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[Request] DNR-free The Two Towers
#1
I've been getting back into the LOTR trilogy lately and thanks to 44rh1n and Dwalin there are now options for both the first and second part of the trilogy.
(Although I know of a method that one could use to get a perfect color grading of the extended shots, but sadly I'm too ill and tired to work with such a project)

Now back on topic: You all probably know the Theatrical Blu-ray of TTT has tons of DNR. The sad part is the Extended version is also plagued by this in lots of scenes with smearing artifacts. It is so visible in outdoor scenes like when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are chasing the orchs that it sticks out like a sore thumb in this majestic trilogy.

I was wondering if there are any old HDTV broadcasts or Web-DL versions or similar, of either the Theatrical or Extended version of TTT that are free from this DNR?
Here are a few links to screenshots of the Extended version of TTT, taken from an own encode of mine where I got rid of the black bars on the sides:
(Tried to find a good lossless image sharing website, not sure if this one's any good)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-08-39-759.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-08-42-349.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-08-59-002.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-19-08-731.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-27-59-553.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-31-38-605.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-35-37-385.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-35-52-318.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-00-45-48-914.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-01-13-00-168.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-02-01-04-453.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-02-01-10-637.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)
2002-The-Two-Towers-mkv-snapshot-02-30-46-080.png (1920×804) (ibb.co)

As you can see, in some of these shots there's not just smearing but also halo artifacts and similar.
I want to know if there is any version free of this?
At the same time I kinda don't expect there to be one, seeing how they took this master and upscaled and put even more DNR on top of it for the 4K release!
Of course, that could just have been the good old laziness of movie companies, rather using automatic software without doing any quality control at all.

Thanks in advance and see ya later film fans!
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#2
IIRC the HDTV were free from DNR - or had less than BD. They possibly could abailable on some torrent tracker.

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#3
Beside HDTV broadcasts, wasn't there an indication that some of the streaming versions were free of DNR?

There was talk of FOTR on Netflix being DNR free. By that logic perhaps the copies on other streaming services are ok. Maybe HBOMax?

I’d be curious as to what your perfect color grading technique is.
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#4
(2021-05-20, 08:45 PM)PDB Wrote: There was talk of FOTR on Netflix being DNR free. By that logic perhaps the copies on other streaming services are ok. Maybe HBOMax?
Are there any of these that have free trials or anything?

(2021-05-20, 08:45 PM)PDB Wrote: I’d be curious as to what your perfect color grading technique is.
Not perfect for everything, but for what we have from 44rh1n and Dwalin who has already done most of the job it does work, at least in most scenes.
I was experimenting a little bit with all the new kinds of tools like AI upscaling software as well as trying the built-in color correction in Nuke, Davinci, Adobe's apps and so on, and I found a plugin that's available both as a plugin for Premiere/After Effects and some open source version for the rest. This plugin is called RE-Vision FX and it includes a lot of stuff but there is one in particular that's a lot better than the rest: RE:Match Stereo.
It's meant to color match 3D footage between two cameras, or something like that but with the correct settings it'll colormatch without changing the shapes of objects.
In some cases it works great on its own, in some cases the result comes out blurry and you have to make a few other stacks of color matching before the "stereo" match.

The best setup I found for FOTR was as follows: (All of them set with a color matrix corrected FOTR Extended PAL DVD as reference, yes, it needs a ConverToRGB32().ConvertToYV12(matrix="Rec709") to look correct. That's how I did it anyway. You can see this on caps-a-holic if comparing any (FOTR, TTT or ROTK) Theatrical BD with the DVDs, the DVDs all have the colors shifted.)

4 stacks of RE:Match Basic, Transfer method: Mean shift, (Gain+Offset might work better if your target master isn't already color corrected)
Gamma: Ignore, Match mode: Every frame.
Color spaces of each stack in order from top to bottom or first to last: LAB, RGB, Luminance, Chroma.

After those, RE:Match Stereo. Transfer mode: Mean shift, (Once again Gain+Offset might work better depending on target material)
Local match mode: Less detailed - Refine mismatched areas, (If you pick "More detailed" it seems to get more blurry or basically use more of the DVD to replace even the edges)
Local mode function: Normal
Local block radius: 150, (150-200, but 150 seems to be the sweet spot where it quits trying to re-shape objects for 3D)
Mismatch threshold %: 100.

Doing this made me notice changes in the Extended BD when trying it on Dwalin's version, like scenes having different light and dark areas or similar. The biggest change I noticed was in the shots of Isildur when Gandalf is in Minas Tirith, different areas of the picture being highlighted than the Extended DVD and Theatrical BD.

I'd say the best bet for a correct color grading would be simply running the extended scenes from 44rh1n's version through this method. One shot that won't match properly though, is the mountains wide shot before the map on the floor in Bilbo's house. It has the same timing on the Extended BD as the DVD but not the exact same frames. The reason I'd vote for 44rh1n's version as a base is I've had conversations with Dwalin and lots of scenes would need replaced 3DLUT conversions and other refinements to match the original and it's simply too much work.

One shot I found where the RE:Match Stereo method didn't work was where the ring falls down into the depths of the lake after Isildur's death. The plugin can't keep track of the light and dark areas and keep moving them around incorrectly. Of course, this might be because of different gate weave of the pictures or the resolution difference. I only used AIUpscale for avisynth to upscale my Extended DVDs. The result was soft but decent.

