I’ve recently started working on a small project to carry over the audio tracks and a few corrections from the Blu-ray to the HD remastered DVD from 2007, which I prefer over the overly-processed Blu-ray.
Watching the Blu-ray remaster of the original camera negative is a frustrating experience: there is an appreciable resolution boost, but at the same time the image suffers under the questionable approach to remastering. As Kentai puts it:*
I’m not going to lie; I haven’t seen the master print they used for DYRL, nor have I seen whatever HDCAM-SR master the Blu-ray was pulled from. That said, I’m DAMN sure that a cartoon from 1984 was animated on some form of film stock, most likely 35mm in this case, and while the DVD has a pretty stable and natural looking level of grain, the Blu-ray just… doesn’t. The grain looks like it just barely creeps in around the edges of moving objects and darker areas of the screen, which just isn’t how celluloid crystals work. There should always be some level of visible grain on 4-perf 35mm, and the moment you see areas literally devoid of grain, you have every reason to be suspicious.
Oh god, I think I just threw up a little! So, the BD master clearly pushed the contrast and chroma saturation harder than its DVD equivalent, and doing that can enhance the original grain into the harsh shit you see above. Add some temporal filtering on top that’s designed to keep SOME frequencies of noise which may or may not be outlines - you know, hard contrasty bits - and the results… look like shit.
Shockingly enough, this image was shown to establish that - in many ways - the Blu-ray IS actually an improvement over the DVD… but even here, the upgrade isn’t exactly night and day. The enhanced resolution has made the lines all the more detailed and the boosted contrast does help them stand out a bit against the oft-muted midtones of the DVD, but even at the best of times, the DYRL Blu-ray appears to be something of a modest upgrade… a shame, that. I really wanted this to be something I’d be so wowed by that I’d still spend a small fortune to have it on my shelf, but if the best it can muster is “somewhat better” than the uncut DVD, then forget it.
* The comments were regarding the cut 2012 Blu-ray. The uncut 2016 Blu-ray has additional DNR and color correction that made the noise less visible (it is still noisy) and some blurry shots even blurrier.
The 2007 DVD, which used an HD remaster of the interpositive, provides a much more pleasant and consistent “film-like” image, but it is not perfect because of DVD’s inherent limitations, windowboxing, the occasional overexposure and whatnot. Still, these are in my opinion minor problems that pale in in comparison to the big issues of the Blu-ray.
Picture quality issues aside, the Blu-ray does actually have a few perks over the DVD: the Boddole Zer fortress destruction editing mistake is not present (more on that later), there are a few welcome corrections (in addition to previous DVD corrections), lossless presentations of the original mono and Dolby Surround tracks, and there’s a new 5.1 remix.
Not all of the Blu-ray corrections are good however:
HD Remastered DVD
I was thinking: wouldn’t it be nice if there was a best of both worlds type of edition that combines the film-like image of the DVD with the good corrections and lossless audio from the Blu-ray? That’s what I set out to do with the “ProtoDeculture Edition”
It should be stressed however that I’m not fixing every problem: if something was not fixed in the Blu-ray, then it probably won’t be fixed here.
The ProtoDeculture Edition is for the most part going to be an MKV remux with the 2016 Blu-ray audio, plus the Toho dub as an added bonus. Most of the video is therefore not re-encoded. Only the edited shots are re-encoded to MPEG2 in HCenc and spliced back into the video. Quality loss is kept at a minimum that way.
While the ProtoDeculture Edition will be in an MKV container, I am aiming for a DVD compliant MPEG2 stream, so that it can be remuxed to DVD with 1 or 2 AC3 tracks if one desires.
Much of the work has already been done, but it is still a work in progress. It should probably be done in June or July.
Below are the video edits that I’ve done so far. I’m still on the lookout for other shots to edit.
Inserted the earring shine effect in the concert scene
The earring shine effect was present in the trailer, but could not be used in the film because of animation corrections. This wasn’t fixed until the Blu-ray release, which is where I extracted the effect from.
Fixed the Boddole Zer fortress destruction editing error
Five frames of a preceding cut were repeated in the HD remastered DVD and several international home video releases. The frame order was fixed using the Blu-ray as a reference.
Fixed two cuts with painting errors
Fixed a single frame with combing(?) artifacts (Seems to be only in the DVD)
Replaced Perfect Edition end credits with original end credits from 2016 BD
I’m not a fan of the Flash Back 2012 footage in the Perfect Edition end credits.
The following tracks have been synced:
2016 BD Mono (FLAC)
2016 BD 2.0 Dolby Surround (FLAC / DVD AC3 also included)
2016 BD 5.1 (DTS-HD MA)*
2016 BD Audio commentary (AC3)*
Toho LD English dub (FLAC)**
* Edited without re-encoding, but they are ever so sliiiiiiightly out of sync as a result of the DTS and AC3 frame length. 5.1 is out of sync by about 4ms in the second half, commentary track by about 14ms in second half.
** The audio keeps speeding up/slowing down during the final battle, enough to cause problems after a while, but some adjustments have been made to lessen the negative effects. I don’t know if it’s a source or capture issue.
I’m also going to include the alternate version of the Toho dub, the one where among other things ‘Cinderella’ was replaced with a bad English cover of ‘Do You Remember Love?’. This will be sourced from the Dutch subtitled Kiseki Films VHS, unless the quality is worse than the existing rips.
I will be including pre-existing English subtitles in VOBSUB and SSA format. I still need to check for issues in the VOBSUB and retime and possibly restyle the SSA subtitles.