Star Wars - Legacy Edition 4K Restoration
April 7, 2015 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Some great work has been done to restore the original Star Wars in all it's glory. This is amazing, look at the shot comparisons. Hopefully this will see the light of day as a finished restoration. Channel definition: "This is a preservation/restoration, with the goal of presenting each frame in the best possible light without altering them, internally."
posted by misaac (44 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think I actually prefer the DVD versions of Episode 4/5/6 rather than the BluRay. The BluRay has too much detail--in a lot of shots (especially in ESB) it's painfully obvious that the backgrounds are mattes, and it snaps me right out of the scene. I doubt 4K is going to help that.
posted by HighLife at 6:26 AM on April 7, 2015


Sorry about the mess.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:28 AM on April 7, 2015


It's really a shame that George Lucas died in that plane crash before making those prequels that were talked about for years. Jar Jar Banks would have been a great Jedi, no doubt.
posted by dr_dank at 6:36 AM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't recall the Blu Ray looking that bad? Now I need to go watch and compare.
posted by Twain Device at 6:38 AM on April 7, 2015


If the rumors are true, and Disney is rereleasing unaltered versions of the original trilogy on Bluray, it would be nice if they roped in all these people who do fanatic restorations on their own. They should have the money and power to find one of the original technicolor 70mm prints.
posted by pashdown at 6:39 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Personally I'm holding out for the 4K print of the ASCII version.
posted by rongorongo at 6:47 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It would be nice if they roped in all these people who do fanatic restorations on their own.

That would be awesome. Sadly, what will most likely happen is that these editions will indeed be released and then Disney will aim the lawyer cannon at Harmy and his supporters.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:54 AM on April 7, 2015


I really hope that any sort of official 4K release of this will just look exactly what it would be like to sit in a movie theater in 1977 and watch Star Wars. Don't no one need to see Han's pores.
posted by a manly man person who is male and masculine at 6:55 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


The original trilogy blue rays were the last item I ever bought from a physical Blockbuster store. I will keep them as a memento of that even if I never watch them ever again once a real version is out.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:56 AM on April 7, 2015


I am so used to seeing the little red boxes around tie fighters that I'd be upset if they weren't there.
posted by SharkParty at 7:08 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh and the blurry caterpillar mess underneath the landspeeder.
posted by SharkParty at 7:08 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm looking forward to the HDR restoration because with most Blu-rays it seems to me like all the shadow info is crushed into a weird inky blackness.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:15 AM on April 7, 2015


Take my money now.
posted by odinsdream at 7:16 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


his will just look exactly what it would be like to sit in a movie theater in 1977 and watch Star Wars

For that to be completely true, one would have to be driven home afterwards in a forest green AMC Hornet Sportabout with my father weaving back and forth across the road making pew pew noises while my mother stares rigidly out the passenger window taking shallow, measured breaths.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:24 AM on April 7, 2015 [48 favorites]


The first time I saw Star Wars I was 7 and at the cinema and some prick who had seen it already sat behind me telling his girlfriend what was about to happen in every scene. So I think you got the best of it CK.
posted by biffa at 7:31 AM on April 7, 2015


I hate to make such a big deal about something so seemingly trivial, but I would watch ALL of his videos with great interest if it wasn't for the horrible audio, there are SO MANY pops/glitches in the narration of the comparisons that it was too distracting to handle after watching two of them. Does this bother anyone else, or am I being too picky here? (And/or am I the only one experiencing them, maybe it's a codec issue?)
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 7:44 AM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


HAN SHOT FIRST!!!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:50 AM on April 7, 2015


Does this bother anyone else, or am I being too picky here? (And/or am I the only one experiencing them, maybe it's a codec issue?)

No, it's not just you. I hear it too and it bothers the shit out of me. It seems like the older uploads tend to be fine, so it's not all of them.

