Wow. I’m surprised that anyone is actually reading my posts! LOL!
I’m also surprised to find people asking me to upload this reconstruction online so that it can be downloaded for free. HA! Sorry folks, but there is NO WAY that I’m just going to give all of my hard work away for free. Would I ever consider selling it? Maybe, but I also know that once I do, others will just upload online for free download anyway and I kind of like having the only copy in existence for now. But if I were to sell it, it wouldn’t be for $19.95 … it’d be considerably higher - FYI.
But I’m more than happy to share with you how I did it so that you can reconstruct your own version if you wish.
First gather all of the source material that was mentioned in the earlier post and upload it digitally into your computer. I used NeroVision 10 video editing software to put it all together...
1.) ROBOTECH: THE MOVIE – VHS
Start with the core material. The PAL VHS of Robotech the movie. I had an old co worker convert the PAL video to an NTSC DVD and I just took that file and left it whole in NeroVision. This served not only as my audio track but also as a guide as to which scenes went where.
2.) MEGAZONE 23 – PART 1 DVD
Someone once mentioned in a post years ago that “it looks like they put Megazone 23 in a blender,” while making the Robotech movie and I find that statement sums it up best. Megazone’s scenes are all out of order and in almost random places. I warn everyone that this is a TEDIOUS, ANNOYING, and FRUSTRATING task at times. Especially since the movie’s VHS audio on the tape seems to be a few frames faster than the video on the Megazone 23-Part 1 DVD so a lot of the scenes must be trimmed accordingly so that characters’ mouths are in sync with the audio. In fact, there were so many cuts and edits to the Megazone 23 footage that NeroVision itself started crashing because there were too many transitions going on and I had to keep exporting what I already had (however unfinished) to the hard drive so that I could start over with one big block of a file as opposed to thousands of little ones so the sake of the software. I think I exported about 10 times when all was said and done during this process.
3.) MEGAZONE 23 -ALTERNATE ENDING
This footage is tricky! First off, it’s slightly darker in color and overall video brightness when compared to the Megazone 23 Part 1 footage but it’s really not that noticeable. The main problem here is that the footage available on the market today has Japanese subtitles! Plus, the subtitles aren’t even accurate of what’s being said by the characters! This footage is just an English narration of the events of the original Megazone 23 – Part 1 movie and the Japanese subtitles are of that English narration. Apparently this video was used as a tool to teach Japanese children English in school systems. At least, that’s what I heard. When the narration finally stops, the rest of the footage is just some generic music playing while the final battles occur. Just like with Megazone 23 – Part 1, the video doesn’t perfectly match up with the VHS audio so a lot of cutting and pasting and clipping must be done. Again, very tedious!
4.) SOUTHERN CROSS DVD
The only footage that is truly related to Robotech is actually the easiest to integrate because the way it’s been released is all of the Southern Cross footage in order as a “movie supplemental” on the “Robotech: The Complete Series” DVD set. These scenes include the original theatrical opening and closing credits and all scenes have the original audio from the movie but it’s presented together as one 30 minute bundle when these scenes aren’t all together for 30 straight minutes in the actual movie. It’s a relatively easy cut and splice job but there are some scenes where the audio overlaps into other scenes and the video dissolves into other scenes that are not like the original theatrical Robotech release so some extra cutting, splicing, and personal creative movie magic must be done. There’s really no wrong or right way to do this either as it’s all a matter of personal preference. This is the only time I replaced the VHS audio with the source material audio. It was quicker and easier to do it this way and lip sync issues don’t need to be addressed.
NOTE: The volume of the audio on the Southern Cross footage must be adjusted to the same level as the audio on the Robotech: The Movie VHS footage for consistency sake.
5.) OTHER IMPORTANT DETAILS….
Even with all of the footage together, there are still extra details that must be addressed. First of all, the original Robotech Movie has fonts and titles over Megazone 23-Part 1 scenes where there are lacking in the original Megazone 23 footage. It’s difficult trying to match the fonts up exactly. I got close with the Haettenschweiler font. I’m sure the exact font can be downloaded and applied from the internet but I couldn’t find it nor did in a timely fashion.
The Cannon Films logo at the beginning of the film isn’t included in any of these DVD releases so I ended up taking the logo from one of Cannon Films’ other DVDs. It’s the same logo so anyone of their films will work. For the record: I ended up using the logo at the beginning of the “Cyborg” movie DVD starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Also, there are a few scenes where footage is reused, reversed, and even still Megazone 23 scenes that has the camera zooming in and panning around for the Robotech movie. This is especially present during the music video sequences involving the “Eve” character. The NeroVision software comes in handy here with a good duplication of all of these effects. They aren’t a perfect replication of the original movie, but they are good enough. Since Robotech: The Movie isn’t a widely seen/known movie, John Q. Public won’t know the difference.
6.) ASPECT RATIO
When all is and and done and pieced together, you will have the complete Robotech: The Movie reconstruction in the original 4:3 aspect ratio. For those who don’t know, most HDTV and theatrical features are in 16:9 aspect ratio. To convert a 4:3 to a 16:9 the 4:3 frame must be zoomed in until the horizontal lines of the scenes fill the wider 16:9 frame which results in the vertical portions of the scenes to be cropped out.
I then converted the aspect ratio to 16:9 for a few reasons: FIREST- Since this was a theatrical movie, I wanted the aspect ratio to 16:9 to mimic what was shown in the theaters. SECOND – the vertical dropping allows the subtitles in the Megazone 23 Alternate Ending footage to be cropped out.
This is also a very TEDIOUS and ANNOYING procedure but not quite as bad as the original splicing of the Megazone 23 footage. The NeroVision software does have a feature that will automatically convert the 4:3 to 16:9 except it does a mediocre job in the sense that it just focuses on the middle of the scene so heads can be cut off or if something important is happening on the ground, it will also be cut off. Every scene must be manually examined while converting from 4:3 to 16:9 so that the 16:9 rectangular area can be placed in the proper position from scene to scene so that the important parts of each scene are included in the viewing zone. Even then, some sacrifices must be made per scene.
Once all of this has been done, you should end up with the closest thing to a re-mastered, reconstructed “Robotech: The Movie” as it was briefly seen in 1986. I’d say that the only downside to finally achieving the finished product is that the actual movie itself really isn’t very good.
So this begs the question: Is this entire project worth the time and effort? For me it was because
1.) I’d never done anything like this before
2.) I have a one of a kind version of highly sought after movie.
So, for Robotech purists who enjoy video editing? Yes. Everyone else? Probably not. Really, the movie itself just stinks on ice and I can see why the producers wanted it buried.
Still, I’m going to try and upload some pics or videos from my reconstructed version for all to see so it will prove that I’m not some random person just telling fairy tales.
In the meantime, best wishes to all!