301 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-15 05:30:39)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

On balance, i'm glad I got it.  I'd rather own a copy with files that have the best resolution that we know in existence. Even though I find it inferior to your up-res samples, I think it's good to have on hand the best looking files from an official release.  I was surprised at some of the pixelation at times, so I almost wonder if Turbine tried to do some sharpening or something, or maybe that's just how the PAL looks in HD.

It's really a beautiful release from a packaging / menu standpoint as well. Maybe one day we can push Turbine to do an "upconverted hd blu-ray" although they probably wouldn't bite.

I wish we could take a look at the image The Hub had again as they may have done upconverting on that.  I do recall it looking good.

The pixelation is actually film grain. I don't believe it has anything to do with Turbine; it's the film stock. I don't think PAL is grainy in itself because the post-Pilot episodes don't have this graininess which means that Topaz AI can't properly upscale them.

Mmm, I'm talking about what looks like digital noise (each "piece" very square) around the edges of let's say moving characters in wide shots (not on pilot).  Perhaps it's an effect of my dvd player trying to keep up with the pal /  ntsc conversion.  I should prob try to buy a cheap pal player to check.. if they are avail in u.s.

I wonder if some dvd players process the pal to ntsc conversion better.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

Mmm, I'm talking about what looks like digital noise (it's very square) around the edges of lets say moving characters in wide shots (not on pilot).  Perhaps it's an effect of my dvd player trying to keep up with the pal /  ntsc conversion.  I should prob try to buy a cheap pal player to check if they are avail in u.s.

Well, I've run a few Season 2 shots through Topaz' high quality preset and it is recognizing those square-looking bits of data as grain. When upscaling the shot from 720x576 to 1474x1080, that graininess is resolved into pixel-rendered detail.

Topaz seems to be able to distinguish between digital noise /compression artifacts and image forming grains. At all presets, image forming grain is resolved into pixel rendering. At presets for low and medium quality video, digital noise and artifacts are filtered out; at the high quality preset, digital noise and artifacts are ignored.

303 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-15 05:47:54)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

Mmm, I'm talking about what looks like digital noise (it's very square) around the edges of lets say moving characters in wide shots (not on pilot).  Perhaps it's an effect of my dvd player trying to keep up with the pal /  ntsc conversion.  I should prob try to buy a cheap pal player to check if they are avail in u.s.

Well, I've run a few Season 2 shots through Topaz' high quality preset and it is recognizing those square-looking bits of data as grain. When upscaling the shot from 720x576 to 1474x1080, that graininess is resolved into pixel-rendered detail.

Topaz seems to be able to distinguish between digital noise /compression artifacts and image forming grains. At all presets, image forming grain is resolved into pixel rendering. At presets for low and medium quality video, digital noise and artifacts are filtered out; at the high quality preset, digital noise and artifacts are ignored.

Pretty sure the bits we are referring to are different (and may only be showing up for me)  I'll try to post a screen shot later to show.

Btw pretty interesting thread here started by turbine
https://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=297118

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

Pretty sure the bits we are referring to are different (and may only be showing up for me)  I'll try to post a screen shot later to show.

Revisiting this, it's apparent this is not necessarily an issue everywhere.  It's most apparent in low-light situations, perhaps just early seasons, and perhaps also influenced by motion.  I'm looking at greatfellas which has darker scenes.

I'm not sure if its grain, but it may be partly that. So not sure if my initial description was accurate.

305 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-15 08:09:58)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Here's what I mean regarding pixelation (Goodfellas).  Not really seeing it in "Rules of the Game"

In some cases maybe it's just upscaled grain.  In other cases not really sure what's going on. 

The universal dvds are just more "hazy" where it fails where in this case it's sharper and more boxy/pixelated.

https://i.imgur.com/U5ZUTFJ.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/PMBJDSE.jpg




https://i.imgur.com/1dvzEFB.jpg


https://i.imgur.com/lN3fHdD.jpg


https://i.imgur.com/LwKWOkr.jpg


https://i.imgur.com/cyp4n9o.jpg



https://i.imgur.com/MKTGCyI.jpg

306 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-15 10:13:50)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I just checked some more episodes and honestly not seeing it. Maybe Goodfellas was handled differently in the original editing / post production.

Even darker lit parts of The Good, The Bad and the Wealthy don't have the issue.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I took some screencaps from my MKV backup of the blu-ray for you to review.

https://i.ibb.co/cTgfTSC/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h14m37s073.png https://i.ibb.co/8xFLTK7/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h14m42s628.png https://i.ibb.co/vzmNbJD/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m06s657.png https://i.ibb.co/6s63qXD/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m12s269.png https://i.ibb.co/RCRYs6b/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m34s636.png https://i.ibb.co/d49kWKB/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m49s182.png

308 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-15 14:05:05)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I took some screencaps from my MKV backup of the blu-ray for you to review.

https://i.ibb.co/cTgfTSC/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h14m37s073.png https://i.ibb.co/8xFLTK7/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h14m42s628.png https://i.ibb.co/vzmNbJD/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m06s657.png https://i.ibb.co/6s63qXD/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m12s269.png https://i.ibb.co/RCRYs6b/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m34s636.png https://i.ibb.co/d49kWKB/vlcsnap-2021-10-15-15h15m49s182.png


Thank you.  That's quiet different... Maybe your PC and player are processing the data better.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I was rewatching "As Time Goes By" on the SD blu-ray and I have to say, in my opinion, my upscaled version really does not compare. The SD blu-ray lets you see all the weathering on Dennis MacMillan's face and the texture of Quinn and Daelin's flannel. The upscale was smooth and attractive, but overly airbrushed.

However, I think it was also a mistake to use the Artemis Low Quality setting on the upscale; the Artemis High Quality preset would have cleared away the blockiness of the DVD compression but left the film grain texture and the fine detail largely intact (although it would still seem a slightly more airbrushed). I think the Low Quality setting is best for deblocking severely artifacted video (like on the Mill Creek discs), but the Universal DVDs were not as bad as that.

310 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-17 18:13:13)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I was rewatching "As Time Goes By" on the SD blu-ray and I have to say, in my opinion, my upscaled version really does not compare. The SD blu-ray lets you see all the weathering on Dennis MacMillan's face and the texture of Quinn and Daelin's flannel. The upscale was smooth and attractive, but overly airbrushed.

However, I think it was also a mistake to use the Artemis Low Quality setting on the upscale; the Artemis High Quality preset would have cleared away the blockiness of the DVD compression but left the film grain texture and the fine detail largely intact (although it would still seem a slightly more airbrushed). I think the Low Quality setting is best for deblocking severely artifacted video (like on the Mill Creek discs), but the Universal DVDs were not as bad as that.


I'll do a comparison of the hi res sample vs. turbine release to see the difference on my end.

I've been revisiting the upscale samples a bit this weekend, and actually figured something out I hadn't before. When I connect my pc to my tv, I used the tv's PC mode instead of standard for the picture quality. It did something that made the colors pop more... might be a gamma change thing. I've already got some changes to the image in vlc player I had told you about before.

The changes with PC mode made everything look gorgeous and lively and made the show feel newer and more modern. 

This doesn't really do it justice but here's a cell phone pic

https://i.imgur.com/1Eyq7Aq.png

https://i.imgur.com/EkEA7A5.png




The other s1 episode samples dont look like this of course, but it was pretty incredible to see the pilot look this good. I cropped it to go to 16:9.  Some of the smoothness qualities you mention actually become less apparent when you zoom/crop (and you get more grain).  Although I think the pilot may be more forgiving w/ regard to cinematography than others (say Murder Most Foul, which didn't quite do as well with cropping).

I also have noticed, the old dvds, even mill creek don't look bad on SD tvs.  I have one, a tube 13 inch... wish i kept a larger sd tv I threw out last year.  I think a lot of these dvds have always been decent for SD tvs, it's just when you bump to HD tvs do they become problematic.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Why do you have so many TVs!?! :-D

The 2004 release was made for CRT televisions. The Mill Creek release was not really made with any thought to how it would be viewed; it was just to have bargain bin product to sell. I sometimes wonder if modern HDTVs should offer a diode/scanlines filter for older content.

It's curious. On the whole, I find that the blu-ray's SD episodes for S2  - S5 look better than my upscales. However... the pilot is an odd case. My upscale looks better than the blu-ray version; the blu-ray version is a bit fuzzier and less defined than my upscale (made from the Universal DVD). The pilot is the only upscaled episode I still have on my hard drive.

Comparing the Universal DVD's pilot to the blu-ray version of the pilot side by side -- I'd say I find the Universal DVD a bit brighter, almost like during the scan to MPEG for the DVD, Universal's home video department brightened the image slightly. In contrast, the blu-ray version, taken from the PAL master, is a bit darker and has less apparent shadow detail. My upscale looks better than the blu-ray, but I'm going to try upscaling the blu-ray's pilot tomorrow just to see what happens. I can't do it right now, unfortunately, as I am re-upscaling BIRDS OF PREY's pilot episode with the Artemis HQ preset.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Why do you have so many TVs!?! :-D

The 2004 release was made for CRT televisions. The Mill Creek release was not really made with any thought to how it would be viewed; it was just to have bargain bin product to sell. I sometimes wonder if modern HDTVs should offer a diode/scanlines filter for older content.

It's curious. On the whole, I find that the blu-ray's SD episodes for S2  - S5 look better than my upscales. However... the pilot is an odd case. My upscale looks better than the blu-ray version; the blu-ray version is a bit fuzzier and less defined than my upscale (made from the Universal DVD). The pilot is the only upscaled episode I still have on my hard drive.

Comparing the Universal DVD's pilot to the blu-ray version of the pilot side by side -- I'd say I find the Universal DVD a bit brighter, almost like during the scan to MPEG for the DVD, Universal's home video department brightened the image slightly. In contrast, the blu-ray version, taken from the PAL master, is a bit darker and has less apparent shadow detail. My upscale looks better than the blu-ray, but I'm going to try upscaling the blu-ray's pilot tomorrow just to see what happens. I can't do it right now, unfortunately, as I am re-upscaling BIRDS OF PREY's pilot episode with the Artemis HQ preset.

Modern tvs really should have an SD mode but then again maybe this is such a small use case.  It's just ironic situation.

I haven't compared the universal dvd vs. turbine blu-ray on the pilot.  I will say if I was ever put in charge of a restoration project, I would tweak the colors on almost every episode.  Not necessarily just to match the original intent (which could have lost some color as it was transferred/edited) but also to make it seem like it was shot more recently.

I usually thought the coloring was pretty good on the dvds/streaming S4/S5 content but veered toward dated as you go back.  After my changes to the pilot, with the up-res, it was pretty convincing to me that peacock could have a version of sliders that a 15 year old could enjoy and experience for the first time because it's much more watchable.  It felt HD or like a remastered scanned from negative thing.  Surprisingly, not that far off from Back to the Future (1986) blu-ray.   The only clues with the better look Sliders to the dating of the show are the cars and clothes but it doesn't ruin it.

A 16:9 image helps but I dont know how you can do a crop that isn't dead-center all the time. It worked for the pilot (though wasn't perfect and made all the shots more intimate) but you'd want to dynamically adjust it to make it work better in other episodes.

It can be pretty frustrating that a older shows look far better than sliders... I was really surprised how incredible The Prisoner (streaming on IMDBTV and amazon prime) looks.  Obviously filmed and edited on 35mm.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I'm looking in on some of the frames as the Pilot (SD on blu-ray) upscales via Artemis HQ from 576p to 1080p. (I converted the video from interlaced to progressive already.) After upscaling BIRDS OF PREY from DVD, it became clear that the Artemis HQ preset will lift off blockiness caused by scaling or compression, but it doesn't smooth out artifacts and seeks to resolve grain-based detail into pixel-based detail.

Looking at the PAL Pilot through the Topaz magnifying glass, it's clear that the Pilot, while sharper than the other Season 1 episodes, is not as sharp as the Season 2 - 5 episodes either.

My hypothesis is that the Pilot was also edited on a lower grade of videotape than Seasons 2 - 5, but the format was still better than the post-Pilot S1 episodes. I'm thinking that the Pilot was edited in Betacam SP or some other format with about 340 lines of resolution. That could be why the Pilot looks approximately 20 per cent less sharp than, say, "Into the Mystic."

The post-Pilot S1 episodes seem to have been edited on tape with even fewer lines of resolution, likely U-matic, Betamax or 8mm videotape (250 lines of resolution) which would explain why those episodes look only half as crisp as S2 - S5 episodes. And I would guess that from Season 2 onward, the show was edited in a DV or DV equivalent format with around 540 lines of resolution which is why the film grains are so visible afterwards and why the image quality takes such a drastic upswing.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

My hypothesis is that the Pilot was also edited on a lower grade of videotape than Seasons 2 - 5, but the format was still better than the post-Pilot S1 episodes. I'm thinking that the Pilot was edited in Betacam SP or some other format with about 340 lines of resolution. That could be why the Pilot looks approximately 20 per cent less sharp than, say, "Into the Mystic."

The post-Pilot S1 episodes seem to have been edited on tape with even fewer lines of resolution, likely U-matic, Betamax or 8mm videotape (250 lines of resolution) which would explain why those episodes look only half as crisp as S2 - S5 episodes. And I would guess that from Season 2 onward, the show was edited in a DV or DV equivalent format with around 540 lines of resolution which is why the film grains are so visible afterwards and why the image quality takes such a drastic upswing.

Makes sense. They really had some unforgiving formats back then... the fact that it went to 250... well, it was fine for those sd tvs but obviously awful for now.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

I've been revisiting the upscale samples a bit this weekend, and actually figured something out I hadn't before. When I connect my pc to my tv, I used the tv's PC mode instead of standard for the picture quality. It did something that made the colors pop more... might be a gamma change thing. I've already got some changes to the image in vlc player I had told you about before.

The changes with PC mode made everything look gorgeous and lively and made the show feel newer and more modern.

I'm very, very, very mildly torn on this.

On one level, I think it's ridiculous to think that a TV show made decades ago can ever be made to look 'modern.' I also have a certain low level exasperation with 70s and 80s young adult/middle-grade novelists Lois Duncan and Gordon Korman who would, every few years, revise their novels to replace teletypes with fax machines and outdated musical references with current hits -- all of it completely pointless and futile. Stories set in the 'present' eventually become period pieces; the plots of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and ROMEO AND JULIET would not happen with instant messaging and cell phones. It's fine for art to be a product of its time.

The poster child for futile efforts to keep dated works looking 'modern' is George Lucas and his asinine Special Editions which tried to make STAR WARS look like it was filmed in the 90s but only ever looked like a 70s/80s movie series with 90s effects clumsily pasted on top of the frames. These older films and shows and novels don't need to be forced into relevance for a new audience; they found their audience when they were originally released or they failed to do so.

But all you're suggesting is increasing the colour vibrance. I don't think it's harmful to SLIDERS, but I do feel that the low contrast, low saturation look of Season 1 is effective. Parallel worlds don't look like fantasy environments nor do they look like the overpolished TV commercials that Season 3 of SLIDERS often resembles. It's not a theme park version of reality; Season 1 looks like actual reality. Reality can be drab, lacking in rich colours, unpolished and that makes Season 1 all the more real.

And yet, this is instantly undermined with Season 2 which goes for a high contrast look. The colours aren't artificially amped up like in Season 3, but the increased contrast means more saturation.

Season 2 is my favourite visual look for the series with some real effort in making the image more delineated in terms of light and shadow. This is distinctly less unmodified than Season 1. So yes, Season 1 does look great when you raise the saturation a bit. And it would be great for an HDTV presentation.

This leads to another question that may or may not have an answer: is the gray, washed-out look of Season 1 deliberate? Is this actually what was intended by cinematographers Glen MacPherson and Peter Woeste? Or is the lack of colour a failure of videotape? Did the 35mm film, when transferred to what looks like a 240 lines of resolution tape format, lose colour detail and richness in the process? The fine detail and film grain of the image has clearly been muddied; has the chroma data also been diminished by the videotape format as well?

There is no way Season 1 was meant to look like it's in perpetual soft-focus like it does on the PAL masters. So was it also supposed to look like it was desaturated to gray tones?

If Season 1 had been edited on DV instead of U-Matic or such, would it look like Season 2? Was Season 1 actually supposed to look as high contrast as Season 2?

I don't know.

316 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-18 17:58:23)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

I've been revisiting the upscale samples a bit this weekend, and actually figured something out I hadn't before. When I connect my pc to my tv, I used the tv's PC mode instead of standard for the picture quality. It did something that made the colors pop more... might be a gamma change thing. I've already got some changes to the image in vlc player I had told you about before.

The changes with PC mode made everything look gorgeous and lively and made the show feel newer and more modern.

I'm very, very, very mildly torn on this.

On one level, I think it's ridiculous to think that a TV show made decades ago can ever be made to look 'modern.' I also have a certain low level exasperation with 70s and 80s young adult/middle-grade novelists Lois Duncan and Gordon Korman who would, every few years, revise their novels to replace teletypes with fax machines and outdated musical references with current hits -- all of it completely pointless and futile. Stories set in the 'present' eventually become period pieces; the plots of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and ROMEO AND JULIET would not happen with instant messaging and cell phones. It's fine for art to be a product of its time.

