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

update.  Gonna have to switch to another computer as the one I downloaded them to is a slower machine (with only 4mb ram).  So the video is not rendering well.

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

In order to preserve the grain texture, the files are encoded as H.265, a newer codec that allows for more data at smaller sizes. VLC has the decoder built in. https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

My personal video player package of choice is K-Lite. https://www.codecguide.com/download_kl.htm

483 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2022-01-07 20:03:09)

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

ireactions wrote:

In order to preserve the grain texture, the files are encoded as H.265, a newer codec that allows for more data at smaller sizes. VLC has the decoder built in. https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

My personal video player package of choice is K-Lite. https://www.codecguide.com/download_kl.htm

I use VLC, yea.

It's just a super slow computer.

So I was able to take a look at some of it on that computer (I'll switch to the other but wanted to see something so far).

I found it very interesting.

Seems like the new samples vs. the old samples for at least Summer of Love due fix some of the issues with the far wide shots (which had some doubling up of the image, watercoloryness).

And I did notice the more film-grain feel to it.

The coloring is interesting.

original up-res sample

https://i.ibb.co/6njYYWB/image.png

New:
https://i.ibb.co/vdsVQVm/image.png

Now my VLC actually isn't totally representative of the actual work because I had made some adjustments for the original content (that worked well for me.

Turned down hue to near zero.  Brightness +2

Contrast -4
Saturation -8
Gamma is toward the end of the spectrum.

Added small amount of sharpening and small bit of film grain.

All and all, I feel like they are different (in part due to the coloring of course) and I am not 100 percent what I like better.  On one hand there's something I like about the close up shots of the original, on the other hand, there is something natural about the new version and the far shots have less technical issues (if you were putting it on broadcast).  So I think they are different beasts.  I appreciate them both.

Going to continue to look more at all the stuff when I can get it playing smoothly and downloaded on another computer.  The current one I can only see paused frames.  It just lacks memory and processing speed and I can have trouble with the machine with heavier applications.

I have to say however, both are far better than the universal discs.

484 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2022-01-09 09:29:02)

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

Well, I took a look more at the samples last night.

I have to say, looking at Last Days, which was a pretty problematic-looking episode with the original dvd source, that this up-res probably is superior to the original up-res.

It obviously has less flaws with the wide shots, so if you were to put this on Peacock or release it on blu-ray, these would probably be the better up-res specs.

It's a very artfully done up res job.  It finds a right balance and the coloring is better and less dark compared to the previous version.  Also, it's got a naturalistic feel to it, and it really done have the feel of transferred film stock, with the grain and texture.

So I think it's really wonderful to see SLIDERS both with this new S1 up-res job, and also the original up-res job, which had some great strengths in the close up shots and it gave a different sort of feel with the smoothness.   On balance, the new one is probably better treatment for s1 for wide distribution.  But I love that we've gotten to see both approaches.

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

Well, both upscaling efforts had two very different goals. Originally, the hope was that SLIDERS could be upscaled to look like a good quality 720p digital video format. The results for the pilot and Seasons 2 - 5 were very good. The results for Season 1's post-pilot episodes were rather muddy and below the standard of the rest.

The second attempt at upscaling Season 1 was not to make it look like HD digital, but instead to aim for the quality of the Season 2- 5 episodes on the Turbine blu-ray set. Those look like high quality standard definition digital videotape versions of a film image (detailed, high levels of film grain). And because it's a lower bar, I aimed for 1080p so that any scaling would be within the video file itself and not dependent on the TV like the 720p upscales.

A new film scan of the PIlot episode would not look very different from the upscale. The Universal DVD version of the Pilot is so crisp and clear even in standard definition that I am starting to wonder if maybe this one episode, as a pilot to sell the series, was actually edited on film. It is a very detailed film image, significantly sharper in all areas than any Season 2 - 5 episode. It's hard to see it in the original SD file and among other SD SLIDERS episodes, but under the Topaz magnifying glass, the Pilot seems to have far more visual clarity and detail than the episodes that followed.

A rescan of Seasons 4 - 5 would also not look too different from upscaled versions of those episodes because those episodes, shot on 16mm film, had most of the film grain detail preserved in being downscaled to digital videotape.

Seasons 2 - 3 would see a significant improvement from a film scan. Scaling 35mm film to 540 line digital videotape will blur and flatten the image and AI upscaling can only approximate the detail to rebuild it for HD and there will be a bit of fuzziness to indicate that it's an upscale and not true HD.

