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Oct 3 13 6:09 PM

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First, before I go into  my opinions on things, I'll give a brief rundown of some terminology. For simplicity I won't be getting into stuff that won't apply to this set, like European broadcast formats.

First: resolution. This is image size. This is given by the vertical heigth in pixels, followed by either an i or p. The "i" means "interlaced", where each frame is broken into two distinct fields, each being a different point in time. "p" is "progressive", where the entire frame is a single point in time.

480i: this is standard broadcast SD video. In digital broadcasts, on DVDs, and Blurays, the video is encoded at 720x480, and runs at ~30 frames per second (60 fields per second), and is flagged to display at 16:9 (about 853x480) or 4:3 (640x480) For this set, it would be limited to live-action stuff shot on typical video tape.

1080i: same framerate as 480i, used in most HD broadcasts. 1920x1080 in widescreen. Fullscreen shuff shows up pillarboxed.

1080p: same dimensions as 1080i, but runs at ~24 frames per second.

Other stuff:
digital enhancement: comes in many forms. You have DNR. You have edge enhancement. however, there is always a tradeoff: their improvements are subjective, but the loss of actual detail that comes with its use is not a matter of opinion. (QTEC, however, is video mutilation)

grain: this is part of working with film. Film has grain. It is part of the image. Removing it digitally can make the image cleaner, but you also lose detail. (dirt is another thing. Dirt shouldn't be there to begin with)


And now, my opinions on this stuff:

SD content: I feel that stuff that was shot in SD, like Holiday in Bali, I feel that this release should take advantage of Bluray supporting 480i video. You always lost video quality when upscaling, and I feel it's always better to not have that quality loss hard-coded on the disc. Plus, this means you're not wasting space on the disc to keep made-up pixels. And any BD player is going to have decent upscaler. (In fact, anything produced in 480 or 720 should take advantage of BD supporting those, instead of everything being upscaled)

Digital "enhancement": There are not enough NOPEs in the world. When working with video, if given option, and one choice includes "loss of detail", I would always go with the one that doesn't. You do not want to lose detail for a "sharper" or "cleaner" image. The only exceptions: removing actual dirt or dust (not grain!), or masking damage to the film. (film splices may or may not count as damage. Personally, I like my splices. They are almost as delicious as film grain)


 
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#1 [url]

Oct 3 13 6:18 PM

My general opinion on this as 'the video guy' among people I know (and I'm definitely not a professional...) I want fans to have little to no say in it.

I have no idea your specific skills/knowledge beyond what you've posted, but most people tend to think they know more than they do, and I'd rather it be left to the professionals (no doubt they make mistakes, but less so than people who just don't know what they are doing.)

My understanding is the Japanese release looked decent, and outside of very minor filtering to lower the bitrate to get rid of minor noise, there shouldn't be much to do here ('enhancement' isn't always a bad thing, it's just often used with far to heavy of a hand.)

You don't always lose quality when upscaling. If the upscaling is done properly it will look better than could be done by the player itself.

If that sounded overly negative to you personally, it wasn't meant as such, my one concern about fan input is that somehow fans will get input into the video quality itself, which I just don't see ending well.

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#2 [url]

Oct 3 13 9:37 PM

I say let's leave the Japanese BD video as it is - I've seen it and it looks beautiful and there's really nothing you can do to "improve" it anyway. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

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#3 [url]

Oct 3 13 11:36 PM

 I say let's leave the Japanese BD video as it is - I've seen it and it looks beautiful and there's really nothing you can do to "improve" it anyway. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

I believe (based on the video that was up and comments made, although I could be mistaken, along with tossing in a bit of guessing on my part) that tweaks have to be made to make it fit on the amount of disks they can budget based on the reasonable budget they've come up with (Japanese disks often have few episodes on them and are, generally speaking, undercompressed, and our release looks like it'll have a bit more, along with the extra audio track, which is likely why we've gotten reference to getting lossless audio 'if there is enough room,' since based on the video bitrate and other thing ther emight not be space for it, and with BGC, not getting the lossless audio would be a shame I think.)

