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***The MeBeJedi feedback thread ***

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First of all, I'd like to thank Jay for taking the time to make this new forum. I hope we can all use it to great advantage.

Secondly, this thread will be my way of letting you all know about my progress on my LD-to-DVD conversions. I'll will try to keep everyone abreast of what's going on, as well as what's coming up.

I would hope that others: zion, Magnoliafan, ISOMIX and others follow along, if only to help regular users (yes, I called you all "regular") differentiate between the various versions out there.

Anyways, here is some initial information.

Hardware:
Soyo P4S Dragon with onboard C-Media CMI8738 5.1 audio card with optical/coaxial in/out ***Update: now I have two***
2.8 Mhz Pentium 4 ***Update: now I have two***
Memorex DVD +/- X1
Maxtor hard drives (3 160's, 1 250, 1 200 ***Update***)
Dell 1025TM 17-inch flat-screen monitor
Viewsonic 15-inch monitor (12 years old!)
Pioneer CLD-701
Logitech Z-640 5.1 speakers
SBC/Yahoo DSL modem ***Update***
Linksys Wireless G router/switch ***Update***
IOGear PS/2/video/audio KVM switch (for controlling 2 computers with 1 keyboard/mouse/monitor/speakers.) ***Update***


Now I have a render farm.

Software
Windows 2000 (I prefer the '98 interface, and there's no 2 GB file limit)
Sony Vegas 5 (for video/audio editing and MPEG/AC3 compiling - Mainconcept encoder included)
Combustion 3 video editor (BTW, This program is DA BOMB, and is highly recommended!)
Virtualdub (for IVTC, AVI cropping, and Decrawl filtering)
DVDLabPro (DVD mastering)
Nero 6 (for burning)
Photoshop 6 (for photo editing/cropping)
Graphedit/Winhex/Besweet (These three programs were used to create the 5.1 soundtrack from the LD PCM)

Laserdisc sets
Definitive Collection : slightly defective - minor sparkling on films, commentary volumes are wildly eratic. Vegas helped me to normalize the audio for my commentary track. You don't even notice it now. I'm assuming it is also missing some of the "Leia welding" sequence, but I've not bothered to check.

"Faces" set : This is the set I am using for my masters. I don't feeling like purchasing another Def. Col., and I find the visual quality of the Faces set to be more appealing. YMMV

ANH: Fox Special Widescreen edition : Disc 1, to be specific (long story). Luckily, this is the disc that contains the infamous C3PO line which will go in a future version.

ESB/ROTJ: CBS/Fox fullscreen versions : Hey, they were 10 bucks each!

Upcoming projects:
I will be making a DVD of my version with a German soundtrack to be provided by Soundtrackmaster. (What can I say...I took the language for several years, might as well make the effort worth it. ) The DVD will have the 5.1 English audio (to save space), and the German PCM audio. Greedo's subtitles will be in English and German, and you will be able to choose between these versions at the menu.

Tentative projects:
I am working with Rikter and Magnoliafan to reproduce the 1977 version of Star Wars as best we can. We have some of the material already, while some footage will have to be recreated (i.e. the opening crawl - my next project.)

Also, I considering making a "Radio Play" version, using the radio plays for the audio, and stills from the movies/comics/etc. for the visuals. I will experiment and see if it's worth the effort, but I'm stoked about it. BadAshe71 will be providing the CD set. Big thanks to him.

Whenever I am able to purchase a dual-layer burner, there will be a dual-layer version.

Past progress
I won't get into too much detail, as one can just read the Bootlegs thread to get the jist. Suffice to say, I've sent XVIDs of my prior attempt to Rikter to put on BitTorrents. if you're impatient, go bug him.

Current specifications:
As it stands right now, my DVD will have the "Faces" video transfer, as well as the PCM audio. There will be a second DD 5.1 soundtrack faithfully created from the PCM. Lastly, there will be an audio commentary from the Def. Col., with a scene-specific submenu.

My menus will largely remain the same. In due time, I will post links to them here.

The current DVD will be 4x3. When it is complete, I will reformat it for 16x9.

Update: There will be a DVD-5 version and a DVD-9 version as well.

Current progress
At this point, I am starting from scratch. Prior to receiving the Video Essentials laserdisc, I was experimenting with various capture settings for the LD picture. Ultimately, I was not able to find a happy medium in the final product. Now, my monitor and my LD capture settings are both properly calibrated, and I've made my new capture.

