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Puggo Strikes Back!

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That's right, this thread is for discussion of my telecine transfer of a 16mm widescreen ("scope") print of the Empire Strikes Back.  Unless someone comes up with a better name, I plan to call this edition "Puggo Strikes Back". I have already started work on it this past weekend.  As was the case for the Puggo Grande, I expect this to take a while to finish -- at least a few months.  But I will post regular updates and screencaps here and on my website as work proceeds.

I have added a PSB page to my website (see link in my .sig).  There isn't much on it yet.

The print I am currently transferring was provided by Jaxxon, the same individual who provided the prints used for the Puggo Grande and for the Stjarnornas Krig.  I'll leave it up to him if he still wishes to remain anonymous.

The quality of this print is excellent - better than the prints used for the PG. Color on all three reels is superb.  There are some scratches at the beginnings and the ends of each reel, but the middles are pretty clean. Reel three will require some slight repair at the very start.  The print is marked "1980", and appears genuine to me.

As was the case for the PG, I will be using a WorkPrinter-16 to transfer the video.  For those of you unfamiliar with the PG or the Workprinter, it is a very clever machine manufactured by Roger Evans of MovieStuff (www.moviestuff.tv), that enables frame-by-frame capture. It is a slow process, though, as the Workprinter runs at about 6fps, or about one quarter speed.  I cheat on the scope, adjusting the aspect ratio in post and then setting the anamorphic flag to fake scope projection (same as I did for the PG).  I also will use the pulldown flag rather than doing pulldown in post. The final product will be SD, DVD-5.  I am still using the Sony TRV900 camera that I used for the PG.

No I can't afford to do an HD capture.  And no, pointing an HD camera at the WorkPrinter doesn't work.

I am using a different projector to grab the audio than I did for the PG... this time an ELMO 16CL (for the PG I used an Eiki). Synching the sound with the workprinter capture is always painstaking, as the slightest variations in speed on the elmo make it lose sync quickly. It has to be stretched and shrunk by hand scene by scene.

Jaxxon and I have discussed the possibility of providing an alternate stereo audio track.

Here is what I have done so far:

  • transferred the raw audio from each reel into .wav files.
  • reviewed the films through the ELMO for any necessary repairs/concerns
  • I'm halfway into my first pass through reel 1 on the WorkPrinter (it is running as I type this post)


As with the Puggo Grande, I expect to make two or three passes through each reel at various exposure settings, and combine scenes from various takes depending on which settings look the best from which takes.  It is a tedious process because the Workprinter is SO slow. The multiple passes are necessary because film has a wider frequency range than video, so one setting rarely works across an entire reel.

As always, I will warn everyone that captures like this will be loaded with scratches, dirt, grunge, dropouts, lint, wobbles, dust, furballs, speckles, heavy grain, lousy cropping, and assorted mouse droppings.  It cannot compete even with a stabilized GOUT, much less a despecialized HD multi-layer blu-ray megadisc.  However, much to my surprise, some of you honestly seemed to enjoy watching the Puggo Grande, and early indications are that this edition will be noticeably better.  For one thing, this looks like it will have deep, rich color saturation throughout... which will make it a whole lot more fun for me to work on!  No wrestling with red-shift -- yay!!

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Wow this is exciting! Count me in as definitely interested in this project Puggo! I'll definitely follow this thread and your various updates.

An alternate stereo audio track would be a fantastic addition in my opinion. Also, can't wait to see some true beautiful ESB color.  :-)

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I'm officially interested.

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Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

 I cheat on the scope, adjusting the aspect ratio in post and then setting the anamorphic flag to fake scope projection (same as I did for the PG).  I also will use the pulldown flag rather than doing pulldown in post. The final product will be SD, DVD-5. 

Puggo! A big thank you to Jaxxon and yourself for doing this. (I'll bet Jaxxon has a Jedi print also, right? I wouldn't be surprised.)

The way you handle the aspect ratio is not "cheating" by any means. I believe the results will be much better if you adjust the aspect ratio in software, rather than introducing another optical step into the transfer process. Better to let your camera capture the frame unsqueezed, which will leave you with more resolution to work with later.

My assumption is that this print is also cropped at the bottom? Standard procedure for 8mm and 16mm scope, that. (Except for the Swedish print that had to crop off the top to preserve the subs at the bottom, of course.)

I fully understand not going to HD for this, but would you please consider making a DVD9 version available? I'm sure many forum members would gladly forward some blanks.

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Personally I love the name.

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"Puggo Strikes Back - '6fps and lovin' it"

Is this alternative stereo track going to be an authentic "behind the projector" audio capture!  Complete with Puggo eating popcorn sound enhancements?

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AWESOME!!!

Thank you so much for doing this Puggo :)

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none said:

"Puggo Strikes Back - '6fps and lovin' it"

Is this alternative stereo track going to be an authentic "behind the projector" audio capture!  Complete with Puggo eating popcorn sound enhancements?

