Star Wars (1977) original Blu ray. Crappier than ever.

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by EddieVanHalen, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. The director makes a call and you end up with gently-tinted blue walls on the Tantive IV which were clearly white in the film released just a couple years before.

    Or a green tint on the first movie of a trilogy that wasn't originally there to match the other two.

    Or a green tint on the Blu-ray of the first movie of a trilogy that's still not there on the other two Blu-ray releases.
     
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  2. TheVU

    TheVU Forum Resident

    New plan. Let’s spend the next 35 pages coming up with a new story and movie entirely!

    If we can work together, we can make something amazing!
     
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  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I dunno. I would say Force Awakens, Rogue One, Solo, and Mission: Impossible all had vastly different looks. Force Awakens was shot on film and color-timed by Stefan Sonnenfeld at CO3/Santa Monica; Rogue One was shot on Alexa 65 and color-timed by Shane Harris at CO3; Solo was shot on Alexa 65 and color-timed by Joe Gawler at Harbor Pictures/Santa Monica; Mission Impossible was shot on Panavision DXL (Red Helium) and color-timed by Asa Shoul at Molinare/London. To me, they're all very different.

    If you mean Star Wars Episodes 4-5-6, those were all shot on film, scanned at Post Group, and color-corrected at ILM in C Building in late-2003 to about April 2004 by myself, Rich Garibaldi, and Natasha Leonett. The only common factor is the producer/director supervised them all, on the same monitor and the same color system (Pandora Pogle Platinum and a Quantel iQ for image source). To me, each one is quite a bit different in terms of art direction, lighting, and exposure. Star Wars was definitely the hardest, because the film was falling apart. For me, they never pulled out the prior transfers and had us reference them: we were told, "George never approved the 1980s/1990s home video versions, so we'd rather start with a clean slate."
     
  4. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Sorry, I think I should have clarified, I don't think there is a single film in the Disney Wars set that looks similar. I meant for the new 4K masters of Harry Potter, Harry Potter 1 and Harry Potter 2 (which were the only two films assembled photochemically, then rescanned) looked pretty similar with the new Peter Doyle grade, at least more similar to each other than any other film in the set. Same with M:I 1 and M:I 2 vs the rest of the set. AFAIK rest of the films in those franchises were DIs, digitally colored from the get-go, and the new HDR grades follow the DI pretty closely, while the "4k" image was a blow-up from the 2K master.

    Obviously major changes in those scanned films in composition lighting etc, but no huge changes in color temp, or contrast. To my (untrained) eyes the remastered OT Star Wars films pretty consistent in these aspects as well. They have a shared color look that is not present on the HD master of Episode I or the digital coloring of Episode II and III.
     
  5. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I can say we did occasionally pull up shots from Episode 6 to use for Episode 1. One thing they didn't ask for but I did do was to make the end credits the exact same shade of pale blue for Star Wars and Return of the Jedi, and George was very appreciative. I think that was the first time that both the yellow crawl at the head and the blue credits at the end were identical in terms of look. Getting stuff like this right is the kind of detail we try to do, and it's easy to screw up.
     
  6. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    By Episode 1, do you mean you worked on Phantom Menace as well?
     
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  7. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Whoops, I meant comparing Episode 6 to Episode 4. We did have a moment at the end of Jedi where Lucas noticed the Emporer using "lightning" to try to kill Luke Skywalker, and he had me export some frames so that they could match that effect in Episode 3. That is a case where they actually went to the trouble of making the 2005 film look reasonably close to the 1983 film.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  8. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
    The gift for the person who thinks they know everything :ignore:
     
  9. teodoro

    teodoro Well-Known Member

    BINGO!

    No ********, just the plain facts!
     
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  10. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    That's cool. Revenge of the Sith did try to reconcile the mise-en-scène of the OT with the PT more than Menance or Clones did.
     
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  11. ElevatorSkyMovie

    ElevatorSkyMovie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Can someone explain what "crushed blacks" are to a novice like me?
     
  12. Encuentro

    Encuentro Forum Resident

    Basically, they are dark areas in film that are further darkened to the point that those areas lose the detail that was once there. You see this quite a bit in the 2004 DVD and 2011 Blu-ray of A New Hope.
     
