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Single Pass Regrade of Grindhouse ESB

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Poita’s new scans of the German ESB got me really thinking… One thing I liked about the Grindhouse was the cave scene is “white” like I remember, but as Harmy once pointed out to me, the Grindhouse is a terribad color reference because it’s so desaturated. So I pulled up VLC Media player and just started tinkering and I sort of “ran into” something… something that I know will be controversial, but I noticed if I cranked up the saturation AND changed the hue… I was getting some very nice results.

So I busted my old freebie standby program, AVIDemux and did a few passes at tinkering. These are screenshots of my second attempt. Seems to be a bit oversaturated still, so I might do a third before I share the settings I used, but here are some screenshot comparisons:

Note the increase in the blue intensity here:

**new


Making it look MUCH closer to Poita’s new scans. BUT… CHECK THIS OUT!!!


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Luke’s cave still stays mostly white, the way I remember it. 😃

Here are some other examples: (Again, keep in mind, this is one pass across the entire film… I’m actually really surprised at how consistent these came out)


**new


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And my favorites!!

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What do you guys think?

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It looks really good!

The hue shift is definitely a part of what must be done for this version. I did a similar hue shift in my LUT way back when the grindhouse was first released:

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/154445/picture:0

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/154447/picture:0

I believe this is the correct link:
https://mega.nz/#!fFlhDYBA!hRF4lpAM6wpP984TMlx61RdFKXxL1wn-COz3X8rqrkA

If I were to do it again, it would probably have a saturation increase like yours, though most video players can handle that without a LUT.

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That is way too saturated. You mostly need to remove the green tint and bring back the blues.
NeverarGreat did a very nice LUT that makes it look way better. Outside of a shot-by shot correction, it’s likely the best that release will look. (I’m still surprised no one encoded it with this LUT and put it on myspleen.)
http://originaltrilogy.com/post/id/885937

Edit: He beat me to it.

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Since Poita posted his samples I’ve been playing with the grindhouse colours too! I didn’t know about your LUT NevararGreat, thanks for re-posting! Looking forward to seeing a few scenes when they render.
As for the saturation, Dreamaster, I think you’ve done a pretty good job. I really like the very watchable colours of the Puggo Strikes Back 16mm which is also highly saturated and quite similar to your frames.
Because of fading, the grindhouse is really missing true blue, its blues either come out very navy or very cyan/turquoise/cerulean whatever you want to call it, which is why Poita’s German and British scans look so natural. I guess they’ve just faded less.

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Anything that removes the weird pinks and greens is great!

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AllAboutThatSpace said:

Are you able to create a LUT for the correction you used for your above frames?

Not exactly… but since I’m using opensource software I can post screenshots of the settings I used and users can run it on their own copy at home.

So getting enough positive feedback I’m going to keep going and work on this some more. Last night I did everything by eye, not even looking at a single source for inspiration… the goal was to bring out as much color as possible and still get decent skin tones. Tonight I will try a different approach and see if I can color match a few sources (Adywan’s Revisted and Harmy’s 2.0) near the end of the film and see how that translates out.

Neverargreat I hadn’t seen your LUT, you definitely have the right “balance and tones” but heck yeah, I think we can punch it up some more!

As for putting it on spleen… right now the only copy I have to work from is the 720p version. I think there is an ISO release on spleen now of the original? Is that the best one to use? I’d have to make an mkv from it. Plus would I need permission from Willrob or others?

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wasn’t the biggest issue with the ESB grindhouse that there was uneven fading? I recall several scenes on dagobah where the pink and green came in and out in different parts of the frame. not sure how a single pass color correction could help? have you checked those bad scenes to see if your adjustments make those scenes look the same, or worse? if it makes those types of things worse, then it probably isn’t worth working with the ESB grindhouse any further. if it doesn’t affect them, then i say continue on.

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Dreamaster said:

As for putting it on spleen… right now the only copy I have to work from is the 720p version. I think there is an ISO release on spleen now of the original? Is that the best one to use? I’d have to make an mkv from it. Plus would I need permission from Willrob or others?

There’s a 1080p MKV.

youtube.com/c/BlackoutDespecialized

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Wow, this looks really cool, I must say this looks even better than what Neverar posted as his screenshots have very subtle blues. Hope I can see a 720p file of this pop up in the 'spleen.

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It is an interesting look, but I really think you need to check your monitor calibration.
In your example, the cave is now green hued

and Luke’s face looks like an Oompa Loompa

The Yoda shot is also crazy green, right down to the shadows.

