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True Lies HDTV (Film4 HD) Preservation

110 Replies, 66185 Views

Many many moons ago Film4 HD (Cable Channel) aired True Lies so I recorded it, watched it, thought 'That looks pretty good, if they released this on Blu Ray I'd be chuffed' so I kept it on the Tivo HDD. Then I got hold of the DTheater rip which like so many of us became my 'go to'. So imagine my glee when I revisited the HDTV airing and found it was better! So I capped it (Lossless LAGS 4:2:2 via HDMI capture card).

Obviously it's not perfect. It's a 1080i50 MPEG2 broadcast so there are compression artifacts, but compared to the DTheater it is less filtered/compressed and is not Hard Telecined, requiring only a change in frame rate to 23.976fps. It's definitely of the same 'vintage' as the DTheater master, showing similar film blemishes/specks although the frame geometry is slightly different. Being a TV broadcast the end credits are time compressed but I would just use the DTheater for those.

Here is a sample clip (with audio, approx. 1:30, 25mbps AVC):


Soundman has kindly supplied me with a Bit-perfect rip of the NTSC Laserdisc PCM which I will sync. Obviously there are a number of 5.1 mixes which could be included.

Any thoughts/suggestions?
Thanks for the clip!

I made a quick'n'dirt comparison, here you are my thoughts.

HDTV cons: has a missing frame, image slightly cropped on all four sides, more compression artefacts, less definition in fast motion shots
HDTV pros: slightly better definition in still shots, no telecine eventual problems

Tip: use both combined to get "maybe" a better final result, because they have both problems, but not on the same zones, so "probably" merging them could be beneficial - further tests are needed, though...

I always wanted to put my hands on the D-Theater version - it resides in one of my HDDs since few years, but now, with this new PC, there is a chance I could improve it a bit - a gentle noise reduction, a tiny sharpening, and a kind grain plate... slapped over it! Big Grin
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
There's also open matte HDTV capture, keep that in mind.
Of course it is in my HDD as well, in good company with the D-Theater version... Big Grin
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
I've dropped two versions of this clip (HDTV and IVTC'd DTheater) into my editing software and detected no dropped frames. The slight crop on each side doesn't concern me greatly. Simple A/B comparison does show the DTheater to be softer, which helps to hide the macroblocking which is present in both. I've done a fresh test clip, same bitrate but different x264 settings:


There's something about MPEG2 artifacts that makes them tricky to encode to AVC without exacerbating them. A higher bitrate would definitely help, perhaps a grain plate. I've been checking the listings for repeat airings on Film4 but nothing for the time being. Maybe they'll be kind enough to send me their broadcast master? I'd ask ever so nicely  Blush
Dropped frame: maybe my fault (dunno if it was 'cause quick or dirt - or 'n'!)

The fact is, at 25mbps avg (40mbps max) I still think D-Theater is nicer; of course, if it will be manipulated somehow and re-encoded at the same bitrate used for your clip, don't know if it will still be nicer, though! Smile
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
I have for reasons unknown to me picked a particularly blocky scene to demonstrate. I'll do a better looking scene at some point
Maybe check if there's going to be another airing of the same master, you could capture it again and it might have less compression on some scenes. Or you could combine them to get slight better picture, like Sporv suggested.
I'm keeping an eye out for repeat airings Colek. Has anyone caught the recent US airings on Starz? I know the open matte airs on WOWOW from time to time. The compression does tend to look worse on these bright monitors, it's a foot lamberts thing IIRC.
Also spoRv please check your PMs please
The Starz airing is available as a webrip on your nearest torrent site.

It is open matte, definitely from the same source as the Dtheatre, and uses the same mix, encoded in E-AC3.
It looks softer than the Dtheatre and also has a logo appearing from time to time.

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