The poster child for futile efforts to keep dated works looking 'modern' is George Lucas and his asinine Special Editions which tried to make STAR WARS look like it was filmed in the 90s but only ever looked like a 70s/80s movie series with 90s effects clumsily pasted on top of the frames. These older films and shows and novels don't need to be forced into relevance for a new audience; they found their audience when they were originally released or they failed to do so.

But all you're suggesting is increasing the colour vibrance. I don't think it's harmful to SLIDERS, but I do feel that the low contrast, low saturation look of Season 1 is effective. Parallel worlds don't look like fantasy environments nor do they look like the overpolished TV commercials that Season 3 of SLIDERS often resembles. It's not a theme park version of reality; Season 1 looks like actual reality. Reality can be drab, lacking in rich colours, unpolished and that makes Season 1 all the more real.

And yet, this is instantly undermined with Season 2 which goes for a high contrast look. The colours aren't artificially amped up like in Season 3, but the increased contrast means more saturation.

Season 2 is my favourite visual look for the series with some real effort in making the image more delineated in terms of light and shadow. This is distinctly less unmodified than Season 1. So yes, Season 1 does look great when you raise the saturation a bit. And it would be great for an HDTV presentation.

This leads to another question that may or may not have an answer: is the gray, washed-out look of Season 1 deliberate? Is this actually what was intended by cinematographers Glen MacPherson and Peter Woeste? Or is the lack of colour a failure of videotape? Did the 35mm film, when transferred to what looks like a 240 lines of resolution tape format, lose colour detail and richness in the process? The fine detail and film grain of the image has clearly been muddied; has the chroma data also been diminished by the videotape format as well?

There is no way Season 1 was meant to look like it's in perpetual soft-focus like it does on the PAL masters. So was it also supposed to look like it was desaturated to gray tones?

If Season 1 had been edited on DV instead of U-Matic or such, would it look like Season 2? Was Season 1 actually supposed to look as high contrast as Season 2?

I don't know.

You could say I'm definitely not a purist, but I do empathize with Star Wars fans.  I think originals should always be accessible...

That said, in this case they are.  Via DVD.  And with Sliders on a service like Peacock, that should be appealing to a broad audience, and not the purists.

I don't mind tinkering with the original intent of cinematographers here, given that whatever look they have been going for assumed better conditions, and the content airing on SD.  Everything now is interfering with the look they hoped to achieve, so it basically doesn't work under the current conditions.  And yes, I think additionally their vision got out of whack anyway with how the content was maintained/produced. 

Plus, frankily, when you have some dated looking elements (most apparent in the pilot, with the wallpaper in quinn's home, or the wardrobes, or wade's look, or the computers..), you have to try to make sure the material looks more newly shot or the age of the program feels more out-of-date.  Stale.  If the picture looked as good as The Prisoner, let it be a period piece... but it can't even show the period with clarity.

i'd also argue for a peacock, the content should perhaps be dynamically cropped to 16:9.  It's 2021.  Look at how HBO Max takes pride in their library.  Sure's it's archival stuff but give consumers a half way decent experience, not just the schlock Universal sends you.  Even Seinfeld is cropped.

I'd love to see Tracy oversee somesort of upgrade, or restoration for Peacock.  Let him decide.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Well, I would describe myself as a 'purist' of sorts in that I like film grain. And I sought out HD versions of the STAR WARS series without any of the 90s CG revisions.

However, having reviewed the SLIDERS PAL masters obsessively and intensively, I am no longer certain that the washed out look of Season 1 is in any way 'pure,' in any way faithful to the intention of the directors, cinematographers, lighting technicians, editors and storyboard artists (unless their intention was to create a fuzzy, out of focus, blurry storytelling product in a visual medium). I would support increasing the saturation to make it more suitable to HDTV presentation.

If we could just find some way to sharpen up these masters...

318 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-18 18:03:44)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Well, I would describe myself as a 'purist' of sorts in that I like film grain. And I sought out HD versions of the STAR WARS series without any of the 90s CG revisions.

However, having reviewed the SLIDERS PAL masters obsessively and intensively, I am no longer certain that the washed out look of Season 1 is in any way 'pure,' in any way faithful to the intention of the directors, cinematographers, lighting technicians, editors and storyboard artists (unless their intention was to create a fuzzy, out of focus, blurry storytelling product in a visual medium). I would support increasing the saturation to make it more suitable to HDTV presentation.

If we could just find some way to sharpen up these masters...

Either the AI technology gets better (it will I think) or we get a film negative scan would seem to be the only options.  Unless a re-scan of the master tapes would somehow help (and Turbine never did that themselves).

The machine time is what is expensive for any of these organizations.  You know the hell of video processing, and they are often thinking about the same things, I think.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Regarding the upscaling process -- I got some nice results from AI upscaling the BIRDS OF PREY DVD's TV pilot with the HQ video preset. Most of the compression artifacts are gone and the grain remains -- but blurred out backgrounds still have a certain flickery blockiness to it. And when upscaling on the LQ preset, everything looked great but a bit too smoothed out. I'm wondering if a two pass approach is best: use the medium quality or HQ preset to deblock/de-artifact the video without increasing the resolution at all, and then run this new version through the HQ preset to bring it to 1080p.

None of this is necessary for SLIDERS, however, because the blu-ray's version of the PAL masters have no compression artifacts. That said, I am AI upscaling "Into the Mystic" to 1080p; I'm interested to see how well all that Season 2 grain converts to pixel data.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Regarding the upscaling process -- I got some nice results from AI upscaling the BIRDS OF PREY DVD's TV pilot with the HQ video preset. Most of the compression artifacts are gone and the grain remains -- but blurred out backgrounds still have a certain flickery blockiness to it. And when upscaling on the LQ preset, everything looked great but a bit too smoothed out. I'm wondering if a two pass approach is best: use the medium quality or HQ preset to deblock/de-artifact the video without increasing the resolution at all, and then run this new version through the HQ preset to bring it to 1080p..

Perhaps even low then high would work if it could find enough grain in that smoothness to work with.  But I assume you are suggesting medium as a middle ground

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Well, the issue with the low and medium presets: they remove compression artifacts but add additional pixels to the grain and smooth it out, creating an overly airbrushed, waxy look to the picture. I'm not entirely sure what the results will be if no additional resolution is sought. The idea would be to remove all compression artifacts while leaving a grain-equipped image that Artemis HQ can bring from SD to to 1080p, and it's possible that the results would be better as the algorithm wouldn't be trying to work around compression artifacts on the second pass. But it's possible this would produce the same results as a single pass on the HQ setting.

**

I've been reviewing the upscaled version of the Pilot, this time the SD blu-ray file, AI upscaled via Topaz's Artemis HQ preset to 1080p.

It isn't that different. At times, I thought that the upscaled-from-Turbine version was not as sharp as the upscaled-from-Universal version. But upon closer inspection, the Turbine version is just a little darker than the NTSC versions we've been seeing. The colour is also more blue-green in PAL than the red-green of NTSC.

I think it's probably because PAL is a different colour system from NTSC, but also because the DVD compression will reduce colour range while the blu-ray had no need to compress anything.

The 1080p image doesn't look that different from the Universal version upscaled to 720p and scaled to 1080. It's been a lateral move.

322 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-19 19:43:10)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Well, the issue with the low and medium presets: they remove compression artifacts but add additional pixels to the grain and smooth it out, creating an overly airbrushed, waxy look to the picture. I'm not entirely sure what the results will be if no additional resolution is sought. The idea would be to remove all compression artifacts while leaving a grain-equipped image that Artemis HQ can bring from SD to to 1080p, and it's possible that the results would be better as the algorithm wouldn't be trying to work around compression artifacts on the second pass. But it's possible this would produce the same results as a single pass on the HQ setting.

.

I noticed on your up res sample of the pilot from February that the waxyness was less of an issue when there was a zoom/crop to get to 16:9.

Theoretically you might be able to produce more natural grain by taking the up res at low preset, and then doubling it in size without any AI doing smart resizing.  I don't know how you'd do this though or if it would really give you the grain you want.  I just know the up res looks much more.like It was shot on film when zoomed and cropped. There's more texture.  An additional up res on something like that with us preset may be useful.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Actually, I was mistaken. Watching the upscaled Pilots in motion, I didn't see much difference, but when taking screenshots, it's become clear: the upscaled SD blu-ray is fuzzier than the upscaled Universal version.

https://i.ibb.co/4tqXTsY/01-Quinn.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/qCcdNBg/02-Wade.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/1ncvS8W/03-Rembrandt.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/4tw9Qq4/04-Professor.jpg

I'm not sure if it's because the SD file is fuzzier or if it's because the algorithm I used this time, Artemis HQ, isn't trying to extract and augment detail as much as Artemis LQ, or if it's because I went to 1080p this time instead of 720p.

Artemis HQ is the right choice for the grainy Season 2 - 5 blu-ray episodes, refining existing detail into pixels, but it might be wrong for the Pilot file; maybe AI sharpening is desirable.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

the Universal upscale with the lq setting is clearly better there...

325 (edited by ireactions 2021-10-19 21:26:00)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Well, looking at the un-upscaled files direct from DVD and the blu-ray:

https://i.ibb.co/9thLTdQ/01.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/BBB5pBT/02.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/kxFHbkW/03.jpg

The Pilot on the blu-ray is blurrier. And the problem seems to be specific to the Pilot. It looks like for the PAL master of the Pilot, Universal took the NTSC version and simply stretched it from 640x480 to 720x576, meeting the PAL standards but losing image quality.

I'm currently finding it difficult to tell if the other Season 1 episodes suffer from the same problem. They are slightly better on blu-ray than on DVD, but it's possible that the blu-ray versions are only improved because they're not as compressed and have also been stretched from 640x480 to 720x576.

But it's just as possible that the Universal DVD versions have, under that compression, better (but still bad) versions of the Season 1 episodes and those are the files I should have upscaled to HD via the Artemis HQ preset. They looked okay (but not great) on Artemis LQ but the blu-ray SD-files were were smeary and awful after Artemis LQ. Maybe the DVD files are a better starting point for Season 1 with two Artemis HQ passes, one to de-artifact and one to AI upscale.

However, Seasons 2 - 5 blu-ray versions look good and have more film grain than the DVDs, so if they were stretched, the videotape image had sufficient film fidelity to withstand it and not suffer for it.

326 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-19 21:45:49)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Well, looking at the un-upscaled files direct from DVD and the blu-ray:

https://i.ibb.co/9thLTdQ/01.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/BBB5pBT/02.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/kxFHbkW/03.jpg

The Pilot on the blu-ray is blurrier. And the problem seems to be specific to the Pilot. It looks like for the PAL master of the Pilot, Universal took the NTSC version and simply stretched it from 640x480 to 720x576, meeting the PAL standards but losing image quality.

I'm currently finding it difficult to tell if the other Season 1 episodes suffer from the same problem. They are slightly better on blu-ray than on DVD, but it's possible that the blu-ray versions are only improved because they're not as compressed and have also been stretched from 640x480 to 720x576.

But it's just as possible that the Universal DVD versions have, under that compression, better (but still bad) versions of the Season 1 episodes and those are the files I should have upscaled to HD via the Artemis HQ preset. They looked okay (but not great) on Artemis LQ but the blu-ray SD-files were were smeary and awful after Artemis LQ. Maybe the DVD files are a better starting point for Season 1 with two Artemis HQ passes, one to de-artifact and one to AI upscale.

However, Seasons 2 - 5 blu-ray versions look good and have more film grain than the DVDs, so if they were stretched, the videotape image had sufficient film fidelity to withstand it and not suffer for it.

It would not shock me if the blu ray was simply better because of less compression.

Occam's Razor would perhaps point to that.

Overall the pilot from your up res samples was quite beautiful but the other s1 episodes certainly didn't reach the same standard as the other episode samples and maybe a different VQ setting would help with it. But it's hard to say because it seems like those s1 episodes need quite a bit of AI help and so it's hard to imagine the hq setting would be right for them.  Doing two passes though might be an interesting experiment.

327 (edited by ireactions 2021-10-20 05:57:11)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Well, the Artemis HQ setting is designed to not try to change the video aside from making it a larger size without introducing any new flaws. As a result, it does some de-artifacting (to offset creating any new artifacts) and some denoising (to offset inflating the existing noise), but it doesn't sharpen like the LQ and MQ settings.

This might be best for the Season 1 episodes because those LQ and MQ sharpening functions are based on extrapolating detail from grain. Season 1 lacks sufficient grain to extrapolate.

I think the problem with Season 1 on both DVD and blu-ray: they are blurrier than later episodes because they were edited on analog videotape; the on a 340 lines of resolution format; the subsequent episodes on a 250 lines format. Season 2 - 5 episodes are sharper because they were edited on digital videotape with 540 lines of resolution.

It also looks like the PAL masters were created by taking the NTSC versions and stretching them from 640x480 (NTSC) to 720x576 (PAL) for all five seasons of SLIDERS. The digital videotape format of Seasons 2 - 5 came out of this looking great in PAL and blu-ray; the digital format proved resilient enough to survive a 20 per cent stretch. I've compared "As Time Goes By" on Universal DVD and Turbine blu-ray and the Universal DVD version looks well-defined if compressed while the Turbine version has a good amount of filmic detail beyond DVD quality (and diminished by videotape but still present).

However, the analog videotape format of Season 1 has suffered severely. The Pilot was already not as sharp as Season 2 - 5 episodes in NTSC; the stretch to PAL blurred it. And the next eight episodes of SLIDERS: the PAL masters were blurred by being stored on analog videotape.

I don't believe this is Turbine's doing; the problems is in the PAL master tapes.

Season 1 on the blu-ray might appear better at first because it isn't covered in compression artifacts and blockiness like the DVDs. But the blu-ray image's lack of compression still presents an image that is blurrier than the Universal DVD. If you can look under the compression issues of the Universal DVD (or deblock it), Season 1 has a more defined image, it's just badly obscured by compression noise and blockiness and poor interlacing.

The Season 1 episodes, whether Universal or Turbine, are in lousy condition and can't be upscaled as well as Seasons 2 - 5 and certainly not in the same way as Seasons 2 - 5. The Artemis LQ preset on the S2 - S5 DVDs created a lovely 720p image via compression removal and grain-to-pixel conversion. The detail was well-rendered (if hidden by compression) on the S2 - S3 DVDs; the detail-forming grain was available on the S4 - S5 DVDs.

But Season 1 episodes on DVD, despite being less blurry than on blu-ray, are still severely denoised. The video files lack the grain needed for AI upscaling to re-render the files to a better level of picture quality. The best that can be done is to use the HQ preset to remove the compression artifacts and do a lossless scale to 1080p, offering few improvements but creating no new flaws.

It won't look as good as the Season 2 - 5 upscales or PAL masters, but it will certainly look better. I don't know how much better (yet). I'm also not sure if it both can be done effectively in a single pass or if two passes are needed, but I'll start with a single pass for the DVD version of "Summer of Love."

328 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-20 08:48:32)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Season 2 - 5 episodes are sharper because they were edited on digital videotape with 540 lines of resolution.


Theoretically, if Universal ever wanted to make Sliders look better, but didn't want to invest much money or time into that process, I wonder if making use of the DV tapes for S2-5 would be fruitful.  Because, in theory, they had 540 lines (near native PAL quality) to work with and then striped away 10-15 percent to get down to 480. 

I don't understand the post production process well enough... I am assuming edited on DV does not mean that all the sound and visual effect elements are a part of those dv tapes and it'd only be incorporated once on SD 480 tape.

ireactions wrote:

But Season 1 episodes on DVD, despite being less blurry than on blu-ray, are still severely denoised. The video files lack the grain needed for AI upscaling to re-render the files to a better level of picture quality.

It's too bad something like this doesn't exist for video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ATJ_yoaXok

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I'm not sure what you mean. Noise layers are pretty common in video editing software. The problem is that unless the noise is image-forming, it's useless for AI upscaling. Topaz can tell the difference between grain that forms the image and grain that's just a layer on top of the image.

The 1080p Artemis HQ version of "Summer of Love" is an incremental improvement on the LQ upscale -- but the preset keeps inflating some of the compression artifacts that it doesn't fully remove. I'm going to try the two-pass approach: running the HQ preset without making the video any larger and simply removing the artifacts, then running the HQ preset again to raise the resolution losslessly.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean. Noise layers are pretty common in video editing software. The problem is that unless the noise is image-forming, it's useless for AI upscaling. Topaz can tell the difference between grain that forms the image and grain that's just a layer on top of the image.

Yea, I was saying it would be nice if there was an AI tool that formed grain around objects rather than flatly across the image.  The link I pointed to I thought may have done that (for photos) but I could be wrong.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Oh, sorry. I guess I didn't understand that from the video.

Sadly, the two-pass approach to upscaling isn't working with Topaz; it just creates a peculiar watercolour effect across the image. It looks like upscaling the NTSC versions in HQ losslessly/gainlessly is the way forward. I've put the rest of Season 1 in the queue.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I guess this is as good as it gets for Season 1 in upscaled 1080p.

https://i.ibb.co/M1VWwNm/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-04-43-483.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/BrQWrf7/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-05-49-949.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/Rz8b599/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-07-28-448.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/L8FwczT/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-10-06-205.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/xMPFLp0/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-10-23-422.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/HD1BHyt/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-27-54-087.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/frFtdRc/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-33-20-370.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/s2cc3Nv/Sliders-S01e02-Summer-Of-Love-Artemis-HQ-1080p-mp4-snapshot-39-01-138.jpg

It looks nice on a TV at living room distance. Some scenes are unfortunately blocky and jagged. It's an improvement on the DVD; the compression artifacts are gone. And that peculiar watercolour look to the shots is reduced.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I've never seen that episode look that good...