Season 1's post pilot episodes, however, would see the greatest leap forward because the videotape image is so blurry, fuzzy and desaturated. Even after the Topaz deblurring and bicubic scaling, the post pilot episodes have a faint fuzziness that's dependent on a film grain effect to offset that lack of crisp definition.

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

ireactions wrote:

Well, both upscaling efforts had two very different goals. Originally, the hope was that SLIDERS could be upscaled to look like a good quality 720p digital video format. The results for the pilot and Seasons 2 - 5 were very good. The results for Season 1's post-pilot episodes were rather muddy and below the standard of the rest.

The second attempt at upscaling Season 1 was not to make it look like HD digital, but instead to aim for the quality of the Season 2- 5 episodes on the Turbine blu-ray set. Those look like high quality standard definition digital videotape versions of a film image (detailed, high levels of film grain). And because it's a lower bar, I aimed for 1080p so that any scaling would be within the video file itself and not dependent on the TV like the 720p upscales.

A new film scan of the PIlot episode would not look very different from the upscale. The Universal DVD version of the Pilot is so crisp and clear even in standard definition that I am starting to wonder if maybe this one episode, as a pilot to sell the series, was actually edited on film. It is a very detailed film image, significantly sharper in all areas than any Season 2 - 5 episode. It's hard to see it in the original SD file and among other SD SLIDERS episodes, but under the Topaz magnifying glass, the Pilot seems to have far more visual clarity and detail than the episodes that followed.

A rescan of Seasons 4 - 5 would also not look too different from upscaled versions of those episodes because those episodes, shot on 16mm film, had most of the film grain detail preserved in being downscaled to digital videotape.

Seasons 2 - 3 would see a significant improvement from a film scan. Scaling 35mm film to 540 line digital videotape will blur and flatten the image and AI upscaling can only approximate the detail to rebuild it for HD and there will be a bit of fuzziness to indicate that it's an upscale and not true HD.

Season 1's post pilot episodes, however, would see the greatest leap forward because the videotape image is so blurry, fuzzy and desaturated. Even after the Topaz deblurring and bicubic scaling, the post pilot episodes have a faint fuzziness that's dependent on a film grain effect to offset that lack of crisp definition.

It would be interesting to try to find out from the editor of the pilot (if they are still alive) whether the pilot was truly edited on film or video tape.  I might have to do some googling.

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

looks like the sliders pilot got an AI remaster on a popular reddit remastering forum

https://www.reddit.com/r/AIRemastered/c … _1995_dvd/

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

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

looks like the sliders pilot got an AI remaster on a popular reddit remastering forum

https://www.reddit.com/r/AIRemastered/c … _1995_dvd/

But how?

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Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

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

If you read the first post of this thread, you'll see details of the full upscaling process. The Reddit AI upscale is not mine, but the process is the same and has been summarized and fully explained in this thread.

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

ireactions wrote:

If you read the first post of this thread, you'll see details of the full upscaling process. The Reddit AI upscale is not mine, but the process is the same and has been summarized and fully explained in this thread.

I know, I was just merely saying how impressive it was. Just a play with words.

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Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

491 (edited by Jim_Hall 2022-03-23 19:12:33)

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

After hours of scanning, lighting/color correction, dust removal of each speck by hand in photoshop at 4800dpi for near 100% accurate detail. I ran it through 2x Gigapixel. Here are the results: A 91.25 Megapixel Photo in webp: https://slidecage.com/wp-content/upload … oup2x.webp. I tried 4x, and 6x to no avail. Likely software and my memory. I know Gigapixel is for low-res images but there's an example of 92.5 Megapixel even though the 35mm doesn't warrant it. Now I MUST restart my computer.

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Twitter @slidersfanblog
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Re: Sliders DVD Releases (Universal, Mill Creek, SD blu-ray, Restoration)

I was telling Jim_Hall on Twitter: I am amazed by his beautiful restoration work on SLIDERS publicity photos which he acquired at considerable expense and cleaned up in Photoshop with an astonishing level of dedication and effort. I've been using Gigapixel on some old low-res publicity photos of LONELYGIRL15 myself, but it really shines with Jim_Hall starting with 35mm slides.

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

ireactions wrote:

I was telling Jim_Hall on Twitter: I am amazed by his beautiful restoration work on SLIDERS publicity photos which he acquired at considerable expense and cleaned up in Photoshop with an astonishing level of dedication and effort. I've been using Gigapixel on some old low-res publicity photos of LONELYGIRL15 myself, but it really shines with Jim_Hall starting with 35mm slides.

