As someone with an extremely critical eye for video quality and detail, I’m curious to see what this ends up being. I’m sure all the original raw footage is long gone. Maybe a handful of episodes are still kicking around somewhere on 3/4" tape, but otherwise that stuff disappeared into the ether decades ago. (My guess is Shout Factory’s masters are 1-2 generations old, probably sourced from CC or Sci-Fi tapes.)
But, miraculously, we don’t actually need them now. If you told me one year ago that AI is capable of truly upscaling 30-year-old low-resolution video I’d have said bullsh*t – you can’t draw new data from thin air, rebuild an image with it, and expect it to be anything but a fuzzy mess.
But I have since seen exactly that, and the results are mind-blowing. I don’t know of anyone who’s specifically remastered classic MST3K at 1080p yet, but I have no doubt it’s now possible and that it would look phenomenal. (I have seen classic MST3K remastered with AI at its original resolution, and it looks great – noticeably better than the stock MPEG2 on the DVDs.)
I suspect a big part of this is the evolution from huge cloud-based AI systems to stuff that can now run on a PC in the corner. If Shout Factory could be persuaded to invest in one of these PCs, we could all be holding Blu-ray releases of classic MST box sets within a year.
I’ve made some improvements since we last chatted @McCloud. My fight with blobby chroma noise was epic, but successful.
Since we’re on this topic, a few thoughts.
If there is a general desire to further enhance the restoration to a quality up-scale to an HD resolution, I’m pretty sure it’d be possible with a bit more effort and attention. I’m willing to get started on that now that I’ve defeated that blobby chroma noise problem - if there is any interest.
I’d love to get some additional input from those experienced with AviSynth and a passion for MST3K. If that sounds like you, please ping me directly.
@ivan if you’re interested in taking a look at what I was able to come up with using MPEG-2 as a source, and two years of pandemic downtime to learn the dark arts of video restoration, I’d be delighted to share.
While you’re surgically enhancing things, if you could figure out a way to fix the sound on The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies so that the dialogue was actually intelligible, that would be great. I assume that’s impossible though.
Would or have you posted your progress anywhere on the forums? I’d also wanna see how you’ve managed to upscale classic MST3K episodes, out of curiosity sake. If you have already, maybe it was your stuff I happen to see a while back (still can’t remember if it were here or Reddit I saw images of some upscaling).