Remasters Are The Ultimate Labor of Love

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Kionon
I ♥ the 80's
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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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