It's taken hundreds of dollars to acquire them. Plus each one took hours to restore. The 4800dpi scan was plenty. I think the 2x I just done couldn't pull any more detail whatsoever. However, if you need a bigger print have at it. But a 4800dpi is plenty for like a 16x20.

slidecage.com
Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

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

Jim_Hall wrote:

After hours of scanning, lighting/color correction, dust removal of each speck by hand in photoshop at 4800dpi for near 100% accurate detail. I ran it through 2x Gigapixel. Here are the results: A 91.25 Megapixel Photo in webp: https://slidecage.com/wp-content/upload … oup2x.webp. I tried 4x, and 6x to no avail. Likely software and my memory. I know Gigapixel is for low-res images but there's an example of 92.5 Megapixel even though the 35mm doesn't warrant it. Now I MUST restart my computer.

this is awesome!

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

Jim_Hall and I have been chatting. He thinks Seasons 4 - 5 might have been shot on 35mm film (and Zicree recalled that it was) but with the image sensor set to a higher level of light sensitivity and therefore higher levels of noise in addition to film with a higher grain content.

I suppose that's possible. I've always thought that Seasons 4 - 5 of SLIDERS look like they are shot on 16mm film due to the high grain quality which I've seen on CHUCK and the first season of BUFFY. DAWSON'S CREEK's pilot episode had the sharp clarity of a Season 3 episode of SLIDERS but immediately afterwards, the series acquired the grain texture of SLIDERS in the Sci-Fi Channel years and I later read that DAWSON's pilot was filmed on 35mm but the series was done on 16mm. THE DEAD ZONE had a S4 - S5 look in its first three seasons and then looked more like the pilot episode of SLIDERS because it went to 720p digital and was edited on 480p digital videotape.

However, my eye isn't exactly practiced in noting film quality. I've never even held so much as a film cannister. I'm just a viewer observing that Seasons 4 - 5 of SLIDERS have a similar grain level that matches other TV shows that I know to be filmed on 16mm. It's entirely possible that S4 and S5 acquired a similar look for entirely different reasons.

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

just enjoying ireactions samples from the upscale/restoration project again.

WOW, how incredible it came out.  Wish something like this was commercially available to the fan community.  It really is such a gift to be able to see SLIDERS had it been shot with more moddern equipment.

While the outfits can feel dated at times, the picture quality makes it feel much more recent and gives a longer shelf life to the programming in my opinion.

not clear why peacock doesn't do something like this.

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

Sliders has always been one of those things I can turn to during stressful times.  It is one of those things that takes me out of my world and into another.  Something to turn to. So having these clear HD clips is just another incredible thing for the treasure chest.

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

On the subject of video quality... My TV and my Android TV Mibox has had some over-the-air software upgrades. Both are now outputting video at 4K and now presenting video with High Dynamic Range (HDR) where the contrast between bright and dark image elements with high fidelity to the different light levels; you can have a very bright flashlight against a very dark forest and there are now more shades of gray.

I would have been fine to just turn it off, but when streaming services present media with HDR, it doesn't convert well to standard dynamic range (SDR). DAWSON'S CREEK on Netflix is HD HDR now and the HDR presented in SDR on my TV makes the image look dull and muddy. I had to get the HDR on for the material to be watchable. Also, I usually set my TV at 1080p instead of the full 4K image because I honestly can't tell the difference, but 1080p seemed to prevent either my Android TV box or my TV from using HDR correctly; it was muddy HDR until I let the resolution autoset and it autoset to 4K.

I'm concerned about the bandwidth usage of 4K; while I have unlimited internet service, I do have other family members who use the wifi and I don't want to hog it.

There's also some issues with HDR picture settings on my TV. I generally set my backlight to about 35 per cent of full brightness and I turn off all the contrast enhancement and noise reduction filters. However, any content scanned from 16mm film, such as DAWSON'S CREEK in HD HDR, looks muddy and dull at 35 per cent because the backlight isn't enough to present the HDR image. Also, because it's 16mm film, the graininess looks like a layer of static over the picture. To make this older content watchable, I've had to turn on the noise reduction to 100 per cent.

However, these settings when applied to 35mm film content like INCEPTION make the image look way too smoothed out and lacking in sharpness. Movies and shows shot on film benefit from all the enhancements turned off and the backlight set to a comfortable 35 per cent or so. Meanwhile, CW superhero shows and STRANGER THINGS are HD HDR shows and the active contrast enhancement actually makes them pop off the screen a bit more and the high backlight is preferable; HDR means that the brightness isn't uniform, just for the bright scenes.

