1996 Sonic OVA/Sonic the Movie 4K HDR Upscale Project

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by HEDGESMFG, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. HEDGESMFG

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    TURN ON THE ENGLISH CAPTIONS WHEN YOU WATCH IT. THEY ARE INCLUDED IN THE UPLOAD, JUST NOT HARDOCDED ONTO THE VIDEO FILE TO MAXIMIZE QUALITY!

    EDIT: AND NOW UPLOADED WITH THE 1999 ADV ENGLISH DUB TOO!



    Back in 1998, in the early days of the Sonic web fandom, I downloaded RM media files of the original, unsubbed, 2 episode OVA in Japanese. This was the first anime title I ever saw in Japanese, and I remember the pain of having to download RM files in 5 minute fragments, bit by bit, on a 28.8kb modem, until I finally had the whole thing. I also had to keep a separate fan translated text document up of the entire episode so I could actually understand what was going on, as no one ever did a proper fansub release of the OVA in those days. I still own my original 1999 DVD copy of the release. I made early 90s fangames based off of Metal Sonic's mechanics in this OVA. Needless to say, I've got a lot of personal attachment to this weird little title. If you've been following me on other social media, you'll know I've been experimenting with 4K fan edits of various different franchises and have some experience upscaling SD/HD material into 4K HDR already. And so, my latest release is relevant to this community and I thought I'd share it here with you.

    This is a Bicubic 4K HDR Upscale and color-regrading of the 1996 Sonic the Hedgehog OVA (AKA the 1999 US release, "Sonic the Movie"). The starting point for the upscale is a source taken directly from the best available DVD ISO source, which is then further upscaled/processed from there. The editing is done in Adobe Premiere Pro 2019, and various filters are used on the source in order to create an upscale that preserves/sharpens the largest amount of the original detail that can be found in the video source without creating a ton of extra bad looking artificial noise like that which you would often see in some of the rater infamous AI Based upscales that are all the rage lately. Colors are tweaked and tested to retain as much of the original look/tone as possible while still giving them a slight pop without over-saturating them or burning out details (A common problem I've seen in other releases). Contrast, Shadows, Black, White, and Highlights are all manually adjusted to give the color grading extra HDR depth so that the bright glowing energy effects also pop on a nice HDR screen without again over-saturating or distorting the original image.

    Personally, I'm very happy with the end result here and I feel this is the best looking encode of the OVA, certainly on any streaming site, but likely also elsewhere. Finally, what most fans don't recall is that the original US home video release was actually slightly edited. I've reversed those edits in this release by restoring the missing bits from a lower quality 360p source, complete with the missing credits sequence, the extra intro bit of OVA 2, and title cards restored into their proper place. It may seem like a small detail to most, but the lack of title cards and original Episode 1 ending credits (which has a slightly different cut of LookAlike) has bugged me for years. The upscale will look considerably poorer here based on the low quality source used, but it's better than nothing. The original video file is output in 4K with the new 10-bit HDR data intact, which has been uploaded directly to youtube, using the Japanese Audio track, with soft subtitles. I could also release this file with the dub too if people wished. The original video file is encoded with a highly efficient x265 HEVC codec and comes out to a fairly sizable (but still efficiently encoded) 6GB file size. I have not started to distribute the original file yet, and may or may not do so depending on demand. If I do so, it would be in an MKV container file and likely be dual audio with the original dub intact and soft subtitles (which can be triggered on and off) included.

    Downscaling this back to a 1080P SDR file is also possible and I have done it before to great success in other projects. Of course, Youtube lets you watch it in whatever resolution you want, but compression tends to get worst at lower resolutions, so beware. Finally, because this is a 'true' HDR release, it is best watched on either Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, and you need a 10-bit capable display/monitor to support proper color output, with HDR mode enabled if you are on Windows. Firefox Youtube, for example, will not show HDR video even if all other settings are correct. Youtube instead takes the HDR data and makes a "best guess" on what it 'thinks' the colors should be and converts them to SDR... with the end result usually being decent looking, but not quite right. For best results, watch on Chrome, Edge, or on your SmartTV, SmartPhone, or a modern high end tablet as most newer devices support proper HDR output when streaming. For those of you who want to nag me about copyright issues, piracy, ect. ect., don't. Bandai Channel has already claimed the video and blocked it exclusively in Japan, which is fine with me. If they cared more, they'd block it globally, as they could so with the push of a button. It is fully viewable everywhere else. I don't care at all about making money off of this release, and SEGA has left it unlicensed in the USA for a decade now with seemingly no intent to return/restore it. Most google results for "Sonic the Movie" will instead turn up the 2020 film anyway. Of course, if Sega decided to do an official release of the original film canisters, scanned for a Blu-Ray Release, that'd be best, but I doubt that will ever happen at this stage, and until it does, I believe this remains as our best alternative to see a high quality encode of this release.

    Hope you guys enjoy it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
  2. Blue Spikeball

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    Thank you, I've wanted a higher quality version of the original Japanese version for a long time. The dub's tacky edits and missing credits sequence have always annoyed me.

    Please do so, I would love this!
     
  3. Blue Spikeball

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    Sorry to nitpick, but I think you might have missed this edit:
    [​IMG]
    The sign in this scene still has the tacky blue text from the dub.
     
  4. HEDGESMFG

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    I can't remove most of the English text without using a lower quality source due to the lack of an existing Japanese ISO. In order to replace the annoying badly shopped text, I'd have to scrub and manually replace that text back in Japanese again, which wouldn't quite look right either, and the only intact, unaltered 360p source is just vastly inferior to the proper DVD footage I used to upscale this. This is why the Opening scene of the first episode still has English text all over it as well.

    If a better Japanese source ever surfaces, I could redo it using that version, but for now I think this is the best we'll get.
     
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  5. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Fair enough.
     
  6. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    Thanks for this, the Sonic OVA is one of my favorite Sonic related thing ever so it’s nice to see it in high quality.
     
  7. qwertysonic

    qwertysonic

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    Nice job! This is a really cool project. Personally I would prefer the English Dub just since I didn't grow up with the Japanese version, but major props.
     
  8. HEDGESMFG

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    Again, I will probably mux the raw with the dub/subs into a single file eventually, but I wanted to get this up first. Failing, that, I may even just upload the dub as a separate video link and put them in a playlist together.

    Either way, I'll let people here know what I do.

    EDIT: Also, I've fixed the puncuation and re-uploaded the subtitles on the youtube video now. Also changed a very small number of lines based on very minor translation quirks. Some to be more literal translations, some slightly less literal or differently worded to more clearly explain the plot. Partially based off of the translations I recall reading in 1998.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
  9. HEDGESMFG

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    And one old time favorite line update for old time's sake...
     

    Attached Files:

  10. HEDGESMFG

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    Also, here's the batch of screenshots I promised. Again, this is not going to replace a proper scan of the original film canister, and the colors of these screencaps don't 100% accurately represent the HDR transfer (that is best seen on a proper 10-Bit 4K Screen), but it should give you a close approximation of what to expect.

    Frankly, it's clear enough that it's actually helping me notice new details I've never seen before (like the baby Egg that's actually peeing on Eggman's head).

    Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_00.55.114.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_00.05.370.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_40.51.547.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_29.30.552.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_30.14.259.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_30.11.258.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_32.34.019.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_32.17.134.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_11.43.869.jpg Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie   [DarkDream].mp4_snapshot_17.59.459.jpg
     
  11. Vangar

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  12. SystemsReady

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    and also that sara is breastfeeding one of the kids!
     
  13. Mana

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    Isn't that one of the most known/iconic scenes in the OVA especially because it got censored in the original dub release and was in the uncut version that dropped later?
     
  14. Xilla

    Xilla

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    I always wondered if there was a bit of a Mandela Effect going on with that scene. I had the UK VHS and I remember it being in, but on other forums I've seen references to it either being edited out completely, or digitally altered to cover Sara up a bit. Plus in this review, in which I'm assuming the guy took the footage directly from the tape, it's uncut (13 mins in):



    (See also: the "Finger")
     
  15. Pengi

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    I've never seen any evidence of a censored version existing.
     
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  16. HEDGESMFG

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    Nor have I, and I've seen all versions of the release. Not to mention this is pulled from a legit early US ISO (There is no Japanese DVD release, even!)
     
  17. Xilla

    Xilla

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    I just saw a list elsewhere of "edited or cut out" scenes" with regards to the VHS and "early" DVD pressings and I can safely say it's a load of shit - they were all on the VHS.

    I remember listing those very things back on one of the old forums back in the day when fans were wondering why it got a PG rating when the AoStH tapes were all U rated.
     
  18. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    I recall every release being uncut but the 2004 DVD release, which was supposedly censored.

    Someone would have to confirm that, but that's what I've read in the past.
     
  19. SSUK

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    UK 2004 DVD release:

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Mana

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    It's cool to know it might have been in all the versions, I was just saying it was one of the most well known scenes already.