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I'm sad that I couldn't get "Summer of Love" to "Luck of the Draw" looking at least as good as the upscaled-from-Universal Pilot. However, the Universal DVD image looks considerably less terrible once decombed and deinterlaced (no more scanlines marring the image) and once it's been mostly de-artifacted (no more blocks and compression noise).

On the HQ preset, the Topaz upscale has sharpened the close-ups. Medium shots are lightly sharpened. And wide shots and blurry shots are left alone, although scaling them has introduced some mild artifacting as you can see in the screenshots above. Those flaws were in the SD version and have been inflated, there's still some fuzziness, but Topaz at least hasn't made it worse in bringing it to 1080p.

I wondered if it'd be best to simply deblock and deartifact the video and leave it at 480p. But it's best to bring it to 1080p so that an HDTV TV won't have to do any further stretching and won't introduce more detail loss or artifacts.

(This is assuming that 4K TVs will recognize 1080p content and reduce their resolution accordingly.)

335 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-21 06:51:09)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Out of curiousity, does the LQ setting work best for non-pilot S1 episodes on close-up shots, and the problems it introduces only come when the camera is more zoomed out and there's less fidelity in the image to work with?  You may have already addressed that here, but I dont recall.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

In my original upscales, Artemis Low Quality would smear wide shots, especially wide shots with human faces. The Universal DVDs were covered in compression artifacts, so treating it as low quality video seemed best at the time. I limited the upscale to 720p to minimize flattening out the detail in the image.

However, I think Artemis LQ is really meant for cleaning up video covered in compression blocks, video like late 2000s YouTube video at 360p or digitized consumer grade VHS. The resulting Season 1 upscales on LQ were a step up from the DVDs, but still very blurry in addition to being smeared. Seasons 2 - 3 came out well but a bit airbrushed and suffers a bit because it's 720p and the TV has to upscale it by another 50 per cent. I should have upscaled them with the HQ preset to 1080p.

Here's another question to which we may or may not ever know the answer:

What do the NTSC video masters of Season 1 look like? Is the quality the same as my deblocked, decombed/deinterlaced Universal DVD files? Or are the NTSC video masters better than that?

(They probably aren't worse.)

We know from the German blu-ray: the PAL masters of Season 1 are blurry and the colour is washed out. It looks like the NTSC videotape was copied onto PAL format videotape, stretching the video and converting the NTSC colour to the PAL standard.

A 20 per cent increase in size doesn't create that much blurriness in a digital format; it must be the analog duplication process back in 1995 when Universal was preparing for overseas broadcast.

The PAL masters for Seasons 2 - 5 are crisp and detailed, likely because digital videotape duplication retains fidelity and can withstand a 20 per cent increase in size.

All the post-Pilot S1 episodes on the DVD are fuzzy. I used to think it was overcompression. But the blu-ray has the same problem and to a greater extent. The Pilot on blu-ray is blurry compared to the Universal DVDs, but the rest of the Season 1 episodes are even blurrier. That's the PAL master. So what does that NTSC master look like?

I think it's likely that the NTSC masters of the post-Pilot S1 episodes are at a lower level of sharpness than the Pilot and Seasons 2 - 5. But how much lower?

In other news, I recently put my gaming laptop on a stand and directed a small fan at the underside for additional cooling as I upscale Season 1 of SLIDERS yet again. Is this the fourth time? Fifth? Sixth? Will this ever end?

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

In my original upscales, Artemis Low Quality would smear wide shots, especially wide shots with human faces. The Universal DVDs were covered in compression artifacts, so treating it as low quality video seemed best at the time. I limited the upscale to 720p to minimize flattening out the detail in the image.

However, I think Artemis LQ is really meant for cleaning up video covered in compression blocks, video like late 2000s YouTube video at 360p or digitized consumer grade VHS. The resulting Season 1 upscales on LQ were a step up from the DVDs, but still very blurry in addition to being smeared. Seasons 2 - 3 came out well but a bit airbrushed and suffers a bit because it's 720p and the TV has to upscale it by another 50 per cent. I should have upscaled them with the HQ preset to 1080p.

Ok. I ask because it would seem like if one were to make the perfect restoration (absent of anything but dvds), that, theoretically (i only mean theoretically), would S1 (not pilot) be best on LQ for close shots, maybe MQ for medium shots and HQ for wide shots (and maybe medium)?

338 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-21 20:32:31)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:


Here's another question to which we may or may not ever know the answer:

What do the NTSC video masters of Season 1 look like? Is the quality the same as my deblocked, decombed/deinterlaced Universal DVD files? Or are the NTSC video masters better than that?

(They probably aren't worse.)

We know from the German blu-ray: the PAL masters of Season 1 are blurry and the colour is washed out. It looks like the NTSC videotape was copied onto PAL format videotape, stretching the video and converting the NTSC colour to the PAL standard. 

A 20 per cent increase in size doesn't create that much blurriness in a digital format; it must be the analog duplication process back in 1995 when Universal was preparing for overseas broadcast.

The PAL masters for Seasons 2 - 5 are crisp and detailed, likely because digital videotape duplication retains fidelity and can withstand a 20 per cent increase in size.

All the post-Pilot S1 episodes on the DVD are fuzzy. I used to think it was overcompression. But the blu-ray has the same problem and to a greater extent. The Pilot on blu-ray is blurry compared to the Universal DVDs, but the rest of the Season 1 episodes are even blurrier. That's the PAL master. So what does that NTSC master look like?

I think it's likely that the NTSC masters of the post-Pilot S1 episodes are at a lower level of sharpness than the Pilot and Seasons 2 - 5. But how much lower?

In other news, I recently put my gaming laptop on a stand and directed a small fan at the underside for additional cooling as I upscale Season 1 of SLIDERS yet again. Is this the fourth time? Fifth? Sixth? Will this ever end?

lol

Who knows, maybe at some point we can ask Turbine to do an SD on Blu-Ray for the North American market, where they can get their hands on those NTSC masters.  And quite honestly, if they ever did, with some of the knowledge you've picked up here, if they were willing to try to upconvert the stuff to 1080, it might help.

I'm not sure though the demand is great enough for a Sliders blu-ray on SD for the north american market. It would have to look really really good to attract hard-core fans to re-buy.

One thing I really do love though about the blu-rays though is how many episodes they can fit on disc.  It's a lot more user-friendly than other home releases.  I wish they had a "play all" button though.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

I ask because it would seem like if one were to make the perfect restoration (absent of anything but dvds), that, theoretically (i only mean theoretically), would S1 (not pilot) be best on LQ for close shots, maybe MQ for medium shots and HQ for wide shots (and maybe medium)?

I would probably just stick to the HQ preset for all of Season 1 off the Universal DVD. The close shots are sharpened on HQ but without any of the waxy, airbrushed qualities I've seen in the LQ setting.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

This is how "The King is Back" looks after the HQ preset takes the Universal version to 1080p. I guess we have gone from VHS quality to adequate DVD quality.

https://i.ibb.co/K7TfDgk/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-21h59m49s295.png
https://i.ibb.co/THtN0gt/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m01s953.png
https://i.ibb.co/2gVN1Bt/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m13s880.png
https://i.ibb.co/BZw5pHM/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m22s290.png
https://i.ibb.co/P4rh6Rz/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m30s846.png
https://i.ibb.co/fQXrMgC/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m35s048.png
https://i.ibb.co/cgXXR8q/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m39s801.png
https://i.ibb.co/T11vqT4/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m44s424.png
https://i.ibb.co/M9CzS30/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h00m58s624.png
https://i.ibb.co/Y2YcpZM/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h01m07s248.png
https://i.ibb.co/xq7ZXHg/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h01m28s460.png
https://i.ibb.co/LnG1HCS/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h01m36s775.png

341 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-23 14:26:26)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

This is how "The King is Back" looks after the HQ preset takes the Universal version to 1080p. I guess we have gone from VHS quality to adequate DVD quality.

Probably the most reasonable-to-watch image on a hdtv we have seen. And better than is out there commerically.

The source is so compromised that it would be hard to imagine being able to make the image crisper.

If I was putting this out on peacock I might tinker with the the coloring a bit. I might also try to see if adding any additional sharpness would be tolerated but I suspect not.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

"Prince of Wails" upscaled via Artemis HQ to 1080p is another example of how Handbrake can take off all the interlacing lines and Topaz can lift away all the compression artifacts from the Universal DVD. But once the lines and artifacts are gone, the image underneath doesn't have enough grain for Topaz to improve it. It can increase the size losslessly, but the blurriness at 480i remains intact at 1080p.

https://i.ibb.co/y5Fg6MX/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h03m20s152.png
https://i.ibb.co/mGh8GQd/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h03m34s695.png
https://i.ibb.co/yPz2tJP/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h03m39s827.png
https://i.ibb.co/hdpFQbP/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h03m50s459.png
https://i.ibb.co/2khGGxv/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h04m02s179.png
https://i.ibb.co/Sn1ctgD/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h04m05s653.png
https://i.ibb.co/tzMGG2r/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h04m15s914.png
https://i.ibb.co/7Q8X05C/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h04m19s953.png
https://i.ibb.co/6F4gvW7/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h04m30s464.png
https://i.ibb.co/WDq5y89/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h04m34s883.png
https://i.ibb.co/r2CxWjT/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h04m50s965.png
https://i.ibb.co/R0TZYWY/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h05m08s644.png
https://i.ibb.co/d0fRvnM/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h05m16s827.png
https://i.ibb.co/yNDy3VZ/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h05m22s315.png
https://i.ibb.co/LrLF37G/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h05m56s549.png
https://i.ibb.co/rpk4KDB/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h06m02s388.png
https://i.ibb.co/xqNmRXL/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h06m08s240.png
https://i.ibb.co/5BT3bZ5/vlcsnap-2021-10-23-22h06m29s304.png

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Aside from the pilot episode, out of curiosity, what percentage of shots in s1 would you say have special effects in them?  I have a guess in my head but don't want to influence your answer.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I'd guess 12 per cent, mostly vortex shots, the spider wasps, the flood, the shark, the oil wells in San Francisco, Quinn's billboard face, the shot of the asteroid exploding from the missile and the birth control cola shot. Aside from that, I can't see there being much and the vortex is even more infrequently onscreen in Season 2; they sometimes don't even bother to show the sliders jumping into it one by one and just have the actors run offscreen. There's a peculiar irony to how SLIDERS at its most expensive had the fewest special effects whereas its budget overruns in Seasons 3 - 5 had it attempting as many effects as possible.

345 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-24 08:16:40)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I'd guess 12 per cent, mostly vortex shots, the spider wasps, the flood, the shark, the oil wells in San Francisco, Quinn's billboard face, the shot of the asteroid exploding from the missile and the birth control cola shot. Aside from that, I can't see there being much and the vortex is even more infrequently onscreen in Season 2; they sometimes don't even bother to show the sliders jumping into it one by one and just have the actors run offscreen. There's a peculiar irony to how SLIDERS at its most expensive had the fewest special effects whereas its budget overruns in Seasons 3 - 5 had it attempting as many effects as possible.

Interesting. . I was thinking it was a couple minutes of content per 43m episode.  We get our vortex shots but most of it is practical. As you said, s3 is where they ramp up that stuff.

12 percent would be about 4 to 5 minutes per episode.  You know the material better than I.

There's propertiery technology that is out there for scanning film negative and automatically re editing the content to match a reference source (an existing edited version).  It makes the process more manageable.   https://www.illuminatehollywood.com/services/iconform/

Special effects shots would basically have to be upconverted. 

I think the pilot and s2-5 can clearly be made into a damn good picture through topaz.  Non pilot s1 you've made look better than we've seen before with that tech but the source is still stubborn in pushing it further.

Theoretically with about 50 or maybe 100k I think ep 2 through 9 coukd be scanned, reedited snd have special effects shots inserted (upconverted from original source).

Would Turbine Media Group ever be willing to do a worldwide blu ray release for s1?   Would Universal keep the license to $100k to $200k or less?  With the idea that a partner who pays for that true HD content enable universal to then provide peacock and other partners HD for s1?

Turbine or let's say Shout Factory may say they need some exclusive window for the Hd content.  So what can they do in sales?

I am guessing globally we are talking 4 to 10k units a s1 blu ray moves.  At 15 dollars or off per unit that is $60k to  $150k in revenue.

It's tough.  Not a lot of wiggle room. 

If I were ever rich I would throw money at it myself...  spend the 100k to try to get it done.  If only we had some ability to raise a crazy amount if money like those Mystery Science Theater fans do.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:
ireactions wrote:

I'd guess 12 per cent, mostly vortex shots, the spider wasps, the flood, the shark, the oil wells in San Francisco, Quinn's billboard face, the shot of the asteroid exploding from the missile and the birth control cola shot. Aside from that, I can't see there being much and the vortex is even more infrequently onscreen in Season 2; they sometimes don't even bother to show the sliders jumping into it one by one and just have the actors run offscreen. There's a peculiar irony to how SLIDERS at its most expensive had the fewest special effects whereas its budget overruns in Seasons 3 - 5 had it attempting as many effects as possible.

Interesting. . I was thinking it was a couple minutes of content per 43m episode.  We get our vortex shots but most of it is practical. As you said, s3 is where they ramp up that stuff.

12 percent would be about 4 to 5 minutes per episode.  You know the material better than I.

Well, without the billboard shots, the swarm, the flood, the shark, the oil wells and the asteroid, I would have put the effects at seven per cent (three minutes per episode). I'm just guessing. We could probably calculate it down to the second. It's only eight episodes after the pilot.

I wonder if at some point, we'll get software that can create computer generated models from the frames of the Season 1 episodes and rebuild the episodes as photorealistic computer animations that mimic the standard definition image but at HD levels. Alternatively, we'd just get better upscaling technology that can sharpen even without the grain.

One effect that I do think we could do as fans although I don't know how yet; I would like to use DeepFake technology on "The King is Back" and replace Clinton's face with Cleavant's.

347 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-24 12:33:57)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:
ireactions wrote:

I'd guess 12 per cent, mostly vortex shots, the spider wasps, the flood, the shark, the oil wells in San Francisco, Quinn's billboard face, the shot of the asteroid exploding from the missile and the birth control cola shot. Aside from that, I can't see there being much and the vortex is even more infrequently onscreen in Season 2; they sometimes don't even bother to show the sliders jumping into it one by one and just have the actors run offscreen. There's a peculiar irony to how SLIDERS at its most expensive had the fewest special effects whereas its budget overruns in Seasons 3 - 5 had it attempting as many effects as possible.

Interesting. . I was thinking it was a couple minutes of content per 43m episode.  We get our vortex shots but most of it is practical. As you said, s3 is where they ramp up that stuff.

12 percent would be about 4 to 5 minutes per episode.  You know the material better than I.

Well, without the billboard shots, the swarm, the flood, the shark, the oil wells and the asteroid, I would have put the effects at seven per cent (three minutes per episode). I'm just guessing. We could probably calculate it down to the second. It's only eight episodes after the pilot.

I wonder if at some point, we'll get software that can create computer generated models from the frames of the Season 1 episodes and rebuild the episodes as photorealistic computer animations that mimic the standard definition image but at HD levels. Alternatively, we'd just get better upscaling technology that can sharpen even without the grain.

One effect that I do think we could do as fans although I don't know how yet; I would like to use DeepFake technology on "The King is Back" and replace Clinton's face with Cleavant's.

I'd be willing to log the special effects shot for the stakeholders just as a proof that the series, while sci-fi, is not special effects dominant, and may not be an inhibitor.  I'd be willing to do whatever labor to cut down on there's.  I bet you would too.

I'm really interested like you where the up-res tech goes.  Has it platuted?  Or can it keep going further?  And is there any incentive for them to work on training models for visuals as fuzzy as the source content (s1) we are talking about? Or is it too niche for them to even try to address that use case?

I think trying to smartly add texture/grain back into the image, and then building off that gain might be a solution, but you also really have to figure out how to sharpen images/boundries without pixelating/jagging content.  You have to figure out how to condense blurred boundries and not sharpen areas that don't need the work.

I think it will be awful hard for anything to intelligently build/reconstruct the s1 objects/forms as they should be.  They may make some gains in wider shots, not bluring on people in the distance etc.

I've certainly dreamed of deep fake technology being able to make old characters have "new" content again... maybe in 25 years we'll be able to work with realistic character models of the sliders group and put them against backgrounds, and pull from an audio library of their words to insert sound. lol 

Here's the thing about Season 1:

Peacock would probably see a 2x lift in viewing numbers if they had S1 in HD.  Now how much add dollars does that translate for them?  I suspect it's not all that much.  I don't recall how many commercial minutes peacock inserts but they make about 10 dollars for every 30 second ad per 1000 views.  Let's say they get 25k streams of an episode at this point.  If they have 6 minutes of commercials, that's 12 ads, which is 12 cents per stream in revenue.  So that's $3k in revenue for that episode with 25k views.

