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 Post subject: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2013, 08:36 
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We use a lot of terms around here and confuse the crap out of each other. Rolling dropouts, CLV smearing, DNR, its not always easy to tell what we're all taking about so I thought it would be a good idea to start a topic about this.

Also, I've recently noticed two weird ones I don't really understand. :) What do we call these?

The first phenomenon I want to talk about is extremely obvious on both Araiguma Rascal: Memorial Box [PILA-1450] and to a lesser extent on Milos (1992) [BELL-561].

Rascal is a TV series from the 70s and its quite possible that the problems were introduced when doing the original telecine back then and impossible to remove (during the LD era anyway) after that if the original negatives were lost, which might have happened, I don't know, that happens a lot with anime. This box set is a reprint by Pioneer. The original was from Toshiba. I have no idea if the problem was present in the original box. Its way too expensive to buy and find out since these are 13 disc sets that cost $100 to ship from Japan. :)

With Melos (correct romanization, as far as I know) this problem is less severe but certainly still there. This is a full length movie, but I'm not sure it actually went on roadshow. It may have been made for TV, in fact I'm pretty sure it was.

So anyway, the issue:

When there is a high contrast area, black on white or white on black, it sort of...bleeds, across most if not the entire scan line on its way to the right. So, for example, lets say there is grey wall with a white door on it at the left of the screen, and a black ladder leaning against the door. The rungs of the ladder will cause a blur or gamma shift or whatever nearly, if not completely, through everything to the right of the screen. You will be able to see the ladder rungs sort of being smeared through the rest of the image. You won't see any of it to the left, it always travels to the right. I think that is probably an important clue to understanding how this happens. Another time you will see it is with credits. If you see white credits on a black background everything will be smeared to the right.

I've checked out the Rascal discs on two players and two displays and its there on all of them, although the problem is much more apparent on my XBR960 HD CRT than it is on my JVC SD pro monitor, probably because the 960 has the super fine pitch tube. On a real SD TV the smearing gets blended into the scan lines. I also looked at an old fansub I have of Melos, which would have probably been made from the same LD or possible a VHS, and the problem was there too. Rascal is on DVD, but I've never seen it to check if the problem is there as well.

So what do we call this?

Then I have another problem that is, IMO, even more annoying, and its all over every disc of Dirty Pair: Perfect TV (1985) [VPLY-70266].

While the previous sort of artifacting was probably the result of too much light being shined into the telecine machine and %100 analog in nature, the problem with the Dirty Pair discs is clearly digital in nature. Basically, the discs look like they were made from VCDs or something. Again this is visible in high contrast areas. A great way to set it off is to watch a white spaceship traveling through black space. The ship will leave a trail. Its really looks like MPEG artifacting or maybe even DIVX AVI. If I were mastering this myself I would say "not enough key frames!". When everything on the screen is bright its fine, but its really friggn' annoying when you see situations like the space ship I mentioned, which sadly happens constantly since this is a scifi show!

This box consists of the entire TV series and a bunch of OVAs. The OVAs were also sold separately years before this set came out but I've never viewed them myself so I don't know if the problem was introduced in this set or if it was there all along. The OVAs originally came out after the TV series aired and were from a different era of production so it seems weird that the same problem would be there all along in the original tapes. My assumption is that this sort of artifacting was introduced by some terrible early digital mastering system that thankfully didn't get used very often. I REALLY HATE this problem and it really brings down an otherwise totally amazing box set. For the record this show was probably shot on 16mm and then transferred to...I don't know, betacam or something for TV broadcast and/or transfer to home video. My point being it wasn't shot to digital tape, or broadcast digitally, or available in any digital format until DVD came about. I think this LD set is from 1994.

So, can we talk about these problems? We can also talk about other things like it, hopefully establishing a glossary of terms helpful for describing discs in the future.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2013, 13:15 
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If I had to take a guess, the first one sounds like a problem that likely existed on whatever the master was sourced from while the second just sounds like a s****y mastering job and as you said, probably sourced from VCD or the like.

