841 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2023-07-31 16:07:23)

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

pneumatic wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

margins are slim and if they paid too much on the licensing fee in this one and overestimated demand, it would have probably put them in financial loss territory.

Yeah of course, that's why it would have to be the sale price that increases by $5-$10 to pay for the extra discs (assuming my estimate of disc costs was correct... for all I know it may be way off).


i guess what I was trying to say, but probably convoluted it with all the details, is that this release was for the more "price sensitive" customer who wouldn't necessarily buy it at price increases designed to support adding more discs. 

When the Mill Creek release was first announced, a website that covered DVD news (which unfortunately no longer exists) contextualized that Mill Creek was a "bargain bin" distributor (or was it "bargain distributor"?)  If you google "bargain bin" + Mill Creek there are a bunch of results that speak to that, but this one does a good job at capturing their angle:

"They're made specifically to be inexpensive product for bargain bins and impulse buys, not top-line presentations."

Of course, now that people are shopping online now, maybe bargain bins are becoming less of a thing. 

I would hope that one day there's enough technology where Universal starts get *serious* about their library and puts  forth an official blu-ray release that combines restoration + upscale, or just upscale -- although my guess is their upscale would not be as good as the effort you and ireactions have made, since they won't painfully experiment with the results.

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

I got a Mill Creek collection of "50 Classic Musicals" from a bargain bin for 99 cents.  It's got a mashup picture of Fred Astaire and Lena Horne on the cover.  It's as advertised, give or take the "classic" part.  There are 50 movies, they're all musicals, and there are some staring both Astaire and Horne (not together).  The 50 films are packed onto 12 discs, front and back with two or three per side.  Some of the films are not bad, one of the Astaire films is "Royal Wedding" where he does the dancing on the walls and ceiling, but they're all terrible transfers and heavily compressed.

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

After the #SlidersRewatch last night, I keep noticing the quality of the Roku video keeps getting worse. It's like they continually run Sliders off of VHS tapes.

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

pilight wrote:

I got a Mill Creek collection of "50 Classic Musicals" from a bargain bin for 99 cents.  It's got a mashup picture of Fred Astaire and Lena Horne on the cover.  It's as advertised, give or take the "classic" part.  There are 50 movies, they're all musicals, and there are some staring both Astaire and Horne (not together).  The 50 films are packed onto 12 discs, front and back with two or three per side.  Some of the films are not bad, one of the Astaire films is "Royal Wedding" where he does the dancing on the walls and ceiling, but they're all terrible transfers and heavily compressed.

I don't think it was Mill Creek, but a family member picked up something similar (of different types) for my grandmother and mom at one point.  Pretty cool.  One days, we might catch SLIDERS on one of those with quantum leap, seaquest, stargate (and maybe babylon 5 and farscape?).

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

I'm still having trouble getting my Android TV MiBox to play the 60fps files made with pneumatic's script, even when reducing the bitrate to 4mbps. The files would play for a few minutes, but then freeze up and the player would crash. I don't think it's anything pneumatic did or didn't do because the files play fine on my laptops (an i7 processor with 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia GPU, an i5 processor with 16GB of RAM). I think the Android TV MiBox just can't handle a 60fps MP4 at a 4mbps bitrate.

I'm still keeping the original 8mbps files, but I'm currently experimenting with running two sets of encodes: one is 1080p 60fps at 2.5mbbps. However, I am seeing that the sharpening and the compression are making consistent areas of one colour (like sky) rather blocky. It might be irrelevant when viewed on a TV at living room distance.

Another option might be to output the file at a higher bitrate, maybe back at the original 8mbps recommended by pneumatic, but at 720p with the AndroidTV scaling the file back to 1080p. The lower resolution may make no difference; the original files looked more like 360i than 480i.

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

My Mi Box 3 (an Android TV media player box from 2016) was having trouble using MX Player Pro playing the 60fps files created by pneumatic's script.

However, I noticed: MX Player Pro also couldn't seem to play any high bitrate MKV or MP4 file anymore; even 720p, 24 fps files the Mi Box 3 once handled with ease were now freezing up.

I tried upgrading the USB hub from 2.0 to 3.0 (since the Mi Box 3 only has one USB port and I attached a hub to allow more flashdrive and hard drive connections). I tried updating the MX Player video codecs, switching off the framerate matching functions on the box, reducing the TV resolution from 4K to 720p. I then factory reset the entire Android TV box and reinstalled MX Player Pro.

After some tests with VLC, I realized: something has gone wrong with MX Player Pro as it runs on my Android TV box. MX Player Pro worked from 2016 - 2022, but since then, some MX Player Pro app update or codec change has rendered it unusable for 2023 video decoding on this 2016 hardware.

Meanwhile, VLC on my Mi Box 3 is still able to play most videos with ease... except 60fps video files no matter how low the bitrate. 60fps is just too much for the Mi Box 3's CPU or GPU or even CPU combined with GPU acceleration. The hardware is too old. And since the only 60fps files I've ever tried to play on on this hardware, it doesn't make sense to buy a new Android TV box to play files that are only 0.001 percent what I am likely to watch.