  13. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Here's one example:

    [​IMG]

    To me, a lot of it boils down to checking the scopes and making sure we're not cramming the blacks right into the "0" level at the bottom of the signal. In the case of cinema images, we look for subtle details in the black areas, like wrinkles in costumes, stitching in fabric, texture in the backgrounds, stuff like that. Be warned there are screen grabs out there on the web that do not tell you the truth (aka "fake news").

    As I explained in previous messages, there is an issue called "Full vs. Video levels" that can affect how images are pulled off of Blu-rays. Monitor setup is also critical, because the image source might be fine, but your monitor itself could be crushing black detail. Gamma settings are also critical; we tend to use 2.4 gamma in mastering, but theaters are at 2.6 and computer displays are at 2.2, so all three have slightly different contrast levels.

    [​IMG]

    In the color bars above, you should be able to just barely see the grayer-than-black pulse in the lower right, which is the PLUGE (picture lineup generating equipment) pulse.

    Picture line-up generation equipment - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Well, I was just a hired gun, or (to mix my metaphors) just the guy driving the bus. It wasn't my decision where we were going to go or how fast we should drive: Mr. Lucas controlled the gas pedal and the brakes, and he told me where to steer. And he owned the bus -- it was not my bus.

    I did offer opinions and showed before & after examples a thousand times, and I'd say sometimes I was able to steer him into what I thought was a better direction, but sometimes he deliberately wanted a scene to look a certain way, and he got what he asked for. Technicians have no control over content -- that's like telling the bus driver that the bus should have more windows and nicer seats. We just drive the bus. The colorist's job is to help the filmmaker present the film they intended to make -- not to argue with them and obstruct their vision. You do that enough, you'll get fired and they'll bring in another guy. (And bear in mind that I was the replacement colorist for the Empire technician who was fired a month earlier for certain personality issues.)
     
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  15. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident

    Something I've wondered for a lot of time is why Return Of The Jedi has always looked so bad, lacking definition and having kind of a fuzzy picture. The Empire Strikes Back looks with good definition (even on Laser Disc) and seems not to use the difussion lenses used on Star Wars, but the issue with Return Of The Jedi is different, its picture is not clear, lacking a better word (English is not my mother languaje) it looks weird. Maybe Vidiot has seen the OCN or a first gen IP and can tell us howit looks.
     
  16. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    We used the revised negative from the late 1990s, so it was what it was. A lot of it was first generation OCN, but some of it was the new footage Lucas had created, like giving the Ewoks moving eyes and stuff like that. I was not happy with the scans and I wish they had used pin-registered scanners for the project, but instead a real-time Spirit 2K was used for time & scheduling reasons. I don't think it looked bad at all, and actually between the 2K scan and the image clean-up, this is probably as sharp as any of the films ever looked before. (Previous SD transfers were all done from 35mm IP on real-time scanners.)

    I'll say this: Return of the Jedi was a lot sharper than the original Star Wars, because they didn't use nearly as much diffusion on the lenses during the 1982 production. The Lowry Process used to de-grain, stabilize, and repair the image also has a sharpening kernel at the very end of the pipeline, so they did sharpen all three films on a frequency-selective basis (meaning they didn't sharpen the whole picture, just parts of it). I have said many times here that 1970s and 1980s anamorphic Panavision films are not sharp, period. The lenses don't help and the Kodak emulsions of that period weren't sharp enough to resolve a lot of detail compared to the films of the last 25 years. But absolutely, a new scan could be done much better today. How much better is a subjective call.
     
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  17. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Can you explain what this Machine is / the alternative? I've seen the Spirit or Sprit 4K listed as a source in a lot of Criterion BRs that often look pretty good. But I have also heard telecine are not the best way to scan film. I remember a lot of people were upset about the Pulp Fiction disc using a Tarantino approved telecine, but I still don't fully get the difference.
     
