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#21 [url]

Oct 15 13 8:43 AM

It'd be great to see a high-bitrate comparison clip. :)

I saw the comparson between Shogun Assasin and LWC, and while SA was indeed grainy, I thought it looked better. If people want to view their movies in wax-o-vision, modern TVs and players have their own image enhancement controls for that.
SA: http://www.rockshockpop.com/screencaps/LoneWolfCub/Blu/comparison/sh10-1.jpg
LWC: http://www.rockshockpop.com/screencaps/LoneWolfCub/Blu/comparison/lwc10-1.jpg
Yagyū gets plastic surgery and his hair sort of blends together instead of being fine individual hairs.

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#22 [url]

Oct 15 13 7:39 PM

madoverlordMy 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.

Uh oh... That is discouraging. It's not just critics who dislike the overapplication of DNR. I would say that 90+% of video enthusiasts - the people who buy Blu-rays over DVDs and participate in forums like Hi-Def Digest, Blu-ray.com, and AVS dislike DNR when applied at the level shown in Lone Wolf and Cub. DNR is not automatically a bad thing, but it has to be applied mildly and skillfully if used at all.

ComSR's screenshot comparison is a perfect example of what nobody wants to happen to a Blu-ray's picture. Other poorly regarded discs include Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition, South Park the Movie, and Gladiator. Yeah, the people who don't care about picture quality won't complain, but the people who do care absolutely will complain.

I just don't know why you'd want to take the detail out of the picture from a video you're releasing. People who dislike detail in their picture can always watch the DVD or use their TV controls to mess the picture up, just as they can zoom or stretch 1:33 pictures to make them widescreen.

Last Edited By: eastx Oct 15 13 7:43 PM. Edited 2 times.

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#23 [url]

Oct 16 13 7:56 AM

The consensus so far is that people don't want it done, and I have no problem with that. My job for this project is to give the supporters what they want.

My personal position is that there is a difference between detail (like film grain) and noise (generated by the transfer process), and the purists who insist that noise is detail are fooling themselves.

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#24 [url]

Oct 17 13 9:12 AM

madoverlord wrote:
My personal position is that there is a difference between detail (like film grain) and noise (generated by the transfer process), and the purists who insist that noise is detail are fooling themselves.
I tend to agree, and if noise can be removed (or lessened), that can be good.  It does look like there are some textures that were lost along with noise on the LW&C set.  That said, I owned them on VHS and DVD as well, and even if it's not perfect the Blu-Ray set looks really good.  When I was watching the films I did notice some things looked a bit smooth, but it wasn't distracting, to me.

Is there a difference with live action vs. animated material in this area?  Are there less noise-like textures in something like BGC?

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#26 [url]

Oct 18 13 5:50 AM

We are not talking about upscaling here. Given the feedback, my current plan is to use the Japanese compression as the default option, but I do want to do some tests and let people do blind comparisons on them, I think the data will be fascinating.

With the correct tuning temporal noise reduction can probably be configured to only hit the cel-paint areas.

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#28 [url]

Oct 18 13 7:58 AM

madoverlord wrote:
With the correct tuning temporal noise reduction can probably be configured to only hit the cel-paint areas.
I guess that's what I was getting at with my question.  I would think there should be areas of essentially solid color that would benefit. Thanks.

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#29 [url]

Oct 19 13 3:45 PM

I don't think the two images above are simply black and white where one is better then the other. For example, while the original is sharper, you also can't see the striations on his right cheek that you can in the second image. Perhaps in motion it looks different, but with a static image neither one comes out as being the best treatment for the video imo.

madoverlordWe are not talking about upscaling here. Given the feedback, my current plan is to use the Japanese compression as the default option, but I do want to do some tests and let people do blind comparisons on them, I think the data will be fascinating.

With the correct tuning temporal noise reduction can probably be configured to only hit the cel-paint areas.

A blind comparison with several different treatments sounds like a great idea to find the best way to treat the video. A mix of clips and stills would also be preferable to just one or the other.

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#30 [url]

Oct 26 13 5:18 AM

Grain is detail and its criminal imo to remove any of it. If anyone brings up anything like 'Its too grainy' then we need to educate them on what grain is. Removing it is removing detail, blurring whats left to make something that looks cleaner but has none of the detail that was there. This is fact.

Only things i like to see touched is any artifacting that comes up in the deep blacks etc

tbh the Japanese release looks stunning already and not too sure what changes are needed. I would prefer for barely anything to change from that release. Its glorious 

Last Edited By: blaizevincent Oct 26 13 5:23 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#31 [url]

Oct 26 13 5:45 AM

What I like...

true blind AB comparison would be great to see which is the best balance to go with, I'd appreciate it.   I personally don't freak out over DNR used on animated films, but of course there is a limit of how far you can take. Just to let everyone know where I stand, I prefer the UK BR of Castle in the Sky over the US BR.  But that doesn't mean I dislike grain, just that if DNR can be applied without a loss of detail than I'm all for it.  

One complete no-no would be to apply fake grain, and also not a fan of edge enhancement. 

 

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#32 [url]

Oct 28 13 12:56 PM

DNR (or any other method of noise reduction) will always result in irreversible loss of detail. You can minimise the loss by throwing a vast quantity of time and money at the problem,but the gains are tiny compared to the effort needed, so you may as well save the time and money in the first place. Every TV I've seen for the last decade (and several even older sets from the non-progressive SD CRT era) have had a noise-reduction function built in. Those who desire an overly smoothed look can achieve it using their sets and an unfiltered encode, but no magic function exists to return detail to a filtered encode.