On the other hand there are some shots in 44rh1n's version that would need fixing like one of Galadriel where she welcomes Frodo to Lothlorien, which looks like a DVD upscale. It sticks out a lot since tons of work has been done re-graining that version or just making it all look film-like rather than a DNR mess. I haven't watched it shot by shot so there might be more. But my bet is on the RE:Match method fixing the remaining color errors in the extended shots of that version completely.

Oh, and about 44rh1n's version: If anyone attempts this, use the v3. I haven't checked v2 but v1 is shifted as if another ConverToRGB32().ConvertToYV12(matrix="Rec709") had been done. Basically the correction for the DVDs applied twice. This is most likely the result of faulty encoding settings. When you shift something that is already correct towards Rec709 one more time, reds turn more pink for example. On the Extended DVDs this had been done in reverse, reds turning orange.
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#5
The old torrents of HDTV captures don't seem to be seeded anymore but I found a DVDScreener of the Theatrical TTT on some website. Even though it had lower resolution than a normal DVD, I could tell in some specific shots that the smearing was there. If a screener version has it, chances are it's been on every digital master I guess?

Funny detail: I saw TTT and ROTK in the theater, back when my local theater were still using 35mm. Sadly I only have a couple pictures stuck in my head as memories from that: The wide shot of the uruk-hai with their torches, about to attack Helm's Deep in TTT, and some shot of the Rohirrim charging into battle in ROTK. I can at least most certainly say ROTK had its orange tint even in theatres.

EDIT: I watched the original teasers and trailers for TTT. I found one sign of the DNR being there too. Check these shots from the Extended BD: https://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/14208/
First tab: A bump on the ground to the right of Aragorn disappears in the next frame.
Second tab: A similar bump appears to the right of Aragorn in the next frame.
Those bumps are very likely to be artifacts from automated DNR and they are in fact present in the original trailers!
So far everything points towards this DNR being done at a very early stage in production. Sad
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#6
The DNR was indeed introduced very early on. AFAIK, there is no version that is free of DNR, just sources that have less.
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#7
(2021-05-21, 01:01 PM)Chewtobacca Wrote: The DNR was indeed introduced very early on. AFAIK, there is no version that is free of DNR, just sources that have less.
It seems so. If the artifacts from DNR are in the theatrical trailers it's a bad sign.
But in the theatres I bet the grain, dust and dirt on the prints covered a lot of it.
These days they use "AI" for everything. I wonder if there's some way to reverse smearing using AI. Otherwise I sure hope there will be!
To be completely honest, it should be the film companies' duty to properly restore classics from original negatives when the time comes.
I guess now we'll have to hope for the 8k era to save this trilogy, or something. They can only upscale 2k masters so much and fool the audience.
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#8
Does the movie have a lot of CGI? It may be they applied DNR to the source transfers used for the DIs.
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#9
(2021-05-21, 06:50 AM)You_Too Wrote:
(2021-05-20, 08:45 PM)PDB Wrote: There was talk of FOTR on Netflix being DNR free. By that logic perhaps the copies on other streaming services are ok. Maybe HBOMax?
Are there any of these that have free trials or anything?

No trials that I'm aware of. I did check TTT and HBO has both the TC and EE on there and both appear to be the old video master.

[Image: RHuGcq4.jpg]

But I can only check on my phone at the moment, I'll see if I can capture a bit to test next week, if still needed.

(2021-05-21, 06:50 AM)You_Too Wrote:
(2021-05-20, 08:45 PM)PDB Wrote: I’d be curious as to what your perfect color grading technique is.
Not perfect for everything...

...reds turning orange.

That's very interesting.

I've used the RE:Match effects many, many times in the past. Mostly using the gain+offset function. It's always been 50/50 if it will actually work or at least provide something useful. I don't expect perfect by any means but close enough I can manual correct after that.

Although I have tried to layer the RE:M effect before, I've ever used four or five times in a row stacked on top of each other like that. Plus the stereo match function. I'm curious to give it a try on something besides TTT. Thanks for the rundown.

(2021-05-21, 02:00 PM)Valeyard Wrote: Does the movie have a lot of CGI? It may be they applied DNR to the source transfers used for the DIs.

Lots of CGI but also a lot of models that were digitally composited.
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#10
(2021-05-21, 03:48 PM)PDB Wrote: Although I have tried to layer the RE:M effect before, I've ever used four or five times in a row stacked on top of each other like that. Plus the stereo match function. I'm curious to give it a try on something besides TTT. Thanks for the rundown.
I did only try it on FOTR, mostly Dwalin's version. But it seems promising when you have a good color source and an almost correct target video.
For those projects it could bring out a 100% perfect look of the extended scenes at least, I believe. That's what I meant anyway. Smile

As for TTT, I guess I won't even need to check the HDTV broadcast since the DNR artifacts were there in both the trailers and DVDScreener.
Strange though, why there exists a capture of an HDTV broadcast of the Extended TTT but not of the old Extended FOTR master. At least I've never heard of any.
Whenever they broadcast them here in Sweden it's always the Theatrical versions.

EDIT: I found something interesting. On IMDB there's an open-matte shot of Gandalf in the picture database. It's a frame from the movie but without color grading so maybe it's from the negative?
I aligned the same frame from the Extended BD to it and made a comparison: https://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/14228
I used RE:Vision Stereo for this with all the stacks. It gave me a better result than Dr Dre's tool since they had not only changed the color but some highlighted and shadowed areas of the picture. So I guess what you see on mouseover might be what we'd have if they hadn't added any DNR in the first place?

EDIT 2: I'm actually pretty sure that image of Gandalf is not from the negative. I believe it's from a 35mm print of one of the trailers. It just doesn't have enough detail underneath the grain to be from the negative.
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