Scott Atwell Star Trek Discussion thread (Series and Films)

Josh Steinberg

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It’s really complex disc authoring and I’m not sure I have the vocabulary to fully explain it.

But in short, each episode is on the disc once, with each episode’s variations baked into a single file. The MKV format doesn’t allow for multiangle video, so the MakeMKV program assembles versions of each possible variation as unique files.

Do you remember those old “choose your own adventure” books where the reader would be faced with a choice every few pages and given instructions to turn to one page if they want the character to make one choice, or turn to a different page if they want the character to make the other choice? That’s sort of what these discs are like. What MakeMKV is doing is seeing that file with all of the different potential options and rather than outputting a “choose your own adventure” file as on the disc, it flattens it out to a non-interactive, linear experience.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks Josh! I think I get it now, it’s the application MakeMKV that is creating one file from the various files that are in the disc that’s making up angle 1 and angle 2. Then MakeMKV is showing me two versions I can use. Thanks again for the explanation.

I’m still curious to try a rip of The Doomsday Machine and other episodes using the first file for the CGI effects. :)

So there are multiple files on the disc and the blu ray player has to quickly find those files per which angle you wish to view. Skylar’s blu ray player sounds like there is a very short period of time where it’s finding those files before showing them. That’s causing the short pause and audio drop. That can for sure make viewing the episodes a less ideal experience. I feel your pain.

I must confess, I’ve never read those books that lets you choose your adventure Josh! It’s a good example.
 

Harry-N

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Yes. Specific instances, TOS or TOS-R for THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE:

04:07
14:38
16:56
22:50
28:21
35:35
40:03
49:21

Specifically, what happens, is that the sound drops out, anywhere from 2-4 frames.
I just checked my Blu-rays of STAR TREK. These are the individual seasons, so I grabbed S2 and put on "The Doomsday Machine". At the 4:07 mark, it's a case of an effects shot going to a live shot, which is , I believe, where the problems are occurring, correct?

I used an inexpensive Sony BDP-S3200 (a few years old). No sound processing of any kind, just the TV sound. I played that section from the beginning choosing both original effects and enhanced effects and each time, I heard no gaps in playback, saw no glitches - everything was smooth as silk.

I then checked at 14:38. Same thing, effects to live, no noticeable glitches in sound or picture on either enhanced or original.
 
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Osato

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My first BR player - a Sony (admittedly a very old model - had A/V outputs if that says anything) hiccuped *every* time a seamless branching section hit, often with a 1/2 to 1 second pause before the switch and you could hear the drive thrashing when this happened. That, alone, was enough for me to never watch the series with the updated effects as that didn't happen when watching with the original ones (which I prefer anyway).

My new player, an LG, throws up that horrid "angle" icon every time no matter which version I'm watching. I've yet to find a way to remove that annoyance and it seems to be a common complaint with LG players.

**EDIT**
Unlike that old Sony player, my LG plays either version quite smoothly with no noticeable gap/delay if watching with the updated vfx. Just that angle icon.
I have an lg player and have this issue too!!
 

Josh Steinberg

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My player that had that icon was also an LG. I eventually found a way to defeat the on screen display but I don’t remember what I did. It was somewhere deep in the settings, perhaps in the display or advanced menu pages. Sorry guys, if I would have known it was gonna come up I would have taken notes on how o defeated it.
 
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Osato

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My player that had that icon was also an LG. I eventually found a way to defeat the on screen display but I don’t remember what I did. It was somewhere deep in the settings, perhaps in the display or advanced menu pages. Sorry guys, if I would have known it was gonna come up I would have taken notes on how o defeated it.
it doesn’t bother me too much otherwise I would’ve tried to figure it out....
 

Harry-N

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I hate when that happens. You spend hours trying to figure something out and then finally hit upon the solution. Much later, you encounter the same problem and have to re-invent the wheel all over again.

