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Animaxx

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23-Sep-2018
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24-Sep-2020
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96

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Post
#1376916
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

cm said:

JadedSkywalker said:

Not to derail the thread but i wasn’t aware there was a good source for Babylon 5. The DVD is fake widescreen and you cannot find the original 4:3 ratio version on DVD.

And with frame blending due to the special effects you cannot restore 24 fps.

As for SG1 i hope you use the uncut pilot film and not the censored directors cut version.

What did you meant by ‘fake widescreen’?

B5 was filmed in anamorphic widescreen to allow future proofing on 16/9 tv. There is, as far as i know, no original 4:3. Watch B5 on TV only and not your computer monitor as the technology is different. The monitor will show B5 in ‘squishing effect.’

Skywalker probably meant that the live-action scenes were filmed in 16:9, but the cgi/vfx were done in 4:3 to save production costs, so when you watch the DVDs the computer generated scenes (space scene, composite shots) were cropped and zoomed in, which caused blurriness and artefacts.

As for my own approach (once I get around to it): I changed my opinion on the VUDU-version. I compared them and in my opinion to much information is lost left/right since the live action has been cropped in the 4:3 version (there is a scene in the episode “Midnight on the Firing Line”, where the B5-guards next to G’Kar almost completely disappear, which does not happen with the DVD-version). Since the cgi/vfx only makes up for about 15-20% of the actual episodes, I’d rather see more from the live action shots; also, my filtering setup would take care of artefacts. As for having a little less space to look at top/bottom of the screem and sometimes ships being zoomed in, I think I could live with that (but that’s a matter of personal taste, I guess).

Post
#1376252
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

I know, unfortunately I only own the PAL DVDs of Babylon 5, which have the dreadful 16:9.

EDIT:
Thankfully, I have a lot of SciFi Fans around me (or at least they know others). A friend of mine just said he could provide me with 480p captures of the original 4:3 vudu. I will pm you on this further.

Post
#1375841
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

I just asked a couple of DS9-fans over on reddit if they would also be interested in the episodes.
Perhaps that way, I can make more fans happy. Let’s see how that goes.
But I think that will be the extent of it. I got several questions on possibly doing this as a torrent release, but you know how I think about that.

Post
#1375835
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Yeah, the holodeck scene is a tricky one. Not much to work with from the start.

Also, I noticed an imperfection in my audio track conversion: DS9s intro music suffers from fluctuations, possibly due to the time/pitch adjustments. Since it only effects the intro, I would leave it at that, I can’t really hear anything during the episodes.

By the way, I got a technical questions for which I haven’t found a solution so far: Is it possible to invite someone to a private topic when that has already been created? Like add them later on?

Post
#1375787
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Joel is spot on here. I did a test clip from the season 5 finale some time ago, it was a huge difference to early episodes.
Even when just watching the DVDs: Somehow from season 4 onwards the blur is noticeably less present, so are luma and chroma issues.

And I understand your opinion on piracy. That’s why I decided not to talk about my work openly and only share it around here in a “limited” capacity, not on public torrenting sites.

Post
#1375750
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

FrankB said:

Animaxx said:

Another little note here: My old device had a mode (unfortunately I can’t remember the exact name, let’s just call it “Pure SD-Resolution”) which played files in their natural ratio/size, only going to a max of 1080p, which - funny as it sounds - looked better than the 4K upscale my present device does. So the only way around that is to use a separate player, that can play back the older files in original resolution, since the TV always upscales (which is as I have said fine for everything else, just not the older shows).

So the technical evolution of playback devices may “force” fans to take action in order to keep enjoying their shows because they look worse through enhancements they can’t change manually on the devices themselves.

This certainly has to do with bad deinterlacing… You are right: Especially NTSC-DVDs can be watched best, when you set HDMI to 576i. That may be the mode your player used.

I just looked into the upscaled pilot. Well, I don’t want to be negative, but it’s not for me. And I still think, there is not REALLY much done about new details. Everything Topaz did, seem to me to be also possible with slight sharpenings (if you know how) and simple resizing.

But: This can be the future, and everything new needs pioneers who just do it, become better and better, inspire even better techniques, a. s. o.

Maybe it’s also about youth and age. I watched my first Star Trek episodes in Germany in 1972, so I think I can also wait a few years longer to see something really revolutionary.
But keep on to move forward, where no man has gone before!

I can sympathize with you on many points. My mother was the one who first introduced me to Star Trek (she watched the original series when it aired back around the same time, I grew up with VHS tapes and original effects and still watch those today). And I continued the tradition with doing tv recordings when TNG, DS9 and VOY aired (from kid to teenager in my case) and later went on to collect the first DVDs.
And so it went on and on.