I think my best route for my hardware is to keep pneumatic's script except for the framerate lines which I'll revert back to the earlier 30fps framerate settings... unless pneumatic could offer a new version that keeps all the improvements (sharpening, smoothing out the interlacing issues) but has a more pneumatic-approved way of limiting the framerate to 30fps?

847 (edited by pneumatic 2023-08-26 04:34:40)

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

ireactions wrote:

unless pneumatic could offer a new version that keeps all the improvements (sharpening, smoothing out the interlacing issues) but has a more pneumatic-approved way of limiting the framerate to 30fps?

I shouldn't have done it in 60fps in the first place - that was just to preserve the rare occasional 60fps elements as I'm a stickler for that. 

After you reported the issue with 60fps not playing on your device, I rendered another one at 24fps here (script included): https://sliders.tv/bboard/viewtopic.php … 463#p14463

The "# 24fps IVTC" comment is the relevant bit.  The only difference with the 60fps version was to do a DoubleWeave() before the TFM(), everything else was the same.

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

Interesting. Why 24fps over 29.97fps? The Universal DVD files are 29.97fps. Is it because the original film would have been 24fps and the 29.97fps framerate is just the SD broadcast format achieved through frame duplication?

Your new settings seem to eliminate the MI settings that were used at some points for particularly problematic areas of shots with straight lines. Is that addressed elsewhere or would you recommend preserving the MI settings for specific episodes with a lot of jagged edges?

Would you recommend re-doing the Pilot at 24fps? The current version I have is 29.97fps.

Thanks so much!

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

I read about 3:2 pulldown: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-two_pull_down

I understand now that SLIDERS would have been shot on film but converted to 29.98fps via 3:2 pulldown for broadcast television and 24fps was the native framerate of the original film image.

I think this means I should redo the Pilot at 24fps.

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

ireactions wrote:

I think this means I should redo the Pilot at 24fps.

Yeah if you did IVTC to 30fps the file will be 30p @ 1:1:1:2 cadence, in other words every 5th frame will be a repeat.  It looks a bit janky imo and I don't like it when streaming services do it that way, but it's easy to fix with TDecimate to remove 1 in 5 duplicates.   
In MPC-HC you can set a hotkey to framestep so you can confirm exactly what you've got.

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

Sliders is on a streaming app called Xumo now as Universal made the title part of its library for FAST outlets.  Previously the title was made for exclusive (it ended up on roku channel only bc of peacocks deal to be allowed on roku platform itself.

The good news is the image quality of the material on Xumo looks better at first glance to my eye.  Either xumo or Universal did a better job with ingestion or distribution, respectfully.   It just does not have all the blurriness or artifacts or crazy whatever that is on the roku channel version for example

I did notice that the show felt like it had a more video like quality however.  I've seen this before on some TV modes where they try to insert in extra frames or blur the motion between frames.  And you get something that feels like it's less so shot on film and more so on handheld video camera.

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

https://play.xumo.com/tv-shows/sliders/XM0AYB6TTOKW0L

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

It definitely looks better than Roku. Probably better than Peacock too but I don't use it anymore. Xumo looks more saturated which I don't mind either way. I compared it with the original DVD Universal release, and the DVD looks like blu-ray in comparison. So far it appears Xumo is the best streaming between the three.

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

Jim_Hall wrote:

It definitely looks better than Roku. Probably better than Peacock too but I don't use it anymore. Xumo looks more saturated which I don't mind either way. I compared it with the original DVD Universal release, and the DVD looks like blu-ray in comparison. So far it appears Xumo is the best streaming between the three.

I'm glad you agree and it wasn't just me.

You compared xumo to the DVD?   The pilot or other content?


I'm hoping xumo is the start of a new trend but it's too bad the material was so basterdized by other outlets.

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

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:
Jim_Hall wrote:

It definitely looks better than Roku. Probably better than Peacock too but I don't use it anymore. Xumo looks more saturated which I don't mind either way. I compared it with the original DVD Universal release, and the DVD looks like blu-ray in comparison. So far it appears Xumo is the best streaming between the three.

I'm glad you agree and it wasn't just me.

You compared xumo to the DVD?   The pilot or other content?


I'm hoping xumo is the start of a new trend but it's too bad the material was so basterdized by other outlets.

I could tell with the Pilot and other episodes it was like night and day.

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Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

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

Jim_Hall wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:
Jim_Hall wrote:

It definitely looks better than Roku. Probably better than Peacock too but I don't use it anymore. Xumo looks more saturated which I don't mind either way. I compared it with the original DVD Universal release, and the DVD looks like blu-ray in comparison. So far it appears Xumo is the best streaming between the three.

I'm glad you agree and it wasn't just me.

You compared xumo to the DVD?   The pilot or other content?


I'm hoping xumo is the start of a new trend but it's too bad the material was so basterdized by other outlets.

I could tell with the Pilot and other episodes it was like night and day.

Interesting that the best streaming still doesn't compare to the dvds.  I wonder why that is.  Maybe compression.

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

The Pilot is not the best episode for comparing video quality across distributors and streamers. It was edited on film in contrast to the rest of Season 1 being edited on analog videotape and Seasons 2 - 5 being edited on digital videotape.

**

Streaming Compression

Disclaimer 1: My understanding of all this is a little shaky, so please be aware that I may have made many errors as I try to explain a confusing situation to myself.