Found this for LG players:

Why do I see an "ANGLE" icon during playback of some DVD and Blu-Ray movies on my Philips Blu Ray Player? How do I prevent it from showing up automatically?
Some BD-video or DVD-video discs have scenes shot from 2 or more angles. Angle information should be on the disc case if the disc contains multi-angle scenes.
If you see an “ANGLE” icon during playback, you can perform the following to change the angle views:
  1. During playback press [ANGLE] to bring up the camera angle information bar.
  2. Use up/down buttons or [ANGLE] repeatedly to switch the angle.
If you do not want the Angle Icon to show up automatically while watching a movie, please upgrade your BDP or HTS-BDP to the latest firmware version and then navigate to:
  • Home - > Settings - > Advanced Settings - > Others - > Angle Icon = OFF
If your BDP or HTS-BDP has the new One-UX GUI, the setting is located at:
  • Home - > Setup - > Preference Setup - > Angle Icon = OFF
Note: The option to toggle the angle icon on/off is only present in the latest firmware version.
 

Museum Pieces

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What player are you using?
I appreciate your asking. I have a Sony BDPS1700, a Panasonic DP-UB150-K and an LG UBK80, none of which I use anymore as all my discs have been copied to external drives at original quality.

What I really need is ripping software and hardware sophisticated enough to handle the complex authoring of those TOS-R discs.
 

Nelson Au

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This evening I watched Journey to Babel on blu ray, the remastered CGI version with the DTS surround audio track. At the time stamp 12 mins and 45 seconds, there is a cut from the bridge to Sarek and Amanda’s quarters. At that cut, the music ends right as the scene cuts to Amanda and Sarek. So I didn’t hear an audio drops that were out of place. To me it sounded like it usually does. I even followed this up with a viewing of the episode in original effects and mono audio and from the MKV file via Plex. I didn’t hear any difference.

I’d never done this before, but whilst watching the blu ray with the enhanced effects, I had the info displaying on screen showing the elapsed time bar, video file type, audio info, etc. Whenever a CGI shot appears the angle display appears and shows angle 1/2. Interestingly, the angle doesn’t change back right away, the shot may be cutting back to live action, but angle 1 is still engaged until there is another cut, such as from one character to another. When they are on the bridge, and they see the alien vessel on screen, then of course that whole scene is angle 1.

I had not seen this episode in over a year. It was good to see it again. I’d just finished viewing the entire 7 season run of Star Trek TNG, so it was kind of odd to jump ahead 20 years and see an older Sarek and then Spock appear on that series. It was nice to see Sarek and Amanda in their first appearances. As I’ve watched this episode so many times, it’s nice to see the power of the character‘s still engaging as we see Spock’s internal torment.
 

The Obsolete Man

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Speaking of what we're watching, I hit S4 of Enterprise tonight.

After finishing up the Temporal Cold War stuff and Home, I skipped over to the Mirror Universe stuff just to get it out of the way. It's self contained and can be dropped in anywhere. Any interest I had left in the Mirror Universe was killed by STD, so it's on in the background. And in a way, I'm glad Enterprise didn't get to do more MU crap with a fifth season. The MU is a horrible, boring crutch used when they have nothing better to do. TOS was fine as a one-off, DS9 drove it into the ground, Enterprise's two parter was decent, and STD just killed any interest I had in ever seeing goatees and needlessly slutty broads on Trek ever again. Hell, with NuTrek, you really can't tell the difference between the grimdark Mirror Universe and the grimdark regular universe anyway.

That Defiant bridge looks nice in (semi) modern HD, though.
 
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Museum Pieces

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This evening I watched Journey to Babel on blu ray, the remastered CGI version with the DTS surround audio track. At the time stamp 12 mins and 45 seconds, there is a cut from the bridge to Sarek and Amanda’s quarters. At that cut, the music ends right as the scene cuts to Amanda and Sarek. So I didn’t hear an audio drops that were out of place. To me it sounded like it usually does. I even followed this up with a viewing of the episode in original effects and mono audio and from the MKV file via Plex. I didn’t hear any difference.
Thank you. The gap has now been edited from my version as well.

