Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby pwnsweet » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:35 pm

UPDATE

Just a status update to let you all know that this is still happening and we are targeting a release for the first half of 2017!

What is happening exactly?
Starting out in May 2016, Sephirotic and I set out to create the best possible version of Episode 16 using a combination of video editing, digital video enhancement 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 have used a lower quality 35mm internegative for all subsequent releases. This has resulted in episode 16 looking blurry with severe black and white crush, light bleed, incorrect colors and many other problems.

If that's the case, then what are you doing exactly?
In late 2015 Studio Khara released the Archive of Evangelion DVD box set containing episode 16 as it was originally aired in 1995! The only problem is, it was interlaced, field blended and heavily damaged. That said, with significant editing (we're talking 1000hrs or more) it could be made to look better than all prior releases, including the Blu-ray release. This process started in May. A huge amount of work has been done since then to clean up the scene changes, remove ghosting and splicing it with other sources to create the best possible release. In the last few weeks the production has moved into the next stage of development where we will be filtering and color correcting. Sephirotic and myself are the only two people working on this and so it's taking a while.

Want to help? You can! Here's how
If you would like to help, we currently need someone with highly advanced Avisynth knowledge. You will be asked to provide a before-and-after sample demonstrating the removal of strong halos and color bleeding. To ensure you are up to the task, you will also need to provide and explain your avisynth script.

Please contact me at pwnsweet@gmail.com if you think you can help and I will usually respond within 24hrs. Please DO NOT post or message me here as I am unlikely to see it. Use the email provided. Thanks!



Original OP
SPOILER: Show
Hi,

As some of you may be aware, Episode 16 is lower in image quality than the rest of the series due to the fact that the original 16mm negative was lost at some point and Gainax had to use a lower quality 35mm internegative instead. But at what point in time was this negative lost? I'm asking because the following image exists:

Image

This picture was uploaded on May 30th 2012 to the evangelion wikia by the user The Maverick013. What makes it so interesting is that it has the same image quality and colors as that of the other episodes. I've tried contacting The Maverick013 to find out where he sourced this image from but I'm still waiting on a response. But could it be that he sourced this image from a recording of episode 16 when it was originally aired in 1996 - before the 16mm negative was lost? A similar situation occurred with Dragonball Z, where recordings of the original airing have a higher quality Japanese audio track in stereo and all subsequent releases have low quality mono audio. Could a similar thing have happened here with episode 16?

Has anyone actually seen the quality of the original broadcast of episode 16, and can they please comment on the image quality compared to (any of) the platinum/renewel DVD releases?
Last edited by pwnsweet on Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:38 pm

There are certain cels that were kept because they were significant in some way, usually because of the composition or action taking place. Those were probably scanned at higher quality for various things including filmbooks, artbooks, games, and so on. I have that exact same image at slightly higher size/quality and I'm fairly sure it didn't come from a video source.

http://i.imgur.com/zckUeqD.jpg
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Postby pwnsweet » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:13 pm

Thanks Eva Monkey. If the difficulty of finding a recording of the original broadcast of episode 16 is anything like the difficulty of finding recordings of the original broadcast audio of DBZ, then in a way I'm kind of happy it's probably no better.

As a side note, there's a guy over on Kanzenshuu that's been searching for a set of original broadcast recordings of the Japanese audio for over 10 years!

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Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby pwnsweet » Fri May 16, 2014 2:21 am

Hey,

I thought maybe some of you might be interested in seeing what I've been working on over the past couple weeks. This sort of thing always gets mixed responses so I'm fully expecting some (many?) of you to disagree with some of the color correction choices. That's fine. I'm doing this for me, not for you. Ultimately a polished turd is still a turd, but in the absence of a real release this is as good as it gets (for now).

http://youtu.be/b9zLVMnXDbg

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Postby robersora » Fri May 16, 2014 6:42 am

I'm no expert in this kind of stuff, but I do notice that you remaster looks cleaner. Some colours seem wrong, though. It might not be accurate, but if you have the need for a higher resolution, than your remaster surely is the version to go. Good job, I guess.
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Postby The Eva Monkey » Fri May 16, 2014 10:20 am

So what's going on here? What's the process? Photoshop filters? Flash magic? Rotoscoping? Lightsabers? Mojo? Bueller? Bueller?
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri May 16, 2014 4:38 pm

I’m not entirely sure of the why of it, but Ep. 16 always looked brighter than the other episodes. (I know some of the film prints were missing, but I’m not sure how or why what they used rested in brighter colors. Almost seemed like the luminescence was too strong or something.)