I'm expecting a delivery very soon of some important software which will help me make frame-by-frame repairs of various visual glitches. technically, I can (and have) made such repairs with Vegas using a method similar to what I am doing with the IVTC repairs. In addition to this, I will be receiving the Cinema Craft 9-pass MPEG encoder, which should be a large step up from Mainconcept's 2-pass encoder. It will also be interesting to see if the resulting MPEG has creates a sharper image, as Mainconcept is known for softning the picture to some extent.

Due to the inconsistency of IVTC with Virtualdub, I've created two sets of IVTC mastered AVIs. As I find IVTC errors in the first AVI, I will swap frames with the second IVTC master. This really shouldn't take too long, as VD actually does a very nice job overall, but it is something that I feel is necessary.

Okay, just figured something out. Comparing two IVTCed files isn't working, because they have pretty much the same errors. HOWEVER, if I IVTC individual segments at a time (10-20 seconds), each segment IVTCs almost perfectly. Therefore, I will do this for the rest of the movie. Yes, it sounds tedious, but compared to 1) searching a section, 2) finding an error, 3) re-IVTCing the section, and then 3) fitting it in, this method is actually easier. In essence, it is semi-manual IVTCing. Right now, I am at 8,000 of 160,000 frames.

Having recalibrated my new monitor, I've made another capture with no modifications. IVTC looks much better now (but still not quite %100 percent.)

I'm now using Combustion 3 to remove any and all visual glitches in the video, such as "sparkles" and stuff like editing out the yellow tape marks left by splices in the master video. I've also played with trying to remove matte boxes in the space scenes, but I've yet to create a seamless effect ---- yet!

Well, I've had some technical difficulties with Combustion 3 (saving my changes), so until I get that hammered out, I'm going to create some small MPEGs of my current capture. I'm doing this for three reasons.

1) I don't think video captures really do the work justice.
2) I finally have DSL, so uploading's easy.
3) My new DSl account has 150 Mbs storage, so hosting them is easy.

This will be the straight video without corrections. Some of the scenes I plan on doing (or have done at this point.

1) Tantive/SD flyover
2) Obi-wan/Vader duel
3) Han/Gringo ( ) scene, with subtitles
4) Luke destroying the DS

I'm debating whether to make them anamorphic or not, since you would need to burn them to DVD and watch them on an HDTV to get any benefit from them. It's an easy thing to do, but I don't know if I have enough space to have two copies of each scene. At the very least, I'll do it for the Tantive/SD flyover.

Okay, Just wanted to give some examples of what I am working on. Here's a 9 Mb segment comparing before and after. Te opening sequence has a slight glitch, see if you can find it. The remaining segments have the most speckles/glitches that I've come across so far, so I chose those to demonstrate what can be done with Combustion. (one of my corrected sequences has a missing frame which I wasn't aware of until now - guess I'll have to go back and fix it.) Be sure to watch it in fullscreen, as most of the speckles are actually kind of small. It may seem like overkill to fix them, but they would really show up in an anamorphic transfer. Plus, I want a pristine master for future projects (in case my LD player bites the dust.)

Update : I've sent a hard drive to Laserman, so that he can send me the ANH AVI transfer from the X0 LD player. These are raw uncompressed files from the best possible player we can get our hands on. As such, the corrections I had to make to my own transfer will no longer be necessary (at least, nowhere near to the same extent.) As much as it was good practice to clean up my transfer, it will now be deleted to make way for these newer AVIs. Once I receive the hard drive, it will be relatively easy to prep the files to fit into my existing DVD project. I'm on vacation this month, so it shouldn't be too hard to knock out ANH by February (no promises!)

After that, Laserman and I may have to slow things down a bit, as we have both spent tremendous amounts of cash, as well as wife-collateral, at this point. Bringing ESB and ROTJ to the US is going to require another large expenditure (and my wife doesn't even know about the most recent one yet), so please be patient. We want this as much as you do, but we've had to do a lot of heavy-lifting lately. You are more than welcome to bombard us with thanks and appreciation, and even monetary donations, not with PMs asking for time tables or "can I have a copy when you are done" (or why we are making our own version when others exist. ).

It's coming, and it'll happen, and you guys will be the first to know when it's ready. I promise you this.


Anyways...stay tuned for updates. You can e-mail me at riginaltrilogy@yahoo.com">originaltrilogy@yahoo.com
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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Well it all sounds great from what I hear.

Assuming that the tentative project of a fully DE-SEized official DVD made to be damn near the OOT by hard work of you, Rikter and MagnoliaFan...
then I will officially crap my pants. With joy.

I wish you (all three of ya) good luck on this. This is what fanboy's dreams are made of.

