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Black Alert

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Join date
20-Nov-2020
Last activity
5-Dec-2022
Posts
117

Post History

Post
#1513659
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Enhanced 4K & 1080p Edition (a WIP)
Time

Thanks to all for your continued patience. Right now it’s only a matter of final adjustments - I am still trying to find the right balance for the color grading, since that is also influenced by the new workflow (which is definitely done).

The other thing is: I will leave some small errors in, since handy-replacing scenes is incredibly time-consuming and not worth spending hours on a split second visual problem.

Don’t worry, I will have stuff for you all soon.

Post
#1512138
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Enhanced 4K & 1080p Edition (a WIP)
Time

Hello community.

I have been tinkering with my upscaling process for the better part of the last months, trying to get something more out of it and I think I’ve succeeded.

Below you can find my latest comparison images from the pilot episode “Emissary” of the show “Star Trek - Deep Space Nine”.

While there are still some issues that I will have to tackle (grain addition and probably hand replacing some difficult scenes like the holodeck aka “The Bane of my existence”), I think the new workflow works pretty well on most things (except for the low detail font/writing on consoles and such, but I think I can live with that), but I had to admit defeat on my color grading efforts, since they yielded so wildly different results I will now limit myself on small adjustments only in order to keep things closer to the original.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

Here are the comparions (with slider):
https://imgsli.com/MTM0ODE5

Post
#1508146
Topic
Star Trek Voyager: Enhanced 4K & 1080p Edition (a WIP)
Time

Hello community.

Just finished doing the final tweaks on my workflow. I replaced the PAL-VFX with the corresponding NTSC-VFX to increase fluidity of motion. I also added more professionally purchased grain to combat the artificial wax look.

New comparison images can bwe found here:
https://imgsli.com/MTMwNjYw

Video sample (PAL-DVD in 720x540p; free, no password):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/l7me3nollnuscne/Caretaker PAL-DVD - Through the Galaxy.mkv?dl=0

Video sample (4K Upscale in 2880x2160p; free, no password):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/nwue43x9ri5hncp/Caretaker 4K Upscale - Through the Galaxy.mkv?dl=0

I just thought I provide both images and a short clip, since everything looks different when in motion - please be advised that the PAL-DVD clip runs at 25 FPS with higher pitched voices while the 4K Upscale has been restored to 23,976 FPS with lowered/corrected pitch to sound like the original (as it should).

Have fun and let me know what you think.

Post
#1507780
Topic
Star Trek Voyager: Enhanced 4K & 1080p Edition (a WIP)
Time

Thanks guys, you are very kind. I am really sorry I haven’t been in touch. I was worried you guys were mad at me for starting off by doin a lot of stuff and then (at least for the last couple of months) being a no-show.

Well, Covid has not been kind to me.

I have recovered for the most part, but unfortunately (to this day) suffer from very nasty long-term problems: Chronic fatique, difficulties concentrating and sometimes problems finding the right words when speaking.
As you can imagine, owning your own business and then having to adjust to that is a real bitch.

Also, it affected my line of work here: I wanted to boil things down a bit, not just for the sake of efficiency, but also since I now have to immediately write everything down, otherwise I might forget how I did things or where I was in the workflow.

Anyway, I am back now and happy to continue my efforts. As soon as the pilot (and more episodes) is (are) done, I will let you know.

Post
#1507638
Topic
Star Trek Voyager: Enhanced 4K & 1080p Edition (a WIP)
Time

Hey there community.

It’s been a very long time since I was able to post something due to health issues.

But now I am back and wanted to share some quick test results upscaling the Star Trek Voyager pilot “Caretaker”.
I tried to simplify my workflow and still get good results.

