I've Created a WC4 HD Video Pack

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I believe @Bandit LOAF got his hands on the original WC3 Tapes. If so that would require a lot of money to convert them to digital and they may only the the shots with the Green Screen which would also require the back ground to be inserted as well. Personally I would donate to the tape to digital transfer if that were possible.

I don't think so. The source tapes are maybe out there somewhere but LOAF doesn't have them. We have an assortment of other footage and tapes but not the original WC3 masters.

Edit - On a completely different note, the SGI machines that Origin used to create the backgrounds were capable of putting the backgrounds into the shots realtime as they filmed. You could see the actors in front of the backgrounds on the soundstage monitors. It's possible they filmed it straight greenscreen but the test footage had both the backgrounds in some shots and the greenscreen matted out to just black for most bits.
 
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ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
WCP HD Remaster Video Pack V1.0 is ready

You can download them here:
  • Part 1
  • Part 2
Edit - 27th April 2020
Above links have been removed since this pack has now been replaced by V2.0.

I'm afraid they're not as high quality as the WC4 packs, but that's pretty much inevitable. For some reason, the source material just doesn't match the quality of the WC4 DVD videos.

There could be a few reasons - the original DVD conversion may not have been as good, the footage may have been shot on digital capture or VT rather than 35mm stock, the lighting choices are quite different etc. etc.

Whatever the reason, the WCP DVD vids just don't have the clarity of the WC4 vids and sadly that carries over into the remaster. Still, I hope you'll agree these are an improvement at least :^) It's been something of a challenge to get them to even this level 😝
 
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Panther1.0

Ensign
Hey Owen ! thanks for the time and effort put into this, I'll download and give some feedback, are they .vob extracted ?

best :)
 

ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
Hey Owen ! thanks for the time and effort put into this, I'll download and give some feedback, are they .vob extracted ?

best :)

Yep - all .vob files and all correctly named - you just need to drop them into your Movie directory 🙂
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Inserting new backgrounds wouldn’t be hard at all; heck zoom will do it for you ;) The hard part would be making the backgrounds

Yes, I never considered that various chat apps can swap backgrounds now. In fact, I do something similar with still images in GIMP almost daily with 'swap colour for transparency' commands. In my head, the ability to do this with video seemed much more complicated, but as you point out, simple smartphone apps have made it commonplace.

I suppose one challenge to creating high resolution backdrops would be that they'd likely look much better than the subject in the foreground!
 

ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
Yes, I never considered that various chat apps can swap backgrounds now. In fact, I do something similar with still images in GIMP almost daily with 'swap colour for transparency' commands. In my head, the ability to do this with video seemed much more complicated, but as you point out, simple smartphone apps have made it commonplace.

I suppose one challenge to creating high resolution backdrops would be that they'd likely look much better than the subject in the foreground!

Yep - in video production it's called "chroma keying" - and if we could get hold of the original greenscreen footage and someone would be happy to create new backdrops, it's just the kind of compositing work I'd love to get my hands on 😄
 

Panther1.0

Ensign
I see what you mean, WCP did not come out so good, not close to WC4, some of the vids are better than others , like the face skin tone, they look sunburned or something, but it's still good ! the deinterlacing works well, I was thinking now if only de-interlacing was fixed without opting the video quality or resolution, what the result would be. (I mean the jags that you see when there's movement like a head turning) Just a thought.
 

ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
I see what you mean, WCP did not come out so good, not close to WC4, some of the vids are better than others , like the face skin tone, they look sunburned or something, but it's still good ! the deinterlacing works well, I was thinking now if only de-interlacing was fixed without opting the video quality or resolution, what the result would be. (I mean the jags that you see when there's movement like a head turning) Just a thought.

Yep - disappointing isn't it?

The more I look at it, the more I'm convinced it was either shot on VideoTape or the transcription from film to digital was a little messed up.

The reason I suspect it was shot on VT is that there's no sharp delineation between edges (where, for example, the edge of someone's cheek meets the background - this isn't an issue on footage shot on 35mm film stock). All the edges are soft - which leaves little for the AI routines to recognise, calculate upon and redraw. This is why we have clearly sharp, HD texture, but very soft lines.