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  18. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Here's a Spirit 2K datacine:

    [​IMG]

    Here's an Arriscanner:

    [​IMG]

    The Spirit scans film in real time: a 20-minute film reel gets scanned in 20 minutes. The Arri Scan device moves at roughly 4fps, but it has a special pin-registered gate that holds the film very precisely in position, and it takes about 4 hours to do one roll of film (instead of 20 minutes). If you get two exposures off the film -- one optimized for highlights, one optimized for lowlights -- and then average the exposure inbetween (an HDR scan), it takes about 50% longer. That's what I wish they had done for Star Wars.

    I'm a huge fan of the Arri Scanners, and I also like the Northlight scanners by Filmlight:

    [​IMG]

    Both the Arri and the Northlight are very similar in terms of picture quality: both pin-registered, both use CCD pickups, both take a long time to scan film, and both cost somewhere north of $500K or so. The Spirits were actually more costly back in the day, but are now much cheaper.

    For really high-quality archival scanning, the Arri, the Northlight, or the newer DFT Scannity all can do good jobs. There are some pretty bad scanners out there.
     
  19. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Thanks for the explanation! Out of curiosity, is there a standard choice to transfer modern movies shot on film to digital files for editing? I’m assuming the pin-registered scanners would be preferred but slow transfer seems a bit painful for unedited content.
     
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  20. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    There's two schools of thought for the post for features shot on film:

    1) scan the film very quickly at lower res as a "rough" transfer with edge code, so they can do the digital edit, and then they come back and re-scan select shots of the neg at a higher resolution for the final assembly

    2) assign multiple people to scan all film at maximum resolution and get it all done in 10-12 hours. That way, it's all scanned at one time and you don't have to go back and do it again.

    There's pros and cons for each approach. For huge massive big-budget films, I think they generally do #1.
     
  21. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident

    On case #1, why only re-scan selected shots at higher resolution and not the full film? For big budget movies wouldn't make more sense to do it as case #2?
     
  22. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Costs too much and takes too much time. They only re-scan the actual shots that wound up in the finished film. Bear in mind there are movies out there that shoot 400-500 hours of shots, only to wind up with 2.5 hours of material in the finished film.
     
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  23. DrDre

    DrDre Forum Resident

    Location:
    Amsterdam
    The soft (nearly flashed), pastel color palette discussed in this review is nicely displayed in the below regarde of the bluray (top bluray, bottom regrade):

    [​IMG]


    In this case I adjusted the image not by matching it to a reference, but by first balancing the frame to get rid of the blue shadows of the bluray frame (a clear undesired side effect of the push in blue), subsequently increase the brightness, whilst reducing contrast, and finally reduce saturation. This to me is the look that's more faithful to Taylor’s original desaturated palette as suggested in the review, and also matches the 1977 and 1997 print references.

    The original look of the Tatooine scenes in a lot of ways reminds me of the delibirate sepia almost worn tones of the Godfather:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  24. mj_patrick

    mj_patrick Forum Resident

    Location:
    Elkhart, IN, USA
    Having just watched 4K83 in UHD format, it was a bit startling how good it looks not just in terms of resolution, but also color. Perhaps my memory is playing tricks with me, but it FEELS closer to how I remember Return of the Jedi in the theater 35+ years ago than anything else since.

    I would much prefer a proper home video release for the original trilogy films — certainly I would prefer to buy them rather than having to download unauthorized versions.

    I don’t want Verta’s “Legacy Edition” of Star Wars as an official release and don’t see that happening at all. I want a proper restoration that has been worked on by a team of professionals who are working with the original source.
     
  25. DrDre

    DrDre Forum Resident

    Location:
    Amsterdam
    I would like to see the best possible restoration of the originals faithful to the original look of the film. If it's Verta's work, that's fine, if it's a restoration directly from the negative, that's also fine. Considering the fact that a team of professionals working from the original source hasn't been a guarantee for the best quality in the past, I don't see why a restoration that has been worked on by a new team of professionals should be the automatic preferred option, even if they should have a clear advantage on paper. The reality is, that faithful restorations like the Godfather 4K restoration from a few years back are more the exception than the rule. Now if Disney were to put a veteran like Robert A. Harris on the job (who has offered to do the job to Lucas in the past), that would certainly get me excited for an official restoration from the original source materials.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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