Saturday, March 1, 2014

And Now A Message About The Power Rangers

As you may be aware if you pay attention to my ramblings on Twitter or on Super Hero Time, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was shot (mostly) on film and edited on tape, with the final masters on analog tape. (They may have switched to digital SD mastering at some point, but I'm not sure) All Japanese footage (including Zyu1.5, Zyu2, Metalder, Spielban, and Black RX) came from film prints sent from Toei until Gaoranger, which was the first digitally-edited Sentai. Starting with Power Rangers Samurai, the series switched to HD, with Saban using the same camera model that Toei started using with Shinkenger.

Since film for NTSC television is shot at ~24 frames per second (actually 24000/1001 fps), while NTSC itself is ~ 30 interlaced frames per second (30000/1001 fps), you have to get five extra frames for each second to keep the footage at the same speed. This is achieved by using a 2:3 pulldown, which is best explained by Wikipedia. Done properly, this telecine can be undone, giving you the full frames at the original 24fps frametate. This only applies to the raw telecine, and may not be possible when editing includes 30fps effects, bits where the footage is sped up or slowed down, or composite shots where one part of the frame is at a different point in the pattern than the other.

A close look at the Shout Factory DVDs for Power Rangers Zeo through Time Force (I haven't looked at Wild Force or any of the Disney seasons yet) show that the people editing the show did great on a technical level. The telecining itself is perfect (unlike Toei's telecines from the same time, which are a blended mess. For more detail, see AzraelNewtype's Adventures in Encoding post on the Over-Time blog).


Now, Shout's MMPR DVDs are different. Most of the episodes don't have clean telecining, as they are taken from the Saban International masters, and as auch are most likely NTSC>PAL>NTSC conversions. The few episodes that Shout had Saban Entertainment masters, like A Friend In Need Part 1, look as good as Zeo does. However, the Saban Entertainment masters for MMPR have the closed caption bubble and the TV Parental Guideline rating at the start of the opening, which may be why the Saban International masters were used for most episodes. Personally, I feel the better video quality of the Saban Entertainemnt masters more than offsets any annoyance caused by the bubble and ratings box. Unfortunately, Saban didn't think so, or feel it was worth the effort to make a new set of masters that only used the Saban International video for those few seconds of the opening.

6 comments:

  1. What does this have to do with anything? Just wondering...

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  2. You should pester @bward028 about the Shout DVDs

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    1. Oh, I did plenty of pestering before they were released. (And I still bug him about the lask of DVDs of the 2010 version occasionally)

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  3. FortMax, there are a few mistakes in your post that you might be interested in.

    First, "Power Rangers" was always mastered/finalized onto digital tape; analog tape never entered the equation unless it contained material provided by Toei. While Saban Entertainment and Disney used DigiBeta for most masters, at least some of MMPR was finalized onto D2 tape as well. (Brian Ward and the slates shown on "145 days of PR" in the run up to PRS confirm this.)

    Second, the Saban International masters that were used for Shout! Factory's DVDs were always finalized in NTSC; they didn't undergo a conversion to PAL and back again. The international NTSC masters were intended for non–US countries that used NTSC standards including Canada and South American countries. (They were likely used for the Japanese dubs as well in seasons that were translated back into Japanese.) Shout! Factory stated that they used these masters because they had captions available for them that complied with DVD standards, which are different from broadcast standards for captioning.

    Finally, the MMPR set's problem has been determined to have originated in the mastering facility Shout! Factory used. The original masters had some black matting outside of the action–safe margins. For whatever reason, someone decided this was a problem (probably viewing the show on a computer screen,) and enlarged the video to crop off the matting creating the flaw on the MMPR SET. Grab one of the LionsGate discs with an MMPR bonus episode and this problem isn't present since the matting was left intact. Later seasons weren't matted in the first place and Shout! Factory used a different mastering facility for the other seasons.

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  4. So, this post mean that you are watching the Shout! DVD's cause you're going to upload the series??? Please, answer

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    1. Juan, MMPR is already available on DVD with English. There is no reason to upload MMPR online when you can buy an official set for as cheap as it is.

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