I'm continuing to experiment with AVIsynth to try to sharpen up the SD image - but so far, it sharpens everything. That means if we get nice, sharp contrast on edges, we also get horribly blocky, over-sharpened textures - so all the faces look awful.

I'm trying to decide upon improving the quality of the WCP remasters or really getting the WC4 remasters looking like they're genuinely HD quality. Both projects will be very time consuming. I'm happy to open this up to the community - where would you guys like to see the time spent? Would it be worth creating a poll for this?
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Yep - disappointing isn't it?

The more I look at it, the more I'm convinced it was either shot on VideoTape or the transcription from film to digital was a little messed up.

The reason I suspect it was shot on VT is that there's no sharp delineation between edges (where, for example, the edge of someone's cheek meets the background - this isn't an issue on footage shot on 35mm film stock). All the edges are soft - which leaves little for the AI routines to recognise, calculate upon and redraw. This is why we have clearly sharp, HD texture, but very soft lines.

I'm continuing to experiment with AVIsynth to try to sharpen up the SD image - but so far, it sharpens everything. That means if we get nice, sharp contrast on edges, we also get horribly blocky, over-sharpened textures - so all the faces look awful.

I'm trying to decide upon improving the quality of the WCP remasters or really getting the WC4 remasters looking like they're genuinely HD quality. Both projects will be very time consuming. I'm happy to open this up to the community - where would you guys like to see the time spent? Would it be worth creating a poll for this?

WCP was not shot on film. It was either tape or very possibly early digibeta but I don't think so. I had a listing of the exact cameras at one point but will have to find that reference. WC4 was shot on 35mm film by comparison. The bigger issue is the bad TV level lighting used on the WCP set. Faces are just too underlit in places.

I Honestly don't remember which all settings I was using for AVIsynth and I need to figure out what windows update broke so that QTGMC works correctly so I can't test these anymore but here's a couple of lines I was playing with for dot comb removal that you can try and see what you like, One gives really nice definition to the titles but is a bit too heavy and kills detail elsewhere. The other preserves more detail but leaves some noise around the titles. Keep in mind that Tcomb must come before your QTGMC line to work correctly:

Code:
tcomb(mode=0,fthreshL=20, othreshL=50) 
or
, fthreshC=20, othreshC=20)
or
tcomb(mode=0,fthreshL=10, othreshL=20, fthreshC=10, othreshC=10)


AssumeTFF()
QTGMC( Preset="slow" , SourceMatch=2, Sharpness=0.2 , TR2=2 )

or 

QTGMC(Preset="slower", Sharpness=0.4, TR2=1,  NoiseProcess=1, NoiseRestore=0.0, ChromaNoise=true, Sigma=4.0, StabilizeNoise=true)
 

ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
WCP was not shot on film. It was either tape or very possibly early digibeta but I don't think so. I had a listing of the exact cameras at one point but will have to find that reference. WC4 was shot on 35mm film by comparison. The bigger issue is the bad TV level lighting used on the WCP set. Faces are just too underlit in places.

I Honestly don't remember which all settings I was using for AVIsynth and I need to figure out what windows update broke so that QTGMC works correctly so I can't test these anymore but here's a couple of lines I was playing with for dot comb removal that you can try and see what you like, One gives really nice definition to the titles but is a bit too heavy and kills detail elsewhere. The other preserves more detail but leaves some noise around the titles. Keep in mind that Tcomb must come before your QTGMC line to work correctly:

Code:
tcomb(mode=0,fthreshL=20, othreshL=50)
or
, fthreshC=20, othreshC=20)
or
tcomb(mode=0,fthreshL=10, othreshL=20, fthreshC=10, othreshC=10)


AssumeTFF()
QTGMC( Preset="slow" , SourceMatch=2, Sharpness=0.2 , TR2=2 )

or

QTGMC(Preset="slower", Sharpness=0.4, TR2=1,  NoiseProcess=1, NoiseRestore=0.0, ChromaNoise=true, Sigma=4.0, StabilizeNoise=true)

Thanks, AD, I'll have a play around with that 🙂

If the worst comes to the worst, the titles don't appear in that many scenes (just the opening and a few key jump sequences to call out the system being jumped to) - so I could always do two runs for those sequences (one that works well for titles and one that works well for everything else) then layer them together in Premiere or After Effects and key in the titles from one and everything else from the other.

