like...what the source video looks like before compression. What kind of compression scheme you use. At what bit-rate, q level etc etc.
There are all these factors that determine what your video will look like.
In a nutshell, MPEG compression will in most cases create "blocky" artifacts. To see these artifacts, look at the black areas on a DVD. You'll notice these "waves" so to speak of boxy mosquitos floating around. The source material won't have these.
However, rest assured that this project will be "shared" amongst fans, torrents, newsgroups, etc. ;-)
I wasn't saying that Lucas should have ONLY used puppets (although i do prefer a puppet yoda, sue me). What I'm trying to say is, everything was so digitally overblown that even the clone STORMTROOPERS were CG! Real live humanoids were CG characters! What's worse, in episode 3, instead of putting Temuera Morrison in a stormtrooper outfit when they took off their helmets, they pasted his head onto a digital CG body. This, in my opinion, was too much. It was lazy. It looked bad. His head keeps floating off his body at the neck. It was really obvious.
He should have built sets and backgrounds. He should have made Padmé eat real fruit in Episode 2.
In any case you're missing my point that each frame of these movies (especially Episodes 2 and 3 where the CG was used extensively) will age. If George had used a nice balance his films wouldn't age so quickly.
As a side note: one thing that really bugs me about the use of CG in modern films is the fact that people go all crazy with it in terms of cinematography. "Oh look! We can do this ariel shot, swoop in under his crotch, catch some lens flare. A big spider will appear and his tenticles will swoop towards the protagonist and it'll miss and instead....hit the camera!" Granted it helps create shots that were never before possible, but is it a good thing? Is it a good thing to do whatever you can? Even at the expense of losing your audience's suspension of disbelief?
Example: that fight scene between Neo and those hundred Agent Smiths in Matrix Reloaded. Perfect example of CG hyperbol.
Counterexample: The original Matrix. Award-winning special effects. Why? They were amazing at the time! And in many respects, they hold up today. That infamous shot of neo ducking the bullets at the end was a mixture of live footage and computer animation. A nice blend of it too. Had they more money, I'm sure the directors would say, "Hey! Let's just make that whole shot CG because we can. It gives us freedom!" But would the original Matrix been as good had they had all the resources in the world?
This is what I call the Kevin Smith syndrome. For some reason Kevin Smith makes crappier films the bigger his budget is. Clerks and Chasing Amy were decent flicks which cost 20, 000 and 200, 000 dollars respectfully. Do these films compare with the bigger budget films such as Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and even Mallrats? I personally don't think so. Why? Limitations are good for a director. Limitations make you sit down and think, "OK, how can I do this with the little resources I have?" They force you to use all the grey matter in your little head to come up with solutions. Computers have erased this. Everyone's mentality is, it seems, "Fix it in post." They get lazy. They start not caring about how the film. "it's good enough"...enough. Just enough. Goddamnit! Strive for perfection!
OK... here are his multiple explanations. Taste the poo.
"My Star Wars set, even in single layer form, has a Q of about 2 on average. This number does not lie... it tells you exactly the amount of picture quality lost due to compression, and the amount lost due to compression is less than what most dual layer hollywood DVDs have to go through."
"I believe you missed what I said about bitrate viewer. Every mpeg encoded video, be it mpeg1 or mpeg2, has a number associated with each small sequence of frames. This number is called the "Q level" and describes, basically, the difference in quality between the source frame and the mpeg2 compressed frame. It ranges from 1 to 100 with 1 being best and 100 being worst. There is nothing to be "gained" by forcing the bitrate higher because there is nothing LOST at the bitrate I used for the single layer discs (about 3500kbps)."
"The Q Level (Which isn't an opinion of quality but an absolute statement of deviation from the source frame) is less than 3 in both versions. Most Hollywood DVDs aren't even compressed this perfectly (but thats because they have detail that makes it harder to compress anyway).
The dual layer version exists but as I've stressed at least 5 times before and can't believe i'm saying it a 6th time... THE COMPRESSION IS NOT THE ISSUE."
