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News » News Articles » From Disaster to Remaster, part 2
News ArticlesNovember 29, 2003
From Disaster to Remaster, part 2
An incredible discovery, and the race is on for Super-Dimensional restoration!
Author: Tommy Yune with Shin Kurokawa

Click here for the press release from ADV Films about Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition!

Click here to order RT Remastered Vol.1!
Click here to pre-order RT Remastered Vol.2!

As ADV Films was about to release Robotech on DVD in 2001, fans asked producer Carl Macek if the footage or audio would be remastered. Fans were informed that Robotech would debut on DVD as originally broadcast because the loss of the original edit decision lists and the nature of the production would make such a restoration of Robotech virtually impossible. (for more details, read part 1 of this story)

This question had come up because AnimEigo had embarked on an extensive digital restoration of the footage of the Japanese Macross series. That feat in itself had a long convoluted history.

The source material is in WHAT shape?

Since Robotech's edit of the footage in The Macross Saga differed from that of the Japanese Macross series, Shin Kurokawa of AnimEigo was unable to use Robotech's 1985 broadcast masters. He made arrangements through Harmony Gold to have animation footage delivered directly from Tatsunoko, the original production company. Everyone was stunned to discover that the delivered footage was in terrible shape.

Archivist Andre Alas was able to track down Harmony Gold's original film reels of Macross, which had been stored in a climate-controlled vault, safely away from the one that had been flooded years earlier. These reels had not been considered before because they did not match up with Robotech footage, but they would be useful again for the Japanese version of the Macross series. Sample footage was transfered to tape, and to everyone's horror ... the results were not much better. Shin then decided to personally oversee a digital transfer from the original film stock. A carefully tweaked transfer was found to be viable, but would still require extensive digital restoration to overcome dust, scratches, and hand-spliced damage inherent to the original film production process used decades ago. After countless sleepless nights and expenses shared by Harmony Gold, Shin had completed a pristine restoration of the Japanese Macross series that was clearer and brighter than originally broadcast!

Sound is only HALF of the picture:

When released split-screen images from the Macross restoration process, everyone began to wonder if this footage could potentially be utilized in the remastering of Robotech itself. Unfortunately, the restored footage represented less than half of the existing Robotech series and provided none of the vocals required.

Later in 2002, Andre discovered a duplicate set of audio tapes stored within off-site inventory. Since the loss of Robotech's original audio masters years ago, all other recordings that had been recovered contained merged effects and music tracks, making them unusable for any extension of Robotech's original edit. Having been in storage for decades, these tapes were found to be too deteriorated to be playable. They first needed to be "baked" in a process that allowed the magnetic surface to adhere to the tape long enough for one last digital transfer. Upon analysis, it turned out that these tapes contained separate voice, music, and effects tracks, opening up the possibility of a new audio remix!

The last of the missing pieces:

With Robotech's debut on DVD an astounding success, ADV Films decided to provide devoted anime fans with Japanese versions of the Southern Cross and Mospeada series. However, no costly restoration process was initially scheduled because this fan base was expected to be smaller than that of Robotech. Then suddenly without explanation, ADV delayed these 2003 releases by several months, an unprecedented move by a distributor known for aggressive product schedules!

NEXT: Rebuilding Robotech from scratch ... well, almost!


Carl Macek notified fans in 2001 that Robotech would debut on DVD as originally broadcast, because the loss of the edit decision lists made remastering virtually impossible.

The original film reels of the Japanese version of Macross would be the integral first step of the restoration process, but not without a lot of work!

The first split-screen images of the extensive restoration process cause an uproar among fans!

Steve Yun (pictured at right) suggests the idea of remastering all 85 episodes of Robotech to Shin Kurokawa (left), who retorts that he already had nightmares about the cost and effort such a massive venture would require! Andre Alas (front) forces a grin despite the realization that he still has to go find all these materials.

Tom Bateman holds up an analog magnetic tape used to record Robotech's audio tracks in 1985 and a much smaller audio cassette used as part of the Robotech Perfect Soundtrack Album.

In 2003, the DVD release of the Japanese version of Mospeada was mysteriously delayed for several months ... but why?

... stay tuned for the arrival of

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