Let me know what you think, image link below (with slider ; left image is PAL-DVD, right image is Upscale to 4K).

https://imgsli.com/MTMwMDM2/0/1

Post
#1475940
Topic
UPSCALE X (WiP): Star Trek Enterprise - Warp 5.X (High Definition Upscale in 4K & 1080pHD)
Time

@Artan42:

Since I aim to please, below you all can find a 4K-Sample of the scene when the Enterprise-crew is first assembled and the ship launches from space dock (about 3 minutes, 520 MB in 4K; free, no password required):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ty69i4vtqgghp6a/ENT 1x01%3B02 - 4K Sample.mkv?dl=0

Also Artan, I PM’d ya. Have a look.

Post
#1475834
Topic
Star Trek Voyager: Enhanced 4K & 1080p Edition (a WIP)
Time

Hey guys, it’s me again.

I know it’s been a very long time, but I have been working on rather complicated updates and expanded my projects to include more series.
Don’t worry, the updates will also include those projects I had already put up.

So, the first new topic will Warp into our community with “Star Trek - Enterprise”:
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/UPSCALE-X-WiP-Star-Trek-Enterprise-Warp-5-X-High-Definition-Upscale-in-4K-1080pHD/id/92982
(it’s an open topic, no episodes will be posted; PM me for further information, private topic will be created based on interest/request)

Just wanted to let you know a lot of new things are headed your way.

Next up:

  • Star Trek - The Original Series (2 Versions: Original & Remastered)
  • Star Trek - The Next Generation

Stay tuned!

Post
#1475832
Topic
Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Enhanced 4K & 1080p Edition (a WIP)
Time

Hey guys, it’s me again.

I know it’s been a very long time, but I have been working on rather complicated updates and expanded my projects to include more series.
Don’t worry, the updates will also include those projects I had already put up.

So, the first new topic will Warp into our community with “Star Trek - Enterprise”:
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/UPSCALE-X-WiP-Star-Trek-Enterprise-Warp-5-X-High-Definition-Upscale-in-4K-1080pHD/id/92982
(it’s an open topic, no episodes will be posted; PM me for further information, private topic will be created based on interest/request)

Just wanted to let you know a lot of new things are headed your way.

Next up:

  • Star Trek - The Original Series (2 Versions: Original & Remastered)
  • Star Trek - The Next Generation

Stay tuned!

Post
#1475831
Topic
UPSCALE X (WiP): Star Trek Enterprise - Warp 5.X (High Definition Upscale in 4K & 1080pHD)
Time

Anyone who is interested please PM me; I would consider inviting you into a private topic - timeframe for “submissions”: Until the end of April 2022.
Once the private topic is up, no further invites can be considered/included, therefore only individual PMs would still be possible after April.

Regards,

Black Alert

Post
#1475829
Topic
UPSCALE X (WiP): Star Trek Enterprise - Warp 5.X (High Definition Upscale in 4K & 1080pHD)
Time

DONE: 1x01;02 “Broken Bow”


Image/Banner-Credit: Member “Pineapples101”

Comparison Shots (with Slider):

Known Issues regarding this episode (already present in the BluRay source / couldn’t be compensated for):

  • slight focus shifts throughout the episode (due to noise removal)
  • focus shifts and banding in discussion scene between Archer, Starfleet HQ and Vulcan (starting at about 05:40 Minutes)
  • strong focus shifts and banding in Rigel 10 scene with aliens and butterflies (starting at about 39:52 Minutes)

The issue above are not extreme, but I wanted to be truthful (I have developed a sharp eye for such things).

Please let me know, if there are any issues. Also, feel free to comment on the quality.

Post
#1475828
Topic
UPSCALE X (WiP): Star Trek Enterprise - Warp 5.X (High Definition Upscale in 4K & 1080pHD)
Time


Image/Banner-Credit: Member “Pineapples101”

This project represents an expansion of my original Upscale-Projects, which started back in March 2020. As of March 2022, several other SciFi-series are/will be included in my projects – feel free to check them out. As usual, this took several weeks/months of trial and error to get things right, but please remember that any upscale is a compromise between keeping the original detail and intent vs. combatting quality-related issues and “sprucing up” the visuals.

