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Thread: Fragility 1.0 Concert Special (and Big Day Out 2000, too)

  1. #1
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    Fragility 1.0 Concert Special (and Big Day Out 2000, too)

    tldr: Promotional videos of Fragility 1.0 and Big Day Out 2000 have been liberated from dusty shelves.

    Here's the backstory of how that happened.

    Back in December of 1999, a press release went out announcing Nine Inch Nails' first-ever television concert special, to be aired on MTV, featuring footage from the recently-wrapped concerts in Europe - the first (aside from a secret rehearsal in Los Angeles) in support of the newly released double album "The Fragile." I actually had been in contact with Interscope at the time, and I remember talking on the phone with someone in PR there who offered to send me the concert on VHS. As the cliche goes, I was young and naive, and declined. I would make a trip back to my parents house - I was in college and didn't have cable - and would tape the special as it aired. If memory serves me, Scared Straight was on (and uncensored, oh my!) just prior to the show. Without much warning, notes from The Way Out Is Through are playing while blocky projections bubbled across a screen in front of the band that I barely caught on tour some four years earlier.

    But the colors in the footage were a little bit blown out. The audio was compressed (dynamically, not compressed-like-MP3s), and at least in my market, was mono. There was an MTV logo superimposed in the lower corner throughout all of the playback. I was disappointed in all the post-processing. At some point not too long after all this, nincollector.com posted a photo of the promo VHS of the concert. I took this to be a good sign - Interscope cut a lot of promos. Surely it wouldn't be too difficult to find one, if I kept my eyes peeled.

    The concert was re-aired a few weeks later on MTV. Some years later, it would be broadcast on MTV2, this time an intrepid fan captured the audio in stereo, and the colors were a bit better, but where the original broadcast was padded by footage of Trent playing piano in his New Orleans home, that had been completely excised from the M2 broadcast.

    All the while, I kept looking. I posted to The NIN Hotline, asking any readers if they had a copy they'd sell or trade. I'd hit message boards, collectors forums, constantly scanning eBay. There was a rumor about some guy in Russia who might have a copy. But it wasn't until a dozen years later that I heard the news - NINcollector.com was selling his collection. Even though I'd contacted him the same day the news broke, I was afraid I might be too late - "How much for the Fragility 1.0 tape?" It was more than I'd paid for pretty much anything else secondhand, but I'd been looking for twelve years.

    At first, there was a delay. The seller said it was actually in a box at his parents' house, and he wouldn't be able to get it for another week or two. If it was anyone else selling, I would have been (more) worried, but I had no reason to think this was a scam, and my patience paid off when some time later, a box from England arrived at my house, containing the tape in the picture on nincollector.com

    I broke out the VCR that I'd kept, solely for the purpose of having a stereo VCR from which to rip this tape should I ever find it, and... I put another tape in it, and hit play. Through my capture card, a 1991 Video Bar bootleg played on my monitor, and everything looked alright, so I pressed eject - and nothing happened. I pressed it again, to no avail. Play, fast forward, rewind, all worked fine. After opening the VCR up, I had to physically remove the cassette, and still-deployed tape, from the device, slightly mangling the tape in the process. Those of you who've never had to interact with VHS, consider yourself blessed.

    Rather than hunt for another VCR, I sent the tape to my partner in crime, ItsJustDave, who had much better capturing equipment anyway. I finally get it in the mail and not long after, I get a file in my dropbox. The audio is great, the color's better, but to my disappointment, there is significant visual shearing. It's not so noticeable while the band is on stage, but when the titles show up, or when the credits roll, the slightly squiggly distortion was very distracting. It was kind of a let down, but that's analog, magnetic media for you.

    There was something else this tape had though, something that never gets aired - anyone familiar with promo videos knows that there's typically a title card at the very beginning, with information about the video production company that either handled the duplication, or edited the tape together. This tape had such a title, and it wasn't from a shop in New York or Los Angeles - it was from New Orleans. Some quick Googling yielded the website of this company was still up - although it hadn't been updated in a while. More sleuthing found that the proprietor was still active in video editing forums. I don't know much about sports, but I think what I did next is analogous to a Hail Mary pass. I contacted the company and asked if they had a copy of the tape they had edited together 13 years ago.

    And I got a response.