I haven't watched SLIDERS on streaming, but every streaming service uses video compression. I've read that Netflix compresses its video into a lossy format that loses some sharpness and eliminates most of the film grain to reduce bandwidth. They transmit the video. A sharpening and noise-addition layer is applied to the received stream. They are probably doing this for all content and not selectively. This approach is fine for HD digital video or film converted to HD digital video.

However, if the video is standard definition, Netflix's approach is going to diminish whatever limited merits the SD file had in the first place: what was already blurry is blurrier and sharpening makes it blockier.

Standardized Streaming

There's also Netflix's standardized streaming format: 24 fps (actually 23.976)with videos in a 1:1 pixel aspect. On average, DVDs of older TV shows would be 30 fps (well, 29.97), in 720x480 resolution in a 9:8 pixel ratio (I'm basing that on what I've read about DEEP SPACE NINE DVDs, but pneumatic can correct me).

Netflix's pixel aspect conversion turns 720x480 files into 576x432. Then Netflix applies inverse telecine to get 30 fps frame rates to back to 24 fps. The reduction creates blur, and the inverse telecine makes things worse for SD TV shows specifically.

3:2 Pulldown

From what I've read of pneumatic's work and read on my own: a lot of film-based projects were converted for home release, changed from 24 fps to 30 fps to match the 30 fps of a CRT television.

When playing meant-for-CRT 30 fps files on modern HDTV displays, the interlaced 30 fps video will stutter without conversion. Inverse telecine converts 30 fps video back into 24 fps. Inverse telecine combines multiple frames into single frames to restore the original frame rate. This is effective for playing 30 fps content that was originally shot and edited in 24 fps film.

However, most 90s TV shows were only shot on 24 fps film, not edited on 24 fps film. Instead, the 24 fps film was converted to 30 fps videotape via 3:2 pulldown. The conversion created new frames: three single frames, one duplicated frame (3:2), to reach 30 fps, and also separated the frames into interlaced fields for interlaced CRT display.

Jumble

As long as there's a consistent cadence of three single frames and one duplicated frame, the video looks consistent. Unfortunately, production would edit the finished episode together by copying different shots from different videotapes onto the video master. In addition, the master videotape would have sequences that only ever existed in a 30 fps format: special effects, specific video effects sequences.

I'm guessing here, but it looks to me like each transfer from analog tape to analog tape seemed to distort the cadence further as fields and frames were mis-duplicated or dropped, further confusing the cadence.

The final episode would be a jumble of inconsistent cadences that might look fine on a CRT TV but shows artifacts and mismatches when a player or streaming services uses inverse telecine. The confused cadence means that a streamer or a disc player using inverse telecine doesn't have a consistent cadence for combining mismatched frames for 24 fps display.

Image Loss

As a result: there's resolution loss when half of the fields are absent. There are artifacts when mismatched frames are combined. This is probably why pneumatic kept seeing interlacing issues that he said looked "baked in" and why the frame rates and cadence were so inconsistent within individual files. And because streaming is compressing the file as well, it looks even worse than DVD.

Telecine Equipment

The jagged edges are periodic in "Summer of Love", "Last Days", "The Weaker Sex" and "The King is Back" but severe in "Prince of Wails", "Fever", "Eggheads" and "Last Days". My guess is different episodes used different telecine hardware for 3:2 pulldown conversion, some of which created the 30 fps frame rate with poor frame duplication and inconsistent cadence, and some of which did a better job.

"Last Days", for example, suffers from telecine judder where the others don't, so it was transferred on different equipment than the rest. There are different telecine tools: flying spot scanners, line array CCDs, pulsed LED systems. Give the inconsistency, it's likely that Season 1 of SLIDERS used whatever telecine tools were available at the exact moment that film came in, and not every episode used the same process.

I think it is also likely that whatever process was used to transfer the Season 1 episodes' analog videotapes into a digital format for DVD release created another level of generational cadence distortion.

Season 2 Upgrades

Most of these issues seem to vanish with "Into the Mystic". Season 2 benefitted from switching to digital videotape and with that would have come a new film-to-videotape telecine process.

I'd be curious to know how SLIDERS in Seasons 2 - 5 look on a streaming service. With the DVDs, I don't recall any of the Season 1 interlacing issues on Seasons 2 - 5. They probably exist, but they don't seem as noticeable.

Two possibilities present themselves: digital videotape has some final process to make the cadences more consistent. Another possibility is that the telecine process for digital videotape ensured that sequences could be transferred from editing videotapes to the video master to DVD digital files with a lower level of generational loss or cadence distortion. This would isolate cadence issues to sequences where material from different videotapes are put in sequence with each other.

It could be some combination of both.

Possible Solutions

I have to think that Netflix's approach is likely the industry standard and other streamers would just compress more or compress less.

Probably, the solution could be at the studio level: studios can use a more pneumatic-style approach to their old SD 30 fps video library. They could get their material back to 24 fps themselves via QTGMC & TIVTC which provide field weaving, frame matching and selective frame discarding rather than inverse telecine assuming the cadence is consistent. They could use neural network upscaling to bring it to 1080p in a 1:1 pixel aspect ratio. They could provide those files to streamers and streamers won't do downscaling or frame rate conversion.

