Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

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Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kionon » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:14 am

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As I've been in something of a rut regarding my current projects, but I still have an itch to edit, I finally have gone back to a remaster project I've wanted to do for years. After speaking to Maboroshi, I thought it would be a good way to get the razer blade snipping and timeline filling itch scratched while benefiting the wider AMV community.

Outside of my own videos, I remastered Tom The Fish's "Top of the Rain" some years back. I helped Kaysow with his remasters of a number of classic Evangelion AMVs as well.

I'm currently remastering Julian Fong's (Ingress) Robot Girl. It's one of my favorite videos of all time, and I've kept my copy of Boku no Marie for years, and ripped at that on a hard drive, just because I thought one day I would finally get around to it. But I never did, because remasters are kind of thankless, even though they shouldn't be. Honestly, they are a labor of love and a service to the community.

So why even do remasters of other people's work? Well, assuming they aren't around to do it themselves, there are some really good reasons:

1) Practice - The first video I did on Final Cut Pro was a remaster. Since I have always been a Premiere user, and remain so, but had switched to Mac, I found using someone else's video as a guide to learning FCP's tool kit lifted the stress from worrying about messing up my own vision. I already had a template. I just needed to figure out how to duplicate what was in the original video. Also just because you haven't done the storyboarding, that doesn't mean you don't have a lot of the technical work to do. More about this below, but I had to spend a lot of time filtering Boku no Marie, because even the DVD source I have is shit. I think I did a really good job though, and I learned more about some filters I hadn't really done much with before.

2) Personal collections on modern hardware - This is my primary reason for having a wish list of favorite old AMVs I want remastered. In addition to my HD LG monitor, I have a projector in my apartment that takes up an entire wall of my living room when on. It's awesome! ...except not so awesome when individual macroblocks from that 1998 video are the size of my head. Then some of my favorite AMVs, already painful on my editing monitor, are absolutely excruciatingly unwatchable. If there is a DVD release, let alone something like a remaster DVD or BD, many of the early AMVs are simple enough to duplicate relatively "quickly" for an experienced editor. I can usually do it in a couple of hours, when dealing with only cuts or fades, and can keep my attention span going.

3) Historical reasons - This piggy backs a bit on the previous reason. Many of the contest coordinators here have classic AMV blocks. Based on my own experiences with my Epson (which is a heavy duty educational model I inherited as a teacher for the purposes of educating), I can assume that many AMV rooms/VATs/Vid rooms/etc have even better equipment and probably know exactly what I'm talking about, and remastering these videos allows them to be shown to modern, and yes, younger audiences with resolution and quality to which they are accustomed. And no, I am not someone who believes that the source quality going in or the export quality coming out adds some kind of special magic to old videos, with very, VERY rare exceptions. There are a few AMVs with VHS wibble wobble that do add a certain charm to the experience, but those videos are usually 80s or early 90s, and not all of them. Most late 90s, early 2000s VHS captured source was stable enough for the artifacts or wobble to not be charming at all. We can always have panelists talk about their experiences or show one or two originals as an educational exercise, but I feel strongly that what makes these videos great is the editing. The cuts, fades, and scene selection. All which those who remasters strive to duplicate exactly.

I call remasters the ultimate labor of love because there's no credit to you, beyond a perfunctory "it took effort, you expended the effort." A remaster is not yours. No more than the painting restorationist can lay claim to the painting. You certainly cannot enter it into any contests. There's no payoff beyond the personal, being able to watch and share the videos you love in a way which keeps up with modern technology. In that way, to spend the hours or days or months (I know Kaysow had to redraw ALL of the Rei sketches for I Think I'm A Clone Now, as an example), you have to really, really love the video and desire to make sure it survives into the future.

If that was too much verbiage for you:

Original Robot Girl AMV, 320x240:

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ADV R1 Boku no Marie DVD, 701x476 (letter boxing removed, otherwise 720x480, without 4:3 flag):

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My Robot Girl quality after filtering, 960x720:

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It can be pretty difficult with that particular scene I chose (because LOL MACINTOSH) to see just how terrible the ADV DVD is, but here's another comparison:

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The plan is to offer two versions of this, a 720p version, as I filtered, am editing, and will export in 720p, and also a 480p downscale of the upscale. The 720p looks crisp enough for the source material, and it looks perfect on my projector (what noise I couldn't totally eliminate doesn't show up), and I'm going to assume a 480p will look really, really crisp. This should last at least another decade or more, unless we're all going to be using 5K everything always everywhere...
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kireblue » Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:58 pm

bump to unlock

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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by seasons » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:14 pm

Did you have to (or at least try to) get permission to remaster these old AMVs from Tom the Fish or jhfong?

