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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:03 pm Reply with quote
I can say that this neglect of old footage is not unique to anime either. Western TV shows were seen as ephemeral and to be forgotten about after they were shown too, to where some popular TV shows had their reels and film destroyed or recorded over, so no archives existed at all. Doctor Who was an example; what early episodes that still exist are only because a dedicated fan with recording apparatus (and this was the 1960's, when they were recorded using those refrigerator-sized machines) made home recordings of those episodes and stored them somewhere safe to be discovered later.

I've heard of a few cases of anime in which the Japanese studios didn't keep archives of the shows but the western localizers did, but I forget which. I'm sure most of these are Toei-related though.
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MarshalBanana



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:04 pm Reply with quote
Hold on, I think I've seen this same Answerman before, I recognize the line
Quote:
I've heard tales of old masters and film cans literally just stacked up in the corner of a dusty conference room
leafy sea dragon wrote:
Doctor Who was an example; what early episodes that still exist are only because a dedicated fan with recording apparatus (and this was the 1960's, when they were recorded using those refrigerator-sized machines) made home recordings of those episodes and stored them somewhere safe to be discovered later.
Awhile ago there was something about how the BBC had to take a lot of their old film stock and remove it somewhere as the film it was shot on, turned out to be highly explosive.


Last edited by MarshalBanana on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NLScavenger



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:05 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
A number of older shows, specifically ones from Toei Animation, do have really terrible, muffled audio. I never did figure out why that is, but it's easy to guess: the Japanese entertainment business is rife with guys who cling onto older, outdated technology, and the recording studio Toei used probably had one of these guys in charge of mixing. Some of these old shows have had their audio remastered, but many haven't -- and probably won't for the foreseeable future. Maybe the master tapes are lost or unusable. Maybe they'll magically resurface one day, or some amazing new audio filtering software will be able to restore the tracks we have now. But for now we're stuck with what we've got.

Toei's policy in the past was to junk the Cinetape, which is a separate magnetic audio tape, in favor of the combined optical sound-on-film. The Cinetape took up more storage space than the cheapskates at Toei were willing to pay for, so they gave the tapes to the TV stations. The TV stations disposed of the tapes after broadcast and used the combined optical sound-on-film for reruns.
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EricJ2



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:57 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
Hold on, I think I've seen this same Answerman before, I recognize the line
Quote:
I've heard tales of old masters and film cans literally just stacked up in the corner of a dusty conference room


The List and Answerman columns seem to be in Classic Summer Reruns during the break, but good chance to catch up.

Quote:
Awhile ago there was something about how the BBC had to take a lot of their old film stock and remove it somewhere as the film it was shot on, turned out to be highly explosive.


That would be nitrate stock, pre-1940's, and, er, I don't think that 90's anime is THAT old. Razz

As for the question:
Oh, go ahead, RUB in our faces the reason why we'll never see another better version of Project A-ko 1...And just after I rewatched it, too. Crying or Very sad
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ParkerALx



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:37 pm Reply with quote
Hardcore Dragon Ball fans in Japan have actually collected the show's original broadcast audio using old TV recordings. Whether it ever makes its way onto an official release is yet to be seen. Toei has allegedly declined the fan-sourced audio at least once in the past. Samples have made their way onto YouTube, though.
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Hoppy800



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:42 pm Reply with quote
This is a reminder why we need a nice storage facility just for anime similar to how timeless American films and now stored, granted those films are stored in a cave and the only big threats are tornadoes. For the anime archive, they need a building that's seriously earthquake proof and probably in the center or close to the center of Japan just in case of tsunamis, you can't have this in Tokyo or anywhere close to the coast.
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:45 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
Awhile ago there was something about how the BBC had to take a lot of their old film stock and remove it somewhere as the film it was shot on, turned out to be highly explosive.


That's really weird. I figured that sort of film had already been in use for decades, or at least long enough to have discovered its explosiveness by then.