Be aware: The 1080p versions are a “downsized/compressed” edition of the original 4K upscales and intended for everyone who has to be mindful of his/her HDD space!

(1) The Person Behind The Project
(2) The Reasons & Goals For The Project
(3) Details On The Source Material
(4) Technical Specifications Of The Upscaled Episodes
(5) The Technology Involved In Realizing The Project
(6) The Benefits Of The Project
(7) The Rules Of Conduct Regarding The Project
(8) The Steps Of Getting The Episodes/Seasons
(9) Questions And Answers Regarding The Project

  1. The Person Behind The Project

I am a SciFi-fan and kid of the 90’s VHS-era, so I generally stand on the nerdy side of the social spectrum. Basically, most of my family watched Trek back when it “originally aired” and was
on only once a week, so I grew up with that little SciFi-gem. The love for Star Trek and all its incarnations has continued to this day and expanded to include other Science Fictions series as well.

My video editing skills are at an amateurish but enthusiastic level, much of it was self-taught or is based on things I read about – I also got a lot of advice from different forums and communities around the internet.

  1. The Reasons & Goals For The Project

As of late I came to the realization that Star Trek, but also SciFi as a genre, has always been an important part of the world we live in – not just for reasons of entertainment, but rather as a tool to mirror issues we face on a daily basis.

Since my projects have become much more important to me (on a personal level), I wanted to explain a few thoughts on that matter and why it is essential to preserve these series and SciFi as a genre. I have written an article/essay on the subject you might want to read:

Article/Essay “Preserving Science Fiction – Saving a fractured Prism designed to entertainingly confront us” (10 pages, english language version):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jycqivxgkq6okxv/SciFi-Essay (eng) - Preserving Science Fiction.pdf?dl=0
(freely available, no password required)

I have also written a german version, which can be found below:
Artikel/Abhandlung “Die Bewahrung der Science Fiction – Die Rettung eines gebrochenen Prismas, das uns unterhält und konfrontiert“ (11 Seiten, deutschsprachige Version):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ziwsajbzo11cbf5/SciFi-Essay (dt) - Die Bewahrung der Science Fiction.pdf?dl=0
(freely available, no password required)

With this project I wanted to provide fans of ENT with a “higher quality version” or at least “better alternative” of the currently available BluRay-prints of this beloved series.

You may think “Why work on a source that is already available in high quality and resolution?”
Well, the BluRays have high resolution and better quality than the DVDs, that’s certainly true, but unfortunately - like so many other Trek-shows - Enterprise also suffers from its very own production-related issues of the times the show was produced in.

When ENT was filmed around the very early 2000s, television was in the midst of major changes, most importantly on a technical note. HDTV and digital video storage became a thing, but consumer tech wasn’t ready to handle it yet, so compromises had to be reached including a way to handle higher data-rates and increasing resolution. On broadcasts that compromise was achieved by compressing the signal and transmitting in 720p, which was back then referred to as “HD-ready” (smallest possible HD-resolution) – later we would get “Full HD” or “True HD”, meaning a total resolution of 1920x1080p.

And this is where we get back to filming “Enterprise”: The early seasons (1&2) were filmed with “HD-ready” equipment on 35mm film, meaning the resolution for later broadcast and/or distribution could be “converted” up to 1280x720p, which was true for the aforementioned seasons. Unfortunately, the CGI effects were rendered at SD-resolution (meaning something like 640x480) and then added later on.
And while I am not sure how the production specifics were handled (f.e.: Did the original suffer from grain present on the film, digital noise or the excessive addition of grain afterwards – or a mixture of those? Did they add more grain when upsizing to a resolution of 1080pBD?), the result were BluRays that are not always “pleasing” to watch.