I'd like to know more about his process. He's mentioned that he's working entirely from five different original prints, both Technicolor and Kodak, and he's run them all through a 4K scanner that has an infrared channel to help with the dust removal, although as he explains in a lot of cases the grime is not part of the print but is baked into the original from all the optical compositing steps that were necessary to create the final frame. He seems to be steadfastly refusing to use any non-original data, for example in the video for the landspeeder at the Mos Eisley spaceport scene he shows how the Blu-Ray took a great deal of liberties in rescanning individual components and basically re-compositing the whole scene, including repainting the bottom of the speeder. He isn't having any of that. But he does go beyond just dust removal and color correction, like adjusting the color channel misalignment of the optical compositing equipment. Watch the Red 5 standing by video for an extreme version of that, where he had to correct different elements independently.

Anyway, I guess I can kind of understand his logic. He's leaving individual warts, while removing systemic warts, if that makes any sense. And his constant contempt for the Blu-Ray version is rather amusing.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:17 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also want to know more about his process. Preferably in written form. He's a terrible narrator, and even speaking charitably that the audio pops and clicks in the videos are some sort of playback bug, he really needs to move his microphone to somewhere not so close to his computer's fan.

Is the Despecialized Edition still the nerd's preferred version of Star Wars? I've yet to see it, I'm put off by the difficulty of acquiring a copy. I'm quite comfortable with various sources for unlicensed movies but the Despecialized guys seem to revel in private trackers and registration-only forums. Also with all due respect to high quality encoding the 18GB file that's most easily found is an awful lot of download.
posted by Nelson at 8:50 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Despecialized Edition is pretty amazing, but these videos are right down the rabbit hole. I love them. So is Mike Verta's a different project? If so, has it emerged anywhere as a download? I haven't been able to watch everything on his channel (work, feh!) and I crave context.
posted by Mothlight at 9:17 AM on April 7, 2015


Incidentally, people raise the issue of 20th Century Fox owning the distribution rights, etc, as a barrier to the release of the original theatrical films, but they're a partner in the digital release announced yesterday aren't they?

The fan produced versions reminds me of one fellow who started out to just reverse the Special Edition edits, but then as he proceeded, he began to do things like, "Thought this scene would look better with two more TIEs..." It's an easy hole to fall into, me thinks, so kudos to anyone who has the power to alter the film without adding to the film.
posted by Atreides at 9:19 AM on April 7, 2015


The Despecialized edition is wonderful. I'm glad to privately send you a copy if you want.
posted by odinsdream at 9:23 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


If so, has it emerged anywhere as a download? I haven't been able to watch everything on his channel (work, feh!) and I crave context.

He explains on this page that this is entirely a personal How-To documentation exercise, and he is not going to be releasing anything as a result.
posted by odinsdream at 9:25 AM on April 7, 2015


He explains on this page that this is entirely a personal How-To documentation exercise, and he is not going to be releasing anything as a result.

Thanks for that. I assume part of his goal is that he's attempting to shame Disney/Fox into doing a proper restoration of the original trilogy for Blu-ray next time around. Of course, I'd like to think work on that is well underway, given that the release of the new film at the end of the year would offer perfect context for finally giving the fans an original trilogy reissue, but I may well be giving them too much credit. Anyway, I would actually enjoy having the first Star Wars movies on Blu-ray, but I haven't seen the "special editions" and have no desire to, so my laserdiscs (along with some 720p DVD-Rs of the Despecialized Edition) will have to tide me over until an official release comes to pass.
posted by Mothlight at 10:01 AM on April 7, 2015


I would love to see a great restoration of the original Star Wars, but that "Red 5 Standing By" video just seems like going too far. In the analog world, one could never get black to be exactly zero and white to be exactly 100%, especially not in optical VFX shots, yet that seems to be what he's aiming for. If he goes through the entire movie doing that, the end result will still look somewhat "artificial" compared to how it originally looked.

