So I had previously timestretched and re-synced, and painstakingly edited into snippets, the Streamline dub of Akira from the R4 AU DVD. No joke, it was a mess to sync, the master on that DVD is crappy, missing tons of frames. Likely some really bad artifacts and issues from a sloppy NTSC>PAL conversion, among other things. Around the 50 minute mark it really loses sync badly, even taking into account the timestretch. Also the Streamline dub is really in terrible quality. For one it is dual mono, an obvious port from the PAL VHSs, not a true stereo at all. Worse, it just sounds like it was mastered with a Fostex or lower quality cassette 4-track in a basement with electrical issues.
So along comes my buddy, biberwesen, and he informs me that the Criterion LD releases had actual stereo on them for their presentation of the Streamline dub. He tracked down a copy through LDDB, I think, and he and friends capped the audio. I received this nice surprise on my birthday, too. Better still, it was already synced to the US BD (although all the BDs are the same basically — owning the US BD and the UK BD/DVD Steelcase, I know they are the same master, and the US and JPN BDs are identical except for the disc image screen print). I assume that the CC LD did not have the bad mastering and issues requiring snipping the audio into 40k pieces like the PAL “DVD audio” did. The only thing that was strange was the LPCM audio I was sent seemed to be the wrong format for Scenarist to accept. I think it was the wrong byte order, endiness or smth I don’t really know much about. 😛 Fortunately it was fixed by my experiment of converting the wav to FLAC and FLAC back to wav with eac3to. I didn’t want to have to do any conversions that would result in loss, and it looks like I was fortunate to not have to. Scenarist parsed the new wav from FLAC just fine.
Is the LD audio really that much better?
Why take my word for it, here is a minute and a half sample from each of basically the same passage in the film, a side-by-side comparison of the LD cap vs R4 DVD (wav stretched to NTSC but otherwise unaffected… the DVD really sounds just this bad by comparison to the LD):
Streamline sample from CC LD cap
Streamline sample from R4 AU DVD:
If you can’t hear the difference…. get your ears checked. It is dramatic.
The US Blu-Ray Disc has been demuxed and reauthored with BD Reauthor Pro and Scenarist BD. I used Sony Vegas to verify sync.
I have also created a BD25 version of my custom Akira. I stripped out the TRU-HD tracks and just kept the AC3@640 core of each as a placeholder for those audio tracks.. The track order is the same as before, and the LPCM Streamline-Orion Dub is still the same quality.
If I have time to really mess with it, I may add some additional subtitle tracks. I am trying to find a cap of the UK subbed VHS — especially the one that came in a twin VHS pack with the Production Report tape. That set reportedly has perhaps the best translation to date. The subs on the BD aren’t *bad*… but they are partly a dub-sub, and have translated lines that correspond to the Pioneer dub, when there is nothing in the Japanese dialog. Not so great for that.
If you have access to the subbe UK Akira VHS or a cap (rip) of it, or the subtitles transcribed froom it, please get ahold of me.