Disclaimer 2: Please please please please please do not ask me to contact NBCUniversal about this. It's not my job to provide unpaid labour to a multinational corporation's video on demand department. I care about an intellectual property that happens to exist on one of their ledgers, but that doesn't make me their slave.

858 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2023-09-08 18:51:43)

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

ireactions wrote:
Season 2 Upgrades

Most of these issues seem to vanish with "Into the Mystic". Season 2 benefitted from switching to digital videotape and with that would have come a new film-to-videotape telecine process.

I'd be curious to know how SLIDERS in Seasons 2 - 5 look on a streaming service. With the DVDs, I don't recall any of the Season 1 interlacing issues on Seasons 2 - 5. They probably exist, but they don't seem as noticeable.

Two possibilities present themselves: digital videotape has some final process to make the cadences more consistent. Another possibility is that the telecine process for digital videotape ensured that sequences could be transferred from editing videotapes to the video master to DVD digital files with a lower level of generational loss or cadence distortion. This would isolate cadence issues to sequences where material from different videotapes are put in sequence with each other.

It could be some combination of both.

Season 2 has always been wonky to me.  While not having some of the issues we see in s1 episodes, it can have a very dark and blurry (on mid and wide shots) and grainless/washed out (on close shots) quality.


The lack of sharpness and the darkness and lack of color vibrancy bothers me most. 

Here are some screenshots on Xumo's platform.  It's still the best I have ever seen it streaming-quality wise.

https://i.ibb.co/dM3PBN4/image.png
https://i.ibb.co/Prr7JVB/image.png
https://i.ibb.co/f1pTzDz/image.png



If you have the web browser Opera, I believe they provide VPN where you can pick perhaps United States, and then be able to watch https://play.xumo.com/tv-shows/sliders/XM0AYB6TTOKW0L

Not that it's necessary.

To me, the major jump in quality comes during Season 3.   S2 has always had a dated like feel to me.


My instinct as to why Xumo looks better than Roku (and Peacock looks better than Roku, and worse than Xumo) is Universal is not doing anything differently on their end across this distribution.  These outlets have different systems for default handling of content.  It may be Xumo is more used to older SD content and more ambitious in "getting it right" since they don't have the other businesses that Peacock/Universal and Roku have.   And they may be more technology oriented.

I do have a pretty good recollection of the awful quality of the series on Netflix, and some recollection but not a lot of it  on Hulu.   It always looked terrible on Netflix though this for its run that I believe ended Dec 31 2016.  It was on Hulu a year later before the deal expired.

We know when it was *televised* on the Hub everyone felt it looked better than airing elsewhere.   

Comet, which came years later, was just OK.

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

I just watched a season 5 episode and actually was surprised.  Though that season has always looked good on DVD whereas s2 not so much, on xoom, the episode I watched (the one on the aircraft carrier or battleship) was closer to s2 quality on the same service than I expected.  Not 1 to 1 but still gap wasn't as significant as dvds.

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

I totally agree that Season 3 looks a lot sharper than Season 2. But Season 2 takes a massive leap forward from Season 1, and I'm betting it's because digital telecine could be used to transfer film to digital videotape with significantly less generational loss in image quality.

I completely trust your account of any and all streaming quality and don't feel the need to watch it myself. You found that the PAL SD blu-ray release of SLIDERS had more texture and detail than the NTSC DVDs when watching it on a video player; you then found the reverse was true when reviewing the raw blu-ray files on a computer. pneumatic later explained to us that a lot of modern players will handle 30fps deinterlacing by dropping half of the fields for anything in motion while fully weaving 25fps, so the blurrier 25fps will be processed into a 540p image while 30fps files will come out at 240p. You're clearly very good at reviewing visual quality, so if you say something looks a certain way, then that's how it looks.

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

I must say, looking back at your S2 up-res samples, season 2 really was quite an impressive leap (looking like blu-ray compared to what is on streaming).  And definitely on a higher level than s1.

It would be great if eventually with the advent of future technology, A.I. will be able to build out the rest of a 4:3 frame to go to 16:9.   It seems plausible this will eventually happen and I wonder if software companies like Topaz will see enough of a market/demand to introduce a feature like that. 

Right now though many of the seasons are resilient enough to withstand zooming/cropping to 16:9.  The image is clean enough, even if the cinematography gets affected a bit.

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

The HD release of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER on Disney+ and other streaming services is god-awful. It looks like FOX rescanned the original negatives, but then had it automatically cropped to 16:9 without any actual human oversight, and applied the same high brightness colour processing to every shot. As a result, night scenes now look like day, sunrises look like afternoons, actors are cut off at the top or bottom or sides.

Bizarrely, the show was shot with Panavision cameras on 16mm film and there is a 16:9 image possible, but FOX's widescreen HD version often shows production staff and camera operators at the right or left sides and didn't adjust the framing to crop them out or digitally paint them out. There's also a hideous digital noise reduction filter applied at the same strength to all shots which makes human faces look like plastic.

I dug out my DVDs. Then I fired up Topaz and re-read all the posts in this thread.

I thought about how the DVD release of BUFFY has all the wonderful film grain of 16mm film and is perfect for an AI upscale to mine all that grain and raise it from 576i to 720p while adding the right level of replacement film grain afterwards.

