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Thomas & Friends - Classic Series NTSC Preservation (US dub)

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BACKGROUND INFO

For my next preservation, I'm working with a childhood classic and a personal favorite: Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (now known as Thomas & Friends).

Thomas was adapted into a television show in 1984 by Britt Allcroft in conduction with Clearwater Features for ITV, as it was originally based off The Railway Series, a set of books by the Rev. W. Awdry. The show was to be shot on 35mm film at 25p (which would prove to be an issue later on) and aired in the UK only. With a former Beatle member, Ringo Starr, narrating the five minute stories, the show was a success. 

In 1989, five years after Thomas' debut in the UK, Allcroft brought the show into the US. The show had a new dub recorded by Ringo Starr to allow for American railway terminology to be used (most of which are ONLY available on VHS). After Starr's departure from the show, the UK and US no longer shared the same narrator. For the UK, Michael Angelis took on the role as storyteller, and in the US, George Carlin became the new narrator. Throughout the years in the US, narrators came and went. From Carlin to Alec Baldwin to Michael Angelis (for six episodes) to Michael Brandon. The UK kept a consistent voice, unlike the US.

Season 1 to Season 7 was dubbed as the "Classic Series". For the eighth season, the show was bought by HiT Entertainment and was rebooted.

GOAL

Having grown up with the show, I've always preferred the US dub. Being that US releases of the show have always been inferior in video quality due to being sourced from dot-crawl ridden masters and being cropped to 4:3 (Series 6 and onwards), I've made it my goal to preserve the US dub with digital footage and proper aspect ratio footage.

*(courtesy of The Thomas Entertainment Station blog)

In the UK, each season is available completely on DVD, sourced from the 35mm film (as of 2012). For this preservation, I've taken the 576i footage and synced it up (and currently am still syncing up) to the US dub audio.

Being that the show was shot at 25p and the US dub is synced at the same frame rate, pulldown had to be applied to conform the footage to work with NTSC machines. In previous years, my conversions have been plagued by horizontal linear shaking. For this edition, I've learned a new method: upscale to 1080i. Through upscaling, little-to-no shaking is present. 

Each season will have its own BD-25 and will be uploaded to the spleen, if anyone's interested in having these.

As of today, only Seasons 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are finished.  3, and 7 are still being synced and finished.

SOURCES

- VIDEO: The Complete Series (1-7) UK DVDs

- AUDIO: Various US DVDs/VHS'/TV airings

THANKS TO:

tug97, ttteepisodesus, Moosh, & SI3DFilms (non-OT members)

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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Amazing, as a Brit I enjoyed watching Thomas the Tank Engine when I was younger and had no idea about the US versions. Good luck with the project. 

“Logic is the battlefield of adulthood.”

  • Howard Berk
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You should have selectable US/UK dubs, for those, like me, who've never seen (heard) the UK version.

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Oh, interesting. Thought somebody here would do this. I remember watching a few of the U.S. Ringo dubs on tape a looong time ago.

So, a new book came out and we learned so much, and it is called, "Anguilosaurus, Killer of the Living".

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Never knew he dubbed the rest.

So, a new book came out and we learned so much, and it is called, "Anguilosaurus, Killer of the Living".

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ElectricTriangle said:

Wikipedia says (and my memory somewhat confirms) that George Carlin also redubed series one and two.

That would mean there are three dubs for the first two series: George Carlin and the UK/US Ringo.

Carlin did redub Seasons 1 & 2 for the US, since Ringo Starr didn't do all of them. Michael Brandon also redubbed many Season 6 episodes but they were TV only, and I don't have them, so it will be somewhat incomplete (and his narrations are terrible anyways).

I might not be able to use Starr's US dubs because they're all on VHS tapes and I do have them all, but the sound isn't great because there are crackle sounds throughout some of the tapes, unless someone knows a good way to get rid of them?

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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I've found a better way to convert PAL to NTSC via deinterlacing, doubling the frame rate, and then convert to NTSC. There are little artifacts and it does the job great. That way, I can do a DVD-9 version instead of BD-25.

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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JawsTDS said:

I've found a better way to convert PAL to NTSC via deinterlacing, doubling the frame rate, and then convert to NTSC. There are little artifacts and it does the job great. That way, I can do a DVD-9 version instead of BD-25.

 That sounds terrific! BTW, do you think the current rights-holders will ever release the classic series on Blu-ray?