I admit, this is a project I mainly do for myself, since I think even a little improvement is good. And when others like to have these files, I am happy to share, since not everyone can do this work him-/herself.
Also, I am just a beginner and couldn’t hope to compete with you or Joel, but I am content to learn from you guys.

And as you have said: I will continue going forward with this until something better comes along.
(And while we are on the subject of paying homage to the original work, I still own the DVDs and have them as digital backups, my version will just supplement them in case I want to watch or “show off” 😃 )

Post
#1375739
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

@ Everyone: I really recommend reading Joels articles over on extremetech - they are really well done!

@ Joel:

I immensely enjoyed what you have said in your latest outing about fans.
While it is true that copyright is a serious matter, fans are not doing this in order to hurt the studios or companies, quite the opposite actually - as you have stated, many want to show ways to inspire companies to do their work differently to make the process perhaps more affordable.

Also, sometimes fans (like me) are also doing it out of a certain “necessity”. And while the following example is not meant to be some sort of apology or defense to use grey areas (in a copyright sense), it may add another dimension to the topic of fan remastering/upscaling:

TVs, screens, projectors, laser tv … everything continues to evolve, generally in the directions “larger, more detailed, ai-enhancing”.
And while those developments are great for modern content (or generally for content with a certain quality level), they can turn out to be horrific for older sources.
In my case: I love some of the old 80’s and 90’s classics, many of them have only been released on DVD (like DS9 and Voyager). So when I got a really high end TV for my birthday last year I was so happy, because the quality was (and still is) amazing, but naturally they only present those devices against “newer stuff”, which of course looks brilliant.
But when you play something that has some dust on it, the magic is all but gone. Now I don’t want to say that the original DVDs can’t be watched, but especially early seasons (like DS9s first) look bad on a 55` UHD (even with tweaked settings there is only so much the device can do).

So if you are a fan, happen to have great tech on hand (like a good tv) you obviously would want to enjoy even your old shows in at least “decent” quality. This was one of the reasons I got started thinking about upscaling, since many modern devices are designed to go forward, not back.
So I do understand the urge to improve things yourself if you can.

Another little note here: My old device had a mode (unfortunately I can’t remember the exact name, let’s just call it “Pure SD-Resolution”) which played files in their natural ratio/size, only going to a max of 1080p, which - funny as it sounds - looked better than the 4K upscale my present device does. So the only way around that is to use a separate player, that can play back the older files in original resolution, since the TV always upscales (which is as I have said fine for everything else, just not the older shows).

So the technical evolution of playback devices may “force” fans to take action in order to keep enjoying their shows because they look worse through enhancements they can’t change manually on the devices themselves.

Post
#1375709
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Thanks for all your input. But I must ask: Does the 25 FPS bother you on my version? If so, I would consider doing the slowdown to 23,976 FPS, but I did watch my pilot-version and did not notice any decline in audio quality despite me doing modifications.

Also, I have bad news (at least for me) but good news (for you guys).

Let’s start with the bad for me: I really caught a nasty bug and I am lying around sick as a dog, which is just what you need when you have work piling up regarding your “real life job”. So for now I have taken 2 sick days, cause I really can’t do much physically speaking.

The good news for you: Since I can’t do much lying in bed but keyboard and mouse are in reach, I decided to spend more time on this project to get my mind of being down, so look over at the release topic, the next episode will hit within a few hours, putting up preview images now, uploading the 4K-version to google, which will take about two more hours. Size: About 5GB. Episode: 1x03 “Past Prologue”.

Have fun.

Post
#1375665
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Joel Hruska said:

FrankB said:

Animaxx said:
Strangely enough, the tv broadcasts and dvd versions are higher pitched around germany than the original vhs tapes, which had lower pitch.

Interesting, I didn’t know that. That means:
By the time the series was brought to Germany it was often practised technique to convert from NTSC to PAL in a mix of blending and keeping the original interlacing, especially with such mix-content of pulldowned and native 29.97 material.
So they seem to have dubbed it in its original length. This is what is also on the VHS cassettes.
The newer masters for the DVDs were carefully IVTCed (and the 29.97 portions brought to 23.976 in I-don’t -know-what-way), and then sped up to 25fps. Then they sped up the sound without correcting the pitch to its lower original. So you are damned right when you pitch down - even better would have been to slow down to 23.976 and then simply resample the German dub down, pitch would be corrected automatically and everything fine!

As for the speed down to 23,976 FPS: That would cause motion stutter again, which I was happy to have avoided with PAL at 25 FPS.

