them, as I'm having some problems with my desktop computer.

Ohhhh yeah!!!! :D