Speaking of anime on LD, probably the worst looking discs in my collection are the AnimeEigo Bubblegum Crisis discs. The subtitles were burned in with permanent composite video artifacts while the video itself is a noisy, blurry mess with black levels all over the place, often changing from episode to episode with no consistency. I've been considering selling them to someone that is just fine having them as a shelf piece because I can't stand to watch an otherwise classic series this way.

Perhaps more perplexing is that their Vampire Princess Miyu release is actually just fine aside from the black levels being too high. At least the original single disc release, I've never seen the later two disc version.

(Ugh, wish there was more subtitled anime on this format. :( )

The only consistently frequent LD mastering flaw I've seen is the aliasing that comes from incorrectly resizing a movie to fit into a letterbox format. Some pressings are tolerable, others are completely unwatchable imo. Probably the worst offenders are John Carpenter films for some reason, specifically Thing, The (1982) [40946] (which sucks anyway for a variety of other reasons, get the Signature Collection version instead) and Escape from New York: Collector's Edition (1981) [ID2330SU] (a real shame because to my knowledge this is the only version of Escape from New York on LD that isn't P&S). The Criterion Collection version of Halloween also suffers from aliasing but is still enjoyable to watch compared to the other two I mentioned.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2013, 18:03 
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sorry that i didn't read all of above.
i had the dirty pair set, i can't remember anything wrong with picture but it was many years ago.

the only thing i do know of that i own is Akai Koudan Zillion: vol.1 (1987) [VPLY-70085]

it sometimes has a smear type image, but it's not from the LD or player but the mastering, almost like a ghost image sometimes.

on the zillion discs its only on the TV series and i feel it's from the mastering using tape or something not film.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 02:30 
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hauntmedoitagain wrote:
If I had to take a guess, the first one sounds like a problem that likely existed on whatever the master was sourced from while the second just sounds like a s****y mastering job and as you said, probably sourced from VCD or the like.


I was exaggerating. I seriously hope nobody ever used a VCD as an LD source. VCD is horrifically terrible. The artifacting I'm seeing is similar though in that its obviously digital and certain areas of the screen aren't updating quickly enough due to digital bandwidth limitations.

Quote:
Speaking of anime on LD, probably the worst looking discs in my collection are the AnimeEigo Bubblegum Crisis discs. The subtitles were burned in with permanent composite video artifacts while the video itself is a noisy, blurry mess with black levels all over the place, often changing from episode to episode with no consistency. I've been considering selling them to someone that is just fine having them as a shelf piece because I can't stand to watch an otherwise classic series this way.


I currently only own the last one in this series and I see nothing wrong with it. In the past I've viewed the entire series several times and never saw anything below average about it. I love the subtitles themselves and IMO there haven't been any as good since DVD took over. DVD soft subs are nice, but they are more limited than the hard ones. I'm not sure what you mean by "permanent composite video artifacts". I guess I'll watch the disc I have and see if I notice anything. Its been a couple of years since I've seen it.

Do you have one of the Japanese versions to compare it to? This being an OVA from 1987 the video quality is unlikely to be perfect. I'm not sure Animeigo didn't anything to make it worse. Those BGC episodes weren't all produced and directed on the same day like Gundam or whatever. Each one was a near ground up production that began only when the revenue from the previous episode was in the bank. This is why Scoop Chase is so much better looking than the others; it came later and had a bigger budget.

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The only consistently frequent LD mastering flaw I've seen is the aliasing that comes from incorrectly resizing a movie to fit into a letterbox format. Some pressings are tolerable, others are completely unwatchable imo.


I'm not sure what you are talking about. How does the size of the image/matte effect aliasing?
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 03:00 
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I just did a quick viewing of Bubblegum Crisis #4: Ep. 7-8 [AD092-005]. Like I said, its the only one in the series I have now.