The closest we will ever get to seeing the film how it looked in 1977 is to have a scan of one of the original Technicolor dye-transfer prints with as little post-processing as possible. One such print was in fact screened to the public at the Senator Theater in 2010. Check out that link for some great pictures, as well as some video clips from the screening. That's what it looked like 1977, and that's what any "restoration" or "preservation" should be aiming for.
posted by Potsy at 10:11 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh and for the record, I agree that the current Blu-Ray release looks terrible. It looks like someone ordered the color saturation boosted, but didn't give anyone the proper time or resources to do it right, so it ended up a complete mess with weird blobs of color bleed all over the place.
posted by Potsy at 10:16 AM on April 7, 2015


OH ALRIGHT.. I'll stop doing the videos in Camtasia and use my Wirecast instead. :) You know, these videos were orignally just for a handful of friends following along, and it's just in the last couple of weeks that they got attention. I do online Masterclasses regularly, so I know how to do a "show," this just...wasn't it. But as long as you guys are interested, then let's do a show. The clicks and pops drive me fuckin' crazy, too. Don't have that issue when using my actual broadcast setup.

Regarding other stuff - the restoration is sourced from multiple Technicolor IB prints - in far better condition than the Senator print, btw. I saw someone mention the pure black issue - ultimately this will go out to film negative, and the final levels will be determined once I see how the film out goes. I have the Techs and Kodaks as reference points, but I also have 20+ years as a professional doing film outs and content/asset prep on commercial releases. And as a bonus, many of the original vfx crew members are consulting. So don't worry; I'm on it. It's been a long road and absolutely no detail is being overlooked. That said, of course I ALWAYS welcome criticism, ideas, feedback, praise, likes, subscriptions; you know, all that stuff.

Thanks and MTFBWY,

_Mike
posted by mverta at 10:36 AM on April 7, 2015 [47 favorites]


I really hope that any sort of official 4K release of this will just look exactly what it would be like to sit in a movie theater in 1977 and watch Star Wars. Don't no one need to see Han's pores.

Here at Lucasfilms, we hear you loud and clear. And what we're hearing from our fans is: more pores. We got to see Han's pores. Let's get trypophobic for Mister Solo. And we're invested in making this the most authentically porous experience we can give you. So here's what we're adding: MORE PORES. All the pores. Every close-up an undulating field of lotus-seed-pods, waving gently at your face, each pore onscreen so realistically large you feel like you could put your finger in. You WILL imagine grasping his face from the INSIDE of his pores with three fingers like a bowling ball. THAT'S the Star War PROMISE
posted by Greg Nog at 10:52 AM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


I saw a commercial during the NCAA Final that said they were releasing HD Digital versions online on April 10, available via the iTunes store and some other outlets...
posted by Chuffy at 11:39 AM on April 7, 2015


As a heterosexual male who was 15 when Return Of The Jedi came out I can tell you that there were peoples pores I wanted to see more of and they weren't Hans Solo's.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:51 AM on April 7, 2015


As a heterosexual male who was 15 when Return Of The Jedi came out I can tell you that there were peoples pores I wanted to see more of and they weren't Hans Solo's.

I hear you. More Admiral Ackbar. Cat noise!
posted by cottoncandybeard at 12:01 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


I saw Star Wars in 1979 (aged 4) in a rural school hall. It was a 16mm print, and every 20 minutes the film would stop for a few minutes so that the projectionist could swap reels, which was handy because my brother was still a baby at the time and needed feeding/changing. It was a pivotal event in my life and if the new releases don't include these breaks I will be forced to boycott Star Wars forever.

And by boycott I mean watching the new ones on BluRay months after they come out instead of 4 times in the theatre like I stupidly did with The Phantom Menace.
posted by AndrewStephens at 12:14 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have my own personal version of Star Wars. Here's how it came about:

I was a small child who had never seen Star Wars before. I had a babysitter the night that Star Wars was on TV, but it was on too late for me to watch. So, I set up the VCR to record it.

Unfortunately, we didn't have the ability to record on a channel different from the one that you were watching on TV. After I was put to bed I heard the babysitter change the channel. I laid in bed crying for a little while until I couldn't take it any longer. I got up and went and changed the channel back. After doing that I turned around and my babysitter had just come back from the kitchen and was looking at me wondering why I was out of bed with a wet face looking like I had been crying. I explained the situation and then went back to bed.