Minor amounts of tweaking done properly would lower the bitrate without really affecting the video (perhaps a touch in screencaps, but not while watching it.)  Unless I'm misremembering, I believe the number they gave was a 35% of so drop in bitrate by applying just a very light filter?

Last Edited By: MarcFBR Oct 4 13 12:33 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#5 [url]

Oct 4 13 11:56 AM

 When I saw the video that was briefly up, the noise reduction applied to it blurred the edges and make it look blotchy. Not something I want to see.

Wasn't the video as viewed on Kickstarter only 360 or so though? I'm curious to see how it would actually look properly compressed at 1080p.

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#6 [url]

Oct 4 13 12:12 PM

MarcFBR
 When I saw the video that was briefly up, the noise reduction applied to it blurred the edges and make it look blotchy. Not something I want to see.

Wasn't the video as viewed on Kickstarter only 360 or so though? I'm curious to see how it would actually look properly compressed at 1080p.

Even so, the difference was clearly visible in the left-right (NR/JP BD) comparison.

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#7 [url]

Oct 4 13 12:50 PM

I think you may have confused the NR and the HD. The NR was on the left, the HD on the left. The NR had very slightly cleaner colors and the ink lines were identical, at least when viewed at 1080p.

These were just preliminary tests using the Japanese BD encode, ripped and transcoded to ProRes422HQ. They just told me that there is a possibility of getting better results by doing some temporal noise reduction; to know for sure, you have to start with the pre-compression master, noise-reduce that, and then compress both with the same settings, so you can make a true comparison. If you can find a sweet spot that kills random noise but leaves the grain, and frees up bits for more real detail, then it's possible it might be worth doing.

A lot of people like the grain, which is FBM. I just want to know if I can have my cake and eat it too.

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#8 [url]

Oct 4 13 1:31 PM

 I think you may have confused the NR and the HD. The NR was on the left, the HD on the left. The NR had very slightly cleaner colors and the ink lines were identical, at least when viewed at 1080p.

These were just preliminary tests using the Japanese BD encode, ripped and transcoded to ProRes422HQ. They just told me that there is a possibility of getting better results by doing some temporal noise reduction; to know for sure, you have to start with the pre-compression master, noise-reduce that, and then compress both with the same settings, so you can make a true comparison. If you can find a sweet spot that kills random noise but leaves the grain, and frees up bits for more real detail, then it's possible it might be worth doing.

A lot of people like the grain, which is FBM. I just want to know if I can have my cake and eat it too.

Obviously it'll be awhile before any tests can be done on a master that hasn't been compressed for Blu-ray already, but would it be possible to get a clip (or the comparison) put up with as little extra compression (aka, not on Kickstarter, Youtube, etc. just as edited on Google Drive/dropbox/etc) for people to look at?

Last Edited By: MarcFBR Oct 4 13 1:33 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#9 [url]

Oct 4 13 2:30 PM

madoverlordI think you may have confused the NR and the HD. The NR was on the left, the HD on the left. The NR had very slightly cleaner colors and the ink lines were identical, at least when viewed at 1080p.

Which one is it?! :p
Temporal noise reduction works by blending adjacent pixels, which can explain the blotches. Which were once moving speckles, are now static blobs.
Spatial-temporal (3D) noise reduction is better.

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#10 [url]

Oct 5 13 3:34 AM

The version of TNR that I use never combines adjacent pixels. It compares adjacent FRAMES -- up to 6 frames before and after the current frame -- to determine which pixels are static (unchanging except for minor random color/intensity changes caused by noise). It also uses a mathematical model of the noise created using exemplar frames. The static pixels are blended with the same pixel in the adjacent frames. All the parameters (size of the comparison window, sensitivity to noise, and blending of the final pixel) are adjustable.

