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The Hitcher Regrade and Video Fix
#1
[Image: bkmfO4Q.jpg]

The Hitcher Regrade and Video Fix

Project Info

I'd like to start out by acknowledging that Doombot greatly contributed to this project.

Been hoping for an HD version of The Hitcher for awhile. I knew it wouldn't happen in the USA as the rights to it and all the HBO films are in legal limbo. I was hopefully expecting it to appear in the UK since there was an excellent SE DVD which I had upscaled previously. So I was happy to hear about a German release. When I got a copy I was surprised to see that it was clearly a scan of a lower order print, maybe even a release print. And since it's not an OCN or IP scan then it comes with a whole host of issues. This project's goal is to either fix those problems or at least minimize them while tweaking other concerns.

1. Black Levels - Given the scan's probable origins, the master has had its brightness/black level boosted to Conteract the look of black crush or loss of details. I separated the movie into 15 "scene section" and pinned the black level to 0 for the darkest areas for each section and then used curves on the shadows and mid to make sure as much detail is preserved. Even after that the shadows are not balanced correctly resulting in blacks that drift off into red or occasionally blue. I readjusted the shadows via curves to make them black as much as possible.

[Image: 4HuLBvS.jpg]
[Image: ssngljx.jpg]

Even with these adjustments my personal goal is to keep the colors as close to the original bd as possible.

2. Light leak - The scan has a lot of light leak on the sides. It increases towards the end and is more noticeable in dark scenes. I did what I could trying to minimize this but there is no way to get rid of it all.

3. Black Crush/Blown Highlights - I ran an effect to bring down the high a but but there is no information to be recovered in the highlights. They are blown. So, the highlights are what they are. As for any black crush, it's baked into the scan, nothing I can do about that.

4. Compression Artifacts - Coming from a lower print there is a lot of grain and the encoder was unable to deal with it. I tried to separate the compression artifacts from the grain and run de-blocking filter. I think I was able to minimize the worst of it.

5. Logos/Credits - This is technically not wrong but still something I wanted to change. This scan has a tacked on Cannon logo at the beginning. That is correct since Cannon released the movie in European territories but the logo is from a modern scan and the wrong aspect ratio (16:9 vs the correct 2.39). In the US, HBO films had a deal with Tri-Star to release their films, whose logo you can see on the UK and US DVDs. So I took a vintage HD Tri-Star logo and put it in the beginning.

(notice the red in the shadows of the Canon logo)
[Image: v54Po67.jpg]

The print is clearly an English language print, most likely a US one given the credits. The exception is the one shot with the title card in it, whereas the title is the German Hitcher der Highway Killer with the Hauer's and Howell's name in the wrong font.

[Image: Z6rfPDN.jpg]

I upscaled this 19 second section from the UK DVD and will color correct it to match

[Image: GjHLrf6.jpg]

As for the audio. There is nothing wrong with the English soundtrack on the German BD. It just sounds weak. So went about comparing every English soundtrack to find the best possible. There is no PCM track on a LD but Buster D was nice enough to cap the analog for Doombot and me. Comparing that, the German BD tracks, the UK DVD track and the US DVD track, I found that the 2 channel Dolby Digital track from the US DVD was, by far, the most dynamic. I converted this to PCM (for editing) and included it as the main track.

Video:
The German BD scan of a lower print with the black levels fixed, the US credits and Tri-Star logo added

Audio:
1. PCM 2.0 Dolby Surround at 48KHz (Re-encode of the DD 2.0 from the US DVD)

Pics
[Image: gj4jNQY.jpg]

Collaborators and Thanks:
Doombot: for running ideas and tests with me
Buster D: for capping the analog audio from the JPN LD
New members: Please do not PM or ask me where to get something. Projects are for long term, participating members only. Stick around and make some friends
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Thanks given by: Plissken1138 , bronan , DoomBot , Stamper , Colek
#2
Quite a project! It's a film I've been meaning to revist for a while - had no idea there were such issues in terms of a US release. Always thought this was perfect for an Arrow version here in the UK but don't know how likely that is.
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#3
Looking forward to this one PDB, one of my favorites, while i was happy to finally see a hd print, the German bluray was still lacking overall, glad you have tried to fix it as much as possible.
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#4
my favorite hauer. great project!
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#5
Nice work!
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#6
Sweet!
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