    I doubt that I have it on anything but Beta SP or Digital Betacam if at all.
    I no longer have either of these machines.
    Shortening an already long story, I asked very formally and nicely if they would please check, and if they would be interested in loaning me the tape, as I would find someone who could do the conversion. The answer certainly caught me off guard - the tape was found, as was one marked "Big Day Out." Not long after, I got a box in the mail with two BetacamSP tapes, but the Hail Mary pass wasn't a touchdown yet. The shop I'd planned to go to had since closed, and I had to call around before I found a place in Philadelphia that could rip Beta SP. I dropped the tapes off, and a few days later, picked them up along with the hard drive I'd left for the ripped files.

    Excitedly, I went home and opened the files in Vegas Pro 12, which should be able to handle pretty much anything, aaaaaand I got audio, but no video. The files were MOV files, but that shouldn't matter, right? But even Quicktime on my PC wouldn't play them. Thus begun an arduous re-education on the complicated hell that surrounds video codecs. I took the drive downstairs to my Mac Mini, and on there, Quicktime played the files, and they looked great, except everyone was blue. In the Big Day Out footage, the sky was kind of pink. I've been to Sydney, I know that's not right. Quicktime told me it was DVCPRO50 video, but given the odd colors, I figured I'd be 100% sure the mistake wasn't on my end before I went back and told the video shop they fucked up their cables. I installed trial versions of everything from Avid Media Composer to Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X. Final Cut pro opened the audio, but not the video, just like Vegas. Premiere? Same thing. Avid was able to view the video and the audio, but even in Avid, everyone was all smurfed up. One of the tapes had NTSC color bars, so I took a screenshot of them and opened them up in Photoshop, where I confirmed that indeed, the red and blue channels had been switched. This is very easy to undo in Photoshop, and when you're working with analog video, you fix this by unplugging two RCA cables and flipping them. The closest approximation I could find for that in the digital domain involved opening the videos in Avid, rendering them to a format Premiere could read, and then using the Color Channel Mixer in Premiere (or maybe Aftereffects), and then rendering down from there. And every time I tried to export from Avid, my Mac Mini crashed hard.

    So I took the tape back to a very embarrassed video shop. What's worse, once they ripped the video with the corrected colors, even they were not able to open the resulting file in anything they had other than VLC. Oh but I had spent many nights reading up on my problem, and so long as I knew the correct footage was there, the rest would somehow fall into place.

    I tried several different free converters, but ultimately dropped money on a professional codec so that I could open the files unfettered in Sony Vegas, my weapon of choice. I liberally borrowed from the menus that nin.com was using at the time, and condensed the 24gb of standard definition interlaced video into a DVD and a couple of de-interlaced MP4s. I set them along an internet river that eventually empties out into The Pirate Bay, and I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor.

    The moral of this story: If someone at The Record Label asks you if you want a free copy of something, just fucking take it.

  2. #2
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    Fucking awesome! Very excited to download and watch. So many, many thanks for doing this.

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    Thanks for getting this out there - much appreciated.

    BTW - which is higher quality out of the DVD and MP4 files?

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    Levi spent a fuckload of time perfecting this and it looks amazing.

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    Holy shit! I am speechless... Thank you for sharing!

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    I loved reading the backstory behind this. Incredible. Thank you.

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    The backstory makes the results so much more awesome.

    More proof that the NIN community can pull off some awesome shit even when the odds are against them.

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    Some guy named ninhotline posted the videos on youtube:





    Comes with ads, restrictions to certain countries, and blocked mobile devices courtesy of UMG autodetection.

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    This is amazing.
    I remember all of this so fondly too; I taped the special when it aired on ABC in Australia as part of the rage program (Trent would go on to guest program in 2000) and was at the Big Day Out Melbourne show, on the barrier.
    Big thanks to everyone involved, especially levi for his relentless pursuit.

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    dvd (and mpeg2) is so much outdated, i'm not sur about mp4 files being 50% less bigger, maybe you should have try mkv lossless or even bluray sd, that exist, to be sure to output best quality available. Dont get me wrong : having AVC SD file, four time shorter than a divx movie, on a CD, is already amazing, but if i understand well values i get, SD bluray could be three time larger.

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    Thank you so much for this! It turned out great!

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    Just a heads up: TPB is blocked in Europe, and the alt sites get taken down daily. Putting it onto kat.ph might be an idea.

