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Hello to all,
I am Bladez, who has been lurking in the deep on these forums for some time without doing much else but commenting. I have put much of my sweat and blood into a DVD project since 2011. I do hope posting this is not a breach of any rules, please inform me otherwise.
This project is a fan remastered edition of the English version of the Japanese 1980 puppet series “X-Bomber”, otherwise known as “Star Fleet” in the Western English Speaking Countries. The show aired on ITV from October 1982 to April 1983 in the United Kingdom.
This is the description from wikipedia:
X Bomber (Ekkusu Bonbā) is a marionette tokusatsu TV series created by manga artist Go Nagai, and produced by Cosmo Productions and Jin Productions. The show aired on Fuji TV from October 4, 1980 to March 28, 1981, with a total of 26 episodes (including the pre-series pilot episode), and was billed in Japan as being filmed in “Sūpāmariorama” (スーパーマリオラマ), a puppeteering process similar to Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation works.
The year is 2999 and the Earth is at peace following the Space Wars. The safety of the human race is ensured by Earth Defense Force (EDF). Shortly before the turn of the fourth millennium, the peace is broken by the appearance of a gigantic alien battle cruiser. Powerless to defend itself, the EDF’s Pluto base is completely destroyed and the evil Commander Makara reveals that the same fate awaits the Earth unless the mysterious F-Zero-One is handed over to her.
X-Bomber was renamed Star Fleet and dubbed by English speaking actors for broadcast in the UK on ITV. The show was broadcast there on Saturday mornings, first airing on October 23, 1982, the day before Star Wars UK TV Premiere.
The screenplay was adapted for English by Michael Sloan, who in later years would create the popular TV series The Master and The Equalizer. Actress Denise Bryer (“Commander Makara”) and editor Tony Lenny both went on to collaborate with Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr making another memorable sci-fi series, Terrahawks.
A DVD set of Star Fleet was released in the UK on February 9, 2009 by Fabulous Films. Included in the DVD set are all 24 episodes, remastered, and restored to their original UK broadcast format. Beyond the episodes, the set also includes stills and a double-sided poster, as well as a comicbook and a comprehensive ‘making of’ documentary, which includes contributions from series creator Go Nagai, Dr Benn voice artist Peter Marinker, Brian May, Paul Bliss and Gerry Anderson.
So Why am I doing this? The 2009 DVD by Fabulous Films is restored-but that’s different from remastered meaning it was in worse condition and cleaned to the point it resembled the masters as they were. The transfers for the English version of “Star Fleet” were always fairly bad condition, being stored on 16mm transfers of the 35mm used for the original Japanese. There’s really little difference between the DVD masters and the US VHS Volumes aside from compression. In addition to that, the episodes vary in terms of color tone-one episode might be rusty looking whilst others might have a blueish hue or greenish hue. The Japanese episodes had a consistent hue of blue in each episode.
Another reason is that the series has only ever been released in Region 2 and 4 - Fabulous Films seems to believe that there’s no market for the series DVD release in the US.
In 2010, the French edition of the series was released by Kaze Entertainment-these editions contained slightly cut but mostly complete sharp and fresh looking masters from the series.
There left me with the idea to sync the footage with the English version. The missing footage from the DVD would be patched up from scenes available on the Japanese DVD with color adjustments and contrast upping, along with unfortunately some edited bits of the 16mm English. In addition, some grain removal techniques will be edited in, given the one flaw of the French DVD being-the grain is immensely overbearing.
I’d like to see if anyone is interested in seeing my progress. Much of it is done at this point-I spent much time custom remastering both via Adobe Premiere and frame by frame in Photoshop. I want to bring this generally forgotten Non-Gerry Anderson Supermarionation production a better presentation. I will post picture progress and the DVD cover so on if there’s interest. My progress since 2011 can be seen at the sfxb forums: http://www.sfxb.co.uk/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi