Creating an uncut dub of Sonic X

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Shakidna, May 5, 2019.

  1. Shakidna


    Rehash Rampage Member
    I've realized that the necessary pieces exist and we have the potential to re-edit at least part of the Sonic X anime to a mostly uncut format.

    Obviously there is the video from the Japanese version, that's easy.

    Next there is 5.1 audio from Japanese DVDs, which conveniently have voices mostly separated from the music and sound effects.

    Then there's the voices from the 4kids dub. They are not separated from the music and sfx, but they can be synced up to the Japanese video and music. However 4kids was really aggressive with their edits for time, shaving seconds and frames whenever possible, so a lot of work is needed to make it sync.

    Someone actually did this with a full episode:

    The American music bleeding through is very noticeable, we can do better.

    There are two methods for getting an isolated English vocal track, and they require lossless DVD audio for best results.

    *** Method One ***

    First, we need the Dutch dub, which is based on the 4kids version and also has a 5.1 DVD release. We can extract the 4kids music and sfx from that.

    Then, we use a process called phase cancellation, which allows you to combine two similar audio files, and remove the parts that are identical. If we combine the American audio and the Dutch audio (with voices removed), the result will be isolated American voices. It won't be perfect, since there are some differences in mixing between the two dubs, and voice effects such as echo tend to be on the same track as the music, but will still be a massive improvement. From there the process is straightforward.

    Unfortunately only part of the first season was released on these Dutch DVDs.

    *** Method 2 ***

    The second process is more complicated, has generally worse results, but we can use it for the entire series. It may actually work better for the parts where vocal effects mess up the phase cancellation.

    Phase cancel the English dub with any other language 4kids version. The Spanish dub has the most DVDs so we'll go with that. The result will be a mix of English and Spanish voices, no music or sfx.

    Next, simply mix the vanilla English and Spanish audio into one audio file.

    Then phase cancel these combined tracks, and the result should be just music and sfx

    Next, use a program called Utagoe, which is similar to phase cancellation, to "subtract" the voice-only-combined-track from the vanilla-combined-track. This will give us the sfx/music

    Then phase cancel that with the vanilla English audio and you should have isolated English voices.

    (you may be able to use phase cancelling and Utagoe interchangeably for some of these steps, it's kind of a trial and error process)


    Obviously this wouldn't do a thing to fix dialog changes or scenes that were cut entirely. It can be worked around though. Some scenes could work fine with no dialog such as Maria being shot, and the dialog could be recontextualized so that it's obvious "Maria was taken away" means she was killed. In other instances it may be worthwhile to remove scenes/lines of dialog in the interest of decensorship.

    Also, some of 4kids' edits may be worth keeping, such as the translation of Japanese text, or removal of English text in cases like this:
    (Or maybe splicing these shots in is more trouble than it's worth, since the original certainly has more comedic value)

    Now, is Sonic X a good enough show to put this effort into? Probably not, but there might be a big enough Sonic X fan out there that would do this. I'm willing to test it for at least one episode, if someone could provide lossless DVD rips of English, Japanese, and Dutch versions.
  2. I mean, theoretically for the Sonic X stuff you could even use audio from the games instead, but....

    I don't know what you're gonna do about Cosmo.
  3. Hitlersaurus Christ

    Hitlersaurus Christ

    Not a nazi, maybe Jesus, definitely a dinosaur Member
    glorious nippon
    But... why?
  4. Blastfrog


    Frog blast the vent core! Member
    Because some people like to watch stuff without subtitles and actually understand what's being spoken, but also don't want the underlying content to be totally butchered. I'm not a Sonic X fan, but this proposal makes total sense to me.
  5. ICEknight


    Researcher Researcher
    Even if I don't love the series, something like this could be interesting to see.

    Are there really no lossless rips of any of those DVDs around, already? Is DVD preservation that behind?
  6. Shakidna


    Rehash Rampage Member
    oof, I just realized not all Japanese DVDs have the separate audio tracks, only the first 39 episodes. Season 3 wasn't even released on DVD at all. rip.
  7. Kushami


    Hi, so, producer of the English DVD/Blu-ray for Sonic X.

    I thought about doing this if we get to do a Japanese collection and even tested it; I even have all the M&Es for Sonic X in English and could do noise cancellation on the voices and do a professional job of it. The problem is, there's a lot of things which make it nigh impossible:

    -The biggest problem is this: I don't know if it's like this on a lot of the later episodes, but for the early episodes, 4Kids COMPLETELY re-edited the characters lipflaps to match what they wanted the characters to say. So some scenes have less flaps, some scenes have more, but in a lot of scenes they're in a completely different order than the Japanese video. So you have voices which don't quite match the on screen video. They did this a lot.
    -There are scenes which 4kids also deleted. There's a bunch of stuff between Sonic and Sam Speed, for instance, which is completely cut out of the first episode. You would have to record something to fill in this missing dialogue, or find other dialogue from other episodes to fill in the blanks.
    -I know in one of the season 3/Metarex episodes, they outright deleted a whole scene somewhere. It just doesn't exist in any form.
    -There are scenes where 4kids sped up the original Japanese video; this isn't really that bad but it makes re-editing the english audio to match the Japanese a lot tougher.