"In this case, to claim DVD9 is somehow "better" you'd have to assume that DVD5 wasn't "good enough." Since the source is laserdisc and not film, it means its not as sharp. Since its not as sharp as film, its easier to compress. And since its easier to compress, it doesn't need DVD9. Bitrate viewer agrees."
"B) For fucks sake raised to the 20th power, the video fits JUST FINE on a single layer disc with menus and everything. No we will not be offering it on dual layer, except I made a dual layer version anyway to compare the Q levels of each disc and show how unnecessary it is. It goes like this:
1. Soft video is easy to compress
2. Laserdiscs are softer than DVD
3. Thus laserdisc video is easier to compress than "usual" dvd material.
4. Thus shut the hell up. QED. "
"For this, I think the average bitrate was about 3200 kbps or so. The average Q in bitrate viewer is less than 3, so really there are minimal compression artifacts. I believe I used an image priority setting of 40, as the noise can at times confuse the compressor so I went for a closer to balanced setting, leaning towards giving most of the bitrate to sharp areas. In cleaner signals, I would use a lower image priority setting so as to prevent mosquito noise. I had the max set to 8500 because with PCM audio, if it goes over that it might make some DVD players choke on the signal. All in all, it didn't matter much as the bitrate stays mostly between about 2000 and 5000 kbps."
"The average bitrate I'm using on the new set (which is actually a little less than I used on the old set because I'm making room for menus) still produces a maximum Q level (as reported by bitrateviewer) of LESS THAN 5, and an average of less than 3. While this doesn't imply that the final video quality is perfect, it DOES imply that the quality lost due to compression is extremely minimal."
I understand that Laserdisc video is easier to compress due to its soft image and artifacts won't be as noticible as on a sharper image, but the fact remains that blocky digital artifacts are inherent to all MPEG compression. Whilst you think that a low compression isn't necessary, and you're probably right considering that DVD9s are too expensive at the moment, I just can't believe that the compression is practically unnoticible.
I own a copy of your first transfer so I am speaking from experience.
PS: I'm not pissing on your knowledge on the topic nor and I disrespecting your contribution to the Original Trilogy bootleg market. I am merely voicing my opinion. I'm not picking a fight. Repeat, I'm not picking a fight.
But MPEG compression is much more than the Q level of the gop sequence. Just because it faithfully recreates each frame doesn't necessarily mean that each frame in itself isn't compressed.
A single JPEG frame compressed at small quality isn't going to look the same if you had initially compressed it at high quality.
Originally posted by: Darth Chaltab
It never rains on Coruscant until after Galactic City is destroyed and the planetary orbit shifted.
THIS IS CETI ALPHA FIVE!
Is there any way to receive past newsletters, if any?
I personally don't have a problem with CG in general. I think as well that it is definitely a helpful tool in the creation of movies and creatures that wouldn't have been possible with traditional methods. What I do have a problem with is directors thinking that they should use CG because they can and/or use it so much to the extent that it becomes style over content.
It's the overuse and misuse of CG that is a determining factor (not the sole one as you might have read :-) ) in my dislike of the prequels.
In the original trilogy there are many SFX shots and they have shown their age. However, unlike the new ones, 99.9% of the film is not a constent special effect. Had every background been a matte shot, every alien creature a "cartoon", had every piece of fruit been an animation, the film would appear to be very fragmented, dull and fake right? Imagine if the whole film looked like that scene when Luke and Han are talking on the barge on their way to the Scarlac? Wouldn't that have been...well, really cheesy? That's how I feel with the special effects in these new films. Everything is a special effect and because of that decision, the whole film will age...badly.
I watched the Prequels once in theatres. Watched them again. Now, I have no desire to ever own a copy of, or even watch those films again. When people ever ask me what they think of the prequels, I have to say, "What prequels? They made prequels? I think you're looney." I have disowned these films from my love of star wars and instead I am reverting to how I imagined all of this happened before any of these movies came out.
You buy up as many copies as you want, discuss it, convince people it's "not that bad", but I will never - I mean NEVER - look at the old trilogy and think, "Luke has a lot of midiclorians too!", "Darth Vader built C3PO!", "Those stormtroopers are CLONES!", and other inconsistacies that plague those movies.