So, the approach of this project is basically to extract the source elements from the BluRays, then do a multiple-instance AI-based upscale to 4K-resolution and finally enhance the visual quality by applying a software-based filtering run to improve a variety of factors (color grading, dehazing, contrast and texture enhancements, detail enhancements, adjustments to the film grain and noise removal). This approach seemed sensible, since the BluRays suffer from excessive grain and sometimes even artefacts.

The audio tracks include the original English (DTS-HD Master 5.1) and German (Dolby Digital 5.1) audio from the BluRays without any modifications.
English and German subtitles are also included.
For some reason I could not save/transfer the original chapter markings, so I created custom-markings (every 5 minutes).

  1. Details On The Source Material

The source materials for this project are the BluRay-Discs of Enterprise, as they are available in Europe.

  1. Technical Specifications Of The Upscaled Episodes

Data/specifications for the restored & upscaled episodes (4K resolution):

• General File Information

  • Format: Matroska (mkv), Version 4
  • Size: about 10 GB (standard 50-60 minute episode)
  • Average Bitrate: about 20 Mbps

• Video

  • Format: High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)
  • Format Profile: Main 10 @ L5 @ Main
  • Codec ID: V_MPEGH/ISO/HEVC
  • Resolution: 2880x2160p
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 (without black bars left/right)
  • Framerate: 23,976 FPS
  • Framemode: Constant
  • Color Space: YUV
  • Chroma Subsampling: 4:2:0
  • Bit Depth: 10 bits
  • Scantype: Progressive
  • Bits (Pixel*Frame): 0.130
  • Color Range: Limited
  • Color Primaries: BT.709
  • Matrix Coefficients: BT.709
  • Size (in File Relation): about 7,5 GB (75% of File = Video)

• Audio (Track 1, englisch)

  • Format: DTS XLL
  • Format Profile: DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Codec ID: A_DTS
  • Bit Depth: 24 bits
  • Bitmode: Variable
  • Channels: 8 (7.1)
  • Channel Layout: C / L / R / LFE / Lb / Rb / Lss / Rss
  • Samplingrate: 48,0 kHz
  • Compression Mode: Lossless
  • Forced Track: Yes
  • Size (in File Relation): about 2 GB (20% of File = Audio)

• Audio (Track 2, englisch)

  • Format: Audio Coding 3 (AC-3)
  • Format Profile: Dolby Digital
  • Codec ID: A_AC3
  • Bitrate: 640 Kbps
  • Bitmode: Constant
  • Channels: 6 (5.1)
  • Channel Layout: L / R / C / LFE / Ls / Rs
  • Samplingrate: 48,0 kHz
  • Compression Mode: Lossy
  • Forced Track: No
  • Size (in File Relation): about 300 MB (3% of File = Audio)

• Audio (Track 3, german)

  • Format: Audio Coding 3 (AC-3)
  • Format Profile: Dolby Digital
  • Codec ID: A_AC3
  • Bitrate: 192 Kbps
  • Bitmode: Constant
  • Channels: 2 (2.0)
  • Channel Layout: L / R
  • Samplingrate: 48,0 kHz
  • Compression Mode: Lossy
  • Forced Track: No
  • Size (in File Relation): about 200 MB (2% of File = Audio)

Data/specifications for the restored & upscaled episodes (1080p resolution):

• General File Information

  • Format: Matroska (mkv), Version 4
  • Size: about 4 GB (standard 50-60 minute episode)
  • Average Bitrate: 4 Mbps

• Video

  • Format: High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)
  • Format Profile: Main 10 @ L5 @ Main
  • Codec ID: V_MPEGH/ISO/HEVC
  • Resolution: 1440x1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 (without black bars left/right)
  • Framerate: 23,976 FPS
  • Framemode: Constant
  • Color Space: YUV
  • Chroma Subsampling: 4:2:0
  • Bit Depth: 10 bits
  • Scantype: Progressive
  • Bits (Pixel*Frame): 0.130
  • Color Range: Limited
  • Color Primaries: BT.709
  • Matrix Coefficients: BT.709
  • Size (in File Relation): about 1,6 GB (40% of File = Video)

