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Die Hard - Custom BD (v1.0)

38 Replies, 25562 Views

As those of you who have been following my thread will know I discovered earlier this year that Netflix were streaming a 1080p version of Die Hard which differed in a number of ways from the Blu release:

Stable titles/no telecine wobble
Cleaner, with film damage reduced or removed
Altered colour timing, varying from shot to shot so as to suggest a full regrade as opposed to a blanket tinting
More detail in many circumstances, usually static close-ups due to the way Netflix's compression operates

Obviously the film was restored in 4K a number of years, perhaps the master slipped out? In any case I felt it warranted a preservation, purely as a curiousity, so I capped it:

Captured from cable box at 1080p24 to an external USB capture device which hardware encoded to a high bitrate AVC file, visually identical to stream
Stream capture converted to Lagarith lossless and imported in NLE,
Blu ray indexed via DGAVCindex and downconverted to 480p Lagarith for sync,
Lossless stream synced to blu ray and menu cutaway removed during end titles,
Light 35mm film grain applied via grain plate, matched to what grain survived the encode,
Rendered out to UTvideo codec in YV12 for 2-pass encode via x264 CLI (veryslow preset, tune grain, av. bitrate 19Mbits/s, blu ray compliant)
Raw .264 file muxed to blu ray folder structure with audio and chapter stops from blu ray with tsMuxer.

Audio tracks (with huge thanks to DoomBot and PDB):
1. PCM Dolby Stereo from Initial Widescreen Laserdisc release (1666-80), closest to Theatrical Audio known available short of obtaining the optical track from a realease print
2. PCM Dolby Stereo from THX Widescreen Laserdisc remaster (8905-85), a beefed-up track said to be based on the 70mm 6-track, offered as an alternative listening experience.

As this is Blu ray synced alternative tracks can be ripped/muxed to your taste.

Obviously a streaming video can never match the bitrates of a commercial blu ray, there are compression artifacts mostly in shadow detail and out of focus/solid areas of colour. The grain plate helps to mitigate many of these. What I have aimed for here is to replicate the experience of streaming at the maximum quality available, offline with superior (and authentic) audio.

PM me for more information, feedback is appreciated, especially from anyone fortunate to catch the limited 4K DCP presentations. Depending on feedback and improved source material there may be a v1.1, also I will be keeping the original capture for the foreseeable and may make it available.

Happy trails!
Awesome stuffOk
Skimmed through this release and it looks awesome! Big Grin Grain plate does go a long way in hiding the fact that it's a stream cap.

I wonder if this is actually the 4K version or some stop-gap scan, detail isn't radically improved, perhaps due to limitations of the original photography.
(2016-12-21, 09:40 AM)The Aluminum Falcon Wrote: Skimmed through this release and it looks awesome! Big Grin Grain plate does go a long way in hiding the fact that it's a stream cap.

I wonder if this is actually the 4K version or some stop-gap scan, detail isn't radically improved, perhaps due to limitations of the original photography.

Thanks Aluminium Falcon! You are right to say it is not a quantum leap in terms of detail but it is an improvement. A lot of the film is inherently soft due to the shooting style and anamorphic lenses used. With any luck a better source may present itself, perhaps a screening on a cable channel with a decent bit rate.
I tested the m2ts file; it plays fine on VLC (even if, when jump to any point, it takes one or two seconds to "settle"); in MPC (both BE and HC versions) if you jump to any point, no video at all just, audio (plays fine normally).

I wonder how it will behave, when burned on BD.

Apart this little problem, quality is quite high for a web download; certainly grain plate helps here.

Congrats Zoidberg Ok welcome in the clan! Wink
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
Thanks for the feedback spoRv, I'll have to check out MPC, add it to the checklist. I know what you mean about VLC and transport streams, the way you see only the difference info before an I-frame. Sort of reminds me of datamoshing.
It's strange, because I tested the file derRARing just three or four parts, and it worked well on MPC (also jumps)... how did you encode it?
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
Finally tested a burn of this and it plays just fine, even with my intermittently finicky BD player.

On a 65" monitor, the compression artifacts are more noticeable; if a v1.1 is done, I'd definitely make the grain plate a bit more visible, as it would hide artifacts even better. Dark areas, as you say, get the worst of it. I might also suggest cropping perhaps the top and bottom row of pixels or so for a sharper frame around the edges.

Again, it's good to see any uptick in detail when it comes to Die Hard, so great preservation! Smile

There are 56 chapters and some are spaced less than a minute apart, though! Was this intentional?
Do you think you'd be able to do some deblocking for v1.1?
Hi guys,

Encode wise I used CLI x264 2-pass, using the Blu-ray compliant settings from x264bluray.com, adding tune grain, speed veryslow and adding merange24. I wonder if these settings while compliant for Blu-ray spec are causing hiccups for media players?
Regarding the compression it's between a rock and a hard place. I tried to add just enough grain to match what was already there and not overwhelm the picture, I probably could have gone heavier but I found that the level I settled with tamed the bulk of the artifacts. I worry that any more filtering/processing would be at the expense of detail. Regarding the heavy blocking in the shadows Netflix does that a lot to save bits. I did find that the blocking got slightly worse in the final render, maybe something happened in the grain plate or a lossless stage wasn't so lossless?
Regarding a v1.1, there are things I could do better, I'm hoping for a better source (possibly a better web-dl, or HDTV broadcast). Obviously a shot by shot restoration would yield better results. If anyone has any tips or advice I'm all ears, I still have the original capture on my PC, if anyone wanted to do tests I can make it available.
Final note: the compression was the worst looking on my living room led flat screen, better on my PC monitor and almost non-existent on my front projector (a very cheap older model jvc- black level heaven) so display can make a difference.
Hope everyone's having a Happy Christmas!

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