I've Created a WC4 HD Video Pack

Panther1.0

2nd Lieutenant
oh cool, so you retried WCP also ! I'll check them out, so the game reads MP4's ? no need to rename the extensions ?

regards
 

ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
oh cool, so you retried WCP also ! I'll check them out, so the game reads MP4's ? no need to rename the extensions ?

regards

Yep - just make sure the VOBs aren't in there too - I'd recommend renaming your current Movie folder something like MovieOriginal and creating a new Movie folder to hold the MP4s 🙂
 

Panther1.0

2nd Lieutenant
thanks, is it worth checking in v1.5 or should I wait for v2.0 ?

if I understand correctly it might come out way different if you take it from the start with something that works better...
 
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ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
thanks, is it worth checking in v1.5 or should I wait for v2.0 ?

if I understand correctly it might come out way different if you take it from the start with something that works better...

Well, it's going to take a while to get 2.0 done:
  1. The frame rate correction needs to be done right at the start in the first pass.
  2. Then I'm going to need to strip out and separate the CGI sections to alter them to 24FPS to match the Live Action sequences without screwing them up.
  3. Then I'll edit them back in with their live-action partners (in video clips where both are used, such as the intro video or where Casey blows something up then everyone congratulates him on the landing deck (there are a few like that).
  4. Then I'll need to run all that corrected footage through the AI upscale process.
  5. Then finally, mux the remastered footage back in with the original audio.
That's a lot of work - which is why I'm going to take a break from WCP at the moment and go back to WC4. So it will be a few weeks minimum before Prophecy HD Pack 2.0 shows up!
 

Panther1.0

2nd Lieutenant
I see, ok, well that is fine then, sound promising, I should start playing around with video stuff, use to encode video in the DVD days, also converted old recorded digital tv to mpeg and avi (before the HD/ Full HD days). I liked Virtualdub back then, easy to cutt and join and to move out of sync audio, it still works fine with the old stuff. I need to see in what software are used with todays formats and high definition video etc, I have no clue and also how to improve or upscale older video formats like what it appears you are currently busy with, very interesting to me.

thanks Owen, best of luck and enjoy !
 

ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
I see, ok, well that is fine then, sound promising, I should start playing around with video stuff, use to encode video in the DVD days, also converted old recorded digital tv to mpeg and avi (before the HD/ Full HD days). I liked Virtualdub back then, easy to cutt and join and to move out of sync audio, it still works fine with the old stuff. I need to see in what software are used with todays formats and high definition video etc, I have no clue and also how to improve or upscale older video formats like what it appears you are currently busy with, very interesting to me.

thanks Owen, best of luck and enjoy !

Thanks, John 🙂

To be fair, the WCP job is far more complicated than this kind of thing usually is. I'd have hit a brick wall several times over without @AD's pointers. Even with his help, I've had to do a lot of research into older video format standards, learned a couple of new scripting languages, the maths behind how a lot of it works and quite a few command prompt automation functions I didn't even know existed - and I grew up on DOS!

All this because it looks like the WCP video production was done on something of a shoestring budget and they cut quite a few corners compared to WC4 (shot on digital/tape, awful studio lighting etc.) - and because it was never commercially released on DVD, a lot of the sins were covered up by how generally crappy the CD-ROM version video looked (you don't have to worry about choppy frame rates when you know your eventual output is going to be 15FPS anyway, and who cares about lighting/contrast when your output has a palette of 256/64K colours?).

Overall, the WC4 remaster project is a dream by comparison. It just takes the same amount of time to output because there's so much more of it 😄
 

Panther1.0

2nd Lieutenant
I get you Owen, fantastic to have someone with some passion for this, only way we will get it to the best! you also grew up with dos, interesting, you were most likely very young...
 

ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
Quick update all,

I started a second rendering pass at WC4 overnight using a few tricks I learned working on the WCP videos but, to my surprise, they didn't actually improve on what we already have. While it did lead to some improved sharpness in some small areas, it actually degraded the image quality quite a bit in others (mainly because the film grain from the 35mm shoot confused the hell out of the AI routines if it was sharpened too much).

The good news is that there is a WC4 HD Pack V2.0 coming - and sooner than planned! I'm going to take the existing remastered footage, re-combine it with the original Dolby AC3 surround audio (the current pack has lower quality AAC surround audio) and improve on the compression level. Overall, this will lead to improved audio (for those with an ear for it) and slightly sharper visuals while adding a bump to file size.
 
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ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
WC4 HD Video Pack V2.0 is ready

And it is a whopper! Roughly 14GB in total. As such, I've split it into 4 zip archives:
I think that's about as good as it's going to get until the tech moves on. I have to say, I'm rather happy with it 🙂

Improvements over V1.0:
  • Full original Dolby 5.1 surround sound restored
  • Compressed at a higher bit rate (hence the size bump) reducing compression artefacts (blockiness, colour banding across gradients, slightly sharper edges etc.).
Feedback welcome - I'm happy to tinker if anyone notices anything that particularly stands out. Also, please do test! The game has enough branching paths that I doubt I'll get to see all of these in-game any time soon.
 
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ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
That was actually fast Owen!

You mentioned you still gonna experiment with WCP?

