Friday, December 03, 2010

Project X, Phase Y

Sorry for the lack of relevant Kentai updates, boys 'n' girls. "Mystery Project X" has kept me insanely busy for the last couple of weeks, and I've spent the last several days literally re-creating the project from scratch, trying to figure out if it was possible to eliminate one of the flaws that were hard-coded into the process at the very first step of the restoration. The short answer is, no, I can't, so that was all clearly time well spent. It really sucks that temporal chroma oddities is the natural trade-off I make while removing heavy analog noise on top of 35mm production flicker, but watching the source and the restoration side by side, I still think it was the right choice.

Truth be told, I feel like I've done some pretty amazing things, and it kills me that the very nature of the Kentai Blog means I can't share it with you all here. We're talking about a master that's literally over 20 years old, and I've managed to fix all the worst qualities it had whilst preserving as much of the "look" I know productions of this vintage are known for as humanly possible. I can't claim to know exactly how it was supposed to be, but I've been very careful not to allow any major flaws of my own design creep back in, and I've used as much marketing and promotional material as I could find as the basis for how the color correction should be handled. Things like film grain and fine detail didn't exist on the materials when I got them, but outline density and frame stability has been improved beyond my wildest dreams.

I think everyone who's familiar with how nightmarish history on home video Mystery Project X has had will be satisfied with the results, and I really do hope it does well. Not because I get a cut of the video sales (seriously, I don't), but because it's a great little film that's now stained with my blood, sweat, tears, and love... which sounds way dirtier than I meant for it to. It's by far the most drastic and shocking restoration I've worked on yet - and I haven't even finished it!

I've decided to draw a line in the sand and send the current workprint I'm in the middle of trouble-shooting off to the guys who own the film. If they like it - and I sure hope that they do - I'll perform some final tweaks and be done with it. Without that buffer in place of the guys I'm working for saying it does (or doesn't) look good, I could easily spend the next half-year experimenting with every technique I know of, but that just isn't productive if the goal is to have a product on store shelves in a timely fashion...

We should have a few new Kentai Films titles ready by sometime next week, including a mix of titles you may have seen before and some that'll be brand new to the label. One of them is basically done now, but I've been too busy to finish off the menus. There's also one title I'm going to kill myself trying to finish before X-mas... you all deserve it, you really do, and if I can have it finished before the year is up, it'll make the Anniversary tag I want to slap onto it that much sweeter.

Then again, I've seen a lot of DVDs with "25th Anniversary Ultra Spiffy Edition" or whatever on the cover that doesn't actually have shit to correlate with the year the film was actually released in, so, whatever.

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