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mediamogul

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2-Jun-2014
Last activity
3-Aug-2018
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Post
#754734
Topic
Nothing Lasts Forever (1984 HQ Extended Cut) (Released)
Time

There doesn't seem to be much interest in this project, but to those who might follow it silently, I'll check in with an update.

There has been a general assumption that the American TCM airing is the same as the American TCM airing. However, after comparing both to the VHS-Rip, I can report that all three have a slightly different arrangement of scenes. Without going into details that might bore, this amounts to two scenes that are not found in the American TCM airing. I plan on looking for all possible variances in a more detailed scene-by-scene viewing very soon.

Also, it was previously believed that the "unedited" cut, that was pieced together on Cinemageddon, made use of the German TCM airing for it's missing scenes. I can report that this is also untrue and, what's more, very strange as it was reported by the editor himself in the release description. One might think he simply got confused as to which version he attributed on GC, but his listing predates it's very existence on the server.

At any rate, I can understand why he chose the VHS-Rip over the German TCM airing, due to it's tracking problems and demolished right channel audio. However, the VHS rip is of a substantially lower resolution. faced with the same decision, I can either upscale the VHS-Rip much further than I would have to with the German TCM airing, or crop and matte the signal noise from the German TCM airing and use the stereo track from the VHS-Rip.

Regardless, the bulk of the movie will look pristine, as it has been mastered to DVD from the HD American TCM transport stream, cropped from it's pillerbox presentation and detelecined to the proper film frame rate. I remain hopeful that I can whip the missing scenes into shape.

Once completed, the film will be viewable with and without the missing scenes through seamless branching, as not to disrupt the quality for those who just want a pristine viewing experience. As such, the isolated scenes will also be offered for viewing separately through the DVD menu.

This has turned out to be slightly more involved than I thought it might, but then again, isn't that the case with most of life's little endeavors? I'll check back in as it progresses. Feel free to leave your thoughts.

Post
#754122
Topic
Nothing Lasts Forever (1984 HQ Extended Cut) (Released)
Time

Hello OT,

Recently, an HD transport stream of a TCM airing of “Nothing lasts Forever” was posted on MySpleen. This is currently the highest quality source containing the lion’s share of the film available. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to produce the highest quality, complete cut of the film that is possible. Well, I’ve been at the 98% mark for a while now, with only one snag. That snag is, of course, the “Life Study” sequence. I have the footage ready to go from an upscaled 464x352 source, but I can’t, in good conscience, release it into the wild without thoroughly exhausting every lead for a higher quality source.

From the research I have done, there would seem to be at least one location for a higher quality source. The problem is that it resides on Cinemageddon, and I lack a membership for download. For months now, I have had my web browser set to automatically check every hour for markers that would indicate an open registration and alert me through e-mail, but that has proven to be somewhat of a dead end. So, I turn to you good people for help in my endeavor to complete Tom Schiller’s magnum opus in the highest possibly quality, by asking if there is anyone here willing to part with an invitation to Cinemageddon.

I realize that nothing comes without a price, so I fully prepared to contribute to the sites catalog of movies immediately. I have a few hidden gems that I’m sure would find a nice home there. Of course, I will also upload the finished cut of “Nothing Lasts Forever” when I am done, which I don’t anticipate will be any longer than a few days after I have the source material.

I remain hopeful that I may get a response here on this request. However, I invite others to chime in on what they might expect to see on an ultimate release of “Nothing Lasts Forever”. Should I include the Fan made trailer? Are there any other excised scenes or minor extensions that I should be made aware of?

Thanks,
MM

Post
#738373
Topic
Preserving the...<em>cringe</em>...Star Wars Holiday Special (Released)
Time

I think the choices we have available to us now are not only fantastic, but important as well. Different people want different things from any release of a popular property. This is especially true of Star Wars fans, as we are a notoriously hard group of people to please.

Personally, out of all the Holiday Special releases I have downloaded, Tasjo's was my particular favorite. My only interest in a further release was based on the notion that I'd really like to listen to the Rifftrax while watching it. In the same light, Gormaanda V2 was mainly about improving the Rifftrax mix and bringing the audio levels of the three original projects in line with each other for a more cohesive hybrid presentation.

All that said, I'm sure we haven't seen the last release of the Star Wars Holiday Special. With fans like Tasjo constantly on the lookout for better sources of the various station recordings, as well as the possibility of an official release from powers on high, I doubt there will ever be anything that truly qualifies as a definitive release of this television miracle.

Post
#737539
Topic
Preserving the...<em>cringe</em>...Star Wars Holiday Special (Released)
Time

Changes from V1:

(1) The existing Rifftrax sync has been remixed to emulate a more professional MST3K mix, without sacrificing the dynamic range found in modern Rifftrax commentaries
(2) VHS tape "hiss" reduced with maximum care taken to not introduce a "metallic" sound or eliminate any natural high frequency noise
(3) All DVD audio attuned to the industry standard of -10dB with a CBR of 384 to achieve a cohesive quality and volume level between the various sources
(4) Opening Zion text scroll now fades out completely before beginning the special
(5) After initial main menu startup animation, all navigational jumps to the main menu go directly to the menu loop point for faster navigation (Like Zion's original hybrid)
(6) Added the ability to use the 'title' or 'top menu' button for jumping to the main menu loop point in either menu
(7) Added an appropriate John Williams musical loop over the Falcon sound effects in the Falcon play options menu
(8) Various cosmetic changes to the Falcon play options menu to more realistically simulate the Falcon cockpit display

Post
#725716
Topic
Preserving the...<em>cringe</em>...Star Wars Holiday Special (Released)
Time

Thanks for the compliment Tasjo, it means a lot. I love 'the Star Wars Holiday Special', both honestly and ironically. Every fan made 'Holiday Special' project is truly something extraordinary from the beginning. I mean, the odds against a source for this thing surviving in any reasonable quality for nearly forty years amazes me. Also, the motivation to preserve something that generally challenges popular opinion shows character in my book.