Currently enjoying Disney Infinity 3.0

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Avatar_Emil said:

JawsTDS said:

I've found a better way to convert PAL to NTSC via deinterlacing, doubling the frame rate, and then convert to NTSC. There are little artifacts and it does the job great. That way, I can do a DVD-9 version instead of BD-25.

 That sounds terrific! BTW, do you think the current rights-holders will ever release the classic series on Blu-ray?

10 years ago, HiT went back and scanned the negatives and created new masters, so they very well could, but I doubt the demand would ever be out there, sadly.

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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Wow I actually had this exact same idea over the summer! I did the first season with the UK video and everything, but I never got around to doing it. It brings me so much joy to know that somebody else had this idea! Thank you for doing this from the bottom of my heart. I've loved this show my whole life.

Jedi Master Skywalker said:
Btw I have started a petition:
https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-the-release-of-the-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-in-4k/
Please sign
towne32 said:
They should build a whole website and forum based off a petition like this.

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Finished the Season 2 DVD today. Contains all of George Carlin's US narration for the second season, which some doesn't exist outside of TV airings, which were thankfully captured by my good friend.

Here's a look at the menu (S2) and video (S6):

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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So here's what will be contained in the final set:

THE CLASSIC COLLECTION:

Seasons 1-7, Thomas & the Magic Railroad, and The Classic Song Collection. All are DVD-9, except for the Song DVD, it's DVD5.

All the songs are presented from their highest quality rip currently available. Magic Railroad is also presented in 16:9 for the first time in the US with 5.1 Surround.

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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GREAT looking project!

Progress check?  Not seeing anything currently on the Spleen.

 

-A.S.

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I am still working on it. Series 4-6 are finished, however 1, 2, 3, & 7 present strange issues.  Series 3 needs to be color corrected as the restored & remastered DVDs were sourced from faded prints, Series 1 & 2 have missing US narration for Ringo Starr, and Series 7 is missing narration for the US redub done by Michael Brandon. They've aired on TVOKids, but the rips I have are of low quality and I can't use them. 

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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TTTE Catalogue

I was quite bored last night so I made this handy chart. I did a lot of research as to the whereabouts of every episode in question. It's pretty rough since almost all the information came from TTTE Wikia, which can be sparse at times when discussing DVD release (although what wiki isn't). I wanted to list the best possible version of each episode in most cases it kind of devolved into first known releases instead. Anyway, here's a nice little springboard for those trying to visualize this like me.

Jedi Master Skywalker said:
Btw I have started a petition:
https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-the-release-of-the-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-in-4k/
Please sign
towne32 said:
They should build a whole website and forum based off a petition like this.

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Thanks, clutchins!

Here's my current PAL to NTSC conversion method, so please let me know if I'm doing this right.

MPEG-2 25i PAL -> Handbrake 50p BOB Deinterlacing MP4 -> MPEG-2 30i NTSC. Is there a better method? The show was filmed interlaced, so it cannot be slowed down.

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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Sorry for the lack of updates. Recently, I acquired all the unreleased narration I needed. This project is virtually complete, but I’m having a few others (and myself) beta watch it to check for errors. 15+ hours to watch!

Series 1: audio synced / US titles added.
Series 2: audio synced / US titles added.
Series 3: audio synced / US titles added / color corrected.
Series 5: audio synced / US titles added.
Series 6: audio synced / US titles added.
Series 7: audio synced / US titles added.

You can see a preview of the Series 2 episode “The Deputation” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpvUuhXUUTU&feature=youtu.be

Thank you all for your patience; this will be hitting the spleen very soon!

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707

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Looking forward to the finished project. Is Season 4 done too?

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It looks like all the remastered US episodes were recently added to Amazon Prime:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FYLYOYM?ref_=aiv_dp_season_select
This is exactly what I have been waiting for, although it is my understanding that some of the remastered versions lack audio cues.
Did you use any of this in your edit?

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Director’s Edition HD Recreation
Duel (1971) - The Hybrid Cut
The Phantom of the Opera - 1925 Version Reconstruction - Rare Scores Collection

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ElectricTriangle said:

It looks like all the remastered US episodes were recently added to Amazon Prime:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FYLYOYM?ref_=aiv_dp_season_select
This is exactly what I have been waiting for, although it is my understanding that some of the remastered versions lack audio cues.
Did you use any of this in your edit?

I used a lot of it, but much of Series 1 and Series 2 was out of sync and had drop outs. Fixed 'em all, thankfully.

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration/id/55707