Remastering Streams 1: Tangaroa and Star Tunnel

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BleuLlama
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Remastering Streams 1: Tangaroa and Star Tunnel

Post by BleuLlama » Jun Fri 19, 2015 12:48 pm

Just thought I'd document what went into some of the recent remasters that I've done. Please, feel free to respond with questions!

Remastering...

First thing I do is that I collect up all of the source material (mp3 files from our archives, mainly). I go through those to figure out which tracks are repeats, or short and remove those.

I get higher quality versions where possible by sourcing from original CDs and purchased MP3s, YouTube videos, and "other sources".

In the case of muffled, or hard to listen to tracks, I'll use Audacity to analyze the audio spectrum, looking for pits and dips in the overall shape of the spectrum. Then I'll hit it with an equalizer in an attempt to level the spectrum profile. This makes a vast improvement on some tracks, turning them from sounding like they were recorded over the telephone, to sounding like they were recorded with an audio cassette. Sometimes, certain frequency ranges (15k and higher for example) are turned down to eliminate hiss and static noises.

In the case of Mono audio tracks, or when stereo versions are not possible, I "enhanced" for stereo. Using Audacity, I take the Mono track. split it into two mono audio tracks (one for left, one for right), then I add a slight amount of room reverb to one channel (I stick with Right usually). It doesn't sound like this should do much, but it really adds a huge amount of depth to the sound.

Also, I tend to "normalize" all of the tracks to -1dB or so. This makes them all have similar apparent volume. This way, all tracks from all sources are about the same volume.

Tangaroa

All three playlists for Tangaroa were re-sourced from original material. Before I started, we had just 14 low quality in-park mono recordings, and only content from the 1995-2010 era... all of which have been replaced with either CD quality, or as close as feasible. I ended up buying a few CDs, including one directly from Herb Ohta's son's label to get them. In a couple cases, since the source CDs were long out of print, buying the CD would have cost $50+, I resorted to other means. Still a major improvement from what we started with. In the case of Tangaroa, from there, it was just buying CDs and ordering playlists. I had done a fair bit of research to find the playlist tracks... to be honest mainly just trying to find the "Praising the Hokule'a" track's origins. I love that track.

Through research, I learned that the pre-1995 stream was "mainly four albums by Benjamin Rogers". I approximated this by using a few of his albums. It is completely unknown what the original playlist was, but I think that we at least have a good feel for what it was.

The post-2010 playlist consists of about 80 tracks. Once the playlist for this had been researched, I just collected up albums to generate the playlist.

Star Tunnel

I spent a great deal of time over a few weeks to get Star Tunnel right. I started with a few tracks, and did a lot to really improve and expand upon them. There was one mega track consisting of about 4 different segments (com chat, space noise, etc). I went through and broke these up into multiple tracks. As above, a LOT of equalization was done to improve the overall sound quality, including boosting the highs so that some tracks' trumpet sound really hits through. When I broke up the tracks, I also tracked down their names and such. (eg "Star Port Seven Five", "Aquarium" etc). I feel that this is an important aspect to the remastering process. I want people listening to have a starting point for tracking down these or other tracks.

The order of Star Tunnel was rearranged once those tracks were split to have better general flow. I also started with a bootleg recording of "Mount Bop", which was created for the attraction in 2010 by Mark Brassel. The only recording i had of it was of questionable sound quality, and had a poor loop point. I reworked the audio file to make it loop properly and sound decent. While working on this, I found a much better recording and swapped that in, instead.

This brings in one other important aspect of the remastering process. Glitch removal. In a lot of cases, The source I started with was a recorded mp3 stream. As i'm sure you know from listening to the streams, there are glitches due to network or computer activity. It happens. There were a few of these in some of the Star Tunnel tracks. Little bits that either made a jarring SHRRKKQQ sound, repeated a small segment, or had some kid yelling in the background about riding the thing 4 times. I went in, often at the sample level, and removed these, trimmed out very minor amounts of the recording, or hand-shaped the waveforms to remove these glitches. This was by far the most time consuming part, I feel. I'd spend a chunk of time tweaking the waveform, and it looks great, but on playback, there's a very minor thump sound. I'm SURE I'm the only one who would ever hear it, but I want to get them as close to perfection as possible.

I spent many days listening to these tracks to document and fix all of the little bits I didn't like to hear.

Next installment will be on Living Seas and Soarin.
1978: WDW MK, River Country -- Fort Wilderness
1985: WDW MK, EPCOT, River Country -- Polynesian
2011: DLR, DCA (one day)
2012: WDW Poly (one evening)
All of that, and part of me is still there.

BleuLlama
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Re: Remastering Streams 1: Tangaroa and Star Tunnel

Post by BleuLlama » Jun Fri 19, 2015 1:27 pm

Living Seas

Most of the work on Living Seas was done quite quickly.

The underwaterey tracks were all mono, so I stereo-enhanced them.

I also did a bit with tweaking the time at the beginning and end of most tracks to eliminate dead silence.

I also added fade in and out for some of the Hydrolator tracks to make them less jarring to hear in the stream.