Initiating self-destruct countdown…

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The original crawl appears in the making of on the new discs. At the very end it fades or ends before it is finished but you may be able to import the crawl and do a frame by fram restoration on the final few seconds to have a complete opening crawl without creating a new one.
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I considering making a "Radio Play" version, using the radio plays for the audio, and stills from the movies/comics/etc. for the visuals. I will experiment and see if it's worth the effort, but I'm stoked about it. I believe one of the two Ashes will be providing the CD set. Thanks to either/both of you. (I'll correct this when I remember which one it is. )
That would be BadAsh; I don't even have it, though it'd be nice to.

Sounds like you've got your hands full, but I'm really looking forward to your progress, and that pre-ANH version as well.

a trolling bantha

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I've only seen the A&E version. Does the DVD have the entire crawl (minus a few seconds at the end, as you described?)
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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The DVD version of the crawl is the same as the A&E version - ends right after the first line of the second paragraph.

a trolling bantha

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I've already figured out how to do it in Vegas. The only part I will really have to create is the actual crawl. The background and "Star Wars" will come straight from the video.

"The DVD version of the crawl is the same as the A&E version - ends right after the first line of the second paragraph."

Bummer, I was kinda getting my hopes up.
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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Ooh. Sounds good. I want in on this crawl action.

What if you took the actual crawl from the final version of the film, and just wiped the lines with "Episode IV: A New Hope" out of it? It would require a bit of careful reediting, and you might have to slow the whole thing down afterward, but in, say, Final Cut Pro I think this would be the simplest way to accomplish it.

Anyway.

Anyone got some suggestions on how to do a good crawl?

I am planning on doing a "Lost Cut" crawl with different text from the original drafts of the script.

This would be for the partial "Lost Cut" restoration in my documentary "Deleted Magic."

Haven't thought up a good way to do it in AE or Final Cut Pro yet, though.
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ocpmovie, are you going to do the "Son of the Suns" bit? XD;

Moll.

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Digitally painting out the "A New Hope" won't work.
If you are going to get rid of that, you might as well go the extra mile to get it completely original, and have the text spacing of where words fall in relation to lines.

Initiating self-destruct countdown…

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Yes Moll - "Son of Suns" will be in there. So will "... an amazing adventure look place." =)
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I find the prospect of a top notch restoration from the Faces LDs very exciting. I will be staying tuned to your progress jedi. A thousand thanks and the best of luck - long live the OT
"You don't own space, so stop actin' like you do."
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I've realized that I can get almost perfect IVTC if I do it in segments of 10 to 20 seconds, and replace my existing footage with these snippets. Starting from last night, I've completed 18 minutes of a 2-hour-20 minute film.

It's gonna take awhile...
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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"The current DVD will be 4x3. When it is complete, I will reformat it for 16x9."

Hey MBJ, what is the point of working in 4:3? Wouldn't it be easier to do it as 16:9 from the beginning? A dvd player would letterbox it on a 4:3 TV anyway.
Also, if you are just going to crop the black bars and resize back to 720x480 for the 16:9 version, you are essentially just stretching the picture, and this could be as easily done using the Zoom function on a 16:9 TV.
So the anamorphic version will not be any better than the 4:3 version, except you won't have to set your TV to zoom!
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Originally posted by: skeg64
"The current DVD will be 4x3. When it is complete, I will reformat it for 16x9."

Hey MBJ, what is the point of working in 4:3? Wouldn't it be easier to do it as 16:9 from the beginning? A dvd player would letterbox it on a 4:3 TV anyway.
Also, if you are just going to crop the black bars and resize back to 720x576 for the 16:9 version, you are essentially just stretching the picture, and this could be as easily done using the Zoom function on a 16:9 TV.
So the anamorphic version will not be any better than the 4:3 version, except you won't have to set your TV to zoom!


There was a discussion about this in another thread... I believe it was called something like "LaserDisc vs Bootleg DVD" or something like that.

Here's the lowdown.... the LaserDiscs are in "letterboxed" format and not "Widescreen Anamorphic". Here is the difference..... Anamorphic is just the movie and no black bars.... the black bars are generated if necessary by your DVD player. On the other hand, being an analog format, LaserDisc Widescreen films are "letterboxed". This means that the movie is "framed" with black bars at the top and bottom to fill out a 4:3 screen.... thus the reason MeBeJedi keeps referring to this as 4:3.

While the movies themselves are Widescreen, they were "framed" to fit within the analog 4:3 realm to fit what some people label as a "standard" TV.