    To put money where my mouth is, here is the Japanese version of episode 1 (from my personal DVD) matched up to the English master video to episode 1. You can see just how many gaps there are in the English episode:


    Further, here's a comparison clip so you can see just how hard it would be. Take a close look at Chris' lipflaps, and how they altered them/shortened them so he says a lot less in English version. When the video goes black, that video just doesn't exist in the English version anymore.

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    Honest question...

    Why don't we have a subbed home video release of Sonic X? Just "lack of demand"?

    I don't hate the dub voices at all, and I can even live with the actual dialogue changes (the games do it all the time), but you correctly point out just 'how' badly 4kids butchered the source material when editing the show itself. (I've done exactly what you described with a different series, and the edits were actually almost non-existent so I was shocked how well it synced. I expected much worse. Won't say which show, but there was never a dual audio version of it before my edit is all I 'will' say). I've seen the episode that started this thread (the edited 38), and it is so much more enjoyable to me than what we got that it's absurd. Sonic X JPN had some great music cues, and Sonic X US really changed the tone of the show in a lot of ways, often not for the better, even if I 'do' like the core cast itself.

    I guess I should blame Fox for their increased advertising during kids breaks relative to other networks/shows (they always did this).

    I do believe doing something like this is possible, but it would require having spots where the original japanese dialogue with subs would simply fill in the non-english parts, or similar not ideal solutions like have already been mentioned. It's such a huge undertaking that I could personally never do it, but it would be cool to see.
  9. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    Isn't the whole point of this to have the uncut version ENTIRELY in English? I know I personally would hate the show flip-flopping like that.

    If so much work already needs to be done to make this concept work, why not completely rerecord the dialogue with new voices?


    You're correct, but the spots where one would need to keep the original audio would be very small relative to the whole show, and are in fact used in that ep 38 edit above for many of the non-dialogue reactions.

    Also, keeping Japanese dialogue would hopefully be an item of last resort, and it's very unlikely this would be anything but a clever fan edit anyway, so anyone who knows how to find it would understand if you had to make a compromise in a few small parts.

    Most episodes could probably still turn out like that ep 38 did, which all things considered, is very good.

    But again, I talk about all this when I'm not willing to go through the trouble of editing it personally, so meh. I can only say so much on the subject.
  11. Hey, if StarWars and DragonBall fans can do it, why not Sonic fans, right? I'd love to watch an edited "unedited" cut.

    Something has to be curated here. So we got lip flaps, missing frames, and extracting English from the sound effects and music can be a bit tricky, so I guess we should list the different ways of going about this and either vote on one, or work on the various projects separate?

    Also, I'm a bit confused with the terms "lossless" when it comes to "DVD". That's kind of an oxymoron. Should Bluray be used instead? I don't know the exact differences between the two, but if it means less artifacts, then I'm all for it. Sometimes companies do like to crop the Hell out of Bluray editions though, I'm not sure if this is the case for Sonic X.

    My votes on a clean higher res, English cut (with sacrifices to mouth flap frames) with the original music intact. Maybe some translation fixes too (like something with Japanese written translated to English)
  12. Vangar


    Honestly it would be far easier to get voice actors and re-dub it then create some kind of frankenstein. Kushami's timeline clip shows just how cut to pieces the English dub is. It's a massive task.
  13. Uncut dubs of Dragon Ball already exist and are publicly sold on home video, so I'm not what you're referring to in that regard...?
  14. TFS Abridged-- which isn't canonical to a faithful adaptation, but as far as editing mouth flaps, adding music, etc.

    As far as anything offical, there's YET to be anything worth a good HD collection to DBZ as far as the fans are concerned. Washed-out contrasted filtering, cropped/zoomed to fit 16:9, it's a mess. (Which pretty much my complaint I made earlier. Fans make better adaptations than the official guys do. I mean... look at the new Sonic movie. lol)
  15. There's never gonna be a good HD collection as long as Toei rejects collecting the VHS archival audio over their dumb decayed film audio, but swapping that audio and doing basic color correction on what we already have (Toei's Dragon Boxes, which got an R1 release, and has the least, most easily correctable "issues" of any other releases) is way easier than the amount of editing Sonic X would need for an "uncut dub" - which is half the reason we already have "Color-corrected DBox with Japanese VHS audio" torrents, done by fans in their free time. And as for dubbed Dragon Ball, well, again, we already have complete uncut Dragonball anime dubs.