If you double that stream total, it's another $3k in revenue.  Across 8-9 episodes, you are basically talking about a total additional $24-27k in revenue as an estimate for HD content, assuming S1 is HD.  It would have a halo effect on the other seasons viewing, so you can bump that to $35k.

I'm making assumptions of course, but it gives a general picture.


Now, $35k in increased revenue, may be $100k over a ten year span (sliders on peacock has only been on two years).

Then when you add you add $60-150k off a blu-ray profit, and increased sales on VOD, it sort of all adds up to some small justification for HDing a S1.  But barely, and not very clearly, and also, companies want to go after big opportunities, not small ones like this.  An upres is ballpark $~100k cost.

And it's tough because Universal's licensing group acts like its own company from peacock, and a peacock is seperate from a third-party blu-ray company.   So the benefit to take on the entire HD cost may not be clear for one individual party, but adds up for everyone collectively.

I was poking around and I noticed Stargate did a blu-ray release, and actually just up-resed some of the older content without re-scanning.  Some of the issues with the waxy look and lack of grain were there, but it's clearly better than the dvd.

I also noticed that company I linked to with iConform technology (to scan the negative and then automatically edit it together from a reference source) used the tech on a recent Baywatch Season 1 release.  They've also done jobs on the star trek and x-files blu-ray releases.

If Sliders really isn't that special effects heavy, at least for s1 non pilot, you almost wonder if it wouldn't be that much more work than what they did on Baywatch.  Grab some time codes for the vortex or the killer bees and insert upconversions on the special effects shots.  X-Files actually did this in some of their stuff.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I think it might seem a peculiar proposition: of the 88 episodes of SLIDERS, 80 can be upscaled via plug-and-play, but eight need the original negatives rescanned. A distributor would probably elect to upscale all 88 even if eight would be below the standard of the rest.

**

The STARGATE SG1 blu-ray isn't bad, but that doesn't make it good. The distributors were way, way, way too aggressive with digital noise reduction, making their upscaled video files shockingly hazy, smoothing out most of the fine detail. This process appears to be separate from their upscale process because they applied the same denoise effect to the last three seasons, creating a waxy, detail-diminished look to them as well. Their box advertises this as a "Super Clean" video image, but it would be more accurate to call it "Moderately Blurry."

**

Would you be inclined to look up the instructions and devise a process for DeepFake where we replace Clinton's face with Cleavant's in "The King is Back"? I have the hardware, but I lack the knowledge. We could post clips of all the Clinton scenes here; that wouldn't be the whole episode, just a selection to show proof of concept.

**

I've finished upscaling Season 1 to 1080p via Artemis HQ, including the Pilot. I'm now attempting an upscale of "Into the Mystic" from 576i to 1080p with Artemis HQ, just to see what we'd get.

349 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-24 19:28:13)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I think it might seem a peculiar proposition: of the 88 episodes of SLIDERS, 80 can be upscaled via plug-and-play, but eight need the original negatives rescanned. A distributor would probably elect to upscale all 88 even if eight would be below the standard of the rest.

They could do that... and I wish they would.  The issue becomes if they feel comfortable labeling a blu-ray as a blu-ray if it's all upscaled content.  How much precedence is there for that?  How do they handle.

I would love for Turbine or someone else to release an upscale. Or universal to do it.  That said, 65 hrs of upscaling is still somewhat expensive I think.  I mean off 88 episodes. 

So you got consumers who mostly don't want to pay north of 40 bucks for something.  Not many are willing to spend 150 bucks plus.  And yet the expense of upscaling everything... because machine time.

I don't really know how much it would cost, or if consumers would accept it as a blu-ray, or if they'd complain and you get bad reviews.  I would very much like to see a GOOD upscale job.  I think your samples for s2-5 people would consider mostly viable as 1080, especially because it is just so much better than anything we've had before, and s1 is still better as well, and the pilot is gorgeous.  But if someone does a shitty job, because they are lazy (that will be most production houses/distributors) than it's harder to market as a blu-ray.  I guarantee you would have done a better job on Stargate or some true fan of the content, because of LOVE.

I honestly never would trust universal with an AI upscale job or anyone else that we couldn't have direct contact with.  They would choose one standard setting, and push start. And that's it. Someone like Turbine would probably listen and be less lazy about it.

ireactions wrote:

Would you be inclined to look up the instructions and devise a process for DeepFake where we replace Clinton's face with Cleavant's in "The King is Back"? I have the hardware, but I lack the knowledge. We could post clips of all the Clinton scenes here; that wouldn't be the whole episode, just a selection to show proof of concept.

I don't have knowledge on that as well, but I assume they are mapping/scanning some celebs face, and then map the models face as well, and super impose.  I think there are cell phone apps that do this as well.  I will see what I can find, if there's any programs built for it.

I guess the Clinton's face bothers you but I kinda like it knowing it's another real human being in the same room rather than taking the same actor and splitting the image.  Although they did a great job in the pilot and world killer with Jerry on that.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

In the Pilot and "World Killer," Jerry O'Connell is interacting with a live person. His name is James Bamford, a stunt coordinator and body double. Jerry performed as Quinn in one shot with Bamford playing the other Quinn. Then they'd switch. Then they'd edit the scenes together, having recorded with a motion-controlled, motion-recorded camera so that the camera movements would match on both versions of the shot. Cleavant and Clinton should have filmed the same way, but in "The King is Back," an odd choice was made where Clinton played all of Rembrandt-2's scenes. Production should have had Cleavant film Clinton's scenes as well, and then arranged it in editing so that whenever Rembrandt or Rembrandt-2's face is clearly in profile, it's Cleavant's face and not Clinton's.

(At least I think it's Bamford. He definitely played Quinn in "The Unstuck Man." Today, Bamford is a director on the Vancouver Arrowverse shows.)

I have never been clear on why they used Clinton as Rembrandt-2. I wonder if some early attempt at DeepFake was in mind. However, "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome" in Season 2 attempts DeepFake with the Professor and his body double and it's so bad it's funny; thankfully, Adam Nimoy made it a very brief shot blurred by motion. In "Greatfellas," Clinton and Cleavant shot each scene twice; switching roles for the second version, and then editing put it together so that Cleavant's face is Rembrandt and Rembrandt-2 and Clinton is always slightly angled away from the camera when his face is in view.

**

Strengths and weaknesses of the Artemis HQ upscale for "Fever":

https://i.ibb.co/16LG3t4/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h23m44s860.png
https://i.ibb.co/jJ9tzMs/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h23m57s508.png
https://i.ibb.co/pPGfH8K/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h24m26s228.png
https://i.ibb.co/3p450H6/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h24m30s886.png
https://i.ibb.co/VxGRprs/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h24m43s680.png
https://i.ibb.co/LYGpz2v/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h24m53s511.png
https://i.ibb.co/qNXW3ck/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h24m59s994.png
https://i.ibb.co/Zc803RQ/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h25m05s091.png
https://i.ibb.co/0pNt1hQ/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h25m13s292.png
https://i.ibb.co/GsZH9FY/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h25m20s597.png
https://i.ibb.co/BGrFj4g/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h25m26s747.png
https://i.ibb.co/tZgh3Sm/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h25m31s958.png
https://i.ibb.co/n6s8qNX/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h25m37s878.png
https://i.ibb.co/jMFGgK1/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-06h25m45s290.png

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Strengths and weaknesses of the Artemis HQ upscale for "Fever"


I always thought Fever and Last Days were among the most crappy looking episodes in all the mediums (streaming, dvd, vod, etc).

When you look at those screenshots, do you think the HQ setting is definitively the best for Fever?  LQ hits waxyness too greatly, I assume?

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I found the LQ preset made everything even blurrier than it already was for these episodes whereas HQ left it alone. It isn't better, but it isn't worse. The flaws in the 1080p image were already there in the 480i version.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I will actually run "Fever" through the MQ preset and share some screencaps. But until then, here's "Last Days" looking okay. This is the image once the compression artifacts are removed. Aside from that, it's just the DVD image with all its other qualities preserved at 1080p.

https://i.ibb.co/5RvKdPP/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h32m48s914.png https://i.ibb.co/GcnH5jj/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h33m11s947.png https://i.ibb.co/7NVcVfS/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h33m21s203.png https://i.ibb.co/2h5zXzC/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h33m25s110.png https://i.ibb.co/FgYd8Fk/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h33m33s646.png https://i.ibb.co/x760qSy/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h33m40s577.png https://i.ibb.co/ymCWMd8/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h33m52s494.png https://i.ibb.co/N1Ysmmj/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h34m22s343.png https://i.ibb.co/dDFkytY/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h34m33s545.png https://i.ibb.co/MRc7yNq/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h34m44s502.png https://i.ibb.co/pX9X14D/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h34m58s663.png https://i.ibb.co/R9YYyQQ/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h35m06s464.png https://i.ibb.co/S04bw1K/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h35m19s965.png https://i.ibb.co/0Jg7CSh/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h35m30s236.png https://i.ibb.co/qWRrLTn/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h35m37s600.png https://i.ibb.co/SVZgPwF/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h36m02s733.png https://i.ibb.co/9Ws9S83/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h36m15s811.png https://i.ibb.co/X7Sx1Fw/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h36m20s066.png https://i.ibb.co/tLvXn8f/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h36m32s369.png https://i.ibb.co/kBYHd8r/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h37m13s330.png https://i.ibb.co/3RbvPmF/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h37m20s833.png https://i.ibb.co/6yCmhXb/vlcsnap-2021-10-25-17h37m48s932.png

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I will actually run "Fever" through the MQ preset and share some screencaps. But until then, here's "Last Days" looking okay. This is the image once the compression artifacts are removed. Aside from that, it's just the DVD image with all its other qualities preserved at 1080p.

Even though s1 non-pilot doesn't get the holy grail out of this process, it clearly is a cleaner image, and more HD ready.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

*sigh* If SLIDERS had just been delayed by one year, Season 1 would be on digital videotape.

I've been watching some 2002 - 2008 episodes of THE DEAD ZONE on DVD. It's a DVD image and it's 3 - 4 episodes per disc, so the video quality is only adequate and a touch fuzzy, very much the average DVD. However, it was clearly shot on film (aside from digital cameras for some special effects sequences). And it looks like it was edited on high definition digital videotape, so that high definition video detail is still there, just muted by the reduction from high definition HDV to standard definition broadcast and DVD.

As a result, Topaz has absolutely no trouble restoring the high definition video quality of these episodes because it's mostly there on DVD, diminished but not destroyed.

356 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-26 08:25:52)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

*sigh* If SLIDERS had just been delayed by one year, Season 1 would be on digital videotape.

I've been watching some 2002 - 2008 episodes of THE DEAD ZONE on DVD. It's a DVD image and it's 3 - 4 episodes per disc, so the video quality is only adequate and a touch fuzzy, very much the average DVD. However, it was clearly shot on film (aside from digital cameras for some special effects sequences). And it looks like it was edited on high definition digital videotape, so that high definition video detail is still there, just muted by the reduction from high definition HDV to standard definition broadcast and DVD.

As a result, Topaz has absolutely no trouble restoring the high definition video quality of these episodes because it's mostly there on DVD, diminished but not destroyed.


A couple of ideas have come to mind.  There's obviously some of the dvd/blu-ray companies.. including the one that did the stargate bluray.  I'm gonna think more about that.  You'd essentially have to push someone at Universal to see the "bigger picture" of having an hd version of the s1 (especially if the show comes back), for global syndication (it's still in re-runs on occasion worldwide) and peacock, and then if you can find a blu-ray partner who'd pay part of the restoration cost (up-resed special effects of course)...

But that will be a little difficult to communicate / get going.

Another idea I had was.... well, let's say a SLIDERS documentary was being put together, and there was an inquiry to licensing the footage for use in the doc.  Let's say the documentary was aiming to be in all HD.  Because that's what distributors/streamers in the marketplace expect nowadays.  How much would it cost the filmmakers to get 35m scans of let's say 10 minutes of footage?  It's a way to see if they still have negatives, and how much maybe per minute an HD upgrade might cost.  Universal has an inhouse studio services division that would likely do the work for them-- this services team actually also works with outside parties on all types of content as well.

I mean one never knows, maybe there's an S1 blu-ray with a special documentary.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

In the Pilot and "World Killer," Jerry O'Connell is interacting with a live person. His name is James Bamford, a stunt coordinator and body double. Jerry performed as Quinn in one shot with Bamford playing the other Quinn. Then they'd switch. Then they'd edit the scenes together, having recorded with a motion-controlled, motion-recorded camera so that the camera movements would match on both versions of the shot. Cleavant and Clinton should have filmed the same way, but in "The King is Back," an odd choice was made where Clinton played all of Rembrandt-2's scenes. Production should have had Cleavant film Clinton's scenes as well, and then arranged it in editing so that whenever Rembrandt or Rembrandt-2's face is clearly in profile, it's Cleavant's face and not Clinton's.

It took two-weeks to do that Pilot scene shot so I suspect they had Clinton play Remmy2 for speed/production cost purposes...

I have never been clear on why they used Clinton as Rembrandt-2. I wonder if some early attempt at DeepFake was in mind. However, "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome" in Season 2 attempts DeepFake with the Professor and his body double and it's so bad it's funny; thankfully, Adam Nimoy made it a very brief shot blurred by motion. In "Greatfellas," Clinton and Cleavant shot each scene twice; switching roles for the second version, and then editing put it together so that Cleavant's face is Rembrandt and Rembrandt-2 and Clinton is always slightly angled away from the camera when his face is in view.

Really about Greatfellas?  Because I always felt I could tell the difference between the two actors...

In the pilot, even with the body double, there are scenes where both jerrys are in the same shot, and i think in the pilot commentary they explained how they did that.  Didn't they just superimpose the film negative over each other in that one?

358 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-26 12:14:58)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

A couple of interesting links:

https://www.impossiblesoftware.com/tuto … index.html

http://www.live-mapper.com/

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

You know, RussianCabbie, I think you're right that the Artemis medium quality preset might be better suited to the Season 1 episodes. Here's "Fever" via Artemis MQ preset. 

https://i.ibb.co/c8y1VY3/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h00m20s309.png https://i.ibb.co/0KXsNtB/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h00m47s126.png https://i.ibb.co/Lv5Ftb4/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h00m54s115.png https://i.ibb.co/LQDK8Vy/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h01m01s341.png https://i.ibb.co/VCh8Kkx/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h01m07s153.png https://i.ibb.co/6XmxkfD/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h01m13s178.png https://i.ibb.co/kHwRYbT/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h01m20s807.png https://i.ibb.co/QbJQL6P/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h01m26s284.png https://i.ibb.co/7Ks7WWT/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h01m54s772.png https://i.ibb.co/XFqvB8S/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h02m08s030.png https://i.ibb.co/9n2RrJM/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h02m14s139.png https://i.ibb.co/y4C74mP/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h02m20s429.png https://i.ibb.co/PTDWQcZ/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h02m24s860.png https://i.ibb.co/BLhVBjr/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h02m30s692.png https://i.ibb.co/Rz50K56/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h02m43s506.png https://i.ibb.co/QN1C1Td/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h03m01s710.png https://i.ibb.co/PWB7QN4/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h03m12s930.png https://i.ibb.co/JBvBjJN/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h03m27s339.png https://i.ibb.co/pJMnGP2/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h03m33s356.png https://i.ibb.co/jRBwtCv/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h03m39s092.png https://i.ibb.co/XfH1rJV/vlcsnap-2021-10-26-19h03m43s949.png

I have to say, this is looking better than the HQ result. The wide and medium shots had serious aliasing issues in the original video files. The HQ preset didn't make that worse, left it alone but inflated the issue of edges of people and objects having phantom outlines around them. The MQ preset smooths that out, adding a touch of blur to those outlines, blending these flaws out of the image. There's a bit of blurriness, but it's for a wide shot.

I guess I'm upscaling the other seven post-Pilot episodes of SLIDERS again, this time on the MQ preset. What is this, the seventh time? The eighth? I've had to position some ice packs below the laptop stand for extra cooling.

**

I don't hear anything in the commentary about the technical means for filming the Pilot scene with Quinn and Smarter Quinn aside from remarks that they found a body double who looked just like Jerry O'Connell once they put a wig on him. Torme says that Jerry had an uncannily close body double in the recent livestream, too.

I'm guessing that this person is James Bamford, a Vancouver stuntman who's career began in 1994 with VIPER (shot in Calgary) and MANTIS (in Vancouver). Bamford performed as Jerry's body double in "The Unstuck Man," and I'm assuming that he was Jerry's double between the Pilot and Season 5 too before going back to Vancouver to serve as stunt coordinator on numerous shows and then moving into superhero TV directing in 2016.

They did merge alternate sides of the film negative over each other. But it's customary to have a body double play the other side of the scene so that the actor has a scene partner for timing. Jerry would have performed in the shot as Quinn alongside a body double playing Quinn-2. Then Jerry would have performed the same shot as Quinn-2 with a body double for Quinn. These shots would then be composited on top of each other; the sides of the shots with Jerry's Quinn would be kept and the sides with the body double would be covered.