• Audio (Track 1, englisch)

  • Format: DTS XLL
  • Format Profile: DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Codec ID: A_DTS
  • Bit Depth: 24 bits
  • Bitmode: Variable
  • Channels: 8 (7.1)
  • Channel Layout: C / L / R / LFE / Lb / Rb / Lss / Rss
  • Samplingrate: 48,0 kHz
  • Compression Mode: Lossless
  • Forced Track: Yes
  • Size (in File Relation): about 2 GB (50% of File = Audio)

• Audio (Track 2, englisch)

  • Format: Audio Coding 3 (AC-3)
  • Format Profile: Dolby Digital
  • Codec ID: A_AC3
  • Bitrate: 640 Kbps
  • Bitmode: Constant
  • Channels: 6 (5.1)
  • Channel Layout: L / R / C / LFE / Ls / Rs
  • Samplingrate: 48,0 kHz
  • Compression Mode: Lossy
  • Forced Track: No
  • Size (in File Relation): about 300 MB (7% of File = Audio)

• Audio (Track 3, german)

  • Format: Audio Coding 3 (AC-3)
  • Format Profile: Dolby Digital
  • Codec ID: A_AC3
  • Bitrate: 192 Kbps
  • Bitmode: Constant
  • Channels: 2 (2.0)
  • Channel Layout: L / R
  • Samplingrate: 48,0 kHz
  • Compression Mode: Lossy
  • Forced Track: No
  • Size (in File Relation): about 200 MB (3% of File = Audio)
  1. The Technology Involved In Realizing The Project

Please be advised that this is a passion project in the truest sense – it is not for everyone, since you’ll have to invest a lot of time and resources (and possibly money, depending on your available hard- and software).
I am not saying this to put you off, I just wanted you to know upfront what you would be getting into, taking a project like this one on.

Most importantly, you will have to have 3 things money can’t buy and friends can’t give you: Time, patience and frustration tolerance – all of those in large quantities.

Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact estimate on how fast I will be able to “restore and release” individual episodes, since the time necessary depends on a wide variety of factors
(f.e.: How fast the software will render, how quick other elements will be encoded and so on,
not to mention that I sometimes need my laptop for other things as well, so running programs
at the same time might slow things down a bit).
But since this is a passion project, I will try to work as quickly as possible.

Here is what you’ll need to make it happen (list is split in hard- and software with a few comments on each):

• Hardware

  • A fast PC/Laptop
    o At least Windows 10 Pro x64 with IntelCore i9 & CPU at 3,60 GHz and 32 GB RAM; I would also suggest adding means of cooling the machine
  • A good graphics card
    o GeForce RTX 3080 with latest drivers (I am using an eGPU)
  • External SDD/HDD drives
    o Drive with at least (!!!) 6 TB storage (actually 8 TB would be better)

• Software (freeware and paid-for)

  • Make MKV (freeware)
    o Extracting source files from BluRays
  • MKV Toolnix (freeware)
    o Merging elements like video and audio into finished file
  • Shutter Encoder (freeware)
    o If you plan on downsizing/compressing from 4K to 1080pHD
  • Topaz Video Enhance AI (paid-for; 200 bucks once)
    o AI-enhancement and upscaling to higher resolution (in this case 4K; but you could also do 1080p or other scalings up to 8K, but that would be pushing it considering the quality of the source material – this software works best with scaling at about 400%, 4K is about 375% or original SD-resolution of the PAL-DVDs)
    o Personal suggestion: Use at least version 2.6 of the software or one of the BETAs in the 2.6.x-range, since those versions no longer suffer from Gamma-Shifting (previous versions did, so the color representation was a bit off)
  • Neat Video v5 Noise Reduction Software (Plug-In Version for DaVinci Resolve; paid-for at about 170 bucks once for the unlimited version)
    o This software plug-in adds additional noise reduction capabilities on a temporal and spatial level and takes care of remaining artefacts
  • DaVinci Resolve 17 (paid-for; 299 bucks once, Studio Version)
    o This software puts the AI-enhanced images from Topaz back into a videostream with can be modified to your liking (quality, size, …)