It'll be a slow, manual process, but at least, as I say, there aren't that many of them.

Totally agree about the lighting - the overall production values on the WCP footage are much lower. You can certainly tell their budget was a fraction of what they had for WC4. Whatever happens, the WCP clips are never going to look as good as the WC4 clips for that very reason - but I'll keep plugging away and see if I can eke more detail out of it, little by little
 

ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
I thought you folks might like an update - so here are some stills from the next run at the WCP remaster.

As before, the lower-quality nature of the footage compared to WC4 continues to kick my arse in terms of overall quality - but thanks to @AD's pointers on AVIsynth scripts, there are definite improvements here.

It still struggles with long shots (there's just no detail in faces, so there's nothing to upscale. I don't think there's ever going to be a way around this), but things are looking far better in close-ups. Definition around edges is much higher, and the AI routines are managing to actually do what they're meant to do and add in detail and definition to skin etc.
 

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Panther1.0

Ensign
I thought you folks might like an update - so here are some stills from the next run at the WCP remaster.

As before, the lower-quality nature of the footage compared to WC4 continues to kick my arse in terms of overall quality - but thanks to @AD's pointers on AVIsynth scripts, there are definite improvements here.

It still struggles with long shots (there's just no detail in faces, so there's nothing to upscale. I don't think there's ever going to be a way around this), but things are looking far better in close-ups. Definition around edges is much higher, and the AI routines are managing to actually do what they're meant to do and add in detail and definition to skin etc.

+1 on the close-ups, definitely a big improvement both games and WC4 looks gorgeous ! I played and watched some of the movies, this is a big step-up and will be great next to a remastered game.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I've been unable to download the first pack for WC4, trying dozens of times. In fact, I think I tried too many times on Sunday (late Saturday night for US) and exceeded the data allowance for the account (sorry about that). I don't even see what's gone wrong, just that 'download has failed'. And the point where it fails isn't consistent either. Maybe Google just doesn't like sending data to Australia? (I've tried from home as well as my parents' place.)
 

ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
I've been unable to download the first pack for WC4, trying dozens of times. In fact, I think I tried too many times on Sunday (late Saturday night for US) and exceeded the data allowance for the account (sorry about that). I don't even see what's gone wrong, just that 'download has failed'. And the point where it fails isn't consistent either. Maybe Google just doesn't like sending data to Australia? (I've tried from home as well as my parents' place.)

Hang on @Wedge009, I'm going to put a copy on OneDrive for you, instead of GDrive - you might have better luck. I'll drop you a message here when it's done.
 

ODVS

Chief Petty Officer
WCP HD Remaster Video Pack V1.5 is ready

You can download them here:
Edit - 27th April 2020
Above links have been removed since this pack has now been replaced by V2.0.

There's a noticeable improvement in detail around characters' faces in close ups, uniforms etc. Edges are, for the most part, also better defined. As stated in a previous post, it's still not up there with the WC4 remaster, but that's really down to the lower quality source material.

I'm calling this V1.5 rather than V2.0 because last thing last night, just as I was finishing rendering this batch out, I figured out a way to remove the duplicate frame that's dropped into each live action sequence every five frames of footage. This entirely fixes the slightly jerky movement and means motion is far more fluid. Unfortunately, it's a step in the process that has to be implemented right at the start - so that means all of these will have to be rendered out again. I was less than pleased with this discovery.

Still, on the bright side, it means WCP V2.0 will be much better when I get around to it. I'm now going to concentrate on the improved WC4 renders (which I'm hoping will be enough of an improvement to qualify as a V2.0).

PS. You might notice that these are .mp4 files, not .VOB files. It doesn't matter - just replace the VOB files in your Movie folder with these MP4 files and everything should work just fine. This leads to (very) minor performance improvements, since the OS doesn't have to expend any cycles figuring out how to play h.264 content that's in a VOB container.
 
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