While MeBeJedi is correct to say that the video source from the LaserDisc is 4:3 taking into account this letterbox, 4:3 "fraiming", it would probably be less confusing if people just referred to it as "letterboxed" rather than 4:3 since most people think of 4:3 as "Pan and Scan" which is not what MeBeJedi is doing at all.

MeBeJedi discusses a lot of this in the "LaserDisc vs Bootleg DVD" thread.

Basically, you will lose some resolution by making this old "letterboxed" widescreen film "anamorphic". The result will not be as good as a professional "anamorphic" widescreen presentation made from the original source.

Take a look at the aformentioned thread for more info.
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"Wouldn't it be easier to do it as 16:9 from the beginning? A dvd player would letterbox it on a 4:3 TV anyway."

It would be easier, but if you watch it on a 4X3 TV (like I have) then the transfer has gone through two stages of dropping resolution (blowing up to 16X9, then having every fourth line removed to fit a 4X3 screen.)

Since a majority of people will be watching these on 4X3 tvs or computer monitors, it makes more sense to make both versions. I'm not putting all this work into my transfer just to butcher it with this double-whammy.

BTW, just want to say how much I appreciate you responding in the appropriate thread.
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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"MeBeJedi discusses a lot of this in the "LaserDisc vs Bootleg DVD" thread. Take a look at the aformentioned thread for more info."

Actually, the reason I PMed Jay about a new forum was to coalesce all the various threads and their information into one place (away from the "fanboy" threads ), so I have no problem using this thread to repeat information that is pertinent to my thread. I may even add this description to my FAQ, since it keeps coming up from time to time.
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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2 things:

1. I know you've stated that the retail DVD's have flaws etc, but will you be using them as a reference for quality?

2. Everyone wants the best quality video possible. I may be wrong but the analog source of the two different laserdisc should be minimally different quality wise. Would it be possible to put the DE and Faces source video on top of eachother at 50% opacity to get technically double the resolution? Or am I confused?
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"but will you be using them as a reference for quality?"

Nope. No interest in them - just the supplemental disc.

"Would it be possible to put the DE and Faces source video on top of eachother at 50% opacity to get technically double the resolution? Or am I confused?"

Ever hear the phrase "too much of a good thing"? Besides, Faces is CLV until the last disc, and the Def. Col. is CAV throughout. You'd never get the frames to line up throughout the film. It would be like really bad de-interlacing.
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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MeBeJedi,

Like everyone else, I am looking forward to your final product(s) with great anticipation. I have a couple questions:

1. It sounds like you have multiple projects in the works. Will you first release a straight LD to DVD transfer of the "Faces" set?

2. Which leads me to my second question:
I am working with Rikter and Magnoliafan to reproduce the 1977 version of Star Wars as best we can. We have some of the material already, while some footage will have to be recreated (i.e. the opening crawl - my next project.)

Will this recreated opening crawl be part of the "Faces" transfer, or will it be part of a completely separate project? Personally, I am interested in a straight LD to DVD transfer of the "Faces" set containing no recreations or improvements.

Of course, I know this is not a "request line" or a place to demand certain productions from hard-working individuals like yourself. But if it is possible to get a "Faces" transfer devoid of any modifications, that would be great.

Thanks!
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"Will you first release a straight LD to DVD transfer of the "Faces" set?"

Yes. That is my top priority.

"Will this recreated opening crawl be part of the "Faces" transfer, or will it be part of a completely separate project? Personally, I am interested in a straight LD to DVD transfer of the "Faces" set containing no recreations or improvements."

Debateable. Until I get a DL-burner, it will probably be a separate disc (depending on how much material is added.) My intent is to make a DVD with both versions to choose from.

"But if it is possible to get a "Faces" transfer devoid of any modifications, that would be great."

Not at all. This is certainly going to happen.
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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Awesome. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I already have the TR47 set, which was mastered from the '93 Definitive collection. So I'm eager to see how the "Faces" set compares.
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Got a question: what's the original resolution (in pixels) of an LD ? Is it 720 x 480 like a normal NTSC DVD ? or is it higher ? or lower ?

Anyways, what you're doing almost sounds too good to be true, now get of your lazy ass and get a dual-layer burner so you can do all kinds of extra things with your version and make it truly unique. So far you seem to be doing rather well in achieving just that ;-)

PS. Will you be using the orginal Fox opening logo and Lucasfilm Ltd. at the beginning of the movie too for your approximation of the 1977 version of Star Wars ?
"... Forever Eyes. Dark. Somebody's Angel ..."