UPDATE: This OP has been changed as of the 27th Sep 2017. Please keep this in mind when reading comments below made before that time.
I'll start with the story for context. In May 2016, Sephirotic and I set out to create the best possible version of Episode 16 of Neon Genesis Evangelion using a combination of different sources, video editing, digital enhancement/filtering and color correction.
Why is this necessary?
Episode 16 is broken! At some point after the original airing the 16mm negative was lost and Gainax were forced to use a lower quality 35mm internegative for all subsequent releases. This has resulted in all released versions being blurry, crushed, haloed, have wrong/bad colors and many, many other problems.
A glimmer of hope?
In late 2015 Studio Khara released the Archive of Evangelion DVD box set containing Episode 16 as it was originally aired in 1995! This gave audiences the opportunity to see detail in shadows not seen for nearly 20 years! Despite the increased detail afforded by this release it's also riddled with problems, however with significant editing, filtering and color correction it has the potential to look better than any prior release about 95% of the time when compared on a scene-by-scene basis.
The editing process started in May 2016. Since then, 1000+ hours of work and an Avisynth script of more than 3000 lines (containing over 5000 individual edits) was created to clean up scene changes, remove ghosting and inter-scene jitter and various other fixes. To account for the 5% of scenes that look better on other sources, we've utilised those sources to splice in those scenes and create the best possible version of episode 16. We now need to design an Avisynth script (or equivalent) to filter each source so that they resemble each other as closely as possible to make the entire episode look consistent in quality and clarity.
Info on the sources
There are two official 'versions' of Episode 16. One was released on DVD (1,2,3 and 4.avi from the sample below) using the original negative during the transfer, and the other was released on BD (target1 - target6.bmp from the sample below) using a lower quality inter-negative. It's important to note that even though the BD version of episode 16 was released in 1080p, it looks much softer than the other episodes that were also released on BD. It looks this way because the inter-negative was scanned for this release at a SD resolution and then upscaled to 1080p. Every other episode was scanned in HD and looks amazing. This is important as we will soon see. It's also important to note that the original cells for episode 16 will never be re-scanned in HD for a future re-release. What we have now is what we will have forever.
So to recap, we have discussed two sources of the same episode: one DVD, and one Blu-ray, both very different in every way except that they both look soft. Our project seeks to create a new version of the episode using the DVD as the base but with selected scenes replaced by those from the Blu-ray. We want to use the DVD as the base because, believe it or not, it's actually better than the Blu-ray in most cases (but not all).
But there's also another source we can use for scene replacements (sort of). Remember how I said that every other episode in the BD set looks amazing? Well it turns out that some scenes from episode 16 are duplicated in other episodes! target7.bmp from the sample linked above is one such example. With these other episodes looking as good as they do, naturally we also want to make use of them to replace those scenes that look bad in both the DVD and BD version of 16 with the equivalent scenes from the other episodes. However because the other episodes were scanned in HD and look so amazing, it's immediately obvious when one of these 'amazing quality' scenes is spliced in and shown during playback of the episode. To combat this, these 'amazing quality' scenes will need to be 'dumbed down' to bring them more in-line with the adjacent scenes from the BD/DVD sources.
We are now at the stage where all the splicing, syncing and color matching/correction has been done and the final form of the episode has been finalised. Many months of discussion between Sephirotic and myself were necessary to ensure that the careful balance of quality and consistency between scenes was maintained. In some cases a particular shot looked better on a different source but we chose not to use it to ensure consistency within the scene. And so with the episode structure finalised, it is at this point that I make my plea for your assistance. The DVD source we are working with has strong halos and color bleed. Therefore we need someone skilled in video filtering to create a specialised Avisynth script (or equivalent) to clean up the edges and remove the bleeding and other artefacts to make it more closely match the visual quality of the Blu-ray.
Want to help? You can! Here's how
You can help by downloading the sample below (~350mb) and:
1. Making "1.avi" and "2.avi" look like target2, target3, target4, target5 and target6 (by removing halos)
2. Making "3.avi" look like target1 (by removing halos and fixing color bleed)
3. Making "4.avi" look like target7 (by removing halos, fixing color bleed and sharpening 4.avi)
Obviously it won't be possible to make them look exactly the same (especially #3), but the closer they look, the less obvious source changes will be. In the case of #3, it's OK to upscale 4.avi and, if necessary, 'dumb down' target7 to achieve a closer result.
Is this really worth all this time and effort?
Of course it is! This is because it is highly unlikely that we will ever get a better version of this episode given that the original negative has been lost to time. A project to restore episode 16 on this scale has never been attempted and Neon Genesis Evangelion has had a significant impact on Japanese and Western culture alike since its release in 1995. The way we see it, by restoring this episode we are preserving an important part of anime history. If you would like to be a part of this project and think you possess the necessary skills, we'd like to hear from you. Please download the sample below and submit a link of your completed work to my email firstname.lastname@example.org. After Sephirotic and myself have reviewed your work, we will contact you.
Try your best to make the left scene look like the right image (ignoring framing and colors) by using video processing filters on 4.avi provided in the sample below.
---> Get the sample here! <---
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Last edited by pwnsweet; 26th Sep 2017 at 23:05.