It looks like all he did was mess around with the brightness/contrast/gamma of the picture, and it resulted in a look that’s a bit more consistent with the rest of the show.
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Postby pwnsweet » Fri May 16, 2014 7:44 pm

Hi again,

The only subjective enhancement made to the episode were the color corrections. In fact, I'm still not entirely happy with some scenes and am still tweaking various parts of the episode for consistency. The goal was to digitally enhance the episode so that it looks as good as it can possibly look. This went far beyond color corrections. The total work done includes:

1. The colors were adjusted on a scene-by-scene basis, with care taken to ensure consistency within scenes

2. Frame jitter between scenes has been manually fixed wherever possible (over 200 instances)

3. An overarching stabilization filter was applied to remove intra-scene frame jitter

4. The title card was recreated and inserted in place of the original

5. The image has been denoised to varying degrees on a scene-by-scene basis

6. The image was line-darkened to varying degrees on a scene-by-scene basis

7. The image was de-haloed to varying degrees on a scene-by-scene basis

8. The saturation, contrast and brightness have been adjusted by varying degrees on a scene-by-scene basis

9. The image has been sharpened to varying degrees on a scene-by-scene basis

10. All possible scenes that also existed in other, higher quality episodes were replaced by the scenes from those episodes (yes, even the 'scenes' that are only on-screen for 3 frames during flashbacks). This usually involved significant cropping, trimming, extending and adjusting to adhere to the director's original vision.

11. The fade-in, fade-out "Misato standing at doorway", "Gendo walking away" scenes were re-created from scratch.

12. High quality images of Episode 16 were sourced for use as reference during the color correction phase (ie, the helicopter scene and the 'whiteness' of Leliel's stripes)

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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Sat May 17, 2014 8:19 pm

Sorry for the late reply, but to me it looks like it could be from The Collector's Discs. I don't have them on hand so I couldn't say for sure though.
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Postby Deyno » Mon May 19, 2014 12:10 am

View Original PostSailor Star Dust wrote:Sorry for the late reply, but to me it looks like it could be from The Collector's Discs. I don't have them on hand so I couldn't say for sure though.
I think so, in fact, I have the contents of the CD and that image appears:

16ANGEL1.jpg 1024x768 230Kb
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Postby NemZ » Mon May 19, 2014 2:19 am

I don't see much reason to have two separate threads pertaining to the same project. Merged... and moved to a more fitting home.
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Postby Yaywalter » Mon May 19, 2014 7:38 am

Enhancements look quite nice.

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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby Clover » Tue May 20, 2014 1:41 pm

View Original Postpwnsweet wrote:http://youtu.be/b9zLVMnXDbg

I rike. Not sure about that edge enhancement, though.

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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby pwnsweet » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:43 am

I would great appreciate it if someone could please post some screenshots of Episode 16 from the Japanese blu-ray release.

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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:47 pm

Ep 16 Upscales  SPOILER: Show
Image
Image
Image

I mean, they did they best they could, but my very soul aches for the proper negatives to be found and the film digitally scanned and restored. (That lighting in the dialogue scene between Asuka and Rei is always impressive.)
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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby pwnsweet » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:17 am

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:I mean, they did they best they could, but my very soul aches for the proper negatives to be found and the film digitally scanned and restored. (That lighting in the dialogue scene between Asuka and Rei is always impressive.)


Doesn't look like they did anything to try and restore it.

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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:34 pm

An actual proper restoration would involve scanning 16mm film prints of some kind, which are unavailable to anyone for the time being. The next best thing is to use upscales and filters in order to get the image looking half-way decent. Anything more than what we see on the disc, and the edge-enhancements/sharpen filters would do more harm than good, resulting in an over-saturated mess.

EDIT: I forgot you were enhancing Ep 16 yourself. What you have in the video so far actually looks pretty good.
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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby sephirotic » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:37 pm

This thread was bumped recently so I think is the great opportunity to comment on my work with restoring Episode 16.

Apart from the inherently lack of resolution of a SD master and the poor upscaling algorithm generating a lot of halos and ringing artifacts on edges, another big problem of Episode 16 is the crushed latitude (lights and blacks). Since it was restored from a blow up 35mm interpositive (like xeroxing a colored analogical 10x5" photo into a larger A4 lower quality paper), the process was done without proper exposition (lightning) which resulted in darker areas losing detail. No matter how much you pull the "brightness" up, the detail is forever lost as we can see from this montage I've made:

Image

However, another problem is that the whites were also crushed, luckily there was no clipping involved, so a I used a non linear boost in the luminance to try and fix it. Another example of this can clearly be seen on the spotlight behind Ritsuko in the above ss. This sort of crushed lightning is also very notable on the white of the character eyes almost blending with the skin color instead of looking considerable brighter. Luckily, most of these issues in the brighter areas could've been fixed with just fine tuned curves.