**

I would argue that in "Greatfellas," Cleavant plays Rembrandt and Rembrandt-2 and Clinton is used as a body double. Cleavant plays Rembrandt-2.

https://i.ibb.co/KNkMFg3/Sliders-S02e10-Greatfellas-19-m4v-snapshot-29-20-997.jpg

Yes, in shots where both Rembrandts are in the same frame, Clinton's face is certainly visible and can be distinguished from Cleavant, but Clinton is always slightly angled or moving (but not obscured). Also, the double shots have Cleavant and Clinton switch roles to try to average out the differences.

https://i.ibb.co/FBr9kYM/Sliders-S02e10-Greatfellas-19-m4v-snapshot-39-53-076.jpg

At the end, Clinton (playing Rembrandt) and Cleavant (playing Rembrandt-2) are standing together.

https://i.ibb.co/X4ppq3h/Sliders-S02e10-Greatfellas-19-m4v-snapshot-39-52-739.jpg

Then Clinton/Rembrandt runs out of frame, leaving Cleavant/Rembrandt-2 alone.

https://i.ibb.co/kKNk1VD/Sliders-S02e10-Greatfellas-19-m4v-snapshot-39-54-350.jpg

We go to a shot of Rembrandt, now played by Cleavant and not Clinton, saluting Rembrandt-2.

https://i.ibb.co/Wg9QwNd/Sliders-S02e10-Greatfellas-19-m4v-snapshot-39-59-292.jpg

Then we cut to Rembrandt-2 and Rembrandt-2 is also played by Cleavant.

https://i.ibb.co/R7YPfqF/Sliders-S02e10-Greatfellas-19-m4v-snapshot-40-01-294.jpg

Clinton is removed once there's only one Rembrandt in the frame.

This technique was also used in the DEAD ZONE episode "Looking Glass" which featured identical twins played by two identical twins. The plot requires that they be indistinguishable. However, there are small but noticeable differences between the two men. To smooth this over, "Looking Glass" would have the twins switch roles throughout the same scene in almost every other shot; this would average out any differences between the two.

Sorry I keep going back to THE DEAD ZONE, I'm afraid this is going to be happening for awhile. THE DEAD ZONE THE DEAD ZONE THE DEAD ZONE. It's an interesting failure.

**

Regarding the STARGATE SG-1 blu-rays: I have only seen two episodes of the show (the first two, and on the blu-ray). But even from those, it's clear that distributor, Visual Entertainment Inc., didn't do a very good job.

I don't know the show well, but fan reviews remarked that on the box art, the Stargate is incorrectly drawn and that the cast photo uses a character lineup that was only in place for one season out of the 10, indicating that the distributor had clearly never watched the show -- which reflects their upscaling process.

VEI not only failed to improve effectively on SD video, they actively damaged HD video. Seasons 1 - 7 were edited on digital videotape. VEI upscaled them to 1080p, but their process was the equivalent of Topaz LQ, creating a clean image, but one that was also a bit blurrier than it needed to be. It would have looked like the 720p upscales of Seasons 4 - 5 where there was a bit of natural film grain on an HD-acceptable image. But then VEI ran the files through another round of image smoothing. Likely, they did this to avoid all the jagged edges that often show up in upscaled video files, but rather than do it selectively, they did it to every episode, adding another layer of blurriness.

It was probably unfeasible to watch seven seasons of TV to find the specific scenes that didn't upscale well, but then it would have been best left it alone and let some shots be flawed rather than adding further blurriness to all shots.

With Seasons 8 - 10, VEI ran their image smoothing process again -- which was nonsensical. Seasons 8 - 10 were shot on digital cameras; they were already in 1080p. VEI took sharp HD video and made it blurrier. The only reason I can see for this: one of their marketing elements is to declare that their blu-ray products offer a "Super Clean" picture, even if the image does not need to be super cleaned.

VEI also reportedly messed up the surround sound. Sometimes, enabling it on the disc turns it off while disabling it turns it back on, and it's completely random across each episode.

**

Back to SLIDERS: in terms of upscaling, Seasons 2 - 5 would look good if upscaled, but there will always be a certain haziness to medium and wide shots that separates true high definition from HD approximations.

There is one more thing I haven't tried with Season 1 yet. There was a fan upscaler who shared his process awhile ago. (He then went dark and destroyed all his social media posts.) His process: he didn't just use Topaz video upscaling. For numerous shows including XENA and LOIS AND CLARK (but not SLIDERS), he used Topaz Video to extract an upscaled version of each frame of the video masters (which he somehow acquired) and saved each frame as a PNG file.

Then he ran an upscaling process on each PNG file, apparently sharpening them up, refining all the details, and bringing the resolution to as high as 15,000 pixels tall. Then he scaled the PNG files back down to 4K or 1080. Then he reintegrated the PNGs into a video sequence via Premiere Pro and added back the sound.

I have Topaz Gigapixel for upscaling still images. But I'm not sure I would get the same results for SLIDERS as this fan upscaler had actual video masters whereas I have DVDs. In addition, I don't even know if these frames we're seeing can be upscaled because, as he explained his (destroyed) notes, the upscalers use grain and these Season 1 files are very short on grain. I'm also not sure if my external 1TB spinning hard drive and external 120 GB SSD are enough for even one episode of this increasingly over-the-top endeavour.

Anyway. Let's do MQ and see how it goes.

360 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-10-27 07:32:35)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

You know, RussianCabbie, I think you're right that the Artemis medium quality preset might be better suited to the Season 1 episodes. Here's "Fever" via Artemis MQ preset. 

I have to say, this is looking better than the HQ result. The wide and medium shots had serious aliasing issues in the original video files. The HQ preset didn't make that worse, left it alone but inflated the issue of edges of people and objects having phantom outlines around them. The MQ preset smooths that out, adding a touch of blur to those outlines, blending these flaws out of the image. There's a bit of blurriness, but it's for a wide shot.

Well you get all the credit here, I was just asking some questions along the way. 

ireactions wrote:

I guess I'm upscaling the other seven post-Pilot episodes of SLIDERS again, this time on the MQ preset. What is this, the seventh time? The eighth? I've had to position some ice packs below the laptop stand for extra cooling.

About 15 years ago, I broke an older laptop whose fan was dead because I kept watching video on it for a sustained period of time and it got to hot..



I don't hear anything in the commentary about the technical means for filming the Pilot scene with Quinn and Smarter Quinn aside from remarks that they found a body double who looked just like Jerry O'Connell once they put a wig on him. Torme says that Jerry had an uncannily close body double in the recent livestream, too.

I'm guessing that this person is James Bamford, a Vancouver stuntman who's career began in 1994 with VIPER (shot in Calgary) and MANTIS (in Vancouver). Bamford performed as Jerry's body double in "The Unstuck Man," and I'm assuming that he was Jerry's double between the Pilot and Season 5 too before going back to Vancouver to serve as stunt coordinator on numerous shows and then moving into superhero TV directing in 2016.

They did merge alternate sides of the film negative over each other. But it's customary to have a body double play the other side of the scene so that the actor has a scene partner for timing. Jerry would have performed in the shot as Quinn alongside a body double playing Quinn-2. Then Jerry would have performed the same shot as Quinn-2 with a body double for Quinn. These shots would then be composited on top of each other; the sides of the shots with Jerry's Quinn would be kept and the sides with the body double would be covered.

I can't recall where I heard the two week thing, but I don't misremember those sorts of things.  Maybe it was in the Sliders EPK, if not the dvd commentary, maybe it was in an article.  I remember being quite surprised.  I think the result turned out amazing though.  Especially the side shot of the vortex.


I would argue that in "Greatfellas," Cleavant plays Rembrandt and Rembrandt-2 and Clinton is used as a body double. Cleavant plays Rembrandt-2.

Yes, in shots where both Rembrandts are in the same frame, Clinton's face is certainly visible and can be distinguished from Cleavant, but Clinton is always slightly angled or moving (but not obscured). Also, the double shots have Cleavant and Clinton switch roles to try to average out the differences.

At the end, Clinton (playing Rembrandt) and Cleavnt (playing Rembrandt-2) are standing together.


Then Clinton/Rembrandt runs out of frame, leaving Cleavant/Rembrandt-2 alone.


We go to a shot of Rembrandt, now played by Cleavant and not Clinton, saluting Rembrandt-2.

Then we cut to Rembrandt-2 and Rembrandt-2 is also played by Cleavant.


Clinton is removed once there's only one Rembrandt in the frame.

Good breakdown... helps me know what I was seeing. I think it's pretty easy to tell when it's Clinton.  Actually, now that I think back about it, I have noticed how well Cleavant plays the agent more straightforward than his remmy character to the point it's like two different people.

Regarding the STARGATE SG-1 blu-rays: I have only seen two episodes of the show (the first two, and on the blu-ray). But even from those, it's clear that distributor, Visual Entertainment Inc., didn't do a very good job.

I don't know the show well, but fan reviews remarked that on the box art, the Stargate is incorrectly drawn and that the cast photo uses a character lineup that was only in place for one season out of the 10, indicating that the distributor had clearly never watched the show -- which reflects their upscaling process.

VEI not only failed to improve effectively on SD video, they actively damaged HD video. Seasons 1 - 7 were edited on digital videotape. VEI upscaled them to 1080p, but their process was the equivalent of Topaz LQ, creating a clean image, but one that was also a bit blurrier than it needed to be. It would have looked like the 720p upscales of Seasons 4 - 5 where there was a bit of natural film grain on an HD-acceptable image. But then VEI ran the files through another round of image smoothing. Likely, they did this to avoid all the jagged edges that often show up in upscaled video files, but rather than do it selectively, they did it to every episode, adding another layer of blurriness.

It was probably unfeasible to watch seven seasons of TV to find the specific scenes that didn't upscale well, but then it would have been best left it alone and let some shots be flawed rather than adding further blurriness to all shots.

With Seasons 8 - 10, VEI ran their image smoothing process again -- which was nonsensical. Seasons 8 - 10 were shot on digital cameras; they were already in 1080p. VEI took sharp HD video and made it blurrier. The only reason I can see for this: one of their marketing elements is to declare that their blu-ray products offer a "Super Clean" picture, even if the image does not need to be super cleaned.

VEI also reportedly messed up the surround sound. Sometimes, enabling it on the disc turns it off while disabling it turns it back on, and it's completely random across each episode.

It sounds like a mixed bag, but also it does seem like some fans are happy to have that release. But it emphasizes my larger point -- I would be quite concerned about any party doing an upres or restoration without input from a party who is really going to try to help in quality assurance. These entities don't have the time to compare different settings for different things, they don't know the content, etc. They want to do a batch job.  They dont have the man power or time to sit through and rewatch everything.

I've mentioned in the other thread about my desire for Tracy to oversee a restoration process if the peacock gig doesnt happen and they could do a sliders special or roundtable alongside it.  Or something.  I was just saying that because I want someone on the inside who'd actually give a crap the way things looked.

The best way to really do it is get a scan on the 35mm from the studio and then handle the rest outside of that.  The post production.  That said, studios are big on not allowing anyone to change their content. I am not sure what deal VEI, had, and it's MGM that owns stargate i think but generally, i think even doing an upres isn't necessarily allowed for like a tv broadcast, but then again we suspected that may have been done by The Hub, so I don't know.

Point being studios tend to not want content altered.  Anyway, I think it's highly unlikely a scan of the original s1 film reels can happen, but i do think there's a course to make it happen.  It would just be hard to make happen.  But, you look at The Prisoner on streaming now, and it's like wow.  Why can't we have that? It'd be incredible to see Sliders the way it was meant to be... although I doubt it would have the color vibrance of The Prisoner. Not even Back to the Future seems to have that.


Back to SLIDERS: in terms of upscaling, Seasons 2 - 5 would look good if upscaled, but there will always be a certain haziness to medium and wide shots that separates true high definition from HD approximations.

There is one more thing I haven't tried with Season 1 yet. There was a fan upscaler who shared his process awhile ago. (He then went dark and destroyed all his social media posts.) His process: he didn't just use Topaz video upscaling. For numerous shows including XENA and LOIS AND CLARK (but not SLIDERS), he used Topaz Video to extract an upscaled version of each frame of the video masters (which he somehow acquired) and saved each frame as a PNG file.

Then he ran an upscaling process on each PNG file, apparently sharpening them up, refining all the details, and bringing the resolution to as high as 15,000 pixels tall. Then he scaled the PNG files back down to 4K or 1080. Then he reintegrated the PNGs into a video sequence via Premiere Pro and added back the sound.

I have Topaz Gigapixel for upscaling still images. But I'm not sure I would get the same results for SLIDERS as this fan upscaler had actual video masters whereas I have DVDs. In addition, I don't even know if these frames we're seeing can be upscaled because, as he explained his (destroyed) notes, the upscalers use grain and these Season 1 files are very short on grain. I'm also not sure if my external 1TB spinning hard drive and external 120 GB SSD are enough for even one episode of this increasingly over-the-top endeavour.

I've actually thought a little about this myself, if Topaz AI hits his limits, is upconverting with their photo software each frame a way to get even better quality.

The issue might be that the video AI may do something that's either entirely the same and breaks down all the frames and makes it a batch photoconversion job, or they have made some trade offs for processing time to get a 1 hour piece of content done.  I'm not sure how realistic speed wise it would be.  And you noted possible storage drive issues.

I'm also just not sure there algorithm is any different for photos vs. video.  I have used some AI photo things in the past on the web, and I have been trying to find them the past couple of weeks, but I can't find what i used. I wanted to try on a frame of sliders to see the results.  I suspect it may still have a hard time with the underlying content from s1.  But it would nice to be surprised.  In anycase, whenever I google, I can't find the ones I tried in the past (which were great back then). 

Maybe they were taken offline because they couldn't handle the cost of doing free photo demos for people.

here's an old one I did:

BEFORE
https://i.ibb.co/njfLxML/jimmy-king-cba-championship.jpg

AFTER
https://i.ibb.co/DMHTFrb/jimmy-king-cba-championship.jpg



Open each photo in a new tab and flip between tabs to compare.  There was a fair amount of grain in the original shot, of course.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Has anyone noticed the Sliders theme on Love Gods via Peacock. Acts like its playing on 1.25x

slidecage.com
Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I'll let RussianCabbie weigh in on Peacock.

**

Before I get back into SLIDERS upscaling, I've been running some experiments with episodes of THE DEAD ZONE to better understand what Topaz is doing with these various presets.

THE DEAD ZONE from 2002 - 2004 (Seasons 1 - 3) was shot on 16mm and edited on high definition videotape that was then downscaled to standard definition for broadcast and for DVDs. As a result, the first three seasons have a filmic graininess that would have looked really sharp on standard definition televisions. In addition, on-the-fly upscaling disc players can render the image quite well for HDTV playback, removing most of the compression artifacts. And the graininess allows Topaz to render all that grain into crisp pixel detail. The Artemis HQ preset works effectively on these episodes and leaves some of that grain intact, restoring all the crisp detail of the original 16mm film. A 1080p rescan of the film wouldn't look much different.

SLIDERS in Seasons 2- 5 were were edited in a standard definition DV format, not HDV, so upscales don't match THE DEAD ZONE's quality. However, it speaks to how digital videotape, even in standard definition, proved to be a massive visual leap forward; digital videotape has proven so resilient that even under Mill Creek's overcompression, Seasons 2 - 5 episodes were still upscalable.

THE DEAD ZONE switched to digital cameras with its 2005 - 2008 years (Seasons 4 - 6), recording via what I assume was HDCAM; even if the 2005 - 2008 seasons hadn't had serious budget cuts, digital cameras make sense for any TV production due to scheduling and costs. The look of THE DEAD ZONE's SD image doesn't seem that different from previous seasons (outside of production choices where lighting is less layered and intricate with a preference for post production relighting). But when it comes to upscaling, Topaz can't make use of the grain on these DVD files.

The reason: a digital video camera doesn't create an image from grains; it's formed from pixels. The grainy quality on THE DEAD ZONE's Season 4 - 6 episodes has been applied to the image afterwards to mimic the look of film and follow the Season 1 - 3 style. Aesthetically, it's consistent, but that grain isn't image forming, so the AI can't use it to extract greater detail for higher resolutions.

Instead, Topaz treats it this post production grain on THE DEAD ZONE as a compression artifact to be diminished. THE DEAD ZONE in its 16mm episodes could be AI upscaled to look like a crisp 1080p film scan. For the HDCAM seasons of THE DEAD ZONE, the AI upscaling can't extract greater detail from the grain because the grain is just an informationless layer on top. Instead, the AI lifts off the grain, filters out DVD compression artifacts, and does a lossless/gainless increase from 480i to 1080p.

After AI upscaling, DEAD ZONE episodes from the digital years look less like film and more like amazingly well-upscaled DVD; they look very good, but they have a certain fine blur over smaller details because to get here, THE DEAD ZONE in this format went from being an HD digital video to being reduced to SD and then rescaled to HD again. The digital video master, wherever it is, would be in full quality HD and likely looks a bit better than this. Not night and day, but maybe morning and morning after a very large cup of coffee.

Of course, none of this really matters; if Paramount (the rights holders) wanted to release THE DEAD ZONE in HD, they have the high definition videotape masters whereas for SLIDERS, Universal only has standard definition videotape masters.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

So does that mean that THE DEAD ZONE content for S1-3 looks better after topaz processing than S4-6?