That’s an error. Slowing down does not at all cause any stutter, if you do it right - that means the very simplest way. Try it with avisynth with, as I said:
new=assumefps(old,24000,1001)
This will just change the SPEED, no t one frame will be added or dropped.

I can confirm what FrankB has said here. In fact, I experimented with doing this.

You can slow a PAL broadcast from 25 to 23.976 fps and never notice that you’ve done it. Then you can pitch-shift the audio down by 4% or get yourself the NTSC discs. Either works. I tried stapling the NTSC audio to a PAL rip that I’d performed this on, and while I had to add a 1.2 second offset to the track, it worked perfectly for alignment once I did. No stuttering.

This is why I seriously considered using PAL instead of NTSC for my project.

It’s certainly an interesting idea. Any way to accomplish that with StaxRip? I have zero experience with avisynth.

Post
#1375546
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

By the way: I have thought about two other SciFi shows that were unfortunately “overlooked/underestimated” in their time and through re-runs or recordings have still managed to develop a devoted fan-base.

  • Earth : Final Conflict
  • Stargate SG-1

Since I do own the PAL and NTSC Discs of Final Conflict and the PAL of SG-1, I would do those after I am through with DS9 and Voyager. Funny how I am planning away probably years of my life, but I think it could be worth it.

But since SG-1 was available from Seasons 8-10 (as were the movies) in HD, I would only do Seasons 1-7.

I hope that would be something you guys might be interested in as well.

But for now, back to Trek.

Post
#1375514
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Just started working on the second episode of DS9 “Past Prologue” - now that the workflow is set, templates are done, it’s really just dumping in the source files and let the software do the work. It’s really nice.

Perhaps I will have another episode for you guys by the weekend, since I do not have to do much manually any longer.

Post
#1375085
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

FrankB said:

Animaxx said:

Guys, I have done it. The 4K-pilot is finished. It was rendered at 15 Mbps in 4:3 format at a display size of 2846x2160p (4:3).

First: Congratulations!

I also used the original NTSC audio and adapted to the PAL-running time while maintaining the original pitch; also, I have pitch corrected the german audio so the PAL-Speedup has been taken care of (no more high pitched voices).

Critics: (as always…)

  1. For the German sound there is no pitch to correct if you leave it at 25fps. Or do I misunderstand? It is originally made for 25fps, and your result is also 25fps. Why correct?
  2. As I said before: You should simply slow down Video to 23.976, and the English audio will fit.
  3. IF you do so, THEN the German audio you would have to slow down, too, and in this case you should pitch correct it about 1/4 to 1/2 tone up.

By the way: These pitch corrections always produce a quality loss, even with the best algorithms, be aware of that fact.

Strangely enough, the tv broadcasts and dvd versions are higher pitched around germany than the original vhs tapes, which had lower pitch. It also sounded better, because music and sound effects now match the original ntsc music and sound effect pitch once lowered.

As for the speed down to 23,976 FPS: That would cause motion stutter again, which I was happy to have avoided with PAL at 25 FPS.

Post
#1375012
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Are you using actual 3840x2160, or are you using 4K loosely? (Meaning, like, a 4x upscale instead of a true 4K upscale) Assuming you mean it literally – have you compared the quality gain from jumping that high?
The reason I’ve stuck to 2560x1920 is because I don’t get any benefit from going higher. I do get a benefit from using Topaz in 4x mode, because the 2x modes seem to blend poorly, but I don’t see an improvement from anything more.
I have also found that using x265 with a CRF=19 is pretty solid. I can barely see the smallest difference between CRF=6 and CRF=20, while I can’t see a difference at all, really, at CRF=19.
Running H.265 in “Slow” or “Very Slow” will also improve your compression. Compression is much more improvable than I ever believed. But this is also why I ask about the benefits of 3840x2160 – because if you get the same quality at, say, 2560x1440 than you do at 3840x2160, you could save yourself a lot of bandwidth just by getting rid of pixels people don’t actually meaningfully benefit from.
If you do benefit from 4K, I recommend trying H.265 with Slow encode speed to see what kind of compression boost you get.

I am using Topaz 4K-mode but switch to custom settings to avoid black bars left/right, so I end up with an automatic display size of the values I had specified.

I am not enocoding with a CFR as you suggested, I use Adobe Premiere Pro with a CBR of 15 Mbps in x264; while I know x265 could increase compressibility, I ran into issues with that in the past, so I need to stick to x264 for now.

As for the display size itself, I will let the automatic setting do that, for it scales up while maintaining the aspect ratio.