I remember the video sometimes being noisy, but now that I have a CLD-99 that's been reduced so much that its not anything to complain about. The general video quality is about average. The original camera job wasn't perfect, the processing wasn't perfect, the telecine wasn't perfect, but the end result, at least on these two episodes is really good. I have zero problems with the subs. I would kill to have subs this good on other things. Its like people totally forgot how to make subs now. Everything is tiny and white and difficult to read, especially on fansubs. Yellow is a million times more readable. It annoys me that I can't chose subtitle color on Blurays. Anyway...

One thing I did notice was a minor case of the "smearing titles" I mentioned on Rascal and Melos. You only see it where they tell you the date time, like at the beginning of Scoop Chase and many times during Double Vision. It doesn't happen with the Animego bumpers, or the Artmic/Youmex bumpers, but only with the dates/times. So its likely that the dates/times were rendered as the episode was being shot and the problem was introduced at the point of the original telecine, but whoever added the other titles, one duplication process later (I'd bet Maki Pro), later didn't cause a similar problem and neither did Animego when they copied it again from the D2 in order to add subs.

I need to get the rest of these LDs. BGC is so awesome!
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 04:19 
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This is not a digital mastering problem of any kind, or even a video problem per se. What you are seeing is a sort of image lag. Basically, when the film-to-video transfers were done, the image sensor used (probably a plumbicon camera element) had a certain tendency to retain an image. So, in addition to the current film frame, the image captured on videotape incorporated the three or four previous film frames at a substantially reduced intensity. You can really see it, as I recall, on the first of the L.A. Hero Giant Robo discs, at places where a scene cuts onto solid black. The phenomenon, in fact, is exactly the same as the afterimage which lingers in your eye after looking at something.

Using a better transfer system, such as a flying-spot scanner instead of a film chain (projector-camera combination), or even a different choice of film chain pickup, would have prevented this. But another part of the problem is simply that, with the particular system I suspect was used, the overall amount of incident light has an effect on how rapidly the afterimage is discharged. It would require some skill, in a program with a lot of dark backgrounds, to get the black level right while simultaneously minimizing the lag. If setup for the transfer was done carelessly, or in haste, or using settings worked out for some other type of program material, I would expect the results you describe.

signofzeta wrote:
Then I have another problem that is, IMO, even more annoying, and its all over every disc of Dirty Pair: Perfect TV (1985) [VPLY-70266].

While the previous sort of artifacting was probably the result of too much light being shined into the telecine machine and %100 analog in nature, the problem with the Dirty Pair discs is clearly digital in nature. Basically, the discs look like they were made from VCDs or something. Again this is visible in high contrast areas. A great way to set it off is to watch a white spaceship traveling through black space. The ship will leave a trail. Its really looks like MPEG artifacting or maybe even DIVX AVI. If I were mastering this myself I would say "not enough key frames!". When everything on the screen is bright its fine, but its really friggn' annoying when you see situations like the space ship I mentioned, which sadly happens constantly since this is a scifi show!

This box consists of the entire TV series and a bunch of OVAs. The OVAs were also sold separately years before this set came out but I've never viewed them myself so I don't know if the problem was introduced in this set or if it was there all along. The OVAs originally came out after the TV series aired and were from a different era of production so it seems weird that the same problem would be there all along in the original tapes. My assumption is that this sort of artifacting was introduced by some terrible early digital mastering system that thankfully didn't get used very often. I REALLY HATE this problem and it really brings down an otherwise totally amazing box set. For the record this show was probably shot on 16mm and then transferred to...I don't know, betacam or something for TV broadcast and/or transfer to home video. My point being it wasn't shot to digital tape, or broadcast digitally, or available in any digital format until DVD came about. I think this LD set is from 1994.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 04:39 
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Funnily enough, I haven't actually watched the fourth disc, though I've seen the first three and they all share the same problems I've mentioned. I never went into BGC expecting high production values, but that's not where my complaint stems from.