    Also, fucking awesome man

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    Thank you for your patience and hard work on acquiring and sharing this footage! The MTV special is one of my favorite souvenirs from the v1.0 tour ('m only visible during the end of HLAH with my hands in the air starting to applaud the performance). I'm such a dork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheepdean View Post
    Just a heads up: TPB is blocked in Europe, and the alt sites get taken down daily. Putting it onto kat.ph might be an idea.

    Also, fucking awesome man
    Itís only blocked in a few countries here in Europe. In Germany it all works fine.

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    You get TPB but you don't get half of youtube, a fair trade :P

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    If france both TPB and youtube... omg BDO2000 is surely the most hilarious thing i never watched from nin !

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheepdean View Post
    You get TPB but you don't get half of youtube, a fair trade :P
    That’s right. :P

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    AWESOME.

    Should this be uplodaded to Dimeadozen and other places as well?

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    for those in blocked countries

    https://piratereverse.info/user/yourfutureenemy/

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    This absolutely rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barkhammer View Post
    Thanks for getting this out there - much appreciated.

    BTW - which is higher quality out of the DVD and MP4 files?
    I think overall the MP4 is higher quality, but the DVD is perhaps a more authentic experience for a 2000-era release

    The MP4 version was deinterlaced with Yadif, and exported at two-pass variable bitrate with deblocking filter, although I don't remember what I'd set maximum and average to. I tested MP4 exports several times, adjusting the export parameters as I went, and kept bringing the size down until I started noticing artifacting, and then brought the bitrate back up. One thing the DVD has that the MP4 doesn't is uncompressed PCM audio. The other thing is fancy DVD menus, hehe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaw View Post
    dvd (and mpeg2) is so much outdated, i'm not sur about mp4 files being 50% less bigger, maybe you should have try mkv lossless or even bluray sd, that exist, to be sure to output best quality available. Dont get me wrong : having AVC SD file, four time shorter than a divx movie, on a CD, is already amazing, but if i understand well values i get, SD bluray could be three time larger.
    Well, at least you didn't ask for it in HD

    From the start, this whole exercise was about video quality. Footage from both of these concerts already exists out there, but the quality sucked. I happened across master-tape level quality copies, and I wanted to share these with the world. I spent several nights running exports at different bitrates and comparing the output, not only to the original betacam rip (24gb of DVCPRO50 video, btw) but to the other exports I had done, and was satisfied with the clarity and reproduction of the settings I used for the MP4 files that ended up in the release. Higher bitrates would yield diminishing returns - keep in mind that the Fragility special was shot on consumer-grade DV cameras. Low-light footage already suffers from that. There's a lot of the footage that isn't even in particularly good focus.

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    This is amazing I went to the Melbourne gig at the showgrounds. Will have to download it.

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    Fantastic!
    I'm so grateful for this. Many thanks to all ​involved with this release.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaw View Post
    If france both TPB and youtube... omg BDO2000 is surely the most hilarious thing i never watched from nin !
    I couldn't help but to burst out laughing near the end of MOTP, when he goes to the crowd.

    "ohhhhh my gooOOODdd!!! Treeeeennnt!"


    Also, thanks for this @Leviathant, as always, appreciate the effort and dedication!
    Last edited by Callahan; 02-10-2013 at 12:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Callahan View Post
    I couldn't help but to burst out laughing near the end of MOTP, when he goes to the crowd.

    "ohhhhh my gooOOODdd!!! Treeeeennnt!"


    Also, thanks for this @Leviathant, as always, appreciate the effort and dedication!

    There was so much fun stuff in the BDO video.
    - The first time Robin's guitar pops to the front of the sound (6:16) it caught me off-guard. It gave me a quick flashback to one of those "metallic shreds" videos. I had it playing off to the side while working. I thought Leviathant was trolling me.
    - Trent laughing through parts of Hurt
    - I need a gif of Trent's "magic fingers" (ex at 1:33)

    These 2 videos made my week! It's a great time to be a NIN fan!

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    just saw this, super excited to get it! Gonna download the dvd and the mp3! yay!

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    Big Day Out - Split Tracks - FLAC

    http://bit.ly/Wbn2BH

  29. #29
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    OH, And thanks!!

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    Fantastic work. Thanks for sharing!

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