But things aren't as simple. A simple single curve won't cut for the entire episode. There is no way to improve the lightning with a single setting, individual adjustments of luminance had to be made scene by scene. Also, messing with non-linear adjustments in lightning also affects gamma, and thus affect color too, so a color correction also had to be made, scene by scene. And I decided took such endeavor. The whole process took over 16 hours and 120 individual cuts and curves.

Regarding the lack of sharpness and the halo/ringing artifact, a french expert encoder known as Fussoir made the BEST filter chain on avisynth by far I've seen to fix it scene by scene on Episode 16. A simple dehalo plugin won't cut because secondary bright halos would still be generated. Fussoir made a 3 pass halo filter+prefilter that fixed ALL ringing artifacts without side-effects, it was an amazing job. So I combined my work of individual luma and color correction with his to create what I humbly consider the best possible restoration of Episode 16 with the BD source we could get our hands off.

An example of lightning and color curves corrections from episode 16 can be seen in this picture: (Ill add it later)

Still, the colors and lightning of the Archival DVD, which was originally scanned form the 16mm master, still look considerably better than our restoration, but other problems are still present due to the poor telecine process the original were submitted. Ghosting artifacts and shaking is impossible to remove so I still think the enhancement done on the BD is the best possible result we can have overall.

You guys can see a colletion of Screenshots showing the result of my work in these links:

http://diff.pics/A85FS1CRc4JH/1
http://diff.pics/NL7wzPNrnCdh/1
http://diff.pics/5g7g7DBvGEFu/1
http://diff.pics/R9TfBJT3G6fk/1

These are the restored result compared to the Broadcast archival version, compared to the original BD

Just as a disclaimer, I bought and own the original BDs, If anyone is interested, I would happily share my .prproj of the individual scenes luma and color corrected here. Although haloing fixing would still be needed to be performed and fussoir's filter chain is extremely hard to replicate.
Last edited by sephirotic on Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby robersora » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:39 pm

^
Wow, I didn't understand a word (rhetorically speaking), but it looks rather impressive to me!
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Re: Digital Enhancement of Episode 16

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Postby sephirotic » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:49 pm

robersora wrote:^
Wow, I didn't understand a word (rhetorically speaking), but it looks rather impressive to me!


Thanks, you should try and "check it out".

Also another thing worth mentioning. OP asked about when was the original 16mm master lost. I have an hypothesis that it was lost as early as 1997 because there isn't a single reused footage from Episode 16 on the Death and Rebirth movie.

FreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:I mean, they did they best they could, but my very soul aches for the proper negatives to be found and the film digitally scanned and restored. (That lighting in the dialogue scene between Asuka and Rei is always impressive.)


The 16mm Film is probably lost in the sense it was "damaged", however, even if the 35mm interpositive is not from a good quality blown-up or film stock, and was poorly exposed, it should still have better lightning and much more resolution than the Digital SD master used on the BD. I always wondered why they used the SD digital master for the BD. Gainax gotta have had some other better format around. Maybe legal issues due to the buyout of all Eva Related from Khara difficulted the process of getting all Eva material in time for the BD release? One can only wonder.

However, one better format is very likely to exhist: Back in 2004 in Japan, there was a Reairining of Evangelion with the restored Renewal version in a 1080i broadcast. .ts files for that broadcast were torrented back in the day. (if you do a deep search on google you can even find the dead torrents around) The broadcast was almost certain made from HDCAM masters (which is a DCT 144mbps 1440x1080i format), which were generated directly from the new film scans and Ep 16, likely, was made from the 35mm interpostive. Finding someone that have a copy of these .ts files should be very difficult, likely, only Japaneses from Japanese Eva communities could have it, but I think a effort in looking for these .ts files is worth it as they should look better at least resolution-wise than the horrid SD master used on the BD. We should find fluent Japanese speakers that know Japanese Eva communities to look around for it. I'm not an frequent poster here on Evageeks so I don't know much people, but if you guys know anyone who also is fluent in Japanese, it may be worth asking this person to start looking around in Japanese communities. Maybe the /eva/ board back in 2chan (or was it futaba?) would be a good start.
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