I’m not sure re the Grindhouse, but I think they adjusted the colour all over the place to what they liked, which is fine, but I’d say that a few scenes where done independently which would make a single pass fix difficult.

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poita said:
Your monitor is off because the cave is green, Luke is an Oompa Loompa, and Yoda is CRAZY green.

But the question is Poita… how do you REALLY feel about it? 😃

My monitor’s not too far off the snow is green there for me too. But it’s blue a few frames before! I purposefully cranked the saturation to see if that snow would change much, and it really didn’t. I have a conspiracy theory that there were two color timings made in film for ESB… which explains why the home release and the grindhouse are so different than your scans and the 16mm release (which was CRAZY blueberry blue!) but I got no real proof. But the other reason I cranked it so hot was I wanted to see just how much color was in that print. Quite a bit.

The colors are NOT consistent from shot to shot, but I don’t currently have the skills like you and Neverargreat to do a shot by shot adjustment, but I still feel like I can get a big enough improvement make it “worth it” overall. Honestly, with time it’s obvious some better releases are going to hit in the future, I am really looking forward to your new scans! Just playing while we wait for the best that’s yet to come.

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Dreamaster said:

poita said:
Your monitor is off because the cave is green, Luke is an Oompa Loompa, and Yoda is CRAZY green.

But the question is Poita… how do you REALLY feel about it? 😃

My monitor’s not too far off the snow is green there for me too. But it’s blue a few frames before! I purposefully cranked the saturation to see if that snow would change much, and it really didn’t. I have a conspiracy theory that there were two color timings made in film for ESB… which explains why the home release and the grindhouse are so different than your scans and the 16mm release (which was CRAZY blueberry blue!) but I got no real proof. But the other reason I cranked it so hot was I wanted to see just how much color was in that print. Quite a bit.

The colors are NOT consistent from shot to shot, but I don’t currently have the skills like you and Neverargreat to do a shot by shot adjustment, but I still feel like I can get a big enough improvement make it “worth it” overall. Honestly, with time it’s obvious some better releases are going to hit in the future, I am really looking forward to your new scans! Just playing while we wait for the best that’s yet to come.

No, definitely not two timings made on film.

However the home releases were done on a real time telecine, and that is colour corrected in realtime by the telecine operator. It is extremely likely that the telecine operator decided to try and ‘neutrally balance’ most scenes on the fly, it is what many would do, and that would leave you with something closer to greys in the snow etc.
The 16mm is a crapshoot, the blue on that is just a lab problem.

As for the grindhouse, it was from a very faded print, and colour corrected to their personal taste, doing the best they could with the faded material, and a scanner that doesn’t have as good a dynamic range. Their light source is also spectrally notched, and is missing complete wavelength bands, so they were up against it.
I’d be willing to bet my left nut that if we had the grindhouse print rescanned, with the light offset to deal with the fade, that the colour would be basically the same as the UK print.

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poita said:

I’d be willing to bet my left nut that if we had the grindhouse print rescanned, with the light offset to deal with the fade, that the colour would be basically the same as the UK print.

LOL… I had a vasectomy two weeks ago; your choice of words have me both smiling and cringing at the same time.

As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of the evidence leads me to similar conclusions but my brain won’t let me believe. As if even if Dr. Who picked me up and took me back to 1980, and we see blue in the cave I’d accuse him off rigging the film before we got there! Because no matter how much I replay the memory fragments of me seeing that film at the drive in theater as a 5 year old I just can’t picture it that way.

I guess with that said, if a moderator feels the need to move this thread into the “Fan Edits” forum I won’t object. Heck… I woke up this morning thinking about your first response… I might just release it over-saturated as Empire: The Wonka Strikes Back edition. 😃

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Updated the 1st post with my latest attempt. Not as saturated, but still a good bump up from the original grindhouse, and I think one I really like.

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Dreamaster said:

Updated the 1st post with my latest attempt. Not as saturated, but still a good bump up from the original grindhouse, and I think one I really like.

Honestly I like the first attempt better.

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Dreamaster said:

poita said:

I’d be willing to bet my left nut that if we had the grindhouse print rescanned, with the light offset to deal with the fade, that the colour would be basically the same as the UK print.

LOL… I had a vasectomy two weeks ago; your choice of words have me both smiling and cringing at the same time.

As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of the evidence leads me to similar conclusions but my brain won’t let me believe. As if even if Dr. Who picked me up and took me back to 1980, and we see blue in the cave I’d accuse him off rigging the film before we got there! Because no matter how much I replay the memory fragments of me seeing that film at the drive in theater as a 5 year old I just can’t picture it that way.