For the next 10 years or so, the only version of Star Wars that I knew was that VHS copy that suddenly stopped just as Obi Wan Kenobi showed up to scare off the sand people, and suddenly starts at the point when that sphere needle droid thing shows up to inject Princess Leia.

These days I watch the Blu-Ray special edition version, but to this day, that short section of the movie seems a little strange, as if it was added by Lucas when he created the special editions of the classic movies.
posted by HappyEngineer at 12:21 PM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


That said, of course I ALWAYS welcome criticism, ideas, feedback, praise, likes, subscriptions; you know, all that stuff.

As someone born in 1970 who was never able to see the unaltered version in the theater owing to being overseas at the time, here: have a big pile of praise.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:23 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting, Mike! I was the one who mentioned black levels and the Senator screening. Don't get me wrong, I'm astounded at the quality I can see in your videos, and I'm glad beyond words that someone is doing what you're doing! I was mostly just giving my first impressions from what I could see from your Vimeo videos.

Also, I did notice from prior comments here that you were using IB prints as sources and I wasn't trying to discount that, I was just saying in regards to the Senator screening that the pictures from that event were representative of a more "unfiltered" view of what an original print would look like when screened. Glad to hear you're planning to do more work on the restoration to keep it looking film-like and not too over-processed. Looking forward to seeing more!
posted by Potsy at 1:59 PM on April 7, 2015


While Kodaks and Techs have slightly different looks, my goal has been to preserve, not revise the original color grade, and make sure that the 70's film aesthetic is intact. I'm a purist at heart. As far as I'm concerned, Darth Vader betrayed and murdered Luke's father.
posted by mverta at 2:13 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I guess that's true, from a certain point of view.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:25 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Disney is not releasing the originals, only the special editions. 20th Century Fox owns the distribution rights of the originals until 2020. It's possible that some sort of unholy alliance of studios has occured, and we'll see the originals released soon, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:32 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just... love. Love for what you're doing. From the short vimeo videos the restoration really does look amazing. It's so wonderful that someone is trying to preserve the original!
posted by Kevin Street at 2:41 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kennedy shot first!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:46 PM on April 7, 2015


The digital releases are what have me thinking that perhaps Disney and 20th Century Fox are on the same level, since the press release specifically mentions that the digital release was from Disney, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox.
As anticipation builds for the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first new film in the Star Wars saga in a decade, The Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd., and 20th Century Fox today announced the upcoming release of The Star Wars Digital Movie Collection. All six epic films in the saga, from The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi, will be available on Digital HD globally beginning Friday, April 10.
See what I mean?
posted by Atreides at 2:50 PM on April 7, 2015


I'm looking forward to the HDR restoration because with most Blu-rays it seems to me like all the shadow info is crushed into a weird inky blackness.

I blame the same forces that create the "dynamic" and "vivid" settings on TVs. It looks really contrasty and "impressive" at a glance with the brightness on a tv cranked to max. Such bright colors! such inky blacks!

Saturation compression, dynamic range compression. Such grimdark, such pop!

It looks extra bad when you're watching a blu-ray like that on a display also in exaggerated mode it looks terrible. It reminds me of my 1st gen sony plasma that had maybe 256 levels of each color and crushed all blacks and exaggerated everything.

the omgcolorpop war is the new loudness war, and i think it's going to haunt us for years to come.
posted by emptythought at 5:19 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


From all of us in the content-creation sphere to all of you at home: please, for the love of God, you spent so much money on that television, please take it off Vivid, or Game, or THX, or Theater, or any preset mode, put it in the one where you can adjust the settings, and spend 5 minutes Googling some calibration settings. Probably on AVSforum.com. Give yourself a chance in hell of it looking anything like we intended it to. :)
posted by mverta at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


spend 5 minutes Googling some calibration settings

I'm old, so I'm used to the Indian Heads and other 480i test patterns, but these look like usable HD Calibration Files with a manual and everything.
posted by mikelieman at 2:19 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


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