I assume on the dvds itself, the 1-3 don't look as good at 4-6?  Or maybe that's a draw.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Jim_Hall wrote:

Has anyone noticed the Sliders theme on Love Gods via Peacock. Acts like its playing on 1.25x

hmm. I am comparing it with Into the Mystic and not noticing a difference?

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

So does that mean that THE DEAD ZONE content for S1-3 looks better after topaz processing than S4-6?

I assume on the dvds itself, the 1-3 don't look as good at 4-6?  Or maybe that's a draw.

With THE DEAD ZONE: Seasons 1 - 3 after Topaz upscaling look absolutely perfect. 10 out of 10. They look like a digital film scan.
It's because Seasons 1 - 3 are grain based images from 16mm film, edited on high definition digital videotape and downscaled for broadcast and DVD and with all the film grain still present and available for an upscale.

However, THE DEAD ZONE's Seasons 4 - 6 after an AI upscale look like an upscaled DVD. It is an amazing upscale and no blu-ray player could do this sort of upscale during playback because all the compression artifacts are gone and the resolution has been increased through smooth pixel blending specific to the image textures to ensure no new artifacts or imperfections. But fine details like pores and grass have a slight blur to them. It's because these seasons are pixel based images from digital cameras, edited digitally, then downscaled for broadcast and DVD.

The DVDs themselves look pretty much the same across all six seasons of this show in terms of video quality and characteristics (grain, sharpness, clarity, detail). There's no weird discrepancy like Season 1 of SLIDERS being denoised and blurry and Season 2 being sharp and grainy. THE DEAD ZONE made some effort to retain its visual identity even though its cameras and filming location changed.

However, THE DEAD ZONE's look certainly shifted with digital cameras, but where SLIDERS benefitted greatly from the digital videotape format, THE DEAD ZONE suffered a little for the transition into a fully digital format. The first three seasons of DEAD ZONE benefitted from film because for film, productions light everything with thought as to how that light will show up through the film chemical process.

In contrast, digital videography captures video 'as-is,' and lighting and colour are often adjusted afterwards. There is less thought put into lighting a scene as it's adjustable in post, there are also artistic limitations. Seasons 1 - 3 were very artful and deliberate in lighting. Johnny Smith's house in THE DEAD ZONE had, in Seasons 1 - 3, a cozy warmth with a sense of amber comfort where every room seemed to be lit like it had a fireplace even if it didn't. From Seasons 4 - 6, Johnny's house just becomes 'dark.' It could be fairly said that THE DEAD ZONE's later seasons' use of digital cameras just make it look cheaper and shabbier much like SLIDERS in Seasons 4 - 5 not really bothering to use colour or its absence for storytelling and just looking beige.

Nothing to do with video quality itself, of course.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

With THE DEAD ZONE: Seasons 1 - 3 after Topaz upscaling look absolutely perfect. 10 out of 10. They look like a digital film scan.
It's because Seasons 1 - 3 are grain based images from 16mm film, edited on high definition digital videotape and downscaled for broadcast and DVD and with all the film grain still present and available for an upscale.

However, THE DEAD ZONE's Seasons 4 - 6 after an AI upscale look like an upscaled DVD. It is an amazing upscale and no blu-ray player could do this sort of upscale during playback because all the compression artifacts are gone and the resolution has been increased through smooth pixel blending specific to the image textures to ensure no new artifacts or imperfections. But fine details like pores and grass have a slight blur to them. It's because these seasons are pixel based images from digital cameras, edited digitally, then downscaled for broadcast and DVD.

The DVDs themselves look pretty much the same across all six seasons of this show in terms of video quality and characteristics (grain, sharpness, clarity, detail). There's no weird discrepancy like Season 1 of SLIDERS being denoised and blurry and Season 2 being sharp and grainy. THE DEAD ZONE made some effort to retain its visual identity even though its cameras and filming location changed.

However, THE DEAD ZONE's look certainly shifted with digital cameras, but where SLIDERS benefitted greatly from the digital videotape format, THE DEAD ZONE suffered a little for the transition into a fully digital format. The first three seasons of DEAD ZONE benefitted from film because for film, productions light everything with thought as to how that light will show up through the film chemical process.

In contrast, digital videography captures video 'as-is,' and lighting and colour are often adjusted afterwards. There is less thought put into lighting a scene as it's adjustable in post, there are also artistic limitations. Seasons 1 - 3 were very artful and deliberate in lighting. Johnny Smith's house in THE DEAD ZONE had, in Seasons 1 - 3, a cozy warmth with a sense of amber comfort where every room seemed to be lit like it had a fireplace even if it didn't. From Seasons 4 - 6, Johnny's house just becomes 'dark.' It could be fairly said that THE DEAD ZONE's later seasons' use of digital cameras just make it look cheaper and shabbier much like SLIDERS in Seasons 4 - 5 not really bothering to use colour or its absence for storytelling and just looking beige.

Nothing to do with video quality itself, of course.

Keep in mind, the reason they went to digital video and cut out film in the deadzone may have been a strong need to lower cost, and in that strong need, the desire to light it well or work longer hours to light it well may have diminished.  I guess I am saying, it may not have been 100 percent about the flexibility to adjust in post, it may have also been like, "this show isn't not a big enough of a hit to put as much thought in it, let's just shoot in dv and keep it moving. get to 88 episodes and syndication."

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Bah! Medium quality has been a disaster on every episode aside from "Fever," it all looks like watercolour animation. I give up! Life moves on! I want 1080p versions of all the masterpiece episodes of THE DEAD ZONE!

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Bah! Medium quality has been a disaster on every episode aside from "Fever," it all looks like watercolour animation. I give up! Life moves on! I want 1080p versions of all the masterpiece episodes of THE DEAD ZONE!

hahaha

sorry medium didn't work out!

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I've been rewriting the first post of this thread, updating it with a summary of the video quality of each DVD set.

I've come to realize something: the Universal DVDs are not bad. I've said repeatedly that they are, but they aren't. Yes, DVD compression and interlacing can diminish video quality, but upon further review and comparison, the Universal SLIDERS DVDs don't have particularly small file sizes (1.6 - 1.8 GB per episode). The non-Pilot Season 1 episodes look terrible because the video masters are blurry, because they were film transferred to analog low resolution videotape. The DVD compression and interlacing don't do it any favours, but lifting off the compression and decombing have only further revealed the poor quality of the image underneath.

Seasons 2 - 5 on the Universal DVD sets look good. DVD compression and interlacing have marred them, but the underlying video image is sharp, detailed and defined; the film to digital videotape transfer has maintained a scaled down version of the film's crisp detail. An upscaling blu-ray player and/or HDTV upscaling can make them presentable; AI upscaling can make them look like impressive HD approximations.

Mill Creek, however, is bad; Season 1 looks terrible, blurry and artifacted from overcompression, Seasons 2 - 3 are hovering around poor to okay, looking fuzzier than the Universal versions and covered in blockiness and noise. Seasons 4 - 5 look average; the 16mm film image is grainy to begin with and a decent blu-ray player and/or HDTV upscaler can smooth out Mill Creek's damage while AI upscaling can remove it completely.

I think Season 1 looking so bad on Universal just made me feel biased against the rest of the Universal discs, but I've come to realize that SLIDERS' video quality on the Universal DVDs is as good as it can be within the limitations of DVD and the masters.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I've been rewriting the first post of this thread, updating it with a summary of the video quality of each DVD set.

I've come to realize something: the Universal DVDs are not bad. I've said repeatedly that they are, but they aren't. Yes, DVD compression and interlacing can diminish video quality, but upon further review and comparison, the Universal SLIDERS DVDs don't have particularly small file sizes (1.6 - 1.8 GB per episode). The non-Pilot Season 1 episodes look terrible because the video masters are blurry, because they were film transferred to analog low resolution videotape. The DVD compression and interlacing don't do it any favours, but lifting off the compression and decombing have only further revealed the poor quality of the image underneath.

Seasons 2 - 5 on the Universal DVD sets look good. DVD compression and interlacing have marred them, but the underlying video image is sharp, detailed and defined; the film to digital videotape transfer has maintained a scaled down version of the film's crisp detail. An upscaling blu-ray player and/or HDTV upscaling can make them presentable; AI upscaling can make them look like impressive HD approximations.

Mill Creek, however, is bad; Season 1 looks terrible, blurry and artifacted from overcompression, Seasons 2 - 3 are hovering around poor to okay, looking fuzzier than the Universal versions and covered in blockiness and noise. Seasons 4 - 5 look average; the 16mm film image is grainy to begin with and a decent blu-ray player and/or HDTV upscaler can smooth out Mill Creek's damage while AI upscaling can remove it completely.

I think Season 1 looking so bad on Universal just made me feel biased against the rest of the Universal discs, but I've come to realize that SLIDERS' video quality on the Universal DVDs is as good as it can be within the limitations of DVD and the masters.

It's interesting that you mention that. I've always thought seasons 3-5 look good on dvd, 4-5 really respectable for sd.

S1&2 hasn't held up for me but the initial reviews were pretty positive. 

As far as I understand though universal was still doing 500mb per episode, correct?   Outside the pilot.

371 (edited by ireactions 2021-11-13 11:53:07)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Looking at the discs through MakeMKV.

Universal: 1.6GB - 1.8GB per episode

Mill Creek: Ranging from 1GB - 1.2GB per episode

Turbine: 1.7GB - 1.8GB per episode

Why do Turbine's SD files look clearer than SD DVD (if you can access them directly off the disc)? I think it's likely that the DVD authoring techniques of 2004 and the DVD format itself created the image degradation.

Turbine likely used more modern-to-2015 video codecs to create the blu-ray files from the PAL masters.

372 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-11-13 13:28:59)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Looking at the discs through MakeMKV.


Turbine likely used more modern-to-2015 video codecs to create the blu-ray files from the PAL masters.


Interesting..

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I was trying to watch the ArtemisHQ upscaled version of "Prince of Wails" on my TV (Hisense 55H7608) via my AndroidTV box earlier today. I ended up turning it off and deleting all of my upscaled Season 1 files.

The issue I have with it: the closeups look really good, but all medium and wide shots have a distractingly inconsistent effect where the AI is trying to sharpen the outlines of all people and objects and creating jagged edges that flicker into blurriness and back into jagged edges. It's because the algorithm is seizing on what little grain there is to upscale and it doesn't have enough to work with.

Out of interest: I tried watching the DVDs and blu-ray of this episode with an upscaling blu-ray player. I started with the Mill Creek disc of "Prince of Wails" and watched Prince Harold and Wade's scenes. This is the first time I've watched SLIDERS on an HDTV with an actual blu-ray disc player (a Samsung BD-J4500R). Before, I had just a PlayStation 3. While the PlayStation 3 was DVD and blu-ray capable, its DVD 'upscaling' was little more than deinterlacing and scaling the image (like any SD DVD player) and applying various noise filters that blurred the image. And my TV is just a budget 55 inch with zero upscaling features.

The Samsung player is a bargain basement budget model, but it still extends some effort to upscale DVDs to 1080p during playback. Comparing the output and what I've seen on the raw disc files, the Samsung player employs progressive scan on DVD (an interlaced format) to blend the odd and even fields more smoothly than standard deinterlacing. The player also adds a moderate amount of pixel contrast to the edges of images to sharpen up the image for 1080p. It deblocks the video to reduce the DVD compression. It mildly tones down jagged edges that result from the scaling. It leaves film grain intact.

On the Mill Creek disc, all this is useless. The picture is blurry with no detail to sharpen. The colour is shockingly washed out due to Mill Creek compressing the file too much; the vivid blue of the boiler room where Prince Harold is locked up is instead a dull grey. Wade's purple sweater with its texture of squares looks smoothed out in the medium shots.

I switched to the Universal DVD of "Prince of Wails" and found the colours really strong: the blue of the boiler room and Quinn's sweater, Wade's purple top -- it all came through along with the texture of the clothes. My blu-ray player did a good job of scaling the image to look presentable on HDTV, sharpening edge details but leaving surfaces within any outlines alone. There remained a bit of haziness to the image, but unlike my AI upscale of "Prince of Wails," it was consistent throughout and therefore not distracting. Despite the deblocking, there was still quite a bit of noise from the DVD compression, but the blu-ray player toned it down a touch in the upscale. My blu-ray player upscaled the Universal DVD to look presentable on an HDTV.

Out of curiosity, I put on the SD Turbine blu-ray of "Prince of Wails" and found the video quality to look pretty much the same as the Universal DVD version except there were none of the DVD compression artifacts. This is very odd. I know from playing the raw file on the SD blu-ray on my comptuer: Season 1 episodes are blurrier than the Universal DVD versions and have washed out colours. But that blur and desaturation isn't showing on my HDTV.

My blu-ray player's upscaler has an automatic setting for "Deep Colour - HDMI" that may be amending that flaw by increasing saturation for blu-ray disc playback. And my player is likely blurring the Universal DVD a little in lifting off some (but not all) of the DVD compression. The SD blu-ray file has a blurriness that is native to the file. End result: my blu-ray player's upscaling improves both the Universal DVD and the Turbine blu-ray for Season 1 episodes to the point where both versions look presentable on an HDTV and both look about the same.

It's interesting. I said awhile that SLIDERS DVDs were no longer something I wanted to watch on my new 55 inch screen TV, but my blu-ray player seems to be able to improve the Universal DVDs and the Turbine blu-ray's issues. I guess my recommendation is to get a blu-ray player with a descent upscaler.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:
ireactions wrote:

Looking at the discs through MakeMKV.


Turbine likely used more modern-to-2015 video codecs to create the blu-ray files from the PAL masters.


Interesting..

Yeah, looking at the Universal DVDs (any episode): there's compression artifacts. Blockiness. Noise that isn't film grain.

Looking at the Turbine blu-ray: the compression artifacts are not there. Any noise on the image is film grain. However, the compressed Universal DVD is artifacted and blurry for post-Pilot Season 1 episodes. The uncompressed Turbine image for Season 1 is not artifacted, but a bit blurrier and missing almost half the colour.

Put the raw video files from the discs side by side and Turbine looks washed out and fuzzy while Universal looks saturated, blocky and also a bit fuzzy if you look past the blocks. Put the discs in an upscaling player and they end up looking about the same.

I'm afraid I made a mistake. You see, when I first got the blu-ray, I was raving about how great the blu-ray SD files looked for Season 1 on my HDTV. But I see now: I was ascribing to the disc all the great work that my disc player was doing. I have a feeling my job application for blu-ray.com will not be going forward.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Another peculiar (and strictly anecdotal) situation: the Turbine blu-ray files offer superior results on my Android TV. I don't know why this is.

I tried playing the raw Universal DVD files and the raw Turbine blu-ray files of "Luck of the Draw" on my Android TV box (hooked up to my HDTV) with the MX Player app.

My Android TV box did something strange: it oversaturated all the colours, making Quinn and Arturo look weirdly orange. Everything was too rich. There seemed to be some oversharpening as well: the raw DVD file looked blocky, jagged and the amped up colour accentuated the DVD compression and artifacts. It looked hideous.

I tried playing the file in VLC and got the same results. It must be something within the MiBox 3's SoC and decoding settings that's adding increased saturation. I've never noticed oversaturation with my other video files on my MiBox 3. Maybe they benefit from it and Season 1 of SLIDERS doesn't.

I have no idea why it did this; my HDTV has the same colour profile for the blu-ray player. I played the raw file on my blu-ray player and my blu-ray player didn't increase the colour or sharpen the video so unflatteringly.

I played the Turbine version of "Luck of the Draw" on my MiBox 3 -- the blu-ray file as MKV. The colour saturation was increased here as well, but because the raw file was discoloured, the increase made it look normal. In addition, there seemed to be some mild sharpening and the raw blu-ray file looked okay -- certainly not HD or even at the level of the post-Season 1 episodes, but adequate and acceptable as an upscaled image on an HDTV. It looked as good as the upscaled Universal DVD on my blu-ray player.

It's very strange. Speaking only for the equipment I have here: for Android TV playback, the Turbine versions turn out best. For upscaled DVD playback, the Universal versions are best.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Tried playing the Universal and Turbine files for "Luck of the Draw" on my Android tablet (Samsung Tab A7, 10.4 inch screen, 2000x1200 resolution). There doesn't appear to be any upscaling.

The Universal DVD file looks okay. The image's somewhat fuzzy, lightly obscured by DVD-compressed noisiness; MX Player deinterlaces the file effectively and it plays fine as an SD image that's been scaled to a high resolution on a small, personal screen. The compression noise, however, has been scaled to a higher resolution and those stretched artifacts can make the image look really rough and unpleasantly low-res. I mean, it is low-res, but it becomes hard to ignore it in some of the daylight shots.

The Turbine SD blu-ray file also looks okay. It's a little less sharp than the DVD version, but that suggests that the DVD version could even be described as sharp, which it can't. The Turbine version also doesn't have the noisiness covering the picture, so it doesn't create the rough, ugly texture of the stretched DVD file, it looks smooth and clean. That cleanness is really a lack of texture and detail, but if you can get used to it, it doesn't distract like the upscaled artifacts of the DVD file.

The 'best' version of SLIDERS' first season might be a standard definition version without all the compression artifacts, either through a new scan of the NTSC masters or running the Universal DVD files run through AI upscaling but strictly to deblock/denoise it and output a 480p file. The video would retain sharpness in the NTSC masters and could scale to larger screens without increasing all the compression artifacts. However, you can get almost pretty much the same results with an upscaling blu-ray player.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:
ireactions wrote:

Looking at the discs through MakeMKV.


