Planetnamek wrote: ↑
Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:21 pm
Someone else in another thread(forgot which one) theorized that Funi had already finished doing all the restoration work for every single episode of DBZ and that they could in theory release more Level Sets if they wanted to, they just don't want to because they've discovered that it's much more lucrative to incrementally change things with every new set instead of actually giving the fans everything they want on one set, and I can believe that.
I believe that was me.
But I think my ultimate conclusion that Funi find it more lucrative to incrementally improve things was just a comfortable vent for my frustrations that assigned a concrete blame onto Funimation for deliberately making things shitty... I think it's far more likely they just think the look they're going for is better than what the fans want.
KBABZ wrote: ↑
Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:09 pm
Personally I don't think that's the case. I'm sure Robo can come in to provide more details, but as far as I understand it the Level sets were taking too long to make, were not "appealing" to the mass audiences who didn't know any better, and their dollar-per-episode value wasn't considered affordable. That in mind, I don't think they got much farther than the last set we got a promo image cover art for.
The confusion may stem from the fact that the Black Bricks appear to basically be uncropped versions of the Blu-Ray sets, which of course did go through their entire run.
As noted by VanceRefrigeration, the reality is that the Level restoration wasn't nearly as problematic as people are assuming, and we can pretty definitively say that, because the Season BDs underwent the exact same restoration process, based on Steve Franko's already-finished scans he completed for the Levels in about 2011, and those ~2014 cleaned-up masters are what were ultimately pulled out and used for the 30th sets later on... The problem is, they finish up each release by putting the ugly DNR+sharpening filter on top that ruins all the good work that went into it, and Funi tend to do weird things with the framing (30th sets are very zoomed in, Season BDs are cropped, etc.).
If Funi saw fit, they could release the masters they prepared in ~2013-2015, and we'd have something akin to the Levels, but with slightly better cleanup and colours (the Levels were released with an extra layer of colour grade on top of Steve Franko's initial pass, which basically made the crushing inherent to the prints they're using appear slightly worse. In addition to this, there were some mistakes made in painting out the tape marks and such, which sometimes resulted in slight ghosting at the bottom of the frame in some shots). Funimation just don't want to. And given what was said by representatives of Funimation when the 30th sets were first unveiled, the reality is that the guys at Funi think the shitty DNR+sharpened look is a better look than what we want. So, Funi aren't going to change this just because we continue complaining. So, we're stuck with shit, at least for the next few decades.
kyppk wrote: ↑
Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:19 am
Given the relatively small amount of time between the releases of 1.1 and 1.2 and the suspension of production on the Level Sets its seems likely that rather than poor sales themselves killing the Level Sets; it was the discrepancy between the amount the Level Sets cost to produce and the amount the Level Sets brought in. The three month delay between 1.2 and 2.1 suggests to me that Funimation doesn't have a backlog of remastered episodes and it's taking them more time than they anticipated to remaster them. So Funimation decides to scrap the Level Sets in favor of a more (significantly?) hands-off (cheaper) approach.
The team in the video mention how the process of removing the tape marks at the bottom of the screen is the most time consuming, so Funimation decides to crop the remaster to 16:9 instead of 4:3 to escape this problem. The team mentions manually going through frame-by-frame to remove dust and bodily fluid and to fix grain issues, so Funimation decides to automate the process with aggressive filtering and DNR. Obviously they still have some manual QA, but in reduced capacity. By doing all of the above Funimation increases the speed of the remastering and reduces the costs.
This is a false conclusion. The 30th sets consistently show enough of the frame to make the tape marks visible, and even the Season BDs often framed things that way. The tape marks, and really the entire cleanup process in general, was just as rigorous as (if not moreso than) the Levels.
Back when I was still angry about this, and was still convinced this was to do with Funi finding it more lucrative to incrementally improve things without ever giving us a good release, I put together this thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=44383
My ultimate conclusion of Funi's intentions was, I think, completely wrong, and just driven by frustration, so I've now added an edit to clarify this (I only "struck-through" the old contents, I didn't erase or change anything), but everything leading up to that point, I completely stand by.
As for the costs of the Levels, my theory is that they priced the Levels high because they expected low sales (Blu-ray in 2011 was still quite risky, particularly for a 291-episode-long show that hadn't broadcast any actually new episodes in 7 years), and wanted to still make some profit off the release... Then the sales were unexpectedly very, VERY good. Otherwise, to me, there's no explanation for why they would price the Levels so high, but then charge so little for the Season BDs that underwent the same kind of remastering process.
Personally, I think the unexpected mainstream success of the Levels prompted Funi's high-ups to decide "No no, this is all wrong! It should look GRAINLESS! like the Orange Bricks! and put them out in Seasons! Make them as widely appealing as we can!!"
kyppk wrote: ↑
Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:19 am
Gross profit favors the Season Sets over the Level Sets, so Funimation decides to use a similar process in making the 30th, but backlash over "features" of the Season Sets leads Funimation to "bridge" the two. Funimation isn't willing to put more work into a different remastering unless they're sure they can make enough to justify it (so they don't get a Level Set scenario), so they use a kickstarter-esk platform to sell the idea and product limiting the risk to themselves.
The 30th sets required no additional restoration work, so probably they sunk next to no money to make them. It wouldn't have been much of a loss if they hadn't sold them well. I think the Kickstarter-esque thing was just to build up hype for this "NEW COLLECTORS SET PRESENTING IT IN LEGENDARY, RARE, FOR-THE-FANS-ONLY 4:3 ASPECT RATIO!!" thing. Of course, the fans didn't want it anyway, so it kinda backfired, the whole thing was a joke, and they BARELY crossed their minimum threshold, so... It was a mess.
I think ultimately, the reason why this "for the fans collectors set" still used the shitty DNR and sharpening is because Funi basically wanted to please everyone, but ended up pleasing no one; Funi have somehow got the idea into their heads that DNR+sharpening = mass appeal, so they wanted to put that on this set to appeal to the masses. But, it's also an expensive collectors set that appeals to the fans by giving us the 4:3 ratio.
So, it's too expensive and limited for casual fans to care much about, and it's still the same shit the fans have been complaining about for years, so Funi really screwed this one up, sadly. I do think, having had a lot of time to reflect on it, that they did honestly want to throw the fans a bone... Why else would they have finally swallowed their pride and put out a 4:3 release?... But they went about it wrong, and rather than admit they screwed up, push it back, and go back to the pre-DNR masters, they doubled down on it, and their PR team even kinda made fun of us... It's a sad state of affairs, and I really hope they improve, but I really don't think they will.
Dragon Ball is a goofy kids cartoon from a long time ago. You take it too seriously at your own peril.
Debate the plot, characters, adaptations, dubs, etc., criticise the home video, but never lose sight of the fact that it's all just entertainment. You're supposed to enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it, just walk away.