By the way, since the rules here do not allow for link posting to complete material, please send me a private message to get the link for the current 4K-version of the pilot (Joel and FrankB).
It will be the same as in the release topic I am preparing right now, but this way you’ll get it sooner, since the topic will take a little bit.

Post
#1374972
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Guys, I have done it. The 4K-pilot is finished. It was rendered at 15 Mbps in 4:3 format at a display size of 2846x2160p (4:3).

I also used the original NTSC audio and adapted to the PAL-running time while maintaining the original pitch; also, I have pitch corrected the german audio so the PAL-Speedup has been taken care of (no more high pitched voices).

The motion is nice and smooth (as it is at 25 FPS).

There are only minor imperfections: Slight block artefacts with explosions and fast moving scenes (barely noticeable), sometimes the added grain is more visible but also adds nice detail, so I will keep that for it looks less “oversmoothened/arteficial”. There is still some minor rainbowing and there is that one frame were the deinterlacer couldn’t handle it all, but it’s again minor. Unfortunately with the pilot, there is a sort of “double border” on top/bottom, but that is only present with the pilot and I didn’t want to crop further to avoid losing parts of the image.

Overall, I am happy with the result. I think it is a really nice compromise between upscaled/enhanced quality, retained detail and filtered image properties.
The 1080p-version is being rendered right now and should be done in 12 hours. I will then upload that as well.

Finally, I will do comparison shots and write the text for the release topic. I will invite you guys and then you can get your hands on the pilot.

As for specs: The 4K-Version will have a size of roughly 10 GB (9,9) and the 1080p-Version will have about 6 GB. Since the pilot (double episode) runs 87 minutes (PAL) and the single episodes clock in at about 43 minutes (PAL) we can assume that the size for the singles will be about 5 GB at 4K and 3 GB at 1080p.

I think size-wise those figures would be ok, since a complete 26 episode season at 4K would take up 130 GB and at 1080p it would take 75-80 GB. In comparison, if I were to copy the DVD-files with original sizes (1,8 GB for singles at SD-Resolution) I would end up with a season count of 45-50 GB, so that appears reasonable to me.

I hope you’ll agree.

Post
#1374859
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Joel Hruska said:

Animaxx said:

You guys know when I was satisfied? When I was finally able to see the freaking Aztec-Pattern on the ships hull (last shot) - I know, I am so ready for the looney bin, but I used to/still do build starship models, so details are a point of obsession for me …

Just wanted to let you know: I’m definitely getting a quality boost off some of these changes. I need to tweak them to fit the somewhat different characteristics of the DVD source, but you have meaningfully boosted my project along. 😃

Glad to hear it. Since I had worked for month with the NTSC and didn’t find a pleasing enough solution for motion issues, I know what you mean by adapting to the source.

Post
#1374795
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Artan42 said:

I’m enjoying all this technical detail. I have no bloody clue what is being said (it may as well be in Klingonese for all I know) but it looks like there’s several people who really know what needs to be done here.

As for CBS, every time somebody uploads a test video, I go watch a couple of episodes on Netflix. I think it’ll be the viewing figures for DS9 and VGR that make the case to CBS that they might have to pull their fingers out eventually as they’ll be the only two of the nine produced TV shows without a HD release.

Believe me, this is what I feel like when people start talking avisynth. I am still learning while doing but to be honest if there is a way to use a gui/user interface which is visually pleasing I prefer that.

I guess if you were to do it all the time, it becomes second nature, but I think everything in the general direction of avisynth isn’t for me.

Post
#1374785
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Also Joel, I think it is really kind and generous of you to try to offer solutions for both standards.

That would probably help a lot of people, who for some reason may just have access to one of the formats or simply don’t want to spend money again on something they already own, but still would like to “spice it up a bit”.

And besides: In the end every attempt benefits us all, for I have the dream that our persistence and idealism will someday shame someone at CBS into thinking “Oops, fans outsmarted and outworked us, now everyone can have it for free? Let’s jump on that train and make some cash!”
And if they did it well, I would gladly pay.

One can dreeam, right?

Post
#1374769
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - NTSC DVD Restoration & 1080p HD Enhancement (Emissary Released)
Time

Initial evaluation of naive implementation of AniMaxx’s algorithm suggests it’s oversharpening in my case. I like the overall output otherwise. Going to adjust some variables, then toss in the rest and see what it looks like.

I am happy to see that a few pointers from my approach worked, but I was actually afraid it would oversharpen in your case. My initial NTSC sharpening approach was enough for that medium, but PAL is softer, so I had to adjust - in your case you will have to reduce.