LMMFAO @ this.....as long as there are authentic and not CGI simulated fart noises, I'm all for it.

 

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Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

...Unless someone comes up with a better name, I plan to call this edition "Puggo Strikes Back".

"Puggo Wars : The Slobber Strikes Back!"


… And they had ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, the fifth of the four Star Wars films. He is fucking with us numerically, isn’t he! “Children, count up to ten.” “Four, five, six, one, two, three, ten”. No, it goes, four, five, six, one, two, three… No, it goes: four, five, six. One… Two and three have not been made." “Two and three have not been made! What should they be?” “What should they be? We do not know. All we know is that there will be a big floppy character in it that goes, squawk squawk squawk… who needs a punch up the bracket!” - Eddie Izzard, “Circle”, 2000

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Very cool!

Can you tell us more about the alternate audio track?

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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Video Collector said:

Puggo! A big thank you to Jaxxon and yourself for doing this. (I'll bet Jaxxon has a Jedi print also, right? I wouldn't be surprised.)

Already got a line on a couple of Jedi prints.

The way you handle the aspect ratio is not "cheating" by any means. I believe the results will be much better if you adjust the aspect ratio in software, rather than introducing another optical step into the transfer process. Better to let your camera capture the frame unsqueezed, which will leave you with more resolution to work with later.

Well, I consider it cheating because in theory the best approach would be to use a scope lens, and capture the complete image in full widescreen resolution. Unfortunately, camcorders don't do that.

My assumption is that this print is also cropped at the bottom?

I haven't checked that yet, but yes it is a safe assumption.

I fully understand not going to HD for this, but would you please consider making a DVD9 version available? I'm sure many forum members would gladly forward some blanks.

That I would consider.  Speaking of which, I never tried making a full bitrate version of the PG to see if that would make a difference... it wouldn't be hard to test.  I'll have to get back to you on that.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Erikstormtrooper said:

Can you tell us more about the alternate audio track?

Jaxxon's idea.  Since there was never a mono mix for ESB, there probably isn't anything inherently special about the optical audio track on the 16mm film (although I certainly will include it anyways). He suggested grabbing a stereo track from a CAV ESB laserdisc.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

Erikstormtrooper said:

Can you tell us more about the alternate audio track?

Jaxxon's idea.  Since there was never a mono mix for ESB, there probably isn't anything inherently special about the optical audio track on the 16mm film (although I certainly will include it anyways). He suggested grabbing a stereo track from a CAV ESB laserdisc.

That sounds like a good idea. The Puggo Grande is especially special to me since it's like having the theatrical experience, complete with mono soundtrack. By having the stereo instead of mono from the actual 16mm, it would help recreate this experience. Are you thinking of artificially adding noise to the stereo to make it sound like it actually came with the print?

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The Aluminum Falcon said:

Are you thinking of artificially adding noise to the stereo to make it sound like it actually came with the print?

No. I only would do that sort of thing if I were patching a missing chunk to fill a gap in the print soundtrack.  But I will definitely keep the film soundtrack... I'm guessing that having the original audible thumps that coincide with film wobbles could make it the preferred option for many viewers!

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Oh wow awsome news! I love watching the Puggo Grande so this has me very excited indeed!

I think a DVD-9 is definitely the way forward. Those mpeg encoders have a hard enough time of it with clean film stock; with all the dust and dirt on these 16mm prints (meaning the image is always moving as far as the encoders are concerned... always in motion is the Puggo - Ha!) I think those encoders need every ounce of disc space possible to keep the bit rate as high as possible.

I'd love to see the Puggo Grande on a DVD-9, though I realise this would take yet more time to do. Uh - us greedy Star Wars fans eh?!

Watching the Puggo Grande is so evocative of how I remember screenings at our local flea-pit, with Star Wars of course being the screening which stands out in my memory the most. That disc bought it all back :)

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Great to see this thread, Puggo!  Puggo Strikes Back is the perfect name for this project.  A DVD-5 should be absolutely sufficient.  I'm really looking forward to this.

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A DVD9 would be great for the reasons already stated if you can do so. These films are grainy and dirty and mpeg is not good for those kinds of pesky details mucking up the screen. I'm excited to see this though. Looking forward to the first preliminary caps!

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Finished the first capture of reel 1.  It looks really nice, pretty much all the way through.  I don't think I'll need to do another complete capture, just a couple of isolated spots.

There is a slight reddenning at the top 1/4 of the screen.  It is most noticeable during the crawl, because the yellow letters gradually fade to orange as they move up. It's as if the film sat for a while with one side warmer than the other.  It should be pretty easy to fix in post.

p.s. - as an aside, I did a high bitrate encoding of reel 1 of PG and will compare tomorrow morning to see if a DVD9 of that would be worthwhile.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

Finished the first capture of reel 1.

That was relatively fast!