The material lends itself quite nicely to this type of community, as the very idea of how to preserve something of this nature can be a bit polarizing, leading to many varied attempts to do so in new and unique ways. When I put Gormaanda together, the goal was to bring what I considered to be the best elements from the two most popular releases into one package. I too considered splicing the remastered animation and WHIO Kenner toy ad into the WMAR commercials. However, my personal opinion ultimately fell in line with Feallan's. For better or worse, I wanted the viewing experience to feel as seamless as possible, and personally, I found the varying quality to be a distraction.

Where quality is concerned. What should the 'Holiday Special' look like? Forty years later, any conclusion would be truly subjective, right? Well, maybe not. "Legends of the Super Heroes' was a somewhat similar variety show that was produced for NBC not more than a few weeks after the SWHS. To get an idea of what a near-perfectly preserved picture would look like from this time, one needs only to look at the 'Warner Archive' release of this special. What's amazing is that the WHIO V2 source is by far the closest to this quality, without even being touched. Sure, it's a little softer and the colors aren't quite as vivid, but not really by that much. An interesting side note is that The same actor that played Solomon Grundy in LotSH (Mickey Morton), also played Malla, Chewbacca's wife.

The main area that the WHIO source falls shy of a broadcast master tape is in the audio. This is through no fault of Tasjo or even anyone else involved in it's short journey from it's broadcast recording, to it's DVD transfer. Rather it's a byproduct of the generally consistent fact that audio was a second class citizen in most consumer-based video technologies from the past. In this case, consumer-level magnetic tape recordings are generally plagued with low frequency "humming" and high frequency "hissing". Humming noises are mostly found when using cheap recorders and players. Thanks to Tasjo's impeccable taste in hardware, plus what we can only assume was a high-end recorder for the time, low frequency noise pollution is not a problem. Which only leaves us with the almost universally common high frequency "hiss".

Over the past few months, I've corresponded with several audio enthusiasts and even sat down with an audio engineer who has been working since the late 70s, in an effort to learn everything I could about audio repair. What I have learned is that there are two schools of thought regarding this subject. One is practical and the other is commercial. Commercial audio repair doesn't really account for good taste. Most people want a "hiss" gone at any cost to the overall quality of sound, simply because they claim it to be negligible to their perception. The more practical approach realizes and accepts that there is only so much you can do without destroying valuable audio information. This approach is an exercise in economy. Doing as little as possible to gain maximum effect.

This, of course, is all in preparation for a V2 of the Gormaanda hybrid, and I believe that the results have been well worth the extra effort. Speaking directly in regard to my own contributions, while I believe the Rifftrax sync was close enough to perfection, I was never happy with my mix. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is hands down my favorite show of all time. However, most Rifftrax mixes, be they fan-made or from the actual VOD team at Rifftrax, rely too heavily on auto-ducking for my tastes. MST3K was never mixed like that. Over ducking the background audio loses the natural effect of watching the movie with a group of friends, which to me was always part of the charm.

After much investigation as well as an unholy ammount of trial and error, I discovered that the main difference between a MST3K commentary track and a modern Rifftrack commentary track is simply dynamic range. MST3K CTs were recorded with head-worn microphones that captured all sound in an evenly flat volume range. Rifftrax CTs are recorded with the same high-end, stationary equipment used to record podcasts. As such, these mics pic up a range of high and low volumes from the commentators. This becomes problematic with people like Mike Nelson, who delivers much of his comedy under his breath. So, the solution would seem easy; flatten out the highs and lows of their recording into a nice middle ground. There's only one problem. We know what a Rifftrax is supposed to sound like. Removing those highs and lows would sound just as unnatural as over ducking the background audio in an episode of MST3K.

The solution came in the form of a compromise between techniques found in mixing both types of commentary tracks. Highs and lowes were narrowed ever so slightly in the foreground CT, while the upper volume of the background track was restricted from going too high and lastly, auto-ducking was only used to make the foreground audio "pop" from the background. As it now stands, V2 has a 6dB disparity between the foreground and background, whereas V1 had 14dB. Out of those numbers, auto-ducking accounts for only 3 of those dB in V2, while V1 ducked 8dB in total. I am very pleased with the results, as the mix is now almost indistinguishable from that of MST3K, while retaining almost all of the dynamic range found in a Rifftrax commentary.

Well, I've gone on way too long here, but I've followed this thread for some time without saying anything, so I suppose this can count as one or two entries. Again, every fan-made 'Holiday Special' project has a lot going for it in my opinion, based solely on the fortitude it takes to complete the project without cracking after having watched an Amorphian being build a mini transmitter for the two hundredth time. There's something very wrong with all of us for wanting more of this damned thing, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't wait to see what you guys have in store for the future. You can look for my V2 closer to Life Day on MySpleen.

So it's goodnight friends. Goodnight, but not goodbye.