Some screenshots that should highlight what I'm talking about from disc 2:

Image
Image
Image
Image

You can clearly see hanging dots burned in along with the subtitles, noisy and bleeding reds as well as blacks that are waaay too dark. Either the fourth disc is the odd one out or I'm unlucky and got a bunk set… ? Unfortunately I don't have the Japanese releases to compare to as I don't understand near enough of the language to watch them without subs.

When an image is resized, it can introduce aliasing depending on the technique(s) used, hence why I and others assume as such.

Here's a good example from the version of Escape from New York I mentioned. You can clearly see the aliasing on the edges of The Duke's car.

Image
Image
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 06:42 
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publius wrote:
This is not a digital mastering problem of any kind, or even a video problem per se. What you are seeing is a sort of image lag. Basically, when the film-to-video transfers were done, the image sensor used (probably a plumbicon camera element) had a certain tendency to retain an image. So, in addition to the current film frame, the image captured on videotape incorporated the three or four previous film frames at a substantially reduced intensity. You can really see it, as I recall, on the first of the L.A. Hero Giant Robo discs, at places where a scene cuts onto solid black. The phenomenon, in fact, is exactly the same as the afterimage which lingers in your eye after looking at something.

Using a better transfer system, such as a flying-spot scanner instead of a film chain (projector-camera combination), or even a different choice of film chain pickup, would have prevented this. But another part of the problem is simply that, with the particular system I suspect was used, the overall amount of incident light has an effect on how rapidly the afterimage is discharged. It would require some skill, in a program with a lot of dark backgrounds, to get the black level right while simultaneously minimizing the lag. If setup for the transfer was done carelessly, or in haste, or using settings worked out for some other type of program material, I would expect the results you describe.


I just put that disc in, Giant Robo #1: The Black Attache Case (1993) [LDUSRVD2], and you are correct. The same problem is present as on Dirty Pair: Perfect TV (1985) [VPLY-70266]. Its not as bad though. Its terrible in the DP set.

The easiest way to find it is to go to the scene where Dr Shizuma is first seen running away from the viewer into dark. Every step produces "image lag" of his white pants against a black background. This disc also causes my display to produce some interlacing problems, but that's not a huge deal.


BTW, is the JP disc that bad? I only have JP GR discs of the episodes not released in the US.

hauntmedoitagain wrote:
When an image is resized, it can introduce aliasing depending on the technique(s) used, hence why I and others assume as such.

Here's a good example from the version of Escape from New York I mentioned. You can clearly see the aliasing on the edges of The Duke's car.

Image
Image


I think this might be what I was noticing when I started this thread: viewtopic.php?f=32&t=1296
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 16:59 
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Those are poor comb filter and low chroma res artifacts on the anime due to a composite source that's been split and improperly recombined. Composite out to a 3D comb filter might improve it some.

The aliasing is due to lack of filtering when downreaing the video to 525 lines - with proper up scailing the aliasing should disappear or be greatly improved. My Denon receiver has Faroudja processing and I don't have problems with aliasing, even on titles like Cleopatra.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 03:19 
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disclord wrote:
Those are poor comb filter and low chroma res artifacts on the anime due to a composite source that's been split and improperly recombined. Composite out to a 3D comb filter might improve it some.


The signal path for this was a Panasonic LX-900 via composite out > Panasonic DMR-ES10 with its fantastic 3D comb filter. As you can see, it doesn't help at all.

disclord wrote:
The aliasing is due to lack of filtering when downreaing the video to 525 lines - with proper up scailing the aliasing should disappear or be greatly improved. My Denon receiver has Faroudja processing and I don't have problems with aliasing, even on titles like Cleopatra.


Even if I didn't hate upscaling with a passion, it wouldn't matter as I'm a diehard CRT user. Seems like an absurd solution to what is clearly a mastering flaw, anyway.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 03:24 
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I'm going to say that the crappy comb filter was probably in Animeigo's genlock. It's on the LD now and it can't be fixed.

