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Star Fleet / X-Bomber - Upscale Project (a Work In Progress)

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Hey all

Shamefully I had never even heard of Star Fleet / X-Bomber until a few weeks ago when I saw it mentioned by someone on Twitter. I’m puzzled as to why I never watched it growing up as I’d have been 11 or 12 when it was originally shown in the UK, and it would have been right up my street. Anyway, I’m here now and am obsessed!

I’ve recently been getting hold of as many shows on DVD from my childhood as possible, and trying to enhance them for viewing on today’s large screen TVs just for my own purposes. After watching the first episode of Star Fleet on YouTube I did a bit of investigation here and on the SFXB forums, and ordered both the UK and French DVD box sets. My intention is to use a combination of both to produce a 720p version of the series (in English) with the best image quality possible.

I’ve started by working on the intro and end credit sequences. I’ve pieced together the relevant clips from the French DVDs (plus the pilot episode for the last shot) to completely recreate the UK sequences. I’ve also replaced the logo at the start with a sharper version and have replaced the fonts - the fonts aren’t perfect but they’re as close as I could get.

I’ll use the French DVDs again for the main part of the episodes, filling in with segments from the UK release where required. For the ‘next episode’ bits at the end, again I’ll piece these together using the appropriate clips from the next episode on the French DVDs (I’m glad they’re only short!).

I only have the audio from the UK set so will use that unless someone can provide me with anything better.

Once each episode has been compiled I’ll run it through Topaz AI Video Enhance to bring it up to 720p and remove some of the grain. I’ve been really pleased with how Topaz has handled other shows so I’m hoping it’ll do a good job here too. I’ll also see how it looks in 1080p. There are numerous AI algorithms so I’ll test it on various settings.

I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes here as I know Bladez636 has been working on his own project for a long time, but if anyone wants to see the results I’ll happily share them here. The end results may not be as good as Bladez636’s version, but I figure it’ll at least be better than what we have currently.

To give you an example of what’s to come, I’ve uploaded an example of the intro to YouTube (https://youtu.be/MKaxGA3OUt8), which for some reason seems a little dark - if you want the original file to view it properly just let me know. Any feedback (positive or negative) will be gratefully received.

I’m hoping that once I’m happy with the intro and credits, I ought to be able to roll out a couple of episodes each week.

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https://youtu.be/Hf7LcHCihjk

1st attempt at the end credits. I had to replace one sequence altogether (Music by Paul Bliss) as I couldn’t work out which episode the clip came from. I also can’t find the very first clip so have left in the UK DVD frames for that.
*Edit - sorted out the first clip from the Japanese DVD.

Again it looks much darker on YouTube than the original clip.

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Episodes 1 & 2 are pieced together and upscaled to 720P. I’ve pieced Episode 3 together and will upscale overnight, and I should be able to Episode 4 done tomorrow.

What I didn’t realise previously (you can tell I’m new to the show) is that the ‘next episode’ clips don’t necessarily feature in the same format in the actual episode itself - there’s normally one or two shots that are from a different angle or just slightly different in some way. I’ve got around this as well as I could, sometimes substituting the clip for something very similar. Regardless, I’m really happy with how it’s going so far.

At the weekend I’m going to try upscaling the first couple of episodes using a different algorithm to keep more of the grain from the original to see how it looks on a large screen.

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Looks fantastic. Was always a big fan of this show, and never realised how bad the UK DVD was until your comparison of other sources. With regards to the end credits, fonts look pretty good, I think the UK DVD shows a slightly heavier drop shadow, but not by much.

Looking forward to seeing more of this!

Save London’s Curzon Soho Cinema

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DVD-BOY said:

Looks fantastic. Was always a big fan of this show, and never realised how bad the UK DVD was until your comparison of other sources. With regards to the end credits, fonts look pretty good, I think the UK DVD shows a slightly heavier drop shadow, but not by much.

Looking forward to seeing more of this!

I know what you mean about the drop shadow - I’m tempted to go back and tweak it. Perhaps I should do it now before I get too far.

… off he trots to play with drop shadows

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I’ve redone the drop shadow for Episode 3 prior to upscaling overnight and will go back and amend the first couple of episodes and re-upscale over the weekend.

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More ramblings…

As well as the drop shadow, I was also unhappy with the slight colour difference of the static frames. I realised this was because I’d saved the frame in the default jpg format instead of png in Adobe Premiere. I’ll be changing this over the weekend so hopefully that’ll finally be the end credits sorted and I can get back to piecing the episodes together.

Also, the new version of Topaz has a new algorithm for increasing frame rates. I had a quick play with this today. I think most people will think this is some kind of sacrilege, but some of the space ship scenes (particularly the X-Bomber sequence towards the end of the intro) look really nice at 100fps. The software seems to make a really nice job of interpolating the extra frames and the ship movement is really smooth. Anyway, fear not, I’m concentrating on 25fps for now, but I might stick a 100fps example on YouTube at some point.

I’ll shut up now.

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dym2005 said:

I’ll shut up now.

