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.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) — Page 3

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Originally posted by: Moth3r
Regarding the frame cleanup, are you at the moment solely concentrating on laserdisc mastering defects and dirt/scratches/discolouration of the film prints? Or are you dealing with garbage mattes and fixing effects shots as well?


I think they've already mentioned that they're removing the former and leaving the latter alone for the initial version. Another version with actual goofs corrected will be made later.
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When I heard all the good reactions about the DJ's transfers of Sega's Japanese SC set, I decided to get the US equivalents. Got them pretty cheap, $15 (plus $30 shipping to Holland). And I carefully examined them on my DVL-909, comparing them to my definitive set. The only positive things I noticed were:
- the absence of motion smearing, this is very evident
- the presence of stars, especially those in the opening shot of SW
I also noticed they are much brighter than the definitive, so in some scenes you see more (things which are black or very dark on the definitive). I can't say if this is better or not, it just gives you a whole other viewing experience.
But after the examination I sold them again (for $45, plus shipping), the reasons? It has much more noise, the colors are way off in some scenes, especially the desert scenes. The shot in ROTJ of R2 and 3PO on their way to Jabba's palace has a horrible, oversaturated and weird look for instance. The definitive also has a bit more detail, and I discovered what THX certified sound means.
Now, the noise was my biggest problem, an X0 will deal with most of that, but there definitely is more noise on the discs. Zion, you haven't seen these on the X0 yet, right? And what you said about the shift towards green (due to film ageing or not), could that could that have something to do with the green shading present in Cowclops' v2? I noticed it in DJ's Definitive capture aswell btw.

That's no moon. It's a LaserDisc.

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It stands to reason that the pre-THX widescreen discs would be noisier, as they didn't have noise reduction applied (at least not to the DefCol level). DavisDVD has this to say about the DefCol:
One drawback to this CAV set is that the first film suffers from too much noise reduction (for an example of this see Luke's lightsaber during his training with the remote onboard the Millennium Falcon).
and this about the "Faces" edition:
Uses the same letterbox transfer as the "Definitive Collection" CAV box set, only with the noise reduction greatly reduced.

This would suggest that the "Faces" set should be a better source than the DefCol. However, Grinder's report about the pre-THX set notices:
- the absence of motion smearing, this is very evident
- the presence of stars, especially those in the opening shot of SW

so isn't it possible that these could be made to look even better than "Faces"?
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You could never make the pre-THX sets look better or sound better than the THX ones, the noise floor is too high, the colour is all over the place the detail is very soft and the sound is awful - however certain scenes may be worth lifting to help deal with the temporal noise reduction on the THX sets.
That process was already underway before I left.
The difference in noise reduction between faces and definitive isn't much, both sets have their flaws and advantages over each other.

Most of the noise on the pre-THX sets is encoded into the disc unfortunately, so the X0 reproduces the encoded noise perfectly

The Special Collection may be worth a look, the discs mastered for the Japanese market tended to be of a better quality, so it is worth investigating. Karyudo might have the set, but I doubt it, I've never seen it for less than US$200, so most people gave it a miss.

When I left, the initial run of the X0 project was going to clean up physical film damage and laserdisc artifacts only, as any other version would need that done first.

Fixing mattes etc. was for after an archival version was laid down, so we did a lot of experimentation with removal of those, but there was to be an archival version that left them alone.

Of course that might have changed since

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Originally posted by: Laserman
Of course that might have changed since


That would be a huge disapointment for me. It's not a preservation if the goofs/old effects aren't there.
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Originally posted by: zion
Welcome to the second edition of the XØ Project discussion thread. The original thread can be found here.

Every single frame will be looked at and corrected. Fixes will be limited to dirt and film damage removal, color correction, and stabilization. Wherever possible we will be using the actual celluloid film for reference.

Glitches including matte lines, saber colors, and frame jumps will not be fixed in the initial version. A possible second version could include fixes to matte lines and garbage mattes, but keep the rest of the "glitches" intact.

The finished archive will form a perfect base for any future restoration project or fan edit we might do afterward.




I guess we should have read the first post in this thread


It looks like no disappointment necessary.
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Thanks for the info, Laserman.
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I was wondering the same thing as moth3r (scroll up). It's all gravy when you have a static screen, but do the filters/changes you made to improve the starfield effect things once the screen starts moving and ships start flying across?
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Moving starfields don't need a lot in the way of recovery as the stars tend to all be there, just a simple low pass is enough to bring them out. Watch the opening crawl on any bootleg, and then look when the camera pans down, all the stars seem to suddenly appear during the pan and then stop again when the camera stops panning. You can go a step further and do temporal recover, i.e. track the stars across a sequence of frames, and match them back. You could do this with a Shake script without too much trouble, it is a pretty easy tracking job.

As for shots with other things in them such as the Star Destroyer or planets, there are two ways around it.

1) Rotoscope the shot to mask out the objects you don't want in the process (i.e. mask out the destroyer and the planet)

2) Refine your code so that it only works on the stars, basically a discovery pass where you looks for objects less than xx pixels in size that are surrounded by 'black' and then only run your processing on said objects. This method means no tedious rotoscoping, but more testing to ensure you are only processing the part of the image you are interested in. One way to check is to flag all objects processed in bright red or similar, so you can see hwat your code is working on and tweak it til it is correct.