Turbine likely used more modern-to-2015 video codecs to create the blu-ray files from the PAL masters.


Interesting..

Yeah, looking at the Universal DVDs (any episode): there's compression artifacts. Blockiness. Noise that isn't film grain.

Looking at the Turbine blu-ray: the compression artifacts are not there. Any noise on the image is film grain. However, the compressed Universal DVD is artifacted and blurry for post-Pilot Season 1 episodes. The uncompressed Turbine image for Season 1 is not artifacted, but a bit blurrier and missing almost half the colour.

Put the raw video files from the discs side by side and Turbine looks washed out and fuzzy while Universal looks saturated, blocky and also a bit fuzzy if you look past the blocks. Put the discs in an upscaling player and they end up looking about the same.

I'm afraid I made a mistake. You see, when I first got the blu-ray, I was raving about how great the blu-ray SD files looked for Season 1 on my HDTV. But I see now: I was ascribing to the disc all the great work that my disc player was doing. I have a feeling my job application for blu-ray.com will not be going forward.

big_smile

One thing to also remember is how different Goodfellas looked for you vs. me.  I had what seemed to be a lot of pixelation (compression artififacts?).  I know it's S2, and you're talking about S1 above but the image looked terrible.  That said, I mostly found S2 episodes better on turbine than universal.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Another peculiar (and strictly anecdotal) situation: the Turbine blu-ray files offer superior results on my Android TV. I don't know why this is.

I tried playing the raw Universal DVD files and the raw Turbine blu-ray files of "Luck of the Draw" on my Android TV box (hooked up to my HDTV) with the MX Player app.

My Android TV box did something strange: it oversaturated all the colours, making Quinn and Arturo look weirdly orange. Everything was too rich. There seemed to be some oversharpening as well: the raw DVD file looked blocky, jagged and the amped up colour accentuated the DVD compression and artifacts. It looked hideous.

I tried playing the file in VLC and got the same results. It must be something within the MiBox 3's SoC and decoding settings that's adding increased saturation. I've never noticed oversaturation with my other video files on my MiBox 3. Maybe they benefit from it and Season 1 of SLIDERS doesn't.

I have no idea why it did this; my HDTV has the same colour profile for the blu-ray player. I played the raw file on my blu-ray player and my blu-ray player didn't increase the colour or sharpen the video so unflatteringly.

I played the Turbine version of "Luck of the Draw" on my MiBox 3 -- the blu-ray file as MKV. The colour saturation was increased here as well, but because the raw file was discoloured, the increase made it look normal. In addition, there seemed to be some mild sharpening and the raw blu-ray file looked okay -- certainly not HD or even at the level of the post-Season 1 episodes, but adequate and acceptable as an upscaled image on an HDTV. It looked as good as the upscaled Universal DVD on my blu-ray player.

It's very strange. Speaking only for the equipment I have here: for Android TV playback, the Turbine versions turn out best. For upscaled DVD playback, the Universal versions are best.

Now you know why colorists tear their hair out trying to do film coloring.  So many variables.

379 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-11-15 14:15:23)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Tried playing the Universal and Turbine files for "Luck of the Draw" on my Android tablet (Samsung Tab A7, 10.4 inch screen, 2000x1200 resolution). There doesn't appear to be any upscaling.

The Universal DVD file looks okay. The image's somewhat fuzzy, lightly obscured by DVD-compressed noisiness; MX Player deinterlaces the file effectively and it plays fine as an SD image that's been scaled to a high resolution on a small, personal screen. The compression noise, however, has been scaled to a higher resolution and those stretched artifacts can make the image look really rough and unpleasantly low-res. I mean, it is low-res, but it becomes hard to ignore it in some of the daylight shots.

The Turbine SD blu-ray file also looks okay. It's a little less sharp than the DVD version, but that suggests that the DVD version could even be described as sharp, which it can't. The Turbine version also doesn't have the noisiness covering the picture, so it doesn't create the rough, ugly texture of the stretched DVD file, it looks smooth and clean. That cleanness is really a lack of texture and detail, but if you can get used to it, it doesn't distract like the upscaled artifacts of the DVD file.

The 'best' version of SLIDERS' first season might be a standard definition version without all the compression artifacts, either through a new scan of the NTSC masters or running the Universal DVD files run through AI upscaling but strictly to deblock/denoise it and output a 480p file. The video would retain sharpness in the NTSC masters and could scale to larger screens without increasing all the compression artifacts. However, you can get almost pretty much the same results with an upscaling blu-ray player.

I'll re-try the S1 on an xbox blu-ray player which has a lot of upscaling techto take a second look, but iirc it will still look pretty bad.  The turbine release looked pretty bad (maybe  the PAL messed with the upscaling tech).

FWIW, I found out the MillCreek Release Made about 200k domestically, in revenue (not talking profit here).  I don't now, maybe we can convince Universal to spend 100-150k upscaling S1 if they felt it could make the money back in a blu-ray release and enhance peacock's offering.  But they may expect Peacock to pony up some cash for that and I doubt they would (maybe 20k at most).

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Different upscalers have different results, I guess. AI upscaling to higher resolutions isn't effective Season 1, but the really limited upscaling of my Samsung blu-ray player seems to hit the right level for both the Universal and Turbine discs.

I would be interested in running an AI upscale over the Universal Season 1 episodes that leaves them at 480p, serving only to remove the compression artifacts. This would achieve the artifact-free look of the Turbine versions but retain what little sharpness is present in the Universal release. It wouldn't be an upscale, really, just denoising and deblocking to remove the damage done by the DVD authoring.

However, I am currently running an upscale of UNIVERSAL SIGNS again, trying to get it to 1080p this time and remove all the compression damage on the Vimeo file. But I could probably run the Season 1 episodes through the AI processing again and see how it goes.

But I have learned my lesson; looking at brief stills doesn't give a sense of how well the processed file plays on an HDTV, so I won't talk about it until I've actually watched at least 10 minutes of a processed episode.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Different upscalers have different results, I guess. AI upscaling to higher resolutions isn't effective Season 1, but the really limited upscaling of my Samsung blu-ray player seems to hit the right level for both the Universal and Turbine discs.

I would be interested in running an AI upscale over the Universal Season 1 episodes that leaves them at 480p, serving only to remove the compression artifacts. This would achieve the artifact-free look of the Turbine versions but retain what little sharpness is present in the Universal release. It wouldn't be an upscale, really, just denoising and deblocking to remove the damage done by the DVD authoring.

However, I am currently running an upscale of UNIVERSAL SIGNS again, trying to get it to 1080p this time and remove all the compression damage on the Vimeo file. But I could probably run the Season 1 episodes through the AI processing again and see how it goes.

But I have learned my lesson; looking at brief stills doesn't give a sense of how well the processed file plays on an HDTV, so I won't talk about it until I've actually watched at least 10 minutes of a processed episode.

It's a tricky thing because everybody's equipment is different, plus the post-processing in real-time isn't totally a reflection of the disk.  Although all blu-ray players and tvs to a certain degree do upscaling, as you said.  So I guess it's OK to factor that in.  But then in your case you said S1 looked better because the upscaling didn't over do it.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Well, I deblocked/denoised "Summer of Love" off the Universal disc but kept the file at 480p. The LQ preset cleaned up the DVD damage and added a lot of sharpness to some shots, but it also created that peculiar watercolour filter effect even without increasing resolution.

The HQ preset, however, simply lifted off the DVD compression artifacts and then otherwise left the image alone. When scaled to 1080p, the image looks good enough. It's still fuzzy, but not as fuzzy as the Turbine version while having the same non-noisy clarity of the Turbine files. And it doesn't have the distorted edges like in my previous Season 1 upscales (because this isn't an upscale).

I'm going to try running this cleaned up file through Avidemux and scale it to 1080p with the Lanczos algorithm which increases image resolution by blending extra pixels into the image to avoid jagged edges. It's not an AI, however; it doesn't apply specific filters to specific classifications of imagery and texture. It's just increasing the image size while toning down the pixelation that would result with a bicubic size increase. I used to use Lanczos on my old home theatre PC to upscale standard definition TV to 720p resolution, but I've never used Lanczos on a video file as blurry as a Season 1 episode of SLIDERS.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

The Lanczos algorithm turned out pretty well for taking the Topaz Artemis HQ deblocked-denoised 480p file of "Summer of Love" and increasing the resolution to 1080p (although it took a 1.8GB file and made it 5.5GB). The Lanczos 1080p video file looks a little better than my blu-ray player or Android TV bicubically scaling the 480p file to 1080p; the added pixels are smoothly integrated into the image to avoid jagged edges.

My upscaling blu-ray player, when playing the disc, toned down the DVD compression artifacts, and bicubically stretched it to 1080p, creating some pixelation at the edges of any objects or people. Topaz AI has been able to remove remove that compression from the DVD file completely. Lanczos has taken that denoised, deblocked file and smoothly stretched it to 1080p without creating any pixelation.

The cleaned-up/Lanczos stretched version doesn't look HD, but the low quality SD flaws of compression and pixelation have been removed. The AI issues of jagged, flickering edges and watercolour distortion are avoided. Admittedly, the underlying image remains a 250 line analog videotape instead of a 540 line digital videotape, but the artifacts and pixelation issues were a massive distraction from the story. Now they're gone.

I did have to turn off all Lanczos sharpening functions.

Lanczos on my old home theatre PC was fine for upscaling early 2000s standard definition TV because all those shows were shot on film or digital HD and simply downscaled to SD, so Lanczos was merely restoring the sharpness inherent to the file. SLIDERS in Season 1, unfortunately, is a pretty fuzzy image devoid of grain detail, so there isn't much for a sharpening filter to build upon.

Most blu-ray players and TVs will scale an SD video to HD with a bicubic algorithm that increases pixel contrast at any edges within the image in adding more pixels. Lanczos blends the added pixels into the image more smoothly, and is a more forgiving scaler, but because it's CPU-demanding, it's more than what a blu-ray player or Android TV box may be able to offer.

My old HTPC used an i5 processor and a dedicated GPU to make it happen. Sadly, I don't have it any more after a power surge. In most use cases, Lanczos is best applied when encoding a video so that the gains are contained within the file itself.

The AI deblock-denoise takes about seven hours per episode and Avidemux using Lanczos in stretching the video to 1080p takes about 90 minutes per episode, at least on my hardware. I wonder how much that would factor into a future upscaling effort from a home video distributor or streaming service.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

The Lanczos algorithm turned out pretty well for taking the Topaz Artemis HQ deblocked-denoised 480p file of "Summer of Love" and increasing the resolution to 1080p (although it took a 1.8GB file and made it 5.5GB). The Lanczos 1080p video file looks a little better than my blu-ray player or Android TV bicubically scaling the 480p file to 1080p; the added pixels are smoothly integrated into the image to avoid jagged edges.

My upscaling blu-ray player, when playing the disc, toned down the DVD compression artifacts, and bicubically stretched it to 1080p, creating some pixelation at the edges of any objects or people. Topaz AI has been able to remove remove that compression from the DVD file completely. Lanczos has taken that denoised, deblocked file and smoothly stretched it to 1080p without creating any pixelation.

The cleaned-up/Lanczos stretched version doesn't look HD, but the low quality SD flaws of compression and pixelation have been removed. The AI issues of jagged, flickering edges and watercolour distortion are avoided. Admittedly, the underlying image remains a 250 line analog videotape instead of a 540 line digital videotape, but the artifacts and pixelation issues were a massive distraction from the story. Now they're gone.

well that's progress!!!

ireactions wrote:

I did have to turn off all Lanczos sharpening functions.

Lanczos on my old home theatre PC was fine for upscaling early 2000s standard definition TV because all those shows were shot on film or digital HD and simply downscaled to SD, so Lanczos was merely restoring the sharpness inherent to the file. SLIDERS in Season 1, unfortunately, is a pretty fuzzy image devoid of grain detail, so there isn't much for a sharpening filter to build upon.

Most blu-ray players and TVs will scale an SD video to HD with a bicubic algorithm that increases pixel contrast at any edges within the image in adding more pixels. Lanczos blends the added pixels into the image more smoothly, and is a more forgiving scaler, but because it's CPU-demanding, it's more than what a blu-ray player or Android TV box may be able to offer.

My old HTPC used an i5 processor and a dedicated GPU to make it happen. Sadly, I don't have it any more after a power surge. In most use cases, Lanczos is best applied when encoding a video so that the gains are contained within the file itself.

yikes... losing a computer is NOT fun....  i lost a tv that way.

ireactions wrote:

The AI deblock-denoise takes about seven hours per episode and Avidemux using Lanczos in stretching the video to 1080p takes about 90 minutes per episode, at least on my hardware. I wonder how much that would factor into a future upscaling effort from a home video distributor or streaming service.

They certianly would not differentiate how they treat different seasons.  You can see just how much of a learning curve it's been for you in terms of understanding the underlying content.  Which is why I'm not sure we'd get a better AI upscaling job from a studio.  And yea, the amount of time this stuff takes... if we're talking 88 episodes.  It's just too much of a pain for them.  That said, doing one season might be something they'd do if a creative involved or an executive of importance was able to call in a favor.

Look at Seaquest.  That was amblin/spielberg so...  they did a true remaster/film scan etc.  And it looks great.

385 (edited by ireactions 2021-11-20 13:04:29)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Hmm. Lanczos proved effective for closeup and medium shots, bringing them from 480p to 1080p without degradation (and the videotape image is already pretty degraded). However, for wide shots where the actors are standing at a distance and there was no real detail in the standard definition image -- well, Lanczos can't seem to figure out what colour pixels to add and what blending and blurring is needed to make it smooth. As a result, those shots have jagged edges that are really jarring when all the closeup and medium shots look okay.

The 480 version, when played at 1080p, had a certain layer of haziness from the bicubic scaling that obscured the problems with the wide shots. Lanczos, however, makes those problems really apparent, so I think the best thing is to either let the HDTV scale the image or create the 1080p file bicubically after all.

But not everything needs to be a 1080p file, especially when the file itself is not particularly improved by being encoded at 1080p.

I might just leave the Universal files as Topaz-cleaned 480p SD files. I mean, for Seasons 2 - 5, my best versions are just the plain Turbine 576p SD files that scale to an HDTV just fine and I won't be boosting those any further.

386 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-11-21 11:33:07)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Hmm. Lanczos proved effective for closeup and medium shots, bringing them from 480p to 1080p without degradation (and the videotape image is already pretty degraded). However, for wide shots where the actors are standing at a distance and there was no real detail in the standard definition image -- well, Lanczos can't seem to figure out what colour pixels to add and what blending and blurring is needed to make it smooth. As a result, those shots have jagged edges that are really jarring when all the closeup and medium shots look okay.

The 480 version, when played at 1080p, had a certain layer of haziness from the bicubic scaling that obscured the problems with the wide shots. Lanczos, however, makes those problems really apparent, so I think the best thing is to either let the HDTV scale the image or create the 1080p file bicubically after all.

But not everything needs to be a 1080p file, especially when the file itself is not particularly improved by being encoded at 1080p.

I might just leave the Universal files as Topaz-cleaned 480p SD files. I mean, for Seasons 2 - 5, my best versions are just the plain Turbine 576p SD files that scale to an HDTV just fine and I won't be boosting those any further.

Would the best way, throwing time aside, really be splicing between two different up-res files?  One for wide shots, one for closeups/medium?

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Topaz Artemis HQ for removing DVD compression (noise, artifacts), but leaving it at a 480P file.

Close-up and medium shots from this denoised, deartifacted version are effectively upscaled to 1080p via Lanczos.

Wide shots are best upscaled bicubically.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Topaz Artemis HQ for removing DVD compression (noise, artifacts), but leaving it at a 480P file.

Close-up and medium shots from this denoised, deartifacted version are effectively upscaled to 1080p via Lanczos.

Wide shots are best upscaled bicubically.

i see, so it'd be impossible to really slice that other.  because the dimensions are different.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

I don't see why you couldn't have a Lanczos-created 1080p file and a bicubically stretched 1080p file, made from a Topaz-cleaned version. And then assemble the best versions of each shot from both.

I just... don't have time for that. I need to go teach my mother how to use a Google Nest and an Instant Pot. And I need caulk for my windows.

390 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-11-22 15:17:14)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

I don't see why you couldn't have a Lanczos-created 1080p file and a bicubically stretched 1080p file, made from a Topaz-cleaned version. And then assemble the best versions of each shot from both.

I just... don't have time for that. I need to go teach my mother how to use a Google Nest and an Instant Pot. And I need caulk for my windows.

Oh ok, you're response confused me a bit as I wasn't sure if you were saying that it wasn't an option.

I do think for the sake of the exercise you've embarked on, experimentation and all, it's good to document the "ideal" restoration process based on the findings, even if they actually won't be implemented for now.  Reason being, it creates a historical record for any and everyone who refers back to this tremendous document.  So that's why I asked about the mix of close-up and wide/medium shots.  Because it seems like that's what's most optimal.

