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Ashes of Time (1994) Theatrical Cut
#41
(2021-04-25, 08:23 PM)PipperPiper Wrote: Personally, I would rather have the HK theatrical version restored. I was initially very happy to findout that it was going to get a proper release finally, only to be stuck with Redux after everything was said and done. I for one don't get the endless bitching about how "confusing" the theatrical version is and never had issues with how the story unfolded, following the flow of events without questioning anything.

Anyhow, here is the link to the subtitle revision:

https://ufile.io/mz7ghnrw

I left the British English intact and restored what I had changed initially, which included, but not limited to:

realize/realise
learned/learnt
etc

A few instances of Engrish have been rectified, as well as something that shiftyeyes had pointed out to me concerning a yearly event known as the "Awakening of Insects". Further mentioning some misspellings of character names and locations that were inconsistently butchered with the original subs that I ended up changing.

Fixed quite a few lines that concerned the duality of the Murong siblings (not going into what the deal is there as it could be considered a spoiler) that were extremely messy once looked over. As well as some other odds and ends that I am probably forgetting.

Currently this will work for the Pony Canyon release, but could easily be modified to support a restoration with the timing shifted to remove the less than a minute of Japanese characters. I will state that I didn't go back to subtitle the lines explaining the setting as the Japanese Pony Canyon version wasn't my core reasoning behind the subs and would rather see a proper HK theatrical restoration with what is available.
Great job with the subtitles!

Unfortunately, I haven't really looked at the real differences between the Japanese and Hong Kong edits. I didn't notice much different when I went through the subtitles. All the dialogue is the same and in the same order. Maybe a few different edits here and there? But either way, I'm sure the end goal is to recreate the Asian cut, probably the HK cut. I know I really don't care to watch the movie without the big action stuff. 

As NeonBible has said, it looks like ideally we'd be able to source a reconstruction from the TF1 and PonyCanyon transfers.
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#42
I've taken a look at the TF1 transfer thanks to those Russians.

The underlying detail is very good, but the image is quite oversharpened (haloes, harsh grain mixed with compression noise). Color-wise, the screenshots looked a bit funky, but it's actually pretty nice.

I've played around with it in Topaz Video Enhance AI for fun, and I'm quite pleased with how the previews look. Luckily, the program has a "De-Halo" engine which seems to recover the image quite nicely.  Smile

Unfortunately, in addition to missing the big action montages at the beginning and end, it's also missing the montage with the Murang Yin/Yang character at the end of her section, which I don't recall seeing mentioned.
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#43
Here's two screenshots from a quick HD upscale of a clip from the TF1 transfer.

       

Here's a side by side comparison from the program. Some detail loss, but fairly impressive what it can do to combat compression/video noise.

   
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#44
(2021-04-25, 09:06 PM)lshiftyeyes Wrote:
(2021-04-25, 08:23 PM)PipperPiper Wrote: Personally, I would rather have the HK theatrical version restored. I was initially very happy to findout that it was going to get a proper release finally, only to be stuck with Redux after everything was said and done. I for one don't get the endless bitching about how "confusing" the theatrical version is and never had issues with how the story unfolded, following the flow of events without questioning anything.

Anyhow, here is the link to the subtitle revision:

https://ufile.io/mz7ghnrw

I left the British English intact and restored what I had changed initially, which included, but not limited to:

realize/realise
learned/learnt
etc

A few instances of Engrish have been rectified, as well as something that shiftyeyes had pointed out to me concerning a yearly event known as the "Awakening of Insects". Further mentioning some misspellings of character names and locations that were inconsistently butchered with the original subs that I ended up changing.

Fixed quite a few lines that concerned the duality of the Murong siblings (not going into what the deal is there as it could be considered a spoiler) that were extremely messy once looked over. As well as some other odds and ends that I am probably forgetting.

Currently this will work for the Pony Canyon release, but could easily be modified to support a restoration with the timing shifted to remove the less than a minute of Japanese characters. I will state that I didn't go back to subtitle the lines explaining the setting as the Japanese Pony Canyon version wasn't my core reasoning behind the subs and would rather see a proper HK theatrical restoration with what is available.
Great job with the subtitles!

Unfortunately, I haven't really looked at the real differences between the Japanese and Hong Kong edits. I didn't notice much different when I went through the subtitles. All the dialogue is the same and in the same order. Maybe a few different edits here and there? But either way, I'm sure the end goal is to recreate the Asian cut, probably the HK cut. I know I really don't care to watch the movie without the big action stuff. 

As NeonBible has said, it looks like ideally we'd be able to source a reconstruction from the TF1 and PonyCanyon transfers.


I did what I could with what was available to me. It was a nice revisit once again and sad that the theatrical version is more or less forgotten thanks to the revisionist Redux. I will say that not all is perfect however, there are a few lines of Jacky Cheung yelling at his wife that are not translated that I believe are just him telling her to go home. With my Mandarin knowledge being at a sub-elementary level and my Cantonese being so much worse at a sub sub-standard level (pretty much non-existent mind you); I wasn't willing to write in something that I didn't know for sure. There are also instances where timing for a few subs could use minor tweaking, otherwise it appears as if things should be pretty good. I am much happier with the revision than the one that I initially released.