Here's my undying opinion of the prequels to which none of you will be able to make me change my mind: Episodes 1, 2 and 3 were some of the worst films ever created. They rank up there with Howard the Duck, Catwoman and Gigli. Why? There is no imagination. No wow. Let me go through the films' faults by topics: Effects, Characters/Story and Direction.
Special Effects: To me, this will be the prequels ultimate demise as time goes by. CG, despite what lucas says, is not photorealistic. It's fake. It looks pretty damn good, but it's still fake. Creating an entire movie out of CG - and really rushed CG at that - only adds to the fakeness of the images. Sure it might have looked really cool when the films first came out, but they will age. They will age just as all movies do. In ten years, we'll have video games that will look more realistic than the images in this film and so what will generations in the future say about it? My guess is, they'll say it looks "dated" and "fake" just like some people like to point out that the effects in the old trilogy have unquestionably have. The difference between the two is the "wow factor" in the effects. The special effects in the old days were effects that took a LOT of time and effort to create and because of it, you were always (and still are) saying to yourselves, "Wow! How could they do that?!" Today, when everything is at the touch of a button and even kids in their parent's basements are getting closer to creating images that rival those of the PT, there's none of that wow factor involved. We just swallow the information and go on with the show. As I mentioned before, a lot of the effects don't even live up to their potential! Why is it that all the old star wars movies won best special effects oscars and/or achievement awards, but the new ones haven't won a single one (yet anyway)? There's nothing new to them! There's nothing exciting! I remember when Episode 1 came out, I was reading a magazine about the film's special effects and to demonstrate how "wonderful" Jar Jar was, they wrote in captions under a picture: "Look how his fingers curve around the door realistically!" Ooo. How exciting. At least with Golum in LOTR, they went all out to create the most realistic CG creature possible and pointed out more interesting things such as facial expression and their amazing skin generators.
Characters/Story: What this movie really lacks is a set of defined characters and a tighter story. Throughout the prequels we have a lot of characters who are important to the plot but just sort of pop up here and there and exit very unsatisfactory. This is most apparent with the sith lords/generals who are many in numbers but few in importance. Episode 1: Darth Maul/Trade Organization. Episode 2: Count Dooku
Episode 3: Dooku (sort of)/Grievous (sort of)/Palpatine. What would have been better for the whole trilogy would be to have one apprentice and Palpatine throughout ALL 3 films. None of these semi-siths who just say a line and then die later on. No generals who just happen to be the most dangerous threat to the galaxy, only to be destroyed by a smiling Obi-Wan (who might as well have been filing his nails seeing the ease it took to finish him). We should have established these characters from stage one...that being episode 1. We should have had seen Dooku in Episode 1 planning to leave the Jedi Council, fake his death and join the dark side. Same thing with Grievous. Even if he was just introduced in Episode 2, we would have at least had SOME kind of establishment. The fact that the only character development he gets is from a Cartoon Network mini-series is both lazy and insulting. If episode 2 were the Clone Wars miniseries, imagine how much better of a plot that would have made? Not to mention better development overall. Finally in episode 3, Dooku dies at the beginning. What a lame exit for such an important character! In my opinion, it would have made more sense if Palpatine had set up a duel between Dooku and Anakin much later in the film a la Luke vs Vader in Return of the Jedi. And that this duel would seal his fate for his journey towards the darkside. Much like Luke's hateful destruction of Vader would have turned him towards the dark side, Anakin's hateful destruction of Dooku would have made him a sith.
Enough, "what if" talk. Let me critic the films at hand. The stories that we have on the store shelves today are plagued with exposition and an excess of storylines. Episode 1 deals with a trade federation embargo, Anakin being found as a powerful Jedi and saving him from slavery, issues concerning the stability and reliability of the Galactic Republic and the return of the Sith. Gah! Too much information! Keep the story simple George. I don't wish to sound like a know-it-all, but having taken a screenwriting class, one of the fundamental rules they teach you is to keep it simple. Don't go overboard with backstories and subplots. Keep it as simple as you possibly can. I'm not saying the story was bad, but Lucas could have tied everything together much neatly. Another rule in Screenwriting was to avoid what my teacher called, "Doctor Exposition": that annoying habit to tell everything through dialogue. I'm sure I don't need to give examples of this in the PT. It's basically insulting to the audience.