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#12 [url]

Oct 7 13 12:52 PM

MarcFBR wrote:
 I say let's leave the Japanese BD video as it is - I've seen it and it looks beautiful and there's really nothing you can do to "improve" it anyway. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

I believe (based on the video that was up and comments made, although I could be mistaken, along with tossing in a bit of guessing on my part) that tweaks have to be made to make it fit on the amount of disks they can budget based on the reasonable budget they've come up with (Japanese disks often have few episodes on them and are, generally speaking, undercompressed, and our release looks like it'll have a bit more, along with the extra audio track, which is likely why we've gotten reference to getting lossless audio 'if there is enough room,' since based on the video bitrate and other thing ther emight not be space for it, and with BGC, not getting the lossless audio would be a shame I think.)

Minor amounts of tweaking done properly would lower the bitrate without really affecting the video (perhaps a touch in screencaps, but not while watching it.)  Unless I'm misremembering, I believe the number they gave was a 35% of so drop in bitrate by applying just a very light filter?



the Japanese BDs were across 2 BD50s, same as is proposed here by AnimEigo. the Japanese BDs also have enough bitrate overhead to add a lossless 2.0 dub track (at least as compressed by DTSHD, maybe not as LPCM), in addition to a subtitle track or few. Why the heck should this be compressed more, especially using filters (most likely the type that remove finer details and grain so as to make it more compressable)?

Unless only the masters are provided, not the Jpn encoding, there is honestly no real reason to re-encode in my opinion, especially if there will be more "enhancements" done that are really only of detriment to the PQ. If they can only get the masters, I really have to stress how much I hope they don't go all "enhancement" crazy and scrub out details, and then try to hide it behind fake grain / noise added back in, as well as all that annoying EE (edge enhancement) and other garbage that just removes details and gives annoying ringing/halos and other distortions. DNR and EE and similar things are just not appreciated by me and numerous others.

By the way, does anyone perhaps know what H264 encoder AnimEigo uses? And perhaps is it part of a full authoring solution? i.e. is it Rovi CineVision, better known under Sonic ownership, part of the Scenarist BD and DVD Authoring Solutions. I am guessing CineVision / Scenarist , since I have assumed for a long time they used Scenarist in their DVD Authoring, and it seems likely they stuck to what they know rather than jumped to Sony or Panasonic's Authoring and Encoders, etc.

Last Edited By: djmasturbeat Oct 7 13 1:04 PM. Edited 2 times.

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#13 [url]

Oct 7 13 3:40 PM



the Japanese BDs were across 2 BD50s, same as is proposed here by AnimEigo. the Japanese BDs also have enough bitrate overhead to add a lossless 2.0 dub track (at least as compressed by DTSHD, maybe not as LPCM), in addition to a subtitle track or few. Why the heck should this be compressed more, especially using filters (most likely the type that remove finer details and grain so as to make it more compressable)?

Unless only the masters are provided, not the Jpn encoding, there is honestly no real reason to re-encode in my opinion, especially if there will be more "enhancements" done that are really only of detriment to the PQ. If they can only get the masters, I really have to stress how much I hope they don't go all "enhancement" crazy and scrub out details, and then try to hide it behind fake grain / noise added back in, as well as all that annoying EE (edge enhancement) and other garbage that just removes details and gives annoying ringing/halos and other distortions. DNR and EE and similar things are just not appreciated by me and numerous others.

By the way, does anyone perhaps know what H264 encoder AnimEigo uses? And perhaps is it part of a full authoring solution? i.e. is it Rovi CineVision, better known under Sonic ownership, part of the Scenarist BD and DVD Authoring Solutions. I am guessing CineVision / Scenarist , since I have assumed for a long time they used Scenarist in their DVD Authoring, and it seems likely they stuck to what they know rather than jumped to Sony or Panasonic's Authoring and Encoders, etc.

That still ignores the reality that the set we will be getting will have 'more stuff' on the disks than the Japanese release (at least as far as I'm aware, anyone who has the Japanese disks are welcome to correct me on that detail if I'm wrong.) I don't think anyone at Animeigo was talking about going nuts with filtering, but rather doing proper minor filtering that wouldn't be noticed during viewing, that would be able to reduce the active bitrate being used by quite a bit.

