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.: LeeThorogood's Original Trilogy Replica Technicolor Project :.

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As the title suggests this project will be my attempt to replicate the Technicolor aesthetic seen in the photos from the Senator Theatre Technicolor I.B. showing for the whole of the Original Trilogy. Now as Technicolor stopped making Imbibition prints by the time The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi were made, whatever this project produces for those two films will be at best examples of what could have been.

At present I am working on Star Wars as that is the film we have a source of reference for. Once Star Wars is complete I should then be able to use the same colour correction settings to re-color the other two films, tweaking the settings for Empire and Jedi as necessary.

http://img507.imageshack.us/img507/6972/starwarstechnicolordvdf.png
Star Wars in Technicolor DVD Label

For this project I am using the G-Force enhancement script on the video from the NTSC DVDs of Star Wars & Empire, and the PAL DVD of Jedi, albeit without G-Forces levels, colour correction and subtitles commands, I have also modified the scripts to output at PAL resolution rather than NTSC, this was I can do both without loss of quality. :D For the Audio I have Belbucus' theatrical audio for Star Wars and his '93 PCM captures for Empire and Jedi however these are kind of my plan B as I would ideally like to use dark_jedi's captures of the theatrical audio for Empire and Jedi when they are released instead. For the alien subtitles I have recreated the theatrical subtitles (placement,size,timings) using myscamore's avisynth script as a guide. Naturally I would like to thank G-Force, Belbucus, dark_jedi and myscamore for their contributions to this wonderful community.

For the colour correcting I am using Apple Color 1.5. I have played around with several different ways to get the GOUT to look like the Technicolor print but the one that seems to work best is to increase the GOUTs saturation then dial down the reds so neutral colours are no longer tinted, and then selectively correct individual colours for example even with these adjustments Obi-Wan's cloak and undershirt are still rather washed-out and red, so isolating the HSL range of this washed-out reddish-brown I can selectively colour correct it to be a more greenish-brown as in the Technicolor print. Similarly I can isolate the HSL range of skin-tones and adjust them to avoid the "carrot people" look.

As I want to be able to copy these settings over to the other two films when I am done I am not correcting on a scene by scene basis but rather building up a colour grade that is applied to the whole film. That said there is one exception in Star Wars and that is the binary sunset scene, which I have colour corrected to more closely match what I understand to be its original colouring (Lighter, more reddish/orange than blue/purple.)

I think that covers all the basics of this project, if you have any questions I would like to hear them. :)

This post has been edited.

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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This could be very interesting. Also, the wording in your post is a bit unclear--are you de-greening Owen's shirt in that shot? Because I think even on the IB print there is a bit of green going on there. It might actually be the way the print/timing ended up making it look. Actually, most original 35mm/70mm sources exhibit a green tint throughout the film. One thing to be a bit careful of is making things look ideal, because the authentic colouring might not have been as nice/"correct" as we would like.

For the Binary sunset, you will of course have to eyeball it. But sources to base the judgement off:

-Puggo 16mm (the print is massively desaturated keep in mind)

-Theatrical telecine bootleg (moth3r)

-Technicolor screening photo

-Capnap (16mm?) telecine bootleg

-Derann 8mm screencap (on my 8mm page)

These all show various levels of consistency in the colours, it's usually the brightness levels that vary around.

 

This post has been edited.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Also, this is something that I posted in my thread on the colouring, but I recommend a bit of a contrast bump to the image. The GOUT is relatively flat, I don't know if the G-Force gamma change solves it completely, but the DVD itself definitely could use a bit of a kick here.

This post has been edited.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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zombie84 said:This could be very interesting. Also, the wording in your post is a bit unclear--are you de-greening Owen's shirt in that shot?
Do you mean Obi-Wan? If so I am actually doing the opposite, even with the general saturation boost and dialling down the reds his shirt and cloak are still rather washed-out and red. So I have isolated this washed-out brown colour and re-coloured it to match what I see in the Technicolor photos.


zombie84 said:Also, this is something that I posted in my thread on the colouring, but I recommend a bit of a contrast bump to the image. The GOUT is relatively flat, I don't know if the G-Force gamma change solves it completely, but the DVD itself definitely could use a bit of a kick here to get things popping more.
I completely removed the black/white/colour adjustments in G-Forces script so all black/white/colour changes are being made by me as part of the colour grading process. I have already boosted the contrast as much as I feel comfortable with. It's interesting you should mention it as I have had to restrain myself from increasing it too much because its so easy to end up with crushed blacks if your not careful. :(

This post has been edited.