391 (edited by ireactions 2021-11-23 20:17:50)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

It's interesting: I was reading that the blu-ray and HD streaming re-release of THE X-FILES (Seasons 1 - 9), despite being composed of rescanned film, has many shots and entire scenes that are unfortunately fuzzy SD footage stretched to HD resolution for at least Seasons 1 - 2. Some are establishing shots, some are special effects -- but some are entire scenes that production would have shot on 35mm film. Why are these in SD videotape for an HD release? Why weren't they at least upscaled?

I imagine FOX must have lost multiple reels of film and could not fully reassemble every episode from film. Also, the effects and any stock footage are upscaled SD videotape. THE X-FILES' first two seasons were 1994 and 1995, so both would have, like SLIDERS, been film transferred to analog videotape for editing and effects. For the missing sequences, the HD versions of THE X-FILES would use SD footage that, like SLIDERS in Season 1, lacks the lines of resolution and/or film grain needed for an effective upscale.

Are there missing film sequences for Seasons 3 - 9? Possibly. But I imagine that by Season 3, THE X-FILES would have switched from analog to digital videotape and any missing sequences (as well as effects and stock footage) could be upscaled effectively, if not via AI, then through Lanczos and spline algorithms.

**

Back to SLIDERS: Just to see, I encoded the Universal-disc copied, Topaz deblocked / denoised "Prince of Wails"  from 480p to 1080p with bicubic scaling. Then I played the 1080p file on my Android TV at 55 inches and watched the first 10 minutes. Then I played the 480p file on my Android TV and watched the first 10 minutes. I couldn't tell the difference. The cleaned up DVD file at 480p looks a bit hazy, but without the compression artifacts getting in the way.

The Lanczos version looked even clearer for close-up and medium shots, but wide shots looked jagged and ugly because the SD image had no detail for effective pixel blending. The bicubic version hides these issues with a pixelated fuzziness, but that fuzziness is present on all the shots, so if you get used to it after a few minutes, it isn't jarring.

I think I'll just leave the files at 480p; there's no point inflating the file sizes from 1.5GB or so to 3 - 5GB if the video output results are the same.

In terms of process: the only reason to run Topaz AI over these fuzzy Season 1 episodes is to remove DVD compression. However, I don't think the original NTSC master tapes would suffer from DVD compression; the blurry quality is due to 250 line analog videotape and the PAL masters are blurrier due to being copied via an analog process and stretched from 480 pixels high to 576.

I don't believe there's any gain to running AI processes over non-DVD compressed masters; they aren't effective on a 250 line videotape image. If they have to be put into a 1080p video file, they could be scaled bicubically. The Lanczos version is a little nicer than the bicubic version for medium and close shots -- but really not by much.

The pilot and Seasons 2 - 5 can be dragged and dropped into Topaz and upscaled via Artemis HQ to 1080p. They have sufficient film grain in the digital videotape for the AI to render the grain detail into pixel detail at a higher resolution.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Not really SLIDERS-related, but RussianCabbie noted that he doesn't feel all Season 1 episodes are at the same video quality and that "Fever" and "Last Days" actually look worse than the rest. While I do think they all look bad, I've personally rated "Luck of the Draw" as being the fuzziest among them all.

I've noticed something odd in THE DEAD ZONE. I was watching "Playing God" (Season 2, Episode 12, aired in 2003) and my HD upscale looks great, the picture of a digital film scan (or rather, 16mm film transferred to digital videotape and upscaled to 1080p via AI). However -- there are a couple shots at the end that are extremely fuzzy when Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy are having an argument. The shot with Hall and Sheedy in the same frame is really blurry. This master shot is intercut with single shots of Hall and single shots of Sheedy. The singles look like 16mm film / high quality digital videotape that upscale to HD perfectly. But the master shot looks like low resolution analog videotape. It cannot be upscaled to look like an HD shot.

I assume there was some sort of mistake in transferring the master shot to digital videotape, that the bitrate was accidentally reduced. It was probably spotted but ignored because in 2003, THE DEAD ZONE was being broadcast in standard definition to cathode ray tube TVs. No viewers would have noticed.

I wonder if SLIDERS' digital videotape episodes have any such errors.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Now this is interesting. "Prince of Wails," scaled to 1080p via Lanczos, had really messed up wide shots which looked like broken stained glass due to the algorithm being unable to blend in the new pixels effectively. But "Summer of Love," upscaled to 1080p via Lanczos, doesn't have the same problem; the wide shots look about the same as they would through the bicubic algorithm while the medium and close up shots look okay / forgivingly scaled from 480 to 1080.

This speaks to what RussianCabbie pointed out: the Season 1 episodes are in poor video quality, but even within being poor, there are degrees of visual failure with some episodes being worse than others. "Summer of Love"'s wide shots weren't as bad as "Prince of Wails" for pixel blending.

Avidemux only takes about an hour to encode each episode to 1080p bicubically or via Lanczos, so I'm going to set a queue to encode each of the low quality eight Season 1 episodes to 1080p twice, once bicubically, once in Lanczos. And then I can compare and see which one yields better results and whichever ones look good in Lanczos can be retained.

394 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-11-24 09:58:19)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

It's interesting: I was reading that the blu-ray and HD streaming re-release of THE X-FILES (Seasons 1 - 9), despite being composed of rescanned film, has many shots and entire scenes that are unfortunately fuzzy SD footage stretched to HD resolution for at least Seasons 1 - 2. Some are establishing shots, some are special effects -- but some are entire scenes that production would have shot on 35mm film. Why are these in SD videotape for an HD release? Why weren't they at least upscaled?

I imagine FOX must have lost multiple reels of film and could not fully reassemble every episode from film. Also, the effects and any stock footage are upscaled SD videotape. THE X-FILES' first two seasons were 1994 and 1995, so both would have, like SLIDERS, been film transferred to analog videotape for editing and effects. For the missing sequences, the HD versions of THE X-FILES would use SD footage that, like SLIDERS in Season 1, lacks the lines of resolution and/or film grain needed for an effective upscale.

Are there missing film sequences for Seasons 3 - 9? Possibly. But I imagine that by Season 3, THE X-FILES would have switched from analog to digital videotape and any missing sequences (as well as effects and stock footage) could be upscaled effectively, if not via AI, then through Lanczos and spline algorithms.

Well, these people, who I've mentioned before, did X-Files, and they do have properiety upscaling software (along with the auto-edit technology to autoedit a new film scan to match a dvd or vhs final edit) https://www.illuminatehollywood.com/

I talked to their top guy once to get a general idea on costs.  You might be able to email them to try to get more info on the x-files, what happened with the non upscaled sd shots.  I have noticed some brutally blurry ones.  I also wonder if this just comes down to some slip ups where they inserted things and forget to upscale, or it was too much of a pain, and they had a lot of other work to do with it. 

ireactions wrote:

Back to SLIDERS: Just to see, I encoded the Universal-disc copied, Topaz deblocked / denoised "Prince of Wails"  from 480p to 1080p with bicubic scaling. Then I played the 1080p file on my Android TV at 55 inches and watched the first 10 minutes. Then I played the 480p file on my Android TV and watched the first 10 minutes. I couldn't tell the difference. The cleaned up DVD file at 480p looks a bit hazy, but without the compression artifacts getting in the way.

The Lanczos version looked even clearer for close-up and medium shots, but wide shots looked jagged and ugly because the SD image had no detail for effective pixel blending. The bicubic version hides these issues with a pixelated fuzziness, but that fuzziness is present on all the shots, so if you get used to it after a few minutes, it isn't jarring.

I think I'll just leave the files at 480p; there's no point inflating the file sizes from 1.5GB or so to 3 - 5GB if the video output results are the same.

In terms of process: the only reason to run Topaz AI over these fuzzy Season 1 episodes is to remove DVD compression. However, I don't think the original NTSC master tapes would suffer from DVD compression; the blurry quality is due to 250 line analog videotape and the PAL masters are blurrier due to being copied via an analog process and stretched from 480 pixels high to 576.

I don't believe there's any gain to running AI processes over non-DVD compressed masters; they aren't effective on a 250 line videotape image. If they have to be put into a 1080p video file, they could be scaled bicubically. The Lanczos version is a little nicer than the bicubic version for medium and close shots -- but really not by much.

The pilot and Seasons 2 - 5 can be dragged and dropped into Topaz and upscaled via Artemis HQ to 1080p. They have sufficient film grain in the digital videotape for the AI to render the grain detail into pixel detail at a higher resolution.

Makes sense.  I would say this... if ever there was a company to do an up-res, than a 5 percent improvement, even if it doubles file size, is probably worth it.  Just as maybe having different processing for wide shots vs. medium / close.  Now, in practice, no commercial entity would ever do that, but the way I see it, we have lovely, beautiful series here, that was shot on film, that is better television in a lot of ways than any of what we get today, that is simply classic programming and tracy torme was onto something... and it deserves to be treated like it should be hung in a museum.  The way you would perfectly restore a great painting.  That's why I admire all the painstaking experimentation you've put in here, trying every scenario, figuring out the best path. 

Because I believe the content is worth of such an effort.  To make it like new.  And that's why, we can one day only hope, for a true scan of the 35mm.  One of my favorite shots of Sliders is Remmy in the pilot, sitting in his red convertible in traffic, with the camera at an arms-length.  When upscaled, it looks gorgeous.  And the red looks gorgeous.  I don't know why but the california streets remind me a little of Back to the Future content and how that film looks.

So I hope one day either through the magic of continued improvement in technology, or rescuing the film reels, we can get ALL of Sliders looking that good, and the presentation of it deserves.

ireactions wrote:

Not really SLIDERS-related, but RussianCabbie noted that he doesn't feel all Season 1 episodes are at the same video quality and that "Fever" and "Last Days" actually look worse than the rest. While I do think they all look bad, I've personally rated "Luck of the Draw" as being the fuzziest among them all.

I've noticed something odd in THE DEAD ZONE. I was watching "Playing God" (Season 2, Episode 12, aired in 2003) and my HD upscale looks great, the picture of a digital film scan (or rather, 16mm film transferred to digital videotape and upscaled to 1080p via AI). However -- there are a couple shots at the end that are extremely fuzzy when Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy are having an argument. The shot with Hall and Sheedy in the same frame is really blurry. This master shot is intercut with single shots of Hall and single shots of Sheedy. The singles look like 16mm film / high quality digital videotape that upscale to HD perfectly. But the master shot looks like low resolution analog videotape. It cannot be upscaled to look like an HD shot.

I assume there was some sort of mistake in transferring the master shot to digital videotape, that the bitrate was accidentally reduced. It was probably spotted but ignored because in 2003, THE DEAD ZONE was being broadcast in standard definition to cathode ray tube TVs. No viewers would have noticed.

I wonder if SLIDERS' digital videotape episodes have any such errors.

Very interesting theory.  Although I would say some episodes just look globally worse rather than the shots.  Not sure if it's a post production issue or a production issue.

Now this is interesting. "Prince of Wails," scaled to 1080p via Lanczos, had really messed up wide shots which looked like broken stained glass due to the algorithm being unable to blend in the new pixels effectively. But "Summer of Love," upscaled to 1080p via Lanczos, doesn't have the same problem; the wide shots look about the same as they would through the bicubic algorithm while the medium and close up shots look okay / forgivingly scaled from 480 to 1080.

This speaks to what RussianCabbie pointed out: the Season 1 episodes are in poor video quality, but even within being poor, there are degrees of visual failure with some episodes being worse than others. "Summer of Love"'s wide shots weren't as bad as "Prince of Wails" for pixel blending.

Avidemux only takes about an hour to encode each episode to 1080p bicubically or via Lanczos, so I'm going to set a queue to encode each of the low quality eight Season 1 episodes to 1080p twice, once bicubically, once in Lanczos. And then I can compare and see which one yields better results and whichever ones look good in Lanczos can be retained.

Could the different between Wails and Summer of Love be the lighting in the shots, and how the algorithms are affected by that?

395 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-11-24 10:31:38)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Just one other piece here.  I think it's really strange that SLIDERS, even on Mill Creek discs, looks not half bad at an old (small) tube tv from 12-15 feet away.  I continue to think the HD era (along with larger tvs) really exposed the flaws of the original image, which was fine for the general specs and usage at the time. 

It's very weird looking at SLIDERS at an ancient tv and thinking it looks better than on a modern one (although my tube one is only 12 inches or so, which plays a role here).  It's also helpful older tvs are natively 4:3.  I have noticed if you watch SLIDERS on a 16:9 in a dark room, the cut off sides aren't as annoying, because you really are only seeing the image area, and nothing else.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Lanczos upscales are complete. Bicubic upscales running now (while I sleep). Tomorrow morning, if I get up early enough, I'm going to put the Turbine files for 102 to 109 into the queue to upscale to 1080p via Lanczos as well and it ought to finish by the time I get home from the office. It's possible that one or two of the Turbine files might turn out better through Lanczos than any version of the Universal files.

**

Looking at the "Prince of Wails" wide shots, it looks like because they weren't as deliberately soft focus as wide shots in other episodes, Topaz tried to sharpen them, but the lack of film grain created an ugly stained glass effect that isn't too troubling at 480p (because Topaz wasn't adding new pixels) and is glossed over by bicubic upscaling, but the stained glass issue is unfortunately deepened by Lanczos.

**

Another thought -- I wonder if the Universal files might benefit from scaling them to 1080p via Lanczos before running Topaz over them.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Loading the raw Universal DVD files into AVIDemux now to try upscaling them to Lanczos at which point I'll try running them through Topaz Artemis HQ to see if that creates any improvements. My soul can't rest without knowing.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Took some time to review the Topaz deblocked-denoised Universal DVD Season 1 files after scaling them to 1080p bicubically and then with Lanczos. Watched scenes from each of the eight post-pilot Season 1 episodes on my Android TV.

Lanczos worked out well with "Summer of Love," "Fever," "Last Days," "The Weaker Sex" and "The King is Back," scaling the image a little more forgivingly than bicubic and bringing out the detail a bit better than bicubic.

However, "Prince of Wails" had wide shots that looked really bad via Lanczos; it seems to be Topaz AI trying to sharpen up wide shots that weren't in soft focus and Lanczos blowing up that damage. In contrast, bicubic scaling added some pixelation at the edges that obscured the problems while also adding a bit of blockiness to medium shots while close ups looked as good as Lanczos.

"Eggheads" and "Luck of the Draw" were also blurrier than the rest on the Univeral DVD; Lanczos pixel blending made them even blurrier whereas the bicubic scaling added pixelation that made it seem sharper.

It'll be neat to see how the Universal files look when scaled via Lanczos with no Topaz deblocking/denoising, and then to find out if Topaz can do anything to improve those files.

399 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2021-11-27 09:52:19)

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

ireactions wrote:

Another thought -- I wonder if the Universal files might benefit from scaling them to 1080p via Lanczos before running Topaz over them.

interesting idea.  another variable might be that such an ordering of things might behave differently on different episodes (I know, headache).  I wonder if it would be more beneficial for ones that worked well with lanczos or more beneficial for ones that didn't (although in the latter case the end result may still not be good enough to justify using lanczos).


Loading the raw Universal DVD files into AVIDemux now to try upscaling them to Lanczos at which point I'll try running them through Topaz Artemis HQ to see if that creates any improvements. My soul can't rest without knowing.

ha!  it's a rabbit hole.


Took some time to review the Topaz deblocked-denoised Universal DVD Season 1 files after scaling them to 1080p bicubically and then with Lanczos. Watched scenes from each of the eight post-pilot Season 1 episodes on my Android TV.

Lanczos worked out well with "Summer of Love," "Fever," "Last Days," "The Weaker Sex" and "The King is Back," scaling the image a little more forgivingly than bicubic and bringing out the detail a bit better than bicubic.

However, "Prince of Wails" had wide shots that looked really bad via Lanczos; it seems to be Topaz AI trying to sharpen up wide shots that weren't in soft focus and Lanczos blowing up that damage. In contrast, bicubic scaling added some pixelation at the edges that obscured the problems while also adding a bit of blockiness to medium shots while close ups looked as good as Lanczos.

"Eggheads" and "Luck of the Draw" were also blurrier than the rest on the Univeral DVD; Lanczos pixel blending made them even blurrier whereas the bicubic scaling added pixelation that made it seem sharper.

It'll be neat to see how the Universal files look when scaled via Lanczos with no Topaz deblocking/denoising, and then to find out if Topaz can do anything to improve those files.

I wonder what the characteristics exactly are that would cause some to benefit vs. some to not.  Maybe it's not even a issue of something in production or post production but rather the general nature of the content and the composition of the shots.

Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray)

Well, I had a look at the raw Universal DVD files upscaled to 1080p via Lanczos this morning. Avidemux's deinterlacer didn't deinterlace the files properly, so they were riddled with interlace lines. However, looking at a few shots: Lanczos did a pretty nice job of scaling the video forgivingly. It scaled the DVD compression artifacts up as well, but the pixel blending toned them down slightly so it looks more like film grain (even though it isn't) and looks less like DVD compression artifacts (which is what they are). The diminished but present noise also helped on wider shots where the original fuzziness and lack of detail has some of that void filled in with admittedly filler noise. Admittedly, it's hard to tell if it's good or bad because the interlacing is such a problem.

The deinterlacing issues are too severe to run Topaz over them, so I've deleted these files. I deinterlaced the raw DVD files in Handbrake and I'll run them through Lanczos again for a better look.