I reviewed pneumatic's guidance on how the frame rate should be adjusted from DVD 29.97 fps to 24 fps.

I noted that it might be good to apply a moderate level of colour saturation increase.

Then I decided screw it. I don't have the energy to go through this. The 16mm DVD transfer stretches fine to a TV. I'm just going to leave it alone and enjoy it as it is.

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

lol

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

History Channel had a Day in America: JFK Assassination three-part documentary.

I believe they may have cleaned up some of the archival footage.

It made me consider an interesting question: 

Should historical archival footage be enchanced via A.I. like topaz so we can more vividly re-witness the events in a more powerful way, to more viscerally see the images, or does the algorithms ultimately insert false images into the history books if it becomes what is used moving forward.  The inserted pixels etc become fact. 

This is a question with upgrading even tv shows with color changes, pixels, etc but it becomes even more salient with historical archival.

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

ireactions wrote:

The HD release of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER on Disney+ and other streaming services is god-awful. It looks like FOX rescanned the original negatives, but then had it automatically cropped to 16:9 without any actual human oversight, and applied the same high brightness colour processing to every shot. As a result, night scenes now look like day, sunrises look like afternoons, actors are cut off at the top or bottom or sides.

I'd be so disappointed if I saw that on one of my favorite shows. I still feel a show should only be presented in 4:3 if they find problems on the left and right sides of the film, rather than cropping it down. It would be a good idea if the studios allowed an option to toggle between a 4:3 and 16:9 version. The laziness of not paying attention and cropping actors heads is sad.

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

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

History Channel had a Day in America: JFK Assassination three-part documentary.

I believe they may have cleaned up some of the archival footage.

It made me consider an interesting question: 

Should historical archival footage be enchanced via A.I. like topaz so we can more vividly re-witness the events in a more powerful way, to more viscerally see the images, or does the algorithms ultimately insert false images into the history books if it becomes what is used moving forward.  The inserted pixels etc become fact. 

This is a question with upgrading even tv shows with color changes, pixels, etc but it becomes even more salient with historical archival.

If it is enhanced I think it should be clearly notated for the viewer for historical moments. Similarly like I told ireactions there should be an option to toggle things on and off. But I don't think any studio would ever put in that effort especially if the content isn't popular.

slidecage.com
Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

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

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan  wrote:

Should historical archival footage be enchanced via A.I. like topaz so we can more vividly re-witness the events in a more powerful way, to more viscerally see the images, or does the algorithms ultimately insert false images into the history books if it becomes what is used moving forward.  The inserted pixels etc become fact.

This is a question with upgrading even tv shows with color changes, pixels, etc but it becomes even more salient with historical archival.

I'm glad you brought this up. This is something I've been contemplating with regards to SLIDERS.

Jim_Hall wrote:

If it is enhanced I think it should be clearly notated for the viewer for historical moments. Similarly like I told ireactions there should be an option to toggle things on and off. But I don't think any studio would ever put in that effort especially if the content isn't popular.

I personally don't feel Topaz is really adding anything that isn't originally there. I don't think Jim_Hall feels the same way, and that's very reasonable.

Jim_Hall and I discussed upscaling as pertaining to facial enhancement on still images. That's a slightly different situation: we were using AI to sharpen up the faces on old SLIDERS publicity shots that Jim_Hall had bought and scanned and restored with painstaking effort and care.

Topaz Gigapixel rebuilds faces well, but they often look sharper than the rest of the photo. There was often a razor-sharp face on a blurrier neck with fuzzy hair and clothes. We found that for the most part, we had to erase most of the facial enhancements and kept only a small amount of sharpened facial elements, and it was often subtle to the point where we might as well have not done it. In one area where we differed: I preferred to keep the AI facially-upscaled eyes and mouths. Jim_Hall preferred to not even have that.

I deferred to Jim_Hall entirely on this as the photos were for his site and they were his photo scans.

But to me, Topaz is 'just' stretching the images, albeit in a highly intricate and detailed way that uses different methods for different image elements, and machine learning is clearly more reliable on rebuilding faces in photos.

Topaz uses a massive library of algorithmic functions with multiple function sets for specific textures (grass, skin, metal, concrete) and visual elements (eyes, hair) to add new pixels effectively. Ultimately, it's a way to stretch the image to a larger size. It isn't using the same technique for each part of the image, but multiple techniques on each element of the image. It isn't adding new content, just supporting existing content. Sometimes, it fails because Topaz is dependent on grain and SD video often lacks the grain needed for a quality AI upscale.

I don't feel Topaz AI as it exists would -- or even could -- change historical footage via upscaling. It would be stretching it, ableit in a complex and dynamic way.

But what if that changed?

We are at a point where AI can generate images based on text-based prompts. I think AI image generation could ultimately serve to recreate the videotape damaged episodes of SLIDERS, episodes 1.02 - 1.09 of Season 1. As pneumatic and I have noted: the videotape masters for those episodes don't even have an SD level of detail. AI sharpening doesn't work on them because the 240 line videotape format has eliminated all the film grain. Restoration is not possible. One future solution is using AI to engage in frame regeneration.

AI image generation will eventually be able to use images as prompts, and to look at a low resolution image and then generate a closely matching high res copy. One could convert episodes 1.02 - 1.09 into individual frames (24 frames per second) to produce a still image for each frame of the episodes. These stills could conceivably be fed into an AI algorithm to generate an HD image with the same elements and composition and colour, but with extrapolated sharpness and texture to replace what's missing within the low resolution image.