    TFS Abridged also isn't a good comparison - those edited lip flaps are edited to sync with changed dialog, which is the same thing 4Kids did that makes an uncut dub difficult to begin with. You wouldn't be able to just plaster TFS Abridged audio wholecloth over vanilla Z, nor would anyone want that. Changing the dialog to such extremes that the footage needs to be altered to accomodate it inherently changes the very story, so it could never be a true "unedited" version anyway. (And TFS changed all the voices from any previous Z iteration anyway - at no point did they ever need to edit footage for a pre-recorded voice, their voices and the editing influenced by them are entirely their own artistic vision.)

    And this is all taking into account that Dragon Ball Z will always have a way more obsessed, ambitious anime fanbase compared to Sonic X, which at the end of the day is another spinoff Sonic product.

    And on this note? When FUNimation went back and re-did their dub work for DragonBall Z to make uncut versions, they re-dubbed it from the ground up. When they got One Piece from 4Kids, they redubbed it from the ground up. When Sailor Moon got an uncut dub, it was re-dubbed from the ground up. Those are from professional anime licensing studios (And FUNi owned Dragon Ball dubs for nearly the entire time they were mainstream, which gives them access to somewhere between 2-4 different English dubs of Dragon Ball Z depending on the specific product). This speaks to how much easier it is to just dub over the uncut footage than... whatever the plan for this "unedited" Sonic X is. Are you seriously considering editing lip flaps in what's supposed to be an "uncut" dub?
  16. Shakidna


    Rehash Rampage Member
    In this hilariously convoluted project that I would never wish to take on, I would re-edit the lipflaps to match the English dialogue (or just use the flaps from the English version) and then leave huge amounts of dead air between lines.
  17. Sir_mihael


    Isn't that the kind of thing 4Kids get criticized for though? Even when big name companies dub productions, they tend not to touch the source video (looking at Ghibli movie dubs and such).
    But I guess the script will always be written to fit around that video, whereas the 4Kids dub was written with full intention of putting the show through the editing block.
  18. I think 4Kids gets criticized the most for simply censoring things, but also censoring things that don't make too much sense to censor.

    I feel that editing the mouth flaps to match the English dialog is okay, or at least it's the most approachable without having to redub. Anyone can edit, not everyone can voice. Either way though, not saying one's better than the other, it's just a daunting if not costly task.

    Then we're left with lost frames due to them not matching up the dialog to begin with, which redubbing may help with...

    Sticky situation no matter how you slice it. Should we take liberties while still respecting the source material (in a much better way than what 4Kids have done), or do we keep everything we can and just redo everything?
  19. The way I see it, fixing the edits that 4Kids made and restoring deleted scenes, missing background elements, etc. is great. I don't mind clipping bits of the scenes where translation results in dead air, if you're only removing what's essentially a still image and not removing any actual animation. For instance, that comparison video posted earlier. The points where they cut a camera shot short because the corresponding line of dialogue ended earlier than the original is fine as far as editing goes because it's only trying to keep the conversation sounding natural. Edits like what 4Kids did in One Piece regarding Sanji's cigarette being changed into a sucker would be best reverted to the original.

    Like what was mentioned before, it might be a bit tricky to Frankenstein a conversation between characters that got cut completely and never had audio made for it. If it was me, and I had unlimited amounts of free time to do it, I would probably start cutting together a list of lines from each character so that when a missing scene like that comes up, I could look through the list and try and pick out ones that could be put together to make a natural-sounding replacement. Making those lists would be the first thing that I did, so that I had a full database to search through when each situation came up instead of having to start working on them as I encountered a need.

    What would probably be the best idea if you did decide to go through with this would probably be to isolate the spoken audio for each episode entirely. Then make bundles of two or three episodes each. Make it a community project to separate each line of dialogue into independent audio files that were sorted into separate folders for each character that spoke in that episode, until you eventually had all of the show's audio sorted through. Once that was done, then you could start working on fixing each episode with a complete database already put together for each occasion that you needed to splice together a new conversation. (If you wanted to get INSANELY thorough, you could take problem characters that don't have fitting-enough lines and start cutting individual words so you could build new lines for them, but I think that I would give up on that particular scene and move on if it got to that point, or at least have a "Version 1.0" of the finished project so there was something completed before going into detailed work like that.)

    Hell, I would volunteer, but I'm not particularly good at Audacity, I've already got enough on my plate as it is with college work, and the repetitiveness would kill me after the first episode at the longest.
  20. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Berkshire, England
    Learning Cymraeg
    Reading through this topic does remind me amusingly of the attempt at a Sonic X fan redub that was tried on CulT all those years ago... we managed one scene, and it wasn't great =P