Filters aren't inherently bad, it's how they are used. The fact plenty of companies don't know how to use them properly doesn't mean they aren't a legitimate tool to use to try and make a quality release.

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#14 [url]

Oct 9 13 8:42 PM

I haven't seen the current release for this, but another show I've seen both with and without noise reduction looked much better without noise. Of course it would need to be done well, like anything else it can be taken too far, but I don't want to see a ton of noise just out of fear that some imperceptible detail may be lost.
This is the kind of thing that will likely need some balance in how it's done.

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#15 [url]

Oct 9 13 10:30 PM

They need to leave this one as is on the Japanese BD as that isn't "noise" but film grain which is a normal thing when scanned from film. Not to be an ass but the last Anime Eigo BD release of Lone Wolf and Cub suffered very heavily because of the heavy "digital noise reduction" and destroyed most of the detail in film making it look like a soapy digital mess. It was far from an improvement and I really don't want to see that happening to one of my favorite anime. Japanese BDs are 3 hours and 45 GB each (which only leaves 1.5 GB of free space on each) without any extras and only with single Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 640 kbps track. What concerns me even more is that Robert J. Woodhead mentioned this would come packed with extras and most likely a lossless dub and might even get an additional new dub, yet current plans are putting it on 2 BDs so there definitely will be compression unless they decide to lay it on 3 BDs instead. It would be smart to leave The Holiday in Bali and other native SD extras on DVD only (if the set will come with DVDs as is currently planned) to not compromise the bitrate any further. Which brings me to my next huge concern: what if the kickstarter goal reaches $200K? Will the AD Police get it's seperate BD disc or will it be crammed along side the BGC on the currently planned 2 BD discs?

Signed,
A concerned fan

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#16 [url]

Oct 13 13 5:03 PM

Well, at least nobody hasn't suggested cropping the video to widescreen format (yet)...

It happened... some people never cease to amaze me.
The remote is too bothersome to use and they still want to have their television screens filled up no matter what. Picture integrity? What's that? image
In summery: if money is limited, please focus only on all 3 story arcs being converted to HD Blu-ray in widescreen format (if possible) & 5.1 surround sound (if possible) all in 1 Blu-ray/DVD combo box set.

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#18 [url]

Oct 14 13 1:54 AM

XenonasThey need to leave this one as is on the Japanese BD as that isn't "noise" but film grain which is a normal thing when scanned from film. Not to be an ass but the last Anime Eigo BD release of Lone Wolf and Cub suffered very heavily because of the heavy "digital noise reduction" and destroyed most of the detail in film making it look like a soapy digital mess. It was far from an improvement and I really don't want to see that happening to one of my favorite anime.

I am concerned about AnimEigo's cleanup process too. Maybe Madoverlord could comment on whether he'll be taking the critical reaction towards the Lone Wolf and Cub DNRing into account?

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#19 [url]

Oct 14 13 9:09 AM

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/56970/lone-wolf-cub-complete/
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews10/lonewolf.htm

This 1080p visual presentation is basically ruined by excessive digital noise reduction. Compared to the excellent treatment of Shogun Assassin (which is shown via screen caps linked in Ian's review), each of these six movies looks like a waxy, smeary mess.

The bitrate is only about 3 times that of SD. It is hard to deny the improvement but the image is severely digitized looking overly glossy with some less-noticeable banding.

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#20 [url]

Oct 15 13 6:54 AM

My experience was that apart from cinephile sites, the reviews and consumer comments were overwhelmingly positive. But that was a mass-market release, not a limited-edition like this. I may do an experiment and let people do a true blind AB comparison, just to see what they really think -- as opposed to what their prejudices tell them.

Bluntly, there are people who think film grain and telecine noise are important parts of the visual presentation, and others who find them annoying. Just as there are poeple who think the distortions introduced by analog hifi systems make the sound better.

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