I'm not implying that you should have, especially since you're very transparent about the videos being remastered versions of old AMVs that someone else created (and not original concepts that you're taking credit for). But do you think it's okay to remaster someone's old AMV if you can't get their permission in advance?

There is an AMV that was uploaded to YouTube 12 years ago (never posted on the Org,) that I'm really fond of but would love to finally see without all of the technical/quality issues that (IMO) held it back from reaching its full potential. The editors who made it have not posted anything on their old channel in a decade. I will certainly try to reach out to them about this when the time is right for me to give this a shot, but I'm not optimistic about hearing back from them.

If I don't hear back from them, do you think it's still okay to go ahead and remaster their old AMV? Of course, I'd be giving them very visible credit for the original work and specifying that I'm just remastering it, not taking credit for the original concept or anything like that.

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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by the Black Monarch » Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:53 pm

You should always kill interlacing BEFORE you import into your project. Like do u even avisynth bro?
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kionon » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:05 am

seasons wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:14 pm
Did you have to (or at least try to) get permission to remaster these old AMVs from Tom the Fish or jhfong?
Those are two questions. The first you ask again down below, so I will address it there. For the parenthetical statement: I tried to track down Julian to ask for permission. I never managed to do so. With many of the videos I want to remaster, there is a very low chance I'll manage to track them down. If there's a generally good chance I would be able to track them down, I also feel there is a likelier chance they would do the remaster themselves or eventually provide a higher quality version (the original export may have been higher quality to begin with, but for web sharing, the Org or pre-Org version might just be worse quality, compression and bandwidth being what it was).
I'm not implying that you should have, especially since you're very transparent about the videos being remastered versions of old AMVs that someone else created (and not original concepts that you're taking credit for). But do you think it's okay to remaster someone's old AMV if you can't get their permission in advance?
Tom the Fish not only retired, he "took his ball and went home." I mean, it was a long ago, but it felt very much like a messy break up with the AMV community and as I remember, he tried to actually prevent the archiving of his work. He didn't want to be found. Obviously, I didn't agree with this idea of revoking art (especially derivative art) after it has been published, so I understand that in the case of Top of The Rain, I was explicitly going against his general wishes with a distinctly political purpose.

In general though, I'll try reaching out if there seems to be a way to do it, and I'll try to find that way if possible. But I definitely assume in most cases, I will be unsuccessful. And I think this is ethically okay--even ethically imperative. I see myself as preserving, in a higher quality, in as close as possible to the original, a copy of a published work. A kind of... AMV equivalent of a medieval monk carefully copying a Greek or Roman or Arabian text both to preserve it for others and so I can have a nice, new copy for my 2019 technology.

tl;dr I don't just think it's permissible, I think it's sometimes responsible.

If I don't hear back from them, do you think it's still okay to go ahead and remaster their old AMV? Of course, I'd be giving them very visible credit for the original work and specifying that I'm just remastering it, not taking credit for the original concept or anything like that.
I'm normally working with AMVs that are closer to 20 years old than 12, so but if the quality is particularly poor and the historical value to the hobby significant, then yes, I think it's okay. More than okay.
the Black Monarch wrote:You should always kill interlacing BEFORE you import into your project. Like do u even avisynth bro?
Was this directed at me? If so:

1) Uhm, I did filter, it says so very, very clearly in the image comparisons. Image 1 was the original AMV. Image 2 was the DVD before filtering. Image 3 was after filtering. You can clearly see interlacing has been killed (in as best as it could be, telecining was very inconsistent on these circa 2000 DVDs).

2) Not a bro.
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by the Black Monarch » Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:14 am

Kionon wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:05 am
Image 1 was the original AMV. Image 2 was the DVD before filtering. Image 3 was after filtering. You can clearly see interlacing has been killed (in as best as it could be, telecining was very inconsistent on these circa 2000 DVDs).
But the fact that you show three instead of two gives the impression that you're importing the video into your project and then deinterlacing, rather than deinterlacing during the frameserving step.
Kionon wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:05 am
Not a bro
I'm from California. Everyone is bro here, or dude.
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kionon » Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:33 am

the Black Monarch wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:14 am
But the fact that you show three instead of two gives the impression that you're importing the video into your project and then deinterlacing, rather than deinterlacing during the frameserving step.
I believe you may be misreading.