Hoppy800 wrote:
This is a reminder why we need a nice storage facility just for anime similar to how timeless American films and now stored, granted those films are stored in a cave and the only big threats are tornadoes. For the anime archive, they need a building that's seriously earthquake proof and probably in the center or close to the center of Japan just in case of tsunamis, you can't have this in Tokyo or anywhere close to the coast.


There isn't a single place in Japan that's protected from natural disasters--if it isn't the tsunamis, then it's the earthquakes or volcanoes. Hence, the most secure kind of storage would be duplicates in multiple locations at once, preferably far from each other, so if one place is damaged or destroyed through a natural disaster, they have a spare safely elsewhere. (Most locations in the United States are vulnerable to natural disasters too, though some get it more frequently than others.)
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GeorgeC



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:15 pm Reply with quote
Simple answer:
The Japanese anime owners LOSE film and audio tapes ALL the time!!
They may be an order of magnitude WORSE than the US in this respect but hey it's not like the West hasn't wiped out many episodes of classic and historical programs, right? (=> Doctor Who, Johnny Carson's Tonight Show from 1962 to 1973, and many, many shows from defunct television networks don't exist because the master tapes and films were thrown away or erased and reused {in the case of very expensive videotape} because nobody thought any of that stuff had potential resell/syndication value in the 1960s and 1970s!)

Fact: Project A-ko hasn't been released on anything higher-res than DVD because the company that owns that film LOST the 35mm MASTER COPY!!! The best thing they have to work from now is the master tape created for the LD release way back in the late 1980s/early 1990s! There's a limit to what can be upscaled and how a project is produced places limitations on what can be reasonably gained or "recovered" by upscaling. Sometimes the upscale cost isn't worth it if the end result looks as crummy as it does half the time.

Some film and TV projects just don't exist on 16mm or 35mm anymore. The original films were tossed out or so badly worn they weren't worth keeping. That happened to at least the first two seasons of Sailor Moon... Many, many classic animated series that debuted in the US also only exist on videotape.

Another harsh reality -- many of the classic anime series audio sound like they were recorded in bathrooms because it was recorded by BAD audio engineers or the audio has seriously deteriorated as the master materials for classic has aged.
Audio has historically been recorded on tape. Tape like film gets worn every time it's played back across audio equipment head readers (and you actually lose a bit of sound and introduce "hiss") and it WILL age badly (and become brittle or even melt) unless it's stored under climate-controlled conditions. Major studios in the US have their most precious TV and motion picture properties stored underground in mines (salt mines in at least a few cases) because they don't have to worry about AC going bad and humidity and temperature destroying films quickly if the power goes!
The solution for some classic, MONEY-making anime was to re-record ALL the dialogue with the surviving voice actors. They did this for Dragonball Z AND the original Mobile Suit Gundam which is why they have 5.1 Japanese audio. Is it different from the original? Heck, yeah! Even the healthiest voice actor's voice changes over the time and people die and get replaced with new voice actors which further changes performances.

Film (and audio tape) is made with chemicals and those chemicals go bad over time. Even under the best circumstances, you're talking a ticking clock with film -- reliably decades, NOT centuries of stability. There are all kinds of terms for film deterioration you can find online such as vinegar, whiteout, etc. Different film stocks behave differently and some years have worse film stock than others. (I was told by a film history teacher Ed Wood was already starting to go bad before it hit the 10-year mark and already needed restoration!) It just means they have to periodically check the master materials (every 10 years OR LESS responsibly, at worst 15-20 year intervals) OR scour film libraries world-wide to get the best copies to recreate sometimes.
The original Star Wars has had (NOT counting the re-edits) two major restoration efforts to preserve the original film and audio. I had heard the original recording sessions tapes for the first two films were in really sorry shape and they saved them digitally for the 1997 SE releases. And according to Disney, yes, they HAVE all the footage they excised from the SE's so technically those films COULD be restored to their theatrical versions but the company just isn't going to spend the money to do that now -- it's not on the schedule.