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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This sounds interesting. I'm glad that you're not going to apply contrast to the point of crushed blacks. I also love your decision to do the binary sunset manually, as I think that probably would be the scene in most need of individual correction. I'm just curious and don't take this as me rushing you, but what is your preliminary release date of ANH?

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Yes, precisely. SW also has a rather high-key, slightly pastel-ish look to it, so you shouldn't go crazy with the contrast. If you look at some of the Technicolor photos, you get a better sense at how the contrast should look. There should be nice blacks and a sense of pop to the image, but it shouldn't be ridiculous or anything. Ultimately the GOUT has limits with how far you can increase the contrast before you start crushing the black detail too much.

Also, as for Empire colour references, aside from a saturated GOUT, you can compare two other relatively useful sources for colour:

-Puggo 8mm (this print in particular has terrific colour...possibly an LPP print)

-Theatrical bootleg telecine

The theatrical bootleg telecine has a really big pink shift in the highlights for most of it, but shows off a lot of the saturation. In general, it is consistent with a saturated GOUT, and is more for confidence than anything, but it might also be useful for knowing if you've gone too far or not enough.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Lee, I'm currently building a better "colour reference" page that will include a new pass at auto-colouring the GOUT, along with reference caps from the additional sources I mentioned. I'll hopefully have the SW section done before the weekend is over.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Time

Personally I would be more happy to see someone take a stab at the pre-THX LD transfers instead, but every attempt to get the films colortiming closer to its original state is always welcomed. :)

I'm glad to see that my sub-script coming to good use, don't feel restricted by it though, it's not perfect IMO, I would be happy to see someone improve upon it.

As this is mainly a color correction project, I suggest that you keep these glitches in mind: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Star-Wars-Trilogy-Original-Theatrical-Versions-2006-DVD-Flaw-List/post/462787/#TopicPost462787

Maybe you could splice in footage from other sources in those scenes.  

The close up of the twin suns should also be red in color and not blue/purple as you can see in this post for example: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Star-Wars-Colortiming-Cinematography-was-What-changes-was-done-to-STAR-WARS-in-93/post/428819/#TopicPost428819

That is something I'm 100% sure of as I've obsessively studied that close up on many transfers out there, and that close up is only blue/purple in the '93 telecine.

I'm looking forward to see what you can accomplish, good luck with this project.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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I LOVE that DVD label - nice work!!!

Sounds like a very interesting project - those Technicolor shots are FAB aren't they! Anything that comes even remotely close to that would be worthwhile effort - I always thought the GOUT was pale and washed out, even when I first got the Faces LDs back in 1995.

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:O

Shockingly awesome Lee.

I never knew there was more life left in the GOUT source. It almost looks like a totally different source.

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I am VERY excited to see this come to fruition....nicely done Lee....it's looking great.

 

:)

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

― Socrates

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Wow Lee! Those colors look fantastic! They're so vibrant and completely unlike the monochromatic (in comparison) GOUT! I think you've hit the correct grade :-)

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Awsome-zilla!!! However  - and please don't think I am nit-picking - I think just a TAD more colour would bring it closer to those Technicolor print shots, unless it's my laptops screen of course...

At any rate it's leaps and bounds better than the stock 2004 GOUT, and shocking that Lucasfilm couldn't even be bothered to do a basic colour correction to it like you have here for its release. Just goes to show what some love for this film and technical competency with video tools can reveal.

I salute your technical prowess, Sir!

:D

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Nerfherder said:
Awsome-zilla!!! However  - and please don't think I am nit-picking - I think just a TAD more colour would bring it closer to those Technicolor print shots, unless it's my laptops screen of course...