Of course, the reason you take classes or learn about things is to know the rules...and then break them. But Lucas is not making the type of film that screams the need to rebel against common rules of storytelling. His films EMBODY the very fabric of the traditional 3-act structure.
The lot of these films are plagued with these sort of annoying storyline issues that chefelf and mannox has more successfully delt with than I could put to words. Go to their respective websites for futher comments.
Direction: George Lucas cannot direct. He could. He can't now. I don't understand why. Maybe the real George Lucas was abducted by aliens and he's looking down at us right now saying, "Nooo! I didn't want Ewoks! I didn't want Jar jar! Nooo!". That's a nice thought, but given the likliness of that happening, I must come to the ultimate conclusion that George Lucas has lost the touch. He's not the only one, mind you. I've noticed lot of directors start out wonderfully in their careers only to be bogged down with a list of mediocre films later in their lives. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Federico Fellini, Kevin Smith. I'm sure these names will create massive panic on this thread, but people: when was the last time Spielberg made a movie that didn't have a unnecessarily sappy, sentimental ending? When was the last time Scorcese made a film whose calibre was equal to those in the 70 and 80s? Fellini was a genius in the 50s. Was. Kevin Smith...makes good movies when he has no budget and isn't pleasing fanboys. But of all these examples, none is more tragic than George Lucas. The same person who said that Science Fiction films were too dominated by special effects makes three films that are nothing but. The same person who says that story is the most important thing in a film makes three films that
Does anyone care anymore about pacing? Exposition? Character development? Do we REALLY need everything spelled out for us?
Expand those craniums!
"R2! Chewbacca can fix the hyperdrive! I'm standing here in pieces and you're getting dillusions of grandeur!" - (R2 fixes the drive) - "You did it!"
"This time, Solo, you've gone too far! (Chewie howls) No Chewbacca, I will not be quiet. Why doesn't anyone listen to me!? Surrender is a perfectly acceptable form of..."
Gotta love that analogue goodness.
As far as your trouble is concerned, I have no clue. It could be due to the fact that the program is not getting the right fields into their correct frames.
Edit: Crap, I should read posts more carefully before I reply. Sorry for the redundant/useless answer. I'm actually clueless as to why this is happening. I'm not very experienced.
maybe this'll help: http://www.doom9.org/ivtc-tut.htm
Originally posted by: MeBeJedi
Is there a girl buried in a well underneath your TV room?
Is there a girl buried in a well underneath your TV room?
From what you're saying it could be a weird interlacing issue I run into when playing back interlaced material on an LCD screen. I notice a weird thing especially when you play NES emulators.
But in all honesty, your description is very vague. Is it a digital distortion? Analog? Send some pics.
Originally posted by: THX
For me, this is still the worst of all. At least you guys' efforts are intended to be comical.
For me, this is still the worst of all. At least you guys' efforts are intended to be comical.
I know this is a little late, but I just got the Rowman revised DVDs of your first project in the mail yesterday (thanks youknowwho!) and I was very impressed with the quality on that version. For some reason the caps on these threads make it look much crappier than it does in practical viewings (i.e.: a CRT 4:3 television). I just wanted to give you props.
I also think it's great that people are dedicated to improve other people's past work in order to achieve as best a quality as possible. Anyway, enough ranting.
Which brings me to my second question: how good are programs/hardware that can upconvert from 480 to 720/1080? I understand that it doesn't add any detail, but rather repeats lines of resolution, but does it give any noticible boost in quality?
Sorry, I heard somewhere on this thread that the idea was floating around to do an "HD" version (I understand it won't be true HD).
But back on topic. Cowclops, if you could send us some updated comparison pics, that would be really awesome. I'm really interested in seeing how much you've improved this version from your last.