This would not be building on existing pixels to stretch the frame to a larger size like Topaz. Instead, it would be creating a new image that regenerates all the SD elements at HD resolution with AI taking some guesses to fill in an HD level of detail on clothing, hair, skin, props, textures, etc.. These replicated frames could then be reassembled into a video that matches the original audio. This would not be an upscale. This would be a reconstruction.

AI images right now can suffer from looking more like digital illustration than actual photography, but it's improving. Duplicating existing frame images would make it easier to generate photorealism. AI can already receive image input; eventually, it'll be able to generate a new version of the image input at a larger scale.

I wouldn't want studios to create HD versions of SD shows via AI reconstruction, but it might be good for special effects shots and missing film. One of the greatest difficulties in bringing older TV shows to HD: the special effects don't exist on film, but on SD videotape. STAR TREK and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION had to have all the effects rebuilt for HD. It proved so expensive that most studios today are not rebuilding SD special effects in HD, but upscaling the SD effects shots. Upscaled special effects shots tend to have a fuzziness and lack of crisp definition due to the lower resolution and blur of older generation video effects and computer graphics.

For THE X-FILES in HD, FOX was not able to find a number film reels. Special effects background plates, stock footage and backgrounds were often missing from the film, along with more mundane sequences. While the restoration team rebuilt the effects where they had the film to do so, in some cases, they had to resort to upscaled SD videotape that didn't match the rescanned film around it.

BABYLON 5 and LOIS AND CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, while rescanned and reassembled from film, didn't attempt to rebuilt any effects at all. Instead, they used upscaled SD effects shots to save money. This looks okay in BABYLON 5 because those original effects looked like Playstation 2 even when they first aired. But for LOIS AND CLARK, any time Superman speeds or flies or uses heat vision, it goes from blu-ray quality to VHS. I think those are areas where, in the future, missing film and special effects shots could use AI reconstructions generated from SD image inputs.

It would disappoint me if NBCUniversal went the AI upscale and reconstruction route for all episodes of SLIDERS. A studio should rescan the film and rebuild the episodes, and they should limit AI frame reconstruction to effects shots.

But on a fan level -- if NBCUniversal isn't going to remaster SLIDERS, then I think it would be a great fan project to use AI reconstruction on the low-res videotape episodes of Season 1.

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

Agreed. They need to rescan the film and an AI improvement for the special effects would work out ok. On the other hand if they never want to do that, I'll still take a pure AI upscale from Universal regardless.

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

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cH … U5Nw?ep=14


https://sadhillmedia.com/filmformally/s3e01

This was an interesting podcast for pneumatic, ireactions and jim_hall to check out.  It's about film preservation.  It was quite interesting.

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

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cH … U5Nw?ep=14


https://sadhillmedia.com/filmformally/s3e01

This was an interesting podcast for pneumatic, ireactions and jim_hall to check out.  It's about film preservation.  It was quite interesting.

I'll check it out as well. Thank you for sharing, RCLF!

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

QuinnSlidr wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cH … U5Nw?ep=14


https://sadhillmedia.com/filmformally/s3e01

This was an interesting podcast for pneumatic, ireactions and jim_hall to check out.  It's about film preservation.  It was quite interesting.

I'll check it out as well. Thank you for sharing, RCLF!

No problem!

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

I've been contemplating the Season 1 episodes.

I've come to realize that for me, I don't think upscaling the Season 1 episodes to 1080p whether with nnedi3 or Topaz has been effective. I think it would be best to just output the episodes to 540p.

pneumatic's QTGMC and TIVTC/TFM do a good job of restoring the original 24fps frame rate and smoothing out the jagged edges; the content aware sharpness is pulling some more texture out of the shots, and nnedi3 with output to 540p is ultimately preferable. At least for me.

Adding more pixels via neural networks and Topaz to bring it to 1080p just makes close-ups look better and mediums and wides look worse. A 540p file that's been sharpened up a bit and is then scaled to the HDTV bicubically just has a more consistent look throughout. The eye accepts the base level of quality if it's consistent.

I just don't think it makes sense to output to 1080p if the episodes just look inconsistent. There's no point outputting a fuzzy, 1080p contained "Luck of the Draw" if "This Slide of Paradise" under that same process looks crisp and sharp. I'd rather just get Season 1 looking a little closer to, say, a Turbine-quality episode of Season 2.

**

My Android TV set top box, the Mi Box 3 from 2016, has been behaving very strangely. Audio is often out of sync with video. Large h.264 video files and mid-sized h.265 files and MKV files freeze up or crash. The colour on a some MKVs has gone haywire with everything looking way too yellow. I wondered about upgrading. I wondered if the aged hardware was no longer up to speed.

The manufacturer, Xiaomi, has released a 2023 set top box now called the 2023 Xiaomi TV Box S (2nd Gen). But inexplicably, the 2023 box has a processor that's only 15 percent faster. The 2GB RAM is unchanged, the 8GB storage is unchanged. Their old box is no longer playing modern video files well, but their new box is about the same. The only reason I can see for Xiaomi's TV box being incrementally advanced from their seven year old box is that chips used in 2016 are no longer available.

