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Restoration tips: Overlap matching



What is the Overlap matching?

When two images of different sizes are used to improve the final result.

Could you be more specific?

Usually this is used when two different versions of the same movie are available at different aspect ratios.

Let’s say you want to restore a movie that is not available in high definition, and you want to upscale a DVD or a laserdisc capture. If you are lucky, an anamorphic DVD is available, so a theoretical 720x576 (PAL) or 720x480 (NTSC) max resolution could be achievable. But, if the original aspect ratio of the movie is 2.35:1, then you have only 720x432 (PAL) or 720x360 (NTSC). Well, enough resolution left to do a decent upscale. However, if the DVD is not anamorphically enhanced, actual resolution drops to 720x324 (PAL) or 720x252 (NTSC).

But what if the only (or the best) available low definition sources are analog? In this case, a 2.35:1 original resolution in laserdisc could be at maximum 576x324 (PAL) or 576x262 (NTSC), while VHS could be 328x324 (PAL) or 328x262 (NTSC)… pretty poor…

So, how it’s possible to improve the quality of such low resolution sources? It’s easy! Overlap a pan&scan version of the same movie over the letterbox version!

The P&S version of a laserdisc could be 576x576 (PAL) or 576x480 (NTSC), while VHS could be 328x576 (PAL) or 328x480 (NTSC). Can you see the differences?


here you can see how a P&S version overlapped to a letterbox version, upscaled, have a better resolution than the latter; this will lead to better details in the center of the image, leaving less detailed image at the borders. It is also possible to use two letterboxed versions (like 1.66:1 and 2.35:1) - even if difference in details will be less than using a P&S version, it nevertheless improve definition a lot.

A lower difference in aspect ratios between sources makes the final resolution only slightly better, but often this avoids all the image cropping and variations that lie in the pan&scan version.

Can I use an open matte version instead of pan& scan?

It is often futile to use an open matte version with a letterboxed version both from the same format, as active image have the same effective vertical resolution; however, it is possible to use an open matte version of an higher resolution source overlapped to a lower resolution source.

So, for example, an open matte DVD (with higher horizontal resolution) overlapped to a letterbox laserdisc; or an open matte laserdisc or DVD (both with higher horizontal resolution) overlapped to a letterboxed VHS, will increase the details clarity of the final upscaled version.

What about high definition formats, like Blu-ray and HDTV sources?

in some rare cases, the open matte version of the same (or comparable) format of the letterbox version has a better resolution - due to several factors like different masters, encoding, bitrates etc. - in such cases, it’s possible to use the Overlap matching method, although usually with lower quality improvement in comparison to previous cases.

NOTE: consider that pan&scan cropping vary usually everytime between shots, and often during a single shot; so this method is really really hard to follow, much more than the “Slice technique”…

Top, upscaled DVD, bottom, upscaled DVD with HDTV overlapped:

(full version: http://s27.postimg.cc/mahnqhv4x/matrix_083217.jpg)

same image as the previous second one, not cropped:

(full version: s22.postimg.cc/p401x9atr/matrix_PLUS.jpg)

WARNING: this is a very difficult technique, and could be really hard and time consuming to find out the perfect settings; I did this simple match in an hour, and both previous and next shots have completely different setting… be aware!

Comments, improvements, corrections are welcome!

Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash… 😦 | [Fundamental Collection] thread | blog.spoRv.com | fan preservation forum: fanres.com


If you mean to obtain a better open matte final version, using the superior resolution of the letterboxed BD overlaid to the open matte DVD, I would say yes!

Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash… 😦 | [Fundamental Collection] thread | blog.spoRv.com | fan preservation forum: fanres.com


Hmm. Looks like it would be extremely easy to combine the DVD with the semi-HD German Blu-ray, and nearly impossible to combine it with the remastered Criterion Blu-ray due to regrading and shot-by-shot framing differences.


Shame that Criterion's scratch removal process removed that blue lens flare...