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are they DVD5s or DVD9s??? Raw Capture?
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They are 5's, and yes, that is the raw capture.
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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Zion,
Very cool pic of the raw capture! To you big wigs that probably looks like everyday stuff by now. For the rest of us it is a cool glimpse into what will become Original Trilogy history.

HARMY RULES

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Groovy. Now what's the storyboard represent? Is that what's on each disc?

“I love Darth Editous and I’m not ashamed to admit it.” ~ADigitalMan

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Originally posted by: Moth3r
Surely Karyudo has the Japanese Special Collection? I was under the impression that he owned just about every laserdisc version ever made.


Well, when Karyudo first wrote that, he didn't think there was any merit at all in discs prior to the THX cleanup! So, no -- I don't have the Special Collection. I did look in a few stores while I was in Japan recently, but nothing.

I do have the Collector's Set, but that's THX.

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Originally posted by: The Bizzle
So in theory, the US Empire and Jedi widescreen Laserdiscs, pre-1992, should be the EXACT same transfers as the Japanese Collection ones. [...] Japanese is 3 CAV discs, though, and US was 2 CLV discs


Keep in mind that there is a difference between the transfer, and the master from which the LDs are pressed! The German and French THX discs are taken from the same transfer, but the master clearly isn't the same. Between those two editions, there are differences in saturation, exactly where the frame ends up in the raster, and of course side breaks. But the transfer must be the same -- the same flaws appear in the same places.

Extrapolating, it's easily possible that the same transfer was used for the Japanese and US discs, but that the Japanese LD is still NTSC-J and a whole bunch nicer.

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Originally posted by: zion
Our initial captures of all three films on the XØ have been complete for some time. However, the THX editions -- the Definitive and Faces sets -- as you know have problems with fast motion shots because of the temporal filters they used in the cleanup process. We are entertaining thoughts of capturing several pre-THX sets with the XØ including the Special Collection LD's. Of course, the SC set does not come very cheap and we're a little too low on fundage at the moment to buy them off eBay.
I said I'd help before... before well, you know... how about I save up my paypal account and buy a set off ebay after X-Mas, then you can borrow them capture and I'll re-sell them!

- all I ask in return is my name in the DVD credits "the XØ team appreciates the help of DanielB" or something like that!
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That won't 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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So that is the full raw capture of one set. I'm guessing the Definitive Collection. Now do you have to get a full raw capture of other sets such as "Faces", or just peices of other sets if needed?

--

I would think that the team would absolutely want the Special Collection discs since there is at least a small amount of improvement over the Definitive Collection. After all, if this is the end-all-be-all capture then wouldn't you want the best source even if it is by a small margin? If the best source isn't used then someone can always say "yes, the x0 project is amazing...buuuut it could have been better if they had used the NTSC-J version." I would hate to have that in the back of my mind every time I watch it. "What if?"

If it's just the money then I'm sure all of us watching you would have no problem chipping in to help pay for it through donations. My gut tells me there must be a bigger reason than a money shortage though, so I trust your decisions.
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Originally posted by: zion
And now, a random image off my camera...

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/6060/anhx08qq.jpg
And you just put something as valuable as that on the table? You might get scratches on the discs?!

Fez: I am so excited about Star Whores.
Hyde: Fezzy, man, it's Star Wars.
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Observer, Laserman pretty much covered your first question already:

Originally posted by: Laserman
You could never make the pre-THX sets look better or sound better than the THX ones, the noise floor is too high, the colour is all over the place the detail is very soft and the sound is awful - however certain scenes may be worth lifting to help deal with the temporal noise reduction on the THX sets.
That process was already underway before I left.
...
The Special Collection may be worth a look, the discs mastered for the Japanese market tended to be of a better quality, so it is worth investigating.


As far as getting this set goes, perhaps dark_jedi would be prepared to lend his set?
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Well, my first question was about the raw capture. Is it just one of the sets or a combination of sets already spliced together? If it's just one set (Definitive Collection) are other sets going to be captured in full in order to splice in better frames from different sets if needed? Kind of like "the best of the best" frames all in one capture, you see? Your Laserman quote doesn't answer that question.

I think it answers my second question, but is the Special Collection Pre-THX? If so, then my second question was answered and I guess it's not worth it. However, I thought the SC discs were THX and the highest quality around making them a worthwhile investment to the team.
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Here's what Citizen had to say about the SC:

Originally posted by: Citizen (in The Official Dark/Sega Special Collection Release Thread)
This trilogy has to be one of the best NTSC sourced transfers I've seen to date, despite some issues with the hue, colour bleeding & compression artefacts, the image clarity and brightness/contrast is very good, what's more this has to be the first laserdisc transfer that doesn't exhibit any of the temporal smoothing that plagues all the other widescreen SW laserdiscs (French, German, Definitive, Faces) I've seen. Nor does it appear to have the interlacing jaggies problem the Definitive and Faces collectiion has where some detail is completely lost through removal of lines.

The test results I'm getting are showing that it could really give the PAL transfers a run for their money, firstly it doesn't suffer the interlace/jaggies problem of the definitive set but the main reason being they didn't use any temporal smoothing to reduce grain, no smearing during motion!

Check this short XviD clip out, first half is from my PAL LDs, the 2nd half from the Dark/Sega SC DVD, on the Dark/Sega part you can see the rockface in detail whereas on the PAL sourced version it's badly smeared (same on the Definitive & Faces discs).

Citizen'sTestClip