I'm going to take a run at some troubleshooting, but if the Mi Box 3 is no longer capable, it doesn't make sense to upgrade to a newer model from the same manufacturer because their newer model isn't much better. I suspect I see if I can get an old, broken laptop repaired and pressed into service as a home theatre PC.

873 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2023-12-20 04:35:57)

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

Wouldn't be great if we could somehow convince universal to scan the negative?

Given most of these streamers are losing money and libraries become more important, they could invest in their library.

It would cost $15-20k per episode, perhaps a little less.  Sliders might be generating $100-200k a year for universal right now, so it certainly would be a bit challenging.  But damn, I would love to see S1 as it was shot.   Maybe the time is right to push for this.   I don't  know if Peacock even will exist in 3-5 years, or if Universal will have to merge with another companies (rumor is, these talks are being stalled until post 2024 election, as right now the current adminstration is very anti monopoly and mergers are seen as a challenge to pull off).

As far as the upscale experiments, I have some old editing software.   I can try some experiments to see if I can get a timeline going where I can edit the wide and close shots over the holidays.   Personally, I prefer the upscales because while consistently is nice, when I am sitting about 14 feet away from a tv, i'd rather than close ups look better and deal with some of the issues with the wider shots (which aren't quite as noticeable when you are further back).  But I get anyone who desires consistency.

The podcast I pointed to was very interesting.   They actually talked about removing grain because they said you almost have to because of the amount of noise. They actually also I think sometimes remove grain completely and then reapply a grain layer (but it's not simulated grain).  Maybe it is isolated from the original negative.  They also talked about how they can't do global settings on content but have to make changes individually for shots, whether it be coloring, grain, whatever.  Of course, these are professionals doing jobs for studios and content owners so they are gonna have to be perfectionists.  It was just interesting learning the art of what goes into it and they talked about how a lot of the original directors and cinematographers will actually try to correct things they didnt like about the original (deviating from the idea of a true preservation which fans may expect).

Some. More interesting notes: they try to spend not more than 100 hrs on the video end of a job but sometimes it takes 1000a of hours.  Apocalypse Now they spent  2700 hrs on because it has so many frames and they needed all of them for the various cuts.  Plus it was a all time great film so it was gonna get more focus As far as the audio part he said a good clean up could be done in as little as half a day.  He also said many ultra hd releases by studios are essentially updated blurays because I guess a lot of how they were made with the effects and everything were in 2k or something.  He referenced Blade Runner 2049 and Mad Max Fury Road as examples.

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

Pretty scary thing they talked about on the podcast was that film prints (or was it negatives?  I think prints) start getting "vinegar syndrome" after 15 years and by 30-to-40 years they all have it.   The film goes from blue, the greenish to yellow.  Yellow becomes unsalveagable, at blue you can deal with it but have to move and with greenish you better freeze it at 32 degrees and act fast.   The chemicals in the film over time continually interact.  He said most studios do a pretty good job at preserving their stuff but it's expensive and not all.   I guess the lesson is that the shelf life is not eternal.

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

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cH … U5Nw?ep=14


https://sadhillmedia.com/filmformally/s3e01

This was an interesting podcast for pneumatic, ireactions and jim_hall to check out.  It's about film preservation.  It was quite interesting.

He said some companies staple the film splices together. Unreal. I'm not too afraid about Sliders' storage as long as it's not in a humid area. But leave it to Universal though, lol. I think Criterion restored badly damaged negatives from the 30s. I recently bought the MacGyver blu-ray set and it has a few to several clips in each episode where it's SD. And those clips also appear, in my opinion, to have some AI enhancements. So I'm not sure as to why this is, if they're damaged or lost. Some one had said they used tape for a clip in one of the theme intros. Apparently it was never shown in the episode, but they just used it as a promo if you wanna call it that for the theme. Although I can't vouch for the reasons in the episodes. I'm only on season 2 right now and there has to have been at least 50+ scenes in SD.

slidecage.com
Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

876 (edited by Jim_Hall 2023-12-20 11:03:44)

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

I recently bought upgrades for AI Gigapixel, so I'm anticipating the new version whenever it releases. I've been using Photoshop's new generative fill feature. I've or 'it' added extra information to a screenshot. For most cases it takes about 5 seconds to generate and gives you 3 different options. If you don't like them you can regenerate for more. I posted it here and a reply shows the original: https://x.com/SlidersFanBlog/status/173 … 89181?s=20. I will say though I would never want this amount of tinkering to be done to a TV series. Forgot to mention I did do Gigapixel AI after the Photoshop process was done. Apparently Photoshop is using it's Adobe stock images, and in the process paying the content creators.

slidecage.com
Twitter @slidersfanblog
Instagram slidersfanblog

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

Jim_Hall wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cH … U5Nw?ep=14


https://sadhillmedia.com/filmformally/s3e01

This was an interesting podcast for pneumatic, ireactions and jim_hall to check out.  It's about film preservation.  It was quite interesting.