What exactly are you looking for?
We are looking for someone that can filter scenes from 2 different sources to make them match as closely as possible. We have already taken care of the colors, we just need someone skilled in writing a script or using a a video package to remove halos, sharpen/blur to match, and eliminate color bleed. More info is available at the link provided.
I do not really care since I have no time for anime. And this is not so 'important' as you might believe. For a few thousand fans maybe but in the larger scheme of things ?
There are many more really important films etc. in history that are more deserving.
And if these above images are an accurate reflection of your sources they can NEVER match since one appears to be cropped/resized. Edit those together even after all the correction you seek and these changes will be obvious and worse than if you concentrated in restoring from just one source.
FYI I read the link which talks about loss of original 16mm film elements although a inter-frame 35 mm print does exist plus a dvd. But allow me to educate you how this forum usually works
It should certainly not be necessary to go to another forum just to read about your project. If you can not be bothered to write the full story here then who should spare their time.
Also, the forum, yes, exists to help. And to help it should be relatively easy to obtain the sample footage again not from a different forum. There could be others with a similar sort of problem and those who are prepared to assist will often post their scripts here just for that AND publish the result in a video for easy downloading. Dealing just by email and there is no feedback. In fact you appear aloof from the whole forum rationale by stating in that topic that you would probably not see any replies there. Little wonder if you had no response. And reading between the lines you probably had no response for that reason alone since doom9 works in a similar way. Many of the members here who could help are also members over there. It is not unreasonable to think that they have also read your original post.
As for my original comment. I only write with what I see. What is the point of just posting two different still images ?
But my opinion about the 'importance' of this has not changed. If it really was important then surely the company who brought out the dvd would have done the restoration work.
DB83, thanks for your comments. I'll take on board most of what you've written and adjust my OP accordingly. I am, however, puzzled by your insistence to convey your opinion that this project is not important. This is only accentuated by the fact that you yourself proclaim to have 'no time for anime' and to 'not really care'. These comments only serve to take away from any weight that your opinion had in the first place. To back up your argument by somehow associating the fact that the company hasn't commissioned the restoration themselves is quite misguided. It assumes that cost-benefit analysis and profit margins are the only measure of something's importance (which is clearly absurd).
In any case, I hope this rebuttal hasn't soured any future communication between us. Upsetting you in any way was not my intent. But I'd be lying if I said that I don't take issue with someone making the comments that you made after spending a considerable amount of time on a project that is very dear to my heart.
Last edited by pwnsweet; 26th Sep 2017 at 16:59.
To get a further understanding of this topic, I did download the sample files.
I can not offer any fixes although a quick 'google' did highlight certain avisynth filters which claim to remove halos. Rather than rely on some friendly assistance, why not try these yourself. Since avisynth does not over-write the original (unless you were careless enough with your file naming) you could happily experiment. A few more hours over and above the 1000+ already would not matter surely.
It is also my understanding that halos occur from over-sharpening so one could go around in circles by removing them, sharpening blah blah.
The other thing that bothers me that applying these filters to a whole video with parts that simply do not need them then you could end up altering footage that did not need 'fixing' in the first place. Surely it is better just to fix the elements that require the fix and 'splice' together after.
One thing I do not understand though. Why should the production company go to the expense of creating a 35 mm negative. The only real purpose in such an action would be to create prints for exhibition in theaters (or cinemas as we call them). I thought these series were just broadcast on television ?
To address your concerns about filtering the episode as a whole - I can assure you that there is no way we are doing that. All sources will be filtered first and then spliced into the episode. All that is left before we can do that is to filter the DVD source (.avi files). The target images from the BD version of episode 16 (target1-6) have already been filtered. Here's what it looks like before we filtered it:
And finally, more information on how a 35mm exists and why it was used can be found here:
This information was provided directly by the production company and was included in the limited release platinum booklet.
Last edited by pwnsweet; 28th Sep 2017 at 20:12.
Thanks for that. But that text still does not actually explain why a 35mm inter-negative exists.
Interesting comment here:
"Now, concerning some of the scenes in Episode Sixteen and the previews, the original 16mm negatives had become lost from the development laboratory in the past. Thus, the telecine process was done from a 35mm internegatlve, but through last spurt color work through color correction and digital remastering, the footage has been reproduced to approximate the original."
I also find this comment rather intriging:
"Through this elaborate renewal work, the images intended by the creators have been reproduced as faithfully as possible. The most important thing concerning the improvement in quality is that Director Anno and the two assistant directors, Masayuki and Kazuya Tsurumakl, took part in this work. From redoing the telecine process to correcting the colors to recreating the sound mix, it is a rare thing for the directors to participate in all the work."
Which begs the final question. If the director and his(?) assistants were happy with their work....... (fill in the rest)
Well I hate to argue with you but if those comments were not relevant to the discussion why post them in the first place. As I said they hardly elaborate why a 35mm internegative exits.
But those comments actually echo what you have said. Surely the 'source' is the same ie 16mm/35mm film whereas the later dvd could have benefited from improvements in digital restoration.
As for the comment about the director etc. it is/was their reputation on the line. They would hardly put their name to it if they were not happy with their work.
But none of this helps. Good luck with your quest. Now I am done with this topic.