At any rate it's leaps and bounds better than the stock 2004 GOUT, and shocking that Lucasfilm couldn't even be bothered to do a basic colour correction to it like you have here for its release. Just goes to show what some love for this film and technical competency with video tools can reveal.

I salute your technical prowess, Sir!

:D
Increasing the saturation is much like increasing the contrast you have to restrain yourself otherwise you end up doing more harm then good to certain areas of the picture. I have already increased the saturation as much as I feel comfortable with because we have to remember that while you can polish a turd until its so glossy you can see yourself in it, this doesn't change the fact that it's still a turd on the inside. :(

The Aluminum Falcon said:

Wow Lee! Those colors look fantastic! They're so vibrant and completely unlike the monochromatic (in comparison) GOUT! I think you've hit the correct grade :-)
I thought it quite ironic myself when I was comparing before and after shots earlier today with the untouched GOUT looking as black and white as it did it made me think about George Lucas' stance on the colorisation of black and white films. LOL

Many thanks for all the positive feedback everyone! :D

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Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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Well that being the case I think you should be congratulated for finally showing what the GOUT is capable of given the video tools currently available.

I still remember the day I purchased the Empire 'Faces' LD back in 1995 and being quite crest-fallen how drab it looked (probably the worst of the bunch in terms of its drained colour palette) after all the hype. I remember Star Wars was a little better, but now it looks as it should have done all those years back...

I bet it looks even better still in motion ;)

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I think the saturation could be bosted by about 10% as well, at least for most shots, to match Technicolor levels without sacrificing anything. But these still look very nice. Good job!

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Time

Nice results! IMO and this is just my opinion as there's as much opinions when it comes to color-timing as there is colors, you should go a little warmer. Star Wars IMO had a very warm color palette.

The sunset:

The colors in the wide shot look way off and unnatural to my eyes, the lower sun is too pink and the sand have a sickly green/yellow tint.

The shot of Luke is incredibly close to how it looked in FOX-promotional material for the SE before it went looking like night in the '97 video release. It's been a while since the '97 SE played in cinemas but I clearly remember that I reacted when I first saw the SE on video and thought it looked weird and couldn't remember it looked that way in the cinema. Anyway, it looks beautiful, the photo of the Technicolor screening have more pink in it though.

A little more red in the close up of the suns and it would look much better.

Again... just my opinion, what you've accomplished so far is really nice. Keep it up! :)

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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zombie84 said:


I think the saturation could be bosted by about 10% as well, at least for most shots, to match Technicolor levels without sacrificing anything. But these still look very nice. Good job!
I just tried out a 10% saturation increase (going from sat = 1.0 to sat = 1.1 is 10% yes?) and it doesn't seem to hurt anything so I'll keep this change. :)

msycamore said:


Nice results! IMO and this is just my opinion as there's as much opinions when it comes to color-timing as there is colors, you should go a little warmer. Star Wars IMO had a very warm color palette.

The sunset:

The colors in the wide shot look way off and unnatural to my eyes, the lower sun is too pink and the sand have a sickly green/yellow tint.

The shot of Luke is incredibly close to how it looked in FOX-promotional material for the SE before it went looking like night in the '97 video release. It's been a while since the '97 SE played in cinemas but I clearly remember that I reacted when I first saw the SE on video and thought it looked weird and couldn't remember it looked that way in the cinema. Anyway, it looks beautiful, the photo of the Technicolor screening have more pink in it though.

A little more red in the close up of the suns and it would look much better.

Again... just my opinion, what you've accomplished so far is really nice. Keep it up! :)
Thanks myscamore I have adjusted the binary sunset scene following your suggestions. Zombie84's suggested saturation increase seems to help with the overly cool colour palette. I was probably over zealous with my attempt to dial down the excess red resulting in the cooler colour palette. As I say the saturation boost seems to help fix this.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I knew when I started this it would never be perfect, but I still wanted to get it as close as I possibly could. :)

Original Trilogy in Replica Technicolor Project
Star Wars PAL LaserDisc Project

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