One of the larger segments, the 53 minute long "Area Music" was a recording of a stream of a stream, so there were strange time-warbley sections where it sounded a bit uneasy... I found another recording of this (probably just what ours was a copy of) and replaced that track with the better one. I also rearraged the tracks a bit to give more of a "suite" or "experience" to the whole thing, kinda playing through a ridethrough. Previous to this, it was all of the tracks on shuffle. Now they play in a specific order.

Soarin'

Soarin is an interesting one. It probably has the newest tracks of all of our streams, but at the same time, it omits 80% of the available material. Most of what we have for Soarin is based on the DCA, Condor Flats version, and not the Epcot version. The stream consists of tracks of a few diferent kinds:
1. ride audio, with or without effects
2. area music (regal sounding marches and soundtrack stuff)
3. attraction supplimental stuff (intros, loading music, etc)

As with Soarin, I arranged the tracks to provide a kind of ride-through of the attraction. Introduction by Patrick (Warburton), loading music, ride with effects, exit music. Then I have some area music acting as bookends around more supplimental stuff, including the ride without effects and a reconstructed long loading loop. More on that in a moment.

The area music is an interesting one. We have 6 tracks of it in the stream. I poked around a bit to determine their origin. So instead of a track called "Air Force One" we now have the same track, but properly labelled as "Welcome Aboard, Sir" from the "Air Force One" soundtrack.. Similarly for the tracks from the Space Camp soundtrack and so on. While doing this research I found a few things. There are three different discrete Soarin Area Music loops. Two of them are one hour long, one is 1/2 hour long. All of them have this kind of music. One is from Epcot's version, the other two from DCA's. Our tracks are from DCA. Anyway, to be complete here, I would have had to have 2 and a half hours of this style of music, with less than 20 minutes of ride audio. I felt that this channel should feature the ride audio above all else, so even though I know that there's all of that material out there, in very high quality, I decided to keep it wih the 6 tracks we have.

When Jco left from hosting this (and Living Seas and a few other) stream, I luckilly had done a backup of the audio from the stream. For a very long time, the Living Seas and Soarin streams were just these backups being played. They were glitchy because of their source of origin. Some tracks began with the endings of others and vice versa...

I spent some time to reconstruct the original tracks from these piecemeal tracks. In the process I realized that we had a few duplicates. I removed those, and came up with the play order as described above.

One track in particular, the background loading music, was in really rough shape. It started a few seconds in, and ended abruptly. Luckilly the sound for a complete audio loop was in there (about a minute or so of audio.) I took the end bit and put it on the front, and spent some time editing individual samples to get it to sound perfect. Then I looped it all and repeated it 5 times, added fade in and out to it, and we have the track that's available on the stream now as "loading music 5". I'm really happy with the way that one sounds.

Other than little edit bits like that, not much was done as far as the sound quality of the stream, although I was also able to replace the "ride without effects" track with a CD quality version instead.
1978: WDW MK, River Country -- Fort Wilderness
1985: WDW MK, EPCOT, River Country -- Polynesian
2011: DLR, DCA (one day)
2012: WDW Poly (one evening)
All of that, and part of me is still there.

BleuLlama
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Posts: 92
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Re: Remastering Streams 1: Tangaroa and Star Tunnel

Post by BleuLlama » Jun Fri 19, 2015 1:52 pm

I should note that I love projects like this. When I'm too burned out or tired to work on programming work, I can just load up an audio track, close my eyes and focus on finding things to improve. :D
1978: WDW MK, River Country -- Fort Wilderness
1985: WDW MK, EPCOT, River Country -- Polynesian
2011: DLR, DCA (one day)
2012: WDW Poly (one evening)
All of that, and part of me is still there.

Amy
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Re: Remastering Streams 1: Tangaroa and Star Tunnel

Post by Amy » Jun Fri 19, 2015 2:53 pm

Thanks for the background on how you accomplished all the latest updates ~ very interesting to read about...and makes me think I should have learned a few more things in my electronic music class in college than I did :roll:
Thank you for removing the SHRRKKQQs! I love that you were able to add so many more "proper" names for songs as well, as I am definitely one that will look for the CD or mp3 files if I really like something.
Thanks again ~ glad you find it relaxing as we all benefit from the work you so lovingly put in! :D

Len90
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Re: Remastering Streams 1: Tangaroa and Star Tunnel

Post by Len90 » Jun Mon 29, 2015 10:11 am

Very cool bleu. I'm really intrigued by all of this and wish I had a musical ear. I was only given an photographer's eye so when I get bogged down with work I start thinking of cool pictures I want to try and how I will set them up for the next time I am at Disney.
- Len90
"If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse."
"Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy"

theBIGyowski
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Re: Remastering Streams 1: Tangaroa and Star Tunnel

Post by theBIGyowski » Jun Mon 29, 2015 11:50 am

thank you for your hard work

I have a buddy who is a producer and I know how much work and effort he has to put into what he does every day

I'm looking forward to checking out the remastered streams again...thanks again!
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