Already on it, John 🙂

As per @AD's advice, I always tackle that intro video (Kilrathi temple, Portal opens, Casey & Maestro arrive on Midway) first, because it's the biggest challenge - a big mix of CG at 29.97FPS, Live Action at 23.976FPS, titles overlaid on both, nasty interlace/comb artefacts etc. It encompasses most of the challenges for the entire project in a single video.

So far in this fourth run, I've managed to:
  • Standardise the frame rate of the entire sequence to 23.976FPS (so that eliminates the jerky motion in the live action sequences)
  • Add improved motion blur in the CG sequence (improves the general appearance)
  • Sharpen the image with less of that "weird, ghost-like outline around people and edges" that sharpening has been creating so far
I'm just about to recombine the two and run it through the AI upscaling process (that's always the part that takes longest - it's insanely computationally expensive).
 

Panther1.0

2nd Lieutenant
Great ! Can't wait to see what you're able to accomplish with the lower grade video (WCP)

It could be swheet :)

WC4 ver 2.0, slightly sharper, I'm comparing it to ver 1.0, the first intro movie has a little blinker in the middle towards right side, could be just my player.

On the audio, ver. 1, does it have compressed sound ? lower bitrate than ver.2 ?
 
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ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
Great ! Can't wait to see what you're able to accomplish with the lower grade video (WCP)

It could be swheet :)

WC4 ver 2.0, slightly sharper, I'm comparing it to ver 1.0, the first intro movie has a little blinker in the middle towards right side, could be just my player.

On the audio, ver. 1, does it have compressed sound ? lower bitrate than ver.2 ?

Hi John,

Thanks for running tests 🙂

Yes, V1.0 had 160kbps AAC 5.1 audio, whereas V2.0 directly clones the original 364kbps Dolby AC3 5.1 audio.

Do you think you could possibly share a screenshot or screen capture of the blinker you're seeing in the intro movie? Also, do you get the same thing if you run the files actually in-game?

Cheers!
 

ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
WCP HD Video Pack V2.0 is ready

Available to download here in two zip archives:
Improvements over V1.5 are:
  • Minimised "ghosting" around edges and areas of high contrast (this is a side-effect of not being shot on film, and previous efforts to sharpen the image really made it stand out more - I've found newer sharpening methods which reduce this side effect)
  • Standardised frame rate, leading to smoother, less "stuttery" motion in live action sequences
Since the WC4 and WCP HD video packs have taken up pretty much a solid month of my time, I think I'll take a break now!

Please feel free to do some testing. Any bug-fixes or requests for either pack (missing footage that you'd like me to take a crack at improving from the CD-ROM version etc.) please do let me know and I'll have a go and see what I can come up with. In all cases, just point me in the direction of some footage you'd like remastered and I'll see what I can do 🙂
 
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ODVS

Ensign, 2nd Class
Since a lot of people asked about what I might be able to do with a WC3 HD remaster, I thought I'd give it a go.

I've gone on record before saying I thought it wouldn't work that well since WC3 was older, more heavily compressed etc... but I was pointed in the direction of higher quality rips and assets (specifically the PSX and 3DO versions of WC3, which were higher quality than the PC CD-ROM version).

So I swung by the holovid area of this site, downloaded some of the video assets ripped from the PSX version, ran them through the remastering process and, I have to say, even I'm impressed with the results.

A few things to point out:
  • These are remasters of the PSX version of WC3 cutscenes - meaning we're upscaling from 160p to 1080p - an increase of 675%!
  • Aside from the resolution upscale, there's the frame rate. The source material is 15fps - and the remaster is 30fps
  • That frame rate thing is a big deal
I'm not certain, but I suspect the 3DO version is both higher resolution and higher frame rate. Others in the community will know more about this than I do. But that does mean that, given well-ripped versions of the 3DO cutscenes, we could end up with some really high quality remastered WC3 HD videos.

I said above that the frame rate thing is a big deal because every time there's a jump cut, I have to manually edit the footage because the frame interpolator throws a fit. To put it more simply:
  • The WC4 Remaster was challenging
  • The WCP Remaster was difficult
  • The WC3 Remaster would be a full-time, unpaid job
That being said, I don't think there's a lot of point in remastering all the WC3 footage unless we can get it working in-game. Others in the community have mentioned that there was a Win95 version of WC3 and we might be able to make this happen - but this is outside my wheel house.

If anyone would like to turn this into a project or has any other reason why we might want to remaster WC3 in its entirety - get in touch!
 
WOW! That's surprisingly good. I believe there are Looooong term plans to work on a WC3 remake after the WC4 remake is finished. However, in the meantime ripping all the 3DO video clips would be a good start for this community.

Nice work!
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I have to apologize for being so late to this thread. I should have really dug in weeks ago to start sharing your progress in the news. Fortunately there are so many talented people here at the Forums that have been able to provide support with any funneling of attention to this thread on my part. Now that I've caught up, I can see that this is just fantastic work - really great! The only silver lining to my delay is that you're already up to solid version 2.0 releases on both WC4 and WCP, so the majority of people will be seeing very refined high quality versions of the clips on their first take. I agree that your WC3 tests also look great, but you also have sound logic concerning the difficulty of actually implementing the new WC3 footage. We've mirrored your 2.0 files and look forward to whatever else you've got in work!


 
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Panther1.0

2nd Lieutenant
HI Owen, I'll view them later in the week, give some feedback and comparison to the first release. (WCP)

thanks much for this, hope some more guys will pick up, this is a great step-up and hope you have some success with WC3 !
 
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