• Additional Things

Short Workflow

a) Extract source files from the (European) BluRays using Make MKV

b) Open File from previous step with Topaz Video Enhance AI

  • Model: Gaia HQ v5 at 100% Denoise/Deblock (Output: TIFFs, 16 bit uncompressed)

c) Load images from previous step with DaVinci Resolve and Denoise with Neat-Video Plug-in at original 1080p-resolution

  • Noise Profile: Use link above “Custom-Created Neat-Video Noise Profile”
  • Adjust/Preview: Use link above “Custom-Created Neat-Video Filter Profile”
  • Render to: TIFFs RGB 16 bit

d) Load denoised images from previous step with Topaz Video Enhance AI and upscale to 4K-resolution (Output: TIFFs, 16 bit uncompressed)

  • Model: Artemis MQ v12 (for minor and normal issues like visual inconsistencies)
  • Model: Artemis LQ v12 (for major issues like residual grain, artefacts and such)

e) Load upscaled images from previous step with DaVinci Resolve and apply Color LUT and internal filters

  • Color LUT: Use link above “Custom-Created Color Grading LUT”
  • Filters:
  • Gaussian Blur → Horizontal/Vertical Strength: 0.200
  • Dehaze → Strength: 0.200
  • Contrast Pop → Detail Amount: 0.025
  • Texture Pop → Details: 0.100
  • Beauty → Advanced / Add Texture: 1.200
  • Film Grain → 35mm / Texture: 0.500 / Grain Size: 0.400 / Grain Aspect Ratio: 1.000 / Grain Strength: 0.400
  • Rendering:
  • Codec: MP4
  • Profile: High
  • Rendering: Native (not Nvidia → important, because Nvidia can create visual distortion/artefacts)

f) Load video file from previous step with Shutter Encoder to reduce size (4K and 1080p)

  • Codec: H.265
  • Format: whatever you need/want (I prefer .mkv)
  • Scaling:
  • For 4K-resolution: 3840x2160p (Stretch)
  • For 1080p-resolution: 1920x1080p (Stretch)
  • CQ-Factor: 18
  • Quality: Max. Quality
  • Audio: No Audio
  • Color Matrix: Color Space = Rec. 709 10bits
  • Corrections: Details = 1.0
  • Extended Functions:
  • Hardware Acceleration = Nvidia NVENC
  • Encoding Profile = main 5.1

g) Load video file from previous step with mkv toolnix & load original BluRay file

  • Delete video stream from original BluRay, add only audio tracks
  • Chapters & Subtitles can also be added in this step

The fully realized, detailed longer workflow is available as pdf.-file here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/vc0z5ejx82pkypy/Star Trek ENT - Warp 5.X - Detailed Workflow.pdf?dl=0
(freely available, no password required)

  1. The Benefits Of The Project

If you ask “What do I get out of this?” and I would like to answer proudly but humbly: You will only have to spent a few moments (depending on your connection speed) and spare several GBs of space to receive in minutes what I have been working on for months/years. Afterwards, you can watch a version of ENT that will look better than your BluRays, because no TV or other device can provide the level of upscaling quality on-the-fly that a software-based process done by computer can do. You will have a higher resolution with a more detailed picture quality, there will be no more grain issues, colors will be represented a bit differently (individual color grading) and residual artefacting has been eliminated. The image has also been sharpened a bit.