Tonight I removed the gaps from City on the Edge of Forever. Each time I see it with the new effects, I see something subtle and new. This time it was the mists of the Guardian continuing over the initial end credits. Always before the mists froze each time a name appeared.

I remember growing up when this episode came on me and all my friends called one another and got together to watch it. It really was a treat when there was no other way to see it.
 

Nelson Au

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In regards to the mirror episodes, my only issues with the way Star Trek Enterprise depicted the Mirror universe was that it was so broad. The way Mirror Mirror depicts it, it is a different place with different values. The Federation is an Empire like the Romans out to take what they want by force. But the characters are played subtly. There’s nuance in the way Nimoy plays mirror Spock. But the way it’s directed and acted in Enterprise, it was taken too far and everyone is mean and mustache twirling. Too evil!

I have only seen the Discovery mirror episodes twice. But my recollection was that it wasn’t as broad as Enterprise. There was some evil-ness going a bit far. I liked the Mirror Georgiou. She was a bit over the top, but she is the Emperor.

It’s funny, I’m going through Deep Space Nine now. I’m almost done with the second season and I saw Crossover the other night. I liked that it shows the aftermath of Kirk convincing the Mirror Spock of the illogic of the Empire. Then how that led to the Klingon and Cardassians becoming the dominant force and enslaving humans.
 
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Nelson Au

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Skylar, I’m not understanding this project to eliminate the audio gaps and pauses you’re seeing during the blu ray player’s delay to switch angles. The delay and gaps is due to the player not being fast enough to eliminate the gap, or delay is what I’m gathering is your problem. So I’m curious if after copying the files to your PC, you are still seeing this gap and delay? Because I’m trying to understand if it’s a file in the computer, how can the gap still be there? Is the playback in the computer using a Blu ray player app and it’s also experiencing a delay as it searches for the angle file? Or are you stitching each scene together into one new single file and removing gaps that way? And if you are stitching scenes together, why would gaps be there?

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the frustration. I have a Rotel pre-amp and there is a phenomenon it displays when I play a source, be it a CD, a music file, a blu ray or DVD film and TV show via the HDMI connection from player to pre-amp. As I start the disc, there is a delay in the audio as the pre-amp tries to figure out what the audio format is before it “locks” into that audio format. So the start of the song is missing the first few notes of chords! On Star Trek, I may miss Kirk or Picard say, Captains log. The work around is to set the pre-amp to by-pass and use the player’s DAC. On TV shows and movies, it’s usually not an issue because of a long leader so I use the Rotel’s processing for the audio formats. But for music, I use by-pass.

Skyler, is this a hardware issue then? I know you said an Oppo player Is not a solution for you. This is why I’m curious about ripping the enhanced effects version of a Star Trek episode and try playback via Plex and Apple TV using Infuse. My guess is there will be no delays or gaps. That brings up another question, you said you think you may be more sensitive to the gaps or pauses. i said earlier I’ve been watching Star Trek TOS a long time. So I’d notice some deviations. Though I admit I’m not super knowledgeable to all the variations from each video format release. From laser disc to DVD, I know some fans commented that there are music errors or changes or some other errors from the original broadcast version. I never took inventory of those differences. But I think I know the basic episodes. So I’m wondering if you’re sensing something most of us are missing? If there is a pause and audio drop, I’m pretty sure I’d notice it.
 

Nelson Au

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On the topic of Star Trek The Motion Picture, my copy of The Art of Star Trek The Motion Picture arrived late last week. I finally opened the box yesterday and I was very pleased that the book was shrink wrapped. I’m always nervous ordering books like this that are large hard cover books with a dust jacket from Amazon. They often arrive with a dust jacket that shows wear and tear and or has creases from slipping off. I’ve returned books when this happens. I don’t think some of the Amazon workers are doing any favors to the books, ironic isn’t it?

The shrink wrap is still on so I look forward to opening it and checking it out! Neil, I think you’re acquainted with Jeff Bond. I look forward to posting my impressions here.