Don’t shut up! People may not be responding much, but I suspect a lot of people are reading, are interested 😃

LightWave + MaxwellRender + 3960X computer = fun times with gfx for me :)

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I can only echo what WXM says - very much looking forward to seeing how this project does - good luck with it dym2005. 👍
 

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Just to keep you posted with how things are going, I’ve got the first four episodes pieced together.

Each episode has a short segment missing in the middle on the French DVDs, I’m guessing where the advert break would have been. I’m deciding what to do on an episode by episode basis with this. On episode one for example, I used a short segment of the UK DVD and copied another segment from the same episode. In episode four, I chopped a few frames out and edited the audio very slightly.

Over the weekend I tried various upscaling algorithms and I’ve settled on my favourite, so will progress with the rest of the episodes using that method. I also did a whole episode in 50fps at the original DVD resolution. The difference wasn’t hugely noticeable, but I might give it another try on an upscaled episode as the shorter upscaled clips I did previously looked really nice. That won’t happen until I’ve finished the whole series though.

In case you’re interested, a full episode takes about 9 hours to upscale to 720p using my preferred algorithm. I think increasing the frame rate took about 14 hours at the original resolution, and will take longer at 720p.

I’m hoping to get episode five done tomorrow and should have the first six done and upscaled by the weekend.

If anyone wants to see a full episode, either in the original resolution or upscaled, just let me know. In the meantime I’ll keep plodding on.

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Damn. There’s a section in episode four of the French DVDs which has pixelated frames (about 1 in 14 frames). Thankfully it’s a repetitive scene so I can drop it in from another episode. Unfortunately I’d already upscaled it, so I’ll have to re-do it overnight tonight and keep an eye out for it in future episodes.

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Episodes 1-6 pieced together and just episode 6 to upscale tonight, then that’s the first DVD sorted. On to episodes 7-12 😃

I might do a full episode comparison video tomorrow (probably episode 6 as I haven’t cut any frames from the middle of the episode) to stick on YouTube.

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Episode 6 comparison video now on my YouTube channel 😃

Personally I think it’s looking pretty sweet, but that’s just my opinion.

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dym2005 said:

Episode 6 comparison video now on my YouTube channel 😃

Personally I think it’s looking pretty sweet, but that’s just my opinion.

Not just your opinion; it’s indeed looking fantastic! 😃 (Do you happen to have software that can easily fix the cut-slips, as in correcting how the first frame after each cut is shifted a little [due I think to the cement splicing of the celluloid]? If not, no biggie.)

LightWave + MaxwellRender + 3960X computer = fun times with gfx for me :)

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WXM said:

dym2005 said:

Episode 6 comparison video now on my YouTube channel 😃

Personally I think it’s looking pretty sweet, but that’s just my opinion.

Not just your opinion; it’s indeed looking fantastic! 😃 (Do you happen to have software that can easily fix the cut-slips, as in correcting how the first frame after each cut is shifted a little [due I think to the cement splicing of the celluloid]? If not, no biggie.)

Glad you like it!

Those cut slips are annoying. I hadn’t really considered trying to do anything about them as there are so many in each episode. Perhaps I’ll investigate when I do episode 7 later in the week.

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dym2005 said:

Glad you like it!

Those cut slips are annoying. I hadn’t really considered trying to do anything about them as there are so many in each episode. Perhaps I’ll investigate when I do episode 7 later in the week.

Yeah, if there’s no automated way to do it with your software then you’d surely have to let that (little thing) go as you’re talking, what, well over a thousand instances over the whole series? 😮 For a restoration I did I had to smooth out only 40 or so of those and it was such a drag…but I noticed that another version released officially of the same film had those cut slips corrected beginning to end for the whole movie, and I figured they did not have someone go through and manually do that, had some automated way to do it, but if so perhaps it’s in software only big studios have? Or maybe they did just have someone go through every splice spot for their digital restoration? (Maybe some member reading who has actual knowledge on this subject will chime in)

Anyway, backing away from that tiny thing, once again great job. I still can’t believe I never heard of this show before seeing these two threads on OT here. What a mini trip it’s going to be to watch this (so far I love the red-head dude 😃).

LightWave + MaxwellRender + 3960X computer = fun times with gfx for me :)

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Apologies for the lack of updates - I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks so haven’t been able to do anything on this. Back at it today though - episode 7 now upscaling.

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Episode 8 was a much trickier affair. A few extra shots in the French version which had to be cut out, as well as one short clip which had to be duplicated and inserted. I also had to use the Japanese DVD for one short shot as the French one was 22 frames shorter, and I didn’t want to use the UK one as it looked pretty terrible. It seems to have come out well though, and it’s now going through the upscale process.

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Episode 10 now upscaling. I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

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Now at the half way point. 12 episodes pieced together and upscaled 😃

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Awesome! I haven’t seen this since I was a kid in the 80s. Thanks for all your hard work that’s going into this 😃

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This looks fantastic! Excellent work!

<span style=“font-weight: bold;”>The Most Handsomest Guy on OT.com</span>

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Glad to hear this is still moving forward!