I do not discuss my project file/timeline at all. I talk ONLY about quality and resolution, starting with the original AMV, then my DVD source (minus the letterboxing, so a single filter there) and the final filtering result. Only AFTER filtering did it go onto the timeline, but since I wasn't discussing the timeline (as it has nothing to do with the source clean up), I didn't think to explicitly say, "and then it goes onto the timeline." That's the obvious next step.
I'm from California. Everyone is bro here, or dude.
My cousins grew up in Laguna Beach. They've never called me bro. I think unless one is being ironically fratty, one doesn't tend to call women bro. Dude I've heard as gender neutral.
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by the Black Monarch » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:39 am

"gives the impression" does not mean "explicitly confirms".
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kionon » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:30 am

the Black Monarch wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:39 am
"gives the impression" does not mean "explicitly confirms".
I believe I did not give that impression. I believe I was quite clear. The discussion was of the original AMV, followed by the DVD source (unfiltered), followed by the filtered source. No discussion of project files or timelines was present, so I'm not sure why you would reach that conclusion. :shrug:
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by the Black Monarch » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:53 pm

It is precisely that ambiguity which leads to that impression. As far as I know, most people deinterlace before even looking at their footage, and then they open it up in Vdub (or whatever) to look at it and decide what additional filtering needs to be done. Nobody just honors pulldown flags and then opens up the raw video to make sure it's interlaced :\
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kionon » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:43 pm

the Black Monarch wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:53 pm
It is precisely that ambiguity which leads to that impression. As far as I know, most people deinterlace before even looking at their footage, and then they open it up in Vdub (or whatever) to look at it and decide what additional filtering needs to be done. Nobody just honors pulldown flags and then opens up the raw video to make sure it's interlaced :\
You're articulating the idea that your impression is universal or widely held... You haven't convinced me this is the case. Of course I don't honor pull down flags, indeed, they're removed during the ripping process. Which is how you get 720x480, regardless of the intended aspect ratio. All I did in the second image is remove the letter boxing to make it easier to compare across all three images. Otherwise, I didn't touch it until I filtered everything, including adjusting the aspect ratio, detelecining/deinterlacing, etc.
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Zarxrax » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:59 pm

Remastering other people's videos is an interesting idea. There are a few old videos I would love to see remastered, and I don't think I have ever really considered doing it myself. In a way it definitely feels... weird... to mess around with someone else's work. I can understand the arguments for it though. This could be something I might like to do, but I'll have to think it over.

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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kionon » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:49 pm

Zarxrax wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:59 pm
Remastering other people's videos is an interesting idea. There are a few old videos I would love to see remastered, and I don't think I have ever really considered doing it myself. In a way it definitely feels... weird... to mess around with someone else's work. I can understand the arguments for it though. This could be something I might like to do, but I'll have to think it over.
I understand that, and as I said, my justification is that I'm like an art preservationist. My job is to do my best to "restore" the art to modern standards of video quality and nothing else.

I definitely don't believe remastering one's OWN videos (which is really more akin to reediting) is the same as remastering the work of others. When I "remaster" my own videos, I may make small changes. I may even swap out scenes. The whole video will still obviously be a version of the same video, but not the same version. With remastering the work of others, this must be avoided inasmuch as the technological differences allow. Again, an art preservationist's work will never be 100% the same. The goal is get it as close to 99.99% repeating that even the original artist can't see the those differences. Similarly, I want Julian to watch Robot Girl: The Upgrade and only see the video quality difference. I want him to recognise every cut made as his own.
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by the Black Monarch » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:24 pm

Kionon wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:43 pm
Of course I don't honor pull down flags, indeed, they're removed during the ripping process. Which is how you get 720x480
Ripping, resolution, and pulldown flags all have nothing to do with each other :?

If a DVD has pulldown flags and you ignore them, then your video won't be interlaced. If the DVD is "hard" NTSC, then it has no pulldown flags to remove.
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Re: Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

Post by Kionon » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:06 pm

the Black Monarch wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:24 pm
Ripping, resolution, and pulldown flags all have nothing to do with each other
Depends very much on what you mean. If I understand what you mean, it isn't the part of the process to which I am referring, and at this point I've lost patience (in both threads) with what I am perceiving as incivility.
If a DVD has pulldown flags and you ignore them, then your video won't be interlaced. If the DVD is "hard" NTSC, then it has no pulldown flags to remove.
Take it up with the 2000s era DVD manufacturers (who did a shitty job), where pulldown flags both existed and interlacing/telecining was hardcoded. I can't go back in time and shake my finger at them and tell them not to do it.
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