87803A85-80C7-466F-9589-8BF01E786802.jpeg

And on a similar topic, the Return to Tomorrow book by Preston Neal Jones (about the making of Star Trek TMP) I saw is available on Kindle. I was hoping the book would be released as a ebook. I’m surprised that I’m finding that for books thats all text and paperback I like to read them on an iPad. The reason is I hate to damage my books. So I can casually read the book anywhere and not worry about bending the spine or dog earring the cover. So for the Return to Tomorrow book, I never got too far into it. But if I can get the ebook version, I think I can more comfortably rip through it! I know this seems extreme, but it was great to read a book in bed or on a plane on a flight from the US to Asia.

For the Art of books, and image heavy art books, I’m fine they are hard bound and I’m enjoying looking at the images, so that’s different and I’d prefer as large as possible high quality printed pages. Or if ever possible, high resolution images for study of the great artworks.

I like books fine, but a computer takes less space. :)
 
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Museum Pieces

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Skylar, I’m not understanding this project to eliminate the audio gaps and pauses you’re seeing during the blu ray player’s delay to switch angles. The delay and gaps is due to the player not being fast enough to eliminate the gap, or delay is what I’m gathering is your problem. So I’m curious if after copying the files to your PC, you are still seeing this gap and delay? Because I’m trying to understand if it’s a file in the computer, how can the gap still be there? Is the playback in the computer using a Blu ray player app and it’s also experiencing a delay as it searches for the angle file? Or are you stitching each scene together into one new single file and removing gaps that way? And if you are stitching scenes together, why would gaps be there?
This is the problem of communicating over the Internet. A phone call and this could be explained clearly in 30 seconds. But alas...

So whether it's my three players unsuccessfully trying to decode the TOS-R discs ridiculously overblown authoring or whether it's my ripping system trying to do the same thing, both are producing the same results. Where the so-called seamless transitions should be, I am getting a pop, 4-6 frames of silence, followed by another pop, then the show continues. Until today it's been the same whether I watch or rip.

But in trying to sew THE DEVIL IN THE DARK back together, I discovered this glitch, created when my ripping software finally gave up trying to decode the disc's authoring. It occurs at 15:08-09.

Devil in the Dark.Still002.jpg


Granted, this is not how the episode plays on my TV. But there is a really nasty gap when I play it on my TV. I bought another set thinking it was an error in my particular set. It is not. So now I am going to have to upscale 480 to cover this bad patch of about 38 frames. And I gotta say, no matter the player or the ripper, the common denominator of my problems is the overblown authoring job on these discs. As a lifelong ST fan who bought all the VHS releases at a premium, as someone who bought both DVD sets, as someone who bought the now defunct first season in HD, as someone who has now bought TOS-R in BD twice, I gotta say, I deserve better. I should be able to sit down and watch TOS in HD without all these gaps. And I know I am not the only one, except apparently when it comes to calling out these playback anomalies.

I am going to do the best I can to create a set of HD episodes for myself and then sit back and enjoy them for the rest of my life.
 

Nelson Au

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Too bad you couldn’t put a short clip on YouTube to show the problem. That might help me understand.

At any rate, good luck with your project. It’s unfortunate this blu ray set has not been the optimal release for you.
 
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Museum Pieces

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At any rate, good luck with your project. It’s unfortunate this blu ray set has not been the optimal release for you.
Thanks. I probably would have just continued putting up with it if it wasn't for the pandemic. The failure of my system to give me seamless playback is a "safe" thing to take out my stress and frustration on. I told myself, however, that when this sewing project becomes as much stress as watching those gaps, I will stop. If this glitch didn't trigger me at red alert levels, I think I'm good. Until today I had been enjoying watching the episodes and removing the gaps. I think once I get this glitch replaced, I can start enjoying the process again. I appreciate all the time and effort you have given to discussing this with me, checking your episodes, and I especially appreciate your empathy.
 
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