I've adjusted three presets: Vivid now has maximum backlight and contrast enhancement but no noise filtering for HDR and 35mm film content and it's good for most major motion pictures and modern TV shows. Standard now has about 75 per cent backlight and high noise filtration for 16mm film. And Energy Saver now has my customary 35 percent backlight for the lesser video quality formats.

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

ireactions wrote:

On the subject of video quality... My TV and my Android TV Mibox has had some over-the-air software upgrades. Both are now outputting video at 4K and now presenting video with High Dynamic Range (HDR) where the contrast between bright and dark image elements with high fidelity to the different light levels; you can have a very bright flashlight against a very dark forest and there are now more shades of gray.

there is this interesting phenomenon where SD content often seems to look better on SD sets than modern ones.  I  mean, if you look close, maybe not.  I don't know. But I get the sense it can.

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

Shortly after I typed my last post in this thread, Netflix removed the HDR from DAWSON'S CREEK. I think they processed the DAWSON'S CREEK in HDR by mistake. 16mm film stock, when presented in HDR format, does not see a wider range of light levels. Instead, it just increases the 16mm film grain and makes it look like a layer of static. (Also, DAWSON'S CREEK isn't even available on United States Netflix anymore; I've heard it's on HBO Max.)

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

I've been doing some upscales of the early 2000s TV show 15/LOVE. This half-hour teen soap for a Canadian children's channel (YTV) was a low budget, high creativity dramedy funded by small Canadian studios with small Canadian tax credits and they were filming on what looks like 16mm film and edited on what also looks like standard definition digital videotape. You can watch it on Amazon Prime and I was able to access the digital video masters; they are pleasingly grainy in their film content. There is a bit of fuzziness due to the standard definition scaling and compression.

I upscaled the first episode of 15/LOVE to 1080p with the Topaz deblur and added Topaz film grain on top of the compression-removed image and... it looked like a cleaned up, uncompressed standard definition image that had been well-scaled to 1080p. There were a few blurry artifacts where Topaz tried to add additional pixels to some in-motion scenes where the digital videotape seemed to have smeared some of the image and it looked a little like shattered glass. I tried running the upscale to just 720p and this helped, but I noticed that when watching this on an HDTV, the video quality wasn't any different between 720p and 1080p.

I ran the upscale with Topaz deblur and film grain -- but I left it at 480p. And then I watched this cleaned up image and on an HDTV, this cleaned up 480p image didn't look any different from the 720p and 1080p upscales. All the work had been done at the 480p resolution.

I think that shows that were broadcast in SD and released on DVD will benefit from Topaz upscaling them to 1080p if they were edited in a high definition format (HD videotape or HD digital files). THE DEAD ZONE is one such show. And the Pilot episode of SLIDERS upscaling to the point where the upscale looks like film (as opposed to upscaled standard definition videotape) makes me think the Pilot was likely edited on 35mm film (a 4K capable format).

However, 15/LOVE and SLIDERS -- I'm not sure they actually benefit from having Topaz raise the resolution from 480 to 720 or 1080 pixels high. They might be better off just left at 480p with Topaz's sharpening and cleanup then scaled by the video player. I think if I do another upscale of SLIDERS, I'll just leave them at standard definition.

It would certainly be better for file sizes. My SLIDERS Season 1 upscales are 4 - 6GB each; each 720p episode of 15/LOVE is about 2GB each. Meanwhile, the 480p Topaz-enhanced 15/LOVE episodes are about 800MB each and they don't really look any different from the 2GB versions when played on a big screen.

502 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2022-05-30 08:27:30)

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

ireactions wrote:

However, 15/LOVE and SLIDERS -- I'm not sure they actually benefit from having Topaz raise the resolution from 480 to 720 or 1080 pixels high. They might be better off just left at 480p with Topaz's sharpening and cleanup then scaled by the video player. I think if I do another upscale of SLIDERS, I'll just leave them at standard definition.


Interesting.  Even for non S1&2 episodes you are considering this?

I've really enjoyed the SLIDERS modernization project you've embarked on.  It will be very interesting to see how the technologies evolve in the future to see just how much further things can be pushed.   I think technically it should be possible to fill in the blanks for all of this stuff in terms of upscaling -- the question will be if someone sees enough of a commercial opportunity to drive these algorithms further, or if there is some open source effort, developed over time, because the technology has become common enough, it's freely available to develop for this use case.

Personally, I have some questions in my mind about the existing Gaia algorithm in topaz labs and if there is any benefit for certain content with that. 