Personally, I'd rather have the JP encode and bump the extras onto a separate disc (even DVD or download only if need be) than compromise video the drop the bitrate to fit more on the same discs. If I'm buying a blu-ray, I'm buying it for picture quality. Compromising that seems to be missing the point of high-capacity physical media when lower-bitrate encodes can be more easily delivered digitally anyway.

In the event that the JP encode is unavailable due to licensing issues (no technical issue prevents it being pulled straight off the disc and remuxed with new audio and subtitle streams, as is often done by hobbyists already, and indeed has been done with the JP Bubblegum Crisis BD and English dub and subs), then have you considered using x264 as the encoder? It beats the pants off other encoders quality-wise, and has been compliance tested for BD encoding.

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#33 [url]

Oct 28 13 12:57 PM

ComSR wrote:
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.

What ComSR said.

I noticed how blurry the image was and I thought "man, I hope I'm not Kickstarting this for nothing. Definitely don't want BDs that look like that (though I appreciate the video, I really do!)

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#34 [url]

Oct 28 13 1:01 PM

madoverlord wrote:
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.

If we get enough money, let's do 2 sets! One set filtered, the other not. Then we ALL get our cake and eat it too!

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#35 [url]

Oct 28 13 1:39 PM

slerch666
madoverlord wrote: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.

If we get enough money, let's do 2 sets! One set filtered, the other not. Then we ALL get our cake and eat it too!

Too bad it'd be a waste of money. If only people bothered. That remote... :(

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#36 [url]

Oct 29 13 12:53 AM

With due respect, Mr. Woodhead, you once told me in an email that the noise reduction done on Lone Wolf and Cub was light and very carefully administered, and that it was done to get rid of telecine noise, but the end results were pretty bland. In the screenshots I saw which compared the set to the Shogun Assassin set, there was indeed telecine noise, and it was done away with on LW&C—however, along with it was all traces of film grain and any semblance to a filmic appearance. I've refused to buy that set because frankly, it looks much worse than the SA set, even with SA having a bit of actual noise. There's not a whole lot of "real world detail" that was taken away from the LW&C transfers, but with that filmic detail now missing, it just looked too waxy and uninteresting.

And in that case, I can only imagine it was either a pretty old master, or one done on nonoptimal equipment, or both. Bandai's HD master of BGC is not likely to have much if any telecine noise.

Erasing any kind of grain is just a no-go. Disney used to do a fairly good job at it on their animated Blu-rays (not anymore with travesties like The Sword in the Stone existing), but the presence of film grain still goes a long way in making a transfer pleasing—which is why I love Studio Ghibli's transfers so much because they don't tamper with the filmic origins of their movies. When you take that veneer away, it leaves the eyes rather bored, and solid blocks of color DO NOT look as good as when there is additional information present.

Film grain, after all, is what composes the image on film. It's inherent. And an untampered filmic transfer will always look better than even a lightly-scrubbed or digital cartoon. (Ghibli even added a layer of fake grain to Ponyo, which is a more interesting approach than having solid blocks of color on the characters.) As already said, you cannot take away film grain without also taking necessary detail with it.

I donated to this Kickstarter campaign with the hopes that the transfers will be nigh-identical to the Japanese ones. Anything less would be a major letdown.

no sleep. can't sleep. i'm full of apathy.

Last Edited By: Abnormal Freak Oct 29 13 12:56 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#38 [url]

Oct 29 13 3:29 AM

I don't think you have anything to worry about. The Japanese version is the default, and the only way we would not use it is if there was overwhelming support for doing extra work. What counts here is not what I think, but what you -- the supporters -- think.

One possible thing we could do -- with a lot of help from supporters -- is go over the films frame by frame and do dust removal.

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#39 [url]

Oct 30 13 1:03 AM

madoverlordOne possible thing we could do -- with a lot of help from supporters -- is go over the films frame by frame and do dust removal.


A Galaxy Zoo/Planethunters style crowdsourced artefact-identification seems like an excellent idea in theory (though almost a kickstarter project in itself to set up). Probably not the best idea to crowdsource the actual image editing, but cutting down on the tedious identification process would speed the process up a lot and keep the costs of the editing itself down.

A bit of back-of-the-napkin maths: 335min runtime * 60s * 24fps = 482,400 frames. To get the best results with minimal false positives, every frame would need to be looked at by multiple people. At the current nearly-1,200 backer level, and with say 3 viewers per frame, each backer would need to look at ~1200 frames for full coverage. With more backers, and the general public involved, checking the entire running is definitely feasible, especially with a few dedicated fans going above the average.
It'd be a little hard on bandwidth though: 482,400 * 3 views * 2.2mb per image (assuming 24bpp and PNG comrpession ratio of 2.7:1) = a bit over 3tb of transfers (and 1tb of storage). That would probably need to be tripled to allow for a 3-frame flipbook to aid in identification ("is that a smudge that appears in one frame, or a bit of background art that persists over multuple frames?"). 9TB is still completely doable.

Again though, it'd mean dumping the existing JP BD encode and re-doing a whole lot of work.

Its definitely something to pursue for cases where a HD master needs to be created (or a scan exists but existing encodes are poor) and could drop the cost of doing basic cleanup of older footage. Especially if as well as just identifying and locating damage, a second round was conducted for triage in order to identify easily fixed 'low hanging fruit' damage (e.g. in dark areas, blank frames, frames with no background motion) to allow best-bang-for-your-buck fixing.

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#40 [url]

Oct 30 13 6:12 AM

I haven't looked at the issue closely, but I'm pretty sure dust-detection can be automated, and then the problem reduces to one of identifying the false positives.


Also, a new encode isn't that costly, and there probably have been advances in encoder quality since it was originally done.

Worst case, we do a new encode and blind A/B test it.

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