The upscales are interesting to say the least and are probably the best that the movie can look given the sources available. Although, I still keep hoping that a complete print could still be found. Anyone care to take a walk around your local Chinatown to see what film canisters one can trip over? Tongue Big Grin

Not even going to hold my breath on such a thing happening. Just happy that a project can possibly come together with people lending a helping hand to make sure that the film isn't completely lost to time.
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#45
(2021-04-25, 11:10 PM)PipperPiper Wrote: I did what I could with what was available to me. It was a nice revisit once again and sad that the theatrical version is more or less forgotten thanks to the revisionist Redux. I will say that not all is perfect however, there are a few lines of Jacky Cheung yelling at his wife that are not translated that I believe are just him telling her to go home. With my Mandarin knowledge being at a sub-elementary level and my Cantonese being so much worse at a sub sub-standard level (pretty much non-existent mind you); I wasn't willing to write in something that I didn't know for sure. There are also instances where timing for a few subs could use minor tweaking, otherwise it appears as if things should be pretty good. I am much happier with the revision than the one that I initially released.

While I like the Mei Ah subtitles and went to the trouble of trying to recreate them starting with your file, I gave up. I set out to preserve them (the line breaking, the six point ellipses, etc), but I realized the formatting didn't really track well and there were some inaccuracies. I ended up breaking up the longer lines, combining the short ones, switching to a three point ellipses, and even added some dialogue that wasn't subtitled. So that didn't quite work out from a preservation standpoint. Big Grin As I got towards the end of the movie,  Maggie Cheung's dialogue didn't even always make much sense and I started plugging stuff in from the Redux version. From what I gather, the Redux translation is likely more accurate and reads better. Maybe I'll share separate Mei Ah and Redux based subtitles some day if I ever get to it.

I'm also a bit of a lapsed Mandarin-speaker with only the faintest grasp of Cantonese. If I can swallow my pride, I can ask some family members and friends for help. Lol.  Big Grin
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#46
(2021-04-25, 11:37 PM)shiftyeyes Wrote:
(2021-04-25, 11:10 PM)PipperPiper Wrote: I did what I could with what was available to me. It was a nice revisit once again and sad that the theatrical version is more or less forgotten thanks to the revisionist Redux. I will say that not all is perfect however, there are a few lines of Jacky Cheung yelling at his wife that are not translated that I believe are just him telling her to go home. With my Mandarin knowledge being at a sub-elementary level and my Cantonese being so much worse at a sub sub-standard level (pretty much non-existent mind you); I wasn't willing to write in something that I didn't know for sure. There are also instances where timing for a few subs could use minor tweaking, otherwise it appears as if things should be pretty good. I am much happier with the revision than the one that I initially released.

While I like the Mei Ah subtitles and went to the trouble of trying to recreate them starting with your file, I gave up. I set out to preserve them (the line breaking, the six point ellipses, etc), but I realized the formatting didn't really track well and there were some inaccuracies. I ended up breaking up the longer lines, combining the short ones, switching to a three point ellipses, and even added some dialogue that wasn't subtitled. So that didn't quite work out from a preservation standpoint. Big Grin As I got towards the end of the movie,  Maggie Cheung's dialogue didn't even always make much sense and I started plugging stuff in from the Redux version. From what I gather, the Redux translation is likely more accurate and reads better. Maybe I'll share separate Mei Ah and Redux based subtitles some day if I ever get to it.

I'm also a bit of a lapsed Mandarin-speaker with only the faintest grasp of Cantonese. If I can swallow my pride, I can ask some family members and friends for help. Lol.  Big Grin


The mentioned section with Jacky Cheung is the only part that wasn't subtitled from what I did. It has been forever since I have subjected myself to the Mei Ah subs, so I have forgotten about how they were laid out and what was missing from them.

Overall, the problem with translations is that 1+1 doesn't always = 2. There will always be something lost in translation, whether it be a pun/joke that given the context doesn't hit right due to the language barrier or some cultural reference that doesn't make sense. It is effectively a tug of war between having subtitles that are true to what the film makers were trying to convey, but ultimately doesn't make sense in the grand scheme of things. Or they are so far removed from what the original was that it no longer a good representation. I personally think the best translations have to be somewhere in the middle of both extremes as not everything can be translated 1:1.

Tonal languages are super difficult to western speakers for a reason. It is not something that comes natural to us due to lack of exposure. Plus it is easy enough to butcher a word and have it mean something quite different to what is meant. Mandarin has fewer tones than Cantonese which truly is a nightmare in comparison.
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#47
Now that I have upscaled the TF1 and Pony Canyon versions, I'm looking at combining the two. There are two ways I can go about it: just taking the TF1 as the base and dropping the missing scenes from the Pony Canyon or I can edit them to sync to the Meh Ai.

Comparing the multiple versions, the Pony Canyon appears to be the most complete and has a frame at the start of some scenes that are cut from the other two. TF1 and Meh Ai are fairly similar and even line up frame for frame for long stretches, aside from the missing scenes in the TF1. Occasionally, the TF1 has extra frames or the odd insert shot runs a second or two little longer on the TF1 compared to Meh Ai. Aside from the action montages (beginning, Murang Yin & Yang, end), it cuts the footage that would've gone under the follow up text screens (describing what happens to Hong Qi, Huang Yaoshi, and Ouyang Feng).

TF1 has a much nicer image than either. The framing is tighter and the color is quite different though.

In terms of audio, the TF1 sounds cleaner but I had some difficulty getting it to sync back up with the 23.976fps version I created. Tried Audacity and the resulting file sounded like it was recorded through a tin can. Also tried Audition and it sounds better but the middle is a bit out of sync despite the beginning and end syncing up. So I'm not sure.

Currently in favor of just syncing everything to Meh Ai and using its Cantonese and Mandarin dub tracks.
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