That being said, I noticed none of this on disc 4.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 04:32 
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Maybe they figured out something was up by then? :lol:

Like I said, none of their other discs have this problem, at least out of the ones I own. Both Lady Snowbloods and Vampire Princess Miyu are just fine.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2013, 19:29 
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signofzeta wrote:
I currently only own the last one in this series and I see nothing wrong with it. In the past I've viewed the entire series several times and never saw anything below average about it. I love the subtitles themselves and IMO there haven't been any as good since DVD took over. DVD soft subs are nice, but they are more limited than the hard ones. I'm not sure what you mean by "permanent composite video artifacts". I guess I'll watch the disc I have and see if I notice anything. Its been a couple of years since I've seen it.

Do you have one of the Japanese versions to compare it to? This being an OVA from 1987 the video quality is unlikely to be perfect. I'm not sure Animeigo didn't anything to make it worse. Those BGC episodes weren't all produced and directed on the same day like Gundam or whatever. Each one was a near ground up production that began only when the revenue from the previous episode was in the bank. This is why Scoop Chase is so much better looking than the others; it came later and had a bigger budget.

The AnimEigo BGC discs do have a problem with inconsistent black levels. They were made from the same masters as the original Japanese LDs, so (unless something went very wrong, which is possible but not terribly likely) those will probably look the same. I'm really hoping to get my hands on one of the late-90s Japanese rereleases, which were made from (as I understand) an entirely new film-to-video transfer.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2013, 19:37 
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hauntmedoitagain wrote:
Perhaps more perplexing is that their Vampire Princess Miyu release is actually just fine aside from the black levels being too high. At least the original single disc release, I've never seen the later two disc version.

(Ugh, wish there was more subtitled anime on this format. :( )

Video quality on the "Hybrid" Miyu LDs is considerably improved. Fixing the black level does good things for the colour saturation!
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2013, 19:52 
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Yeah, I've been curious about the late re-releases as well. They might be considerably better. They could also be terrible, of course.

I recently got the Ghibli box and I'm pretty impressed with how much the video is improved. Tokuma really went all the way with this thing before losing the business to Disney.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2013, 02:31 
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signofzeta wrote:
I just put that disc in, Giant Robo #1: The Black Attache Case (1993) [LDUSRVD2], and you are correct. The same problem is present as on Dirty Pair: Perfect TV (1985) [VPLY-70266]. Its not as bad though. Its terrible in the DP set.

The easiest way to find it is to go to the scene where Dr Shizuma is first seen running away from the viewer into dark. Every step produces "image lag" of his white pants against a black background. This disc also causes my display to produce some interlacing problems, but that's not a huge deal.


BTW, is the JP disc that bad? I only have JP GR discs of the episodes not released in the US.

I just compared the two, and the same video master appears to have been used. So, the lag effect is there ; but LA Hero seems to have done something wrong when they changed the black level (from Japanese-standard 0 IRE setup to US-standard 7.5 IRE), which makes that & other picture problems (notably the non-uniform background of the initial title cards) more visible. I'd also be inclined to think they softened the picture, either by some kind of ham-handed filtering or by simple generation loss in re-recording.

By contrast, the AnimEigo BGC discs were made in one pass, superimposing the subtitles on a playback of the original Japanese master tapes (in Japan!), & recording to D-2 composite digital. There should not have been any Y-C separation involved.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2013, 09:41 
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publius wrote:

By contrast, the AnimEigo BGC discs were made in one pass, superimposing the subtitles on a playback of the original Japanese master tapes (in Japan!), & recording to D-2 composite digital. There should not have been any Y-C separation involved.