There have been scores of classic movies recreated from scratch because the original master films were destroyed in wars (many of the classic silent films) or they plain deteriorated into mush (which happened with both the original King Kong AND Kurosawa's Seven Samurai). It costs a lot of money to do restorations which is why film companies only bother to do this with significant films they know will STILL earn them money! The two films I mentioned were patched together from best-available sources and a new master was created that WAS digitally scanned. Those masters are NOT as good as the original masters but oh well that's what's left to work with!!!
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GeorgeC



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:22 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
MarshalBanana wrote:
Awhile ago there was something about how the BBC had to take a lot of their old film stock and remove it somewhere as the film it was shot on, turned out to be highly explosive.


That's really weird. I figured that sort of film had already been in use for decades, or at least long enough to have discovered its explosiveness by then.



What they made film stock out of for decades was nitrate which is closer to TNT than people realize. Film nitrate gets really unstable over time. IF you're lucky, it will ONLY turn to mush -- it's a like a gum with white powder. If you're not lucky, it can explode under the right conditions!


There's a semi-amusing Disney anecdote I heard. There was a British fellow working at the studio in the 1930s or early 1940s and he was very casual and laid back with the film that was draped around his shoulders AND he was smoking at the same time, too!

His fellow workers who KNEW better about the flammability of film stock, immediately took away his cigarette and covered him with a blanket to smother any burning embers. That guy was not far from going up in flames and causing a major fire in the studio! He would have been at least horribly burned if that filmstock caught fire from the cigarette embers. The film was draped around him like a boa constrictor in a snake wrangler's act.
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AholePony



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:52 pm Reply with quote
This is how film should be stored but I cant imagine the cost.... Can't really blame the production companies for not wanting to maintain dozes of rooms like this.

https://youtu.be/smXWZDupnkw
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writerpatrick



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:38 pm Reply with quote
Data is lost all the time. It just wasn't noticed until the Internet made everything so easily available. There's tons of lost TV shows made before 1960 that were never recorded. It wasn't even thought of at the time.

If a show was made for a company, then it would be the company and not the animation studio that had rights to the material and it would be up to them to store it. For the most part, once a production was done the material used to produce it was scrap. Only the finished work needed to be kept. Disney had a practice of wiping old cells and reusing them, and it's likely Japanese companies did the same. Commonly aired shows and specials might get occasionally cleaned up throughout the years allowing for better preservation.

Old animation can be re-drawn frame-by-frame but it's costly and time consuming. And the audio restoration is limited to the quality of the available material. So it's not usually worth doing.
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Mr. Oshawott



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:00 pm Reply with quote
With so many old materials vanished due to negligence throughout the times, one could say that we're lucky that some late 1980's and early 1990's anime shows have saw the light of day in the U.S...
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Hoppy800



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:17 pm Reply with quote
AholePony wrote:
This is how film should be stored but I cant imagine the cost.... Can't really blame the production companies for not wanting to maintain dozes of rooms like this.

https://youtu.be/smXWZDupnkw


I'm glad there's more archival facilities in existence, also, that one had cartoons in it as well as live action films.
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writerpatrick



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:24 pm Reply with quote
Mr. Oshawott wrote:
With so many old materials vanished due to negligence throughout the times, one could say that we're lucky that some late 1980's and early 1990's anime shows have saw the light of day in the U.S...

I don't think any of those shows were really at risk since they were too popular. And much of the material after 1980 could wind up on tape one way or another. But one of the problems with taped material is that the resolution of the recorded material is limited much more than film. So it's easier to convert an old film over to HD than it is an old tape. That's something they discovered when converting US TV shows to digital. It's particularly noticeable in the way the video quality of the HD classic Star Trek episodes are better than those of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. The original series used film while TNG used tape.
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sputn1k



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:47 am Reply with quote
When I visited an anime studio in Japan a couple of years ago, the person in charge of the masters said the same thing. Content created for digital broadcast of the 2000s usually is kept on an archive harddrive somewhere, but the older tech like tapes usually just degraded over time, even if stored properly. Studios also do not keep the original cels for long, as the celluloid rots very quickly and takes up too much space in storage.
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