He said some companies staple the film splices together. Unreal. I'm not too afraid about Sliders' storage as long as it's not in a humid area. But leave it to Universal though, lol. I think Criterion restored badly damaged negatives from the 30s. I recently bought the MacGyver blu-ray set and it has a few to several clips in each episode where it's SD. And those clips also appear, in my opinion, to have some AI enhancements. So I'm not sure as to why this is, if they're damaged or lost. Some one had said they used tape for a clip in one of the theme intros. Apparently it was never shown in the episode, but they just used it as a promo if you wanna call it that for the theme. Although I can't vouch for the reasons in the episodes. I'm only on season 2 right now and there has to have been at least 50+ scenes in SD.

That's interesting SD scenes are making it into these releases.   I am sure some fans complain but in the end making something that patched up is better than nothing at all.

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

Sorry to hear MACGYVER has some upscaled SD footage mixed in with rescanned film. That's disappointing. I read that THE X-FILES sadly had a lot of SD footage intermixed with HD due to lost film reels, and given that THE X-FILES was one FOX's most successful shows, I suspect every show can conceivably lose some of the original fim.

Jim_Hall's screenshots are very beautiful. However, I would note that Seasons 2 - 5 aren't too difficult to upscale because the standard definition video retained so much of the original film grain. I'd be intrigued to know what your tools make of, say, "Luck of the Draw", an episode that suffered not only from low resolution videotape and poor field scanning, but video judder that led to severe blurriness.

THE WIRE had an interesting HD release. I've never seen this show, but I read that it was shot for 4:3 and while the film could be remastered at 16:9, there were crew members and cameras outside the 4:3 boundaries. THE WIRE handled it by digitally painting out personnel and equipment from the left and right sides of the frame.

Disgraced fake feminist Joss Whedon said that it was pointless to try to make 4:3 video look more 'cinematic' by adding imagery to the left and right side and that it would just be a distraction from his original framing and focus. I'm agnostic on this: I think that immersion is great, and if a full 16:9 image gets the viewer focused on the story, I'm all for it. However, if that extra work becomes financially unfeasible for, say, SLIDERS, then I'd rather have it in HD 4:3 than not have it in HD.

I've been watching an AI upscale of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, produced from DVDs in 4:3, and the square box at the center of my TV doesn't bother me. But I could see it bothering younger viewers.

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

Don't ask me why, but I've started watching Young Indiana Jones again on Disney Plus, and those are at best upscaled, and don't look to bad.  That being said, I believe that LucasFilm may have done some cleanup on those when they were reassembled as "movie volumes" in the late 90s.  I mean, can you imagine if they had Sliders cast members 10-15 years later shoot new footage to include on DVDs?  That's practically what they did for that series, when 11-12 year old Corey Carrier was brought back to film new segments when he was 17 and not supposed to have aged.

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

Grizzlor wrote:

Don't ask me why, but I've started watching Young Indiana Jones again on Disney Plus, and those are at best upscaled, and don't look to bad.

I have not seen this, but I did a search and I've read that the Disney+ version is the standard definition DVD version. However, given that the DVD version was rescanned from the original film and reconstructed in high quality digital videotape, it will stretch nicely to an HDTV since it has so much of the original film image and grain.

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

ireactions wrote:

My Android TV set top box, the Mi Box 3 from 2016, has been behaving very strangely. Audio is often out of sync with video. Large h.264 video files and mid-sized h.265 files and MKV files freeze up or crash. The colour on a some MKVs has gone haywire with everything looking way too yellow. I wondered about upgrading. I wondered if the aged hardware was no longer up to speed.

The manufacturer, Xiaomi, has released a 2023 set top box now called the 2023 Xiaomi TV Box S (2nd Gen). But inexplicably, the 2023 box has a processor that's only 15 percent faster. The 2GB RAM is unchanged, the 8GB storage is unchanged. Their old box is no longer playing modern video files well, but their new box is about the same. The only reason I can see for Xiaomi's TV box being incrementally advanced from their seven year old box is that chips used in 2016 are no longer available.

I'm going to take a run at some troubleshooting, but if the Mi Box 3 is no longer capable, it doesn't make sense to upgrade to a newer model from the same manufacturer because their newer model isn't much better. I suspect I see if I can get an old, broken laptop repaired and pressed into service as a home theatre PC.

I saw a few video reviews on YouTube that report that the 2023 Xiaomi TV Box S is actually pretty capable at playing h.264 and h.265. I also saw a few reviews of my 2016 Mi Box 3 which reported that the Mi Box was totally unequipped for 4K output and should stick to 1080. I realized that on a recent update, the resolution had been increased and dry to 4K. It was too much for the hardware.

Also, the Android TV app I'd been using, MX Player, has been having some compatibility issues with older Android TV hardware.

I reduced the output video to 1080 at 24hz and tried a new video player app, Nova Player. Now all h.264 and h.265 videos are playing properly again, so I won't be upgrading or replacing the hardware. I will remain in the sub 4K zone.

882 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2024-01-20 13:36:17)

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

It's really unacceptable that the Peacock technical team has Sliders, a title only available to its paid subscribers, a premium level of the service, from the same studio that owns the property, looking worse and inferior to XUMO Play, a free service that is simply licensing the content.  There's a measurable difference.   Even if Peacock's might be better than Roku channel's version.

At least now, it's easy to point to something better, so perhaps Peacock can be shamed over it.  I wrote their care team.  I have a family member who has an active subscription so was able to check the quality again.