Yeah, but didn't most means of superimposition back then do some kind of Y/C separation? Like, for example, is done inside of most LD players? They had to use some kind of hardware to put the titles on.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2013, 15:18 
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signofzeta wrote:
publius wrote:

By contrast, the AnimEigo BGC discs were made in one pass, superimposing the subtitles on a playback of the original Japanese master tapes (in Japan!), & recording to D-2 composite digital. There should not have been any Y-C separation involved.


Yeah, but didn't most means of superimposition back then do some kind of Y/C separation? Like, for example, is done inside of most LD players? They had to use some kind of hardware to put the titles on.


For years TV stations superimposed text and stuff without splitting the signal to Y/C or doing it in the component domain - in fact, once in the NTSC composite format, they tried to avoid ever going back to component (or the simpler Y/C) if at all possible until the mid- to late-80's when the D1 component format became available. And even then, D1 spawned the composite D2 format for stations that didn't have or want to invest in component islands of equipment. Early digital magnetic disc still stores for instant replay and special effects sampled the NTSC signal in its composite form and it was processed in the NTSC domain.

LaserDisc players only started splitting the signal internally so that DNR, chroma dropout compensation and and Digital TBC could be applied separately to the luma and chroma signals - then output as S-Video and cheaply recombined and output as composite. The Panasonic LX-900 does its digital TBC and dropout compemsation in the digital composite domain and then splits the signal 2D Logically to do the DNR. Early S-Video equipped players, like the very first LaserDisc player to have a built in comb filter, the Philips CDV-488, does all of its analog TBC and digital FX in the composite format, returns the signal to analog and only then splits the signal for the S-Video jack with a single line CCD-based comb filter that is made from discrete components (its the only player to use a comb filter made from discrete components. The rest all used off-the-shelf IC's and the LD-S2 was the first player to use a digital comb filter) The Composite output of the CDV-488 is pure NTSC, yet like earlier players with no internal comb filters, on-screen frame/chapter overlays and other info are done without splitting the signal.

The LaserDisc of Olivia Newton-John in Concert is like the aforementioned anime titles - it was shot in NTSC, then split for whatever reason for editing and FX - then improperly recombined with the chroma out of register on the FX and permanent dot crawl that can only be gotten rid of by using frequency separation, cutting the video resolution to 250 lines or so.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 18 Jun 2013, 08:44 
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publius wrote:
signofzeta wrote:
I currently only own the last one in this series and I see nothing wrong with it. In the past I've viewed the entire series several times and never saw anything below average about it. I love the subtitles themselves and IMO there haven't been any as good since DVD took over. DVD soft subs are nice, but they are more limited than the hard ones. I'm not sure what you mean by "permanent composite video artifacts". I guess I'll watch the disc I have and see if I notice anything. Its been a couple of years since I've seen it.

Do you have one of the Japanese versions to compare it to? This being an OVA from 1987 the video quality is unlikely to be perfect. I'm not sure Animeigo didn't anything to make it worse. Those BGC episodes weren't all produced and directed on the same day like Gundam or whatever. Each one was a near ground up production that began only when the revenue from the previous episode was in the bank. This is why Scoop Chase is so much better looking than the others; it came later and had a bigger budget.

The AnimEigo BGC discs do have a problem with inconsistent black levels. They were made from the same masters as the original Japanese LDs, so (unless something went very wrong, which is possible but not terribly likely) those will probably look the same. I'm really hoping to get my hands on one of the late-90s Japanese rereleases, which were made from (as I understand) an entirely new film-to-video transfer.


I have this set:
Bubblegum Crisis: Complete Collection (1987) [BVLL-539]
And the picture quality is fantastic compared to the Animeigo discs.
Of course you will have no subtitles on the discs.
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 Post subject: Re: Lets Talk About Weird Mastering Artifacts on LDs
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2020, 20:04 
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Finally watched the Bubblegum crisis Bluray , have to say that OVA 1 looks absolutely stunning compared to old releases , one of the best remastering i would say "restoration" i have seen to this day.

I find Zillion LDs pretty good.
Master tapes for official VCD anime releases were U-matic or Betacam
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