I also have found PC mode on my tv for whatever reason converts the samples to the best looking version for s1.  One of the interesting things is Back to the Future released a new blu ray last year with the best ever 4k version of the film.  However, Back to the Future (Part I) imo actually became worse looking because the poppy coloring that the old blurays had got lost.  The newer resotration may have been more reflective of how BTTF I looked in theaters.  But I personally much preffered the  coloring in the old blu ray releases because it reflected the comic book like quality of the material.  I think it illustrates to me how much coloriing, contrast, and all those little changes can make a big difference in the feel of content as wel..

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

I've got about two more weeks of upscaling 15/LOVE before I take another run at SLIDERS. I think I'd take the second Daelin segment from "As Time Goes By" and run Topaz on it, outputting it to 480p, 720p and 1080p with film grain added. My expectation, based on what I'm getting with 16mm 15/LOVE episodes edited on standard definition digital video: they'll all look about the same on an HDTV and so will most shows shot on film but edited in an SD format.

After that, I'll definitely redo Episodes 2 - 9 of SLIDERS at least. For the rest... I don't know. There isn't that much of Seasons 3 - 5 that I really want to upscale again.

**

BACK TO THE FUTURE has struck me as a painful example of how NBCUniversal is shockingly unprofessional with home video releases. The 2002 DVD release of the BACK TO THE FUTURE series inexplicably and nonsensically had cropping errors.

The film was shot non-anamorphically in a 4:3 format and then cropped to 16:9; Universal Home Video for some reason zoomed in further on the 16:9 crop. As a result, props are not visible, plot points like futuristic sneakers are cut off, characters' sightlines are impeded because what they're looking at is no longer onscreen.

Universal Home Media proceeded to lie about it, declaring that only a few minutes of footage were affected and then fans had to exchange their discs via mail. The 2010 blu-ray release had packaging that was so overly tight in securing the discs that fans kept breaking the discs and Univeral Home Video had to send out instructions on how to extract the discs from the cases.

The 2010 release with the saturated colours is the release that Bob Gale first presented in 2008 at a Florida screening. The saturated colours, I imagine, would have been Gale overseeing the remastering, retailoring the video quality. It would have been a process of adapting it from the dim, low-contrast look of film and SD video releases. It would now be reconfigured for viewing on backlit LED and plasma screens and digital cinema projectors with their deep blacks and bright whites.

If the 2020 blu-ray release is suddenly desaturated and washed out, it's likely the same negligent attitude that Universal has taken with SLIDERS as well albeit with more effort. The original 35mm film was already scanned and remastered in 2008 for 1080p blu-ray; it looks like for the 2020 release, Universal rescanned the 35mm film for native 4K and applied high dynamic range colour grading (HDR) to the new version -- but they just took the native film colours and ran the whole scan and HDR process with plug and play rather than manually resaturating the image like the 2010 release.

BACK TO THE FUTURE is Universal's biggest home video franchise for the collectors market, and this is how they've treated it. Universal clearly doesn't have what it takes to be a competent home video company; they can't even get boxes right. On some level, they have an active contempt for the business; nothing else would explain sublicensing their work to Mill Creek, an even more unprofessional and incapable company that released a SECRET WORLD OF ALEX MACK DVD set that was VHS quality.

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

Very interesting points on the BTTF releases

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

I have the Gigapixel AI (Photo) version. The latest update has improved somewhat nicely.

I think the farther we go out the more studios will refuse putting TV/Movie video on blu-ray and even 4K or 8K discs. In my opinion, they want control over their media by using nothing but streaming services. Essentially we will have nothing in our hands physically. I'm not opposed to digital video/streaming at all. But I can see where it can take a bad turn for a studio to throw their movie in a 'vault' never to be seen again. I think Disney had done that with some of their VHS/DVDs in the past. Maybe they're still doing it too. That's why on Twitter, I had been urging people to buy what they love on physical media. There's bootlegs/file hosting services but that can be turned off with a switch too. I'm sure everyone remembers KimDotCom's fiasco.

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Twitter @slidersfanblog
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506 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2022-07-13 18:29:50)

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

has anyone seen this box set PAL dvd release before?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/154689324351?h … Sw6dlhiBTH

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/~IoAAOSw6dlhiBTH/s-l500.jpg

From "Collection Vintage" -- a french release it seems.

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

I don't know what the hell that is, but I'm not sure what scares me more: the listing describing how this DVD set somehow contains a sixth season of SLIDERS or the fact that Quinn and Rembrandt nonsensically appear on the box art twice in the same panel. The side art panel with the vehicles is also deeply disturbing. I may actually buy this box set just to safely detonate it.