Now I am not saying everything is perfect. Sometimes you can see that there are elements the upscaler and enhancer does not handle as well as others, for example when heavy grain had to be removed the image sometimes seems to go “in and out of focus”, but it happens rarely (mostly during the pilot episode).
If you like, you can watch your BluRay and the episodes from this project side-by-side and compare; I think you can notice the differences.

I should probably point out, that there are also quality differences between the seasons themselves. Seasons 1-2 are really grainy and the differences are more subtle, season 3 is sort of a mixed bag and season 4 provides the best results, since the last season was shot in Full HD.
I would also like to state clearly: This project could never rival a true studio upscale, so if your expectations are floating somewhere around that point, you will be disappointed. But if you are tired of the BluRays, this project could be your alternative.
I dare say it’s an alternative to the BluRays, but it’s not true 4K and it never will be.

So, enjoy if you like, skip if you don’t.

  1. The Rules Of Conduct Regarding The Project

Never forget: This is a private project from a fan who wishes to share this with other fans. I do not take money for or get any financial gain out of this.

Also, I do not encourage piracy or copyright infringements in any way. I own all the materials involved in this project (from the BluRays over the hard- and software used for doing the work).
Since I have bought the BluRays several times over (different version, editions and so on) I have acquired the right to make copies for personal use. Certainly, sharing with you in this fashion is more of a grey area, but I think this community is responsible enough to handle this maturely.

Furthermore, I do not want to get involved in discussion about legalities and matters of conscience. Everyone should decide for him-/herself, if you want to take part in this project or simply just get the episodes.
If you like what I do, I am glad to have helped you out. If you don’t like it or feel offended, just keep on going, there is nothing to see here – just don’t ruin it for other fans by pointing fingers or making snarky remarks about intellectual property.
Just simply respect the work that I and others have invested in this project and conduct yourself in a fair and kind manner.

The last thing I would like to mention is the importance of what I call “The 3 R’s of Black Alert”. Those are the three ground rules for all my projects and I hope you will respect them.

  1. Rule 1: Make sure you own the source materials from this project (in this case at least one full version of the BluRays of ENT) before accessing the files!
  2. Rule 2: Do not share the files from this project! You can take them for yourself, you can also inform others on where and how to get them, but do not distribute them in any from, especially on torrenting or file sharing sites. And certainly, do not take them and sell them!
  3. Rule 3: Don’t discuss this project on public sites without asking first and avoid making clear references to this community; you can talk about it in private messages with friends or other fans, but do not repost anything. That way, the situation could get out of control – I had to pull the plug before, I don’t want to have to do it again.

Should I notice improper conduct or rules being broken, Black Alert will not just be a name, but also the credo that follows – I will immediately bury the project, delete the files and disappear into the comfort of darkness.
And this time, it will be for good.
So please don’t try me on this, I am dead serious and although I might feel for those who have done no wrong, I won’t apologize for ending this if I get the sense that my good intentions have been trampled upon.

Update (03-2022):
I do discuss parts of this and other projects of mine within the Topaz Community as well as over on Reddit and Facebook (Topaz Video Enhance AI Group), but generally these are only short video snippets or comparison shots; no full episodes will be posted there.

  1. The Steps Of Getting The Episodes/Seasons

The episodes/season will be done in order, further information upon request via PM;, starting with the pilot one by one. The files will not be properly named for reason of security, but merely have shortened numbering and initials, for example:

  • Full Title (pilot): 1x01;02 – Broken Bow; Aufbruch ins Unbekannte (Parts 1&2)
  • Actual File Title (pilot): 1x01;02 – BB ; AiU (I&II)

As you can see, both the English and the German title are originally included, so is the information if it is a two-parter.

Comparison Images between the original BluRay and the Upscaled Version will be posted in the discussion thread below as links to the online service “imgsli.com”, which will also serve as announcement once another episode has been finished.
All comparisons will follow the same basic structure: Left hand image = BluRay / Right hand image = Upscale.

  1. Questions and Answers Regarding The Project

• Why “Only” 4K – Why Not 8K?

  • Because 4K-resolution with all added filters serves this project well enough; there would be no point (quality-wise) in going beyond 4K, since it would not provide more detail but would most likely only take up more (HDD-)space.

• Why Encode In H265 Instead Of H264?

  • I know that not everyone has a playback device that is compatible with HVEC
    or H265 and that the majority of encodes out there is still H264, but I found
    that when it comes to quality and size, H265 is a better candidate.
    Also, H265 works better on higher resolutions and bitrates.

• Why Is The Upscale Still in SDR – Why Not Convert To HDR?

  • Yes, there are samples and projects out there that have been utilizing the color conversion from SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) to HDR (High Dynamic Range) and I have been trying that as well. I still won’t do it. Why? Two Reasons.
    One: Once again I lack the technical background to do that sort of stuff (basic color grading on a beginner’s level is all I am capable of, which is also described in the next question below).
    Two: I have seen examples of the conversion from other projects – I wasn’t convinced and still haven’t been. For my taste the changes are too extreme and don’t work for every scene, especially during darker scenes (which happen a lot in outer space 😉 ) the gamma is important and tinkering with the contrast can lead to detail loss.

• Why Do The Colors Look Different In Your Upscale?

  • As mentioned above, I did a little “beginner’s level color grading”. It’s not much, but I wanted slightly more saturation, better blacks and subtle shifting towards the warmer side of the color spectrum.
    I tried not to steer away from the original too much, but just to give things a little “touch-up”.

• Why Doesn’t The Upscale Include Original Chapter Markings?

  • For some reason, the BluRay-files did complicate things on the chapter front. Despite the original chapter markings being present, I wasn’t able to extract them and include them in the upscaled episodes/files.
    Therefore, I used the software “mkv toolnix” and instructed the program to include chapter markings every 5 minutes, so there would at least be a possibility to jump ahead in constant (time) steps.

• Why Does The Release Of The Episodes Take “So Long”?

  • Well, I guess “long” is a relative term here. I am fully aware that other projects have already released full seasons, some even the series as a whole. But by comparison there are a few key differences to this project: Most significantly,
    I am doing all this work by myself with a single hardware setup at home.
    Other projects have - in most cases - several people splitting up specific tasks
    (like rendering, upscaling, sound work, color grading and such) between them; that way they can work faster.
    Just picture the others as the Borg (working as a collective) and me as a drone that has been separated (still working effectively, but only one and within my possibilities).

• Will There Be Other Shows That You Are Going To Upscale?

  • Yes, my current projects (that will most likely be ongoing for the next years, possibly longer) include: Star Trek The Original Series (both original and remastered versions; BluRay-Upscale), Star Trek The Next Generation (BluRay-Upscale), Star Trek Deep Space Nine (DVD-Upscale), Star Trek Voyager (DVD-Upscale), Babylon 5 (series & movies, DVD&HD-Master-Upscale Combo), Crusade (Babylon 5 Spin-off, DVD-Upscale), Stargate SG-1 (series & movies, DVD&BluRay-Upscale Combo), Earth Final Conflict (DVD-Upscale) and Torchwood (BluRay-Upscale).
    I am constantly switching between those, so there will always be an episode of one project, followed by an episode of another and so on until the cycle starts all over again.

• Would You Take On Other Projects (Shows, Movies) If Anyone Were To Ask? Would It Help If That Person Were To Pay You?

  • I am sorry to say this but … NO (on both questions).
    Perhaps by coincidence, once the current projects are through, I might discover something else I have that would deserve an upscale, but that happens according to what I’d like to see.
    If I were to take on individual assignments, nothing would get done. And since I also have a day job (hard, long, work-intense), I have to draw the line somewhere.
    And I can’t accept any money, because that would lead to legal troubles which I simply don’t want to have to deal with.

So, that’s it. Have fun re-watching!