I guess with that said, if a moderator feels the need to move this thread into the “Fan Edits” forum I won’t object. Heck… I woke up this morning thinking about your first response… I might just release it over-saturated as Empire: The Wonka Strikes Back edition. 😃

Yeah, our memories are funny things, and our memory for colour is even worse than our memories for events and facts. We remember colours based on what we think an objects inherent colour is. So we remember grass in a film being green, even when the colourist has shifted it to grey or nearly blue.

The amount of people that try to convince me the Tatooine scenes with Luke with the binoculars and Biggs at the cantina etc. were in the version they saw in 1977 is pretty amazing, and I’ve talked to Ben Burtt and those scenes never even had the score laid down, or proper sound effects done, they were only ever cobbled together for a screening for George and some pals after they complained that the film was too hard to follow without a bit more Tatooine background info.

There was simply no possible way that those scenes got into a release print, they were never finished, never scored etc. but people are convinced they saw them in the cinema.
People state their memory is so clear that they can remember comments they made to their friend at the time, what they were eating in the cinema and a slew of other details. But when I ask them what scene was directly before and after it, they suddenly get hazy, when I ask them what they or their friend was wearing, they can’t remember any of that either, asking anything else around their razor sharp memory of the event and oddly those details are also not there.

I’ve been told by multiple crew members that the scramble just to get the cut to the cinemas on time was intense, when I ask if another cut could have been made with extra scenes added or removed from Star Wars, they literally laugh out loud. “When the fuck would we have had the time to do that?” is pretty much the reply. And then the cost of getting another negative conformed and cut and printed and distributed?

Anyway, I’m off topic, the main thing I have discovered is that our memories are terribly unreliable, I have no memory of all the dirt and shit in the composite shots, I thought they looked fantastic at the time 😃

I’m more than happy for anyone to make their own version of empire, with the colours they like and with a level of cleaning that suits them. Personally I’d love my own personal version of Jedi with the Max Rebo band excised, but my main aim is to try and get the original films scanned and preserved, as close to the way they were at release as possible, and answer all those questions about matte lines, colours, errors etc. definitively, so that the information is not lost to time.
There is so much interesting stuff in there, like numbers written across frames, bits of black marker on a few frames, seemingly in an attempt to cover a compositing flaw, and lots of other little insights into the process of film-making at the time.

Sorry if I came across as harsh with my comments re colour, I’m all for people messing with this stuff, my entire career though has been in an environment where people critique the shit out of everything, with no malice or rancour, just to help get the job done to the best standard possible within the constraints, and I forget sometimes that outside production, criticism is taken differently 😃

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Dreamaster, I actually saw a film just last week and it had some scenes in it in which there’s one set in particular where the bluray has a neutral grey background, but on film it is green-hued just like your screenshot and these ones from ‘age’. So while the hue may not be accurate for this film there are examples of other films out there with that green-hue.

The other thing to note is that saturation is usually lower on film than it is on digital - your first attempt at a regrade looks way over saturated, and even the second attempt looks a bit too saturated. You’ll notice that often when saturation is boosted dark areas come out as blue or purple (such as Han’s hair in your example) - I don’t think I’ve ever seen that on film and would suggest to me the saturation has been boosted too far.

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Often saturating the colours exposes the incorrect grade, if the shadows have a slight tint, you don’t see it except on the scopes, but boost the saturation and you can see what colour tints are lurking.

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poita said:

I’ve talked to Ben Burtt and those scenes never even had the score laid down, or proper sound effects done, … when I ask if another cut could have been made with extra scenes added or removed from Star Wars, they literally laugh out loud.

Okay, you can tell us then … Luke did throw his grappling hook … twice, right? First time he missed and stepped back to reloop as the Princess traded shots with the storm troopers. Second time he hooks it. Right?


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Didn’t Alan Dean Foster say he made that up out of whole cloth?

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Spaced Ranger said:

poita said:

I’ve talked to Ben Burtt and those scenes never even had the score laid down, or proper sound effects done, … when I ask if another cut could have been made with extra scenes added or removed from Star Wars, they literally laugh out loud.

Okay, you can tell us then … Luke did throw his grappling hook … twice, right? First time he missed and stepped back to reloop as the Princess traded shots with the storm troopers. Second time he hooks it. Right?

Yep, and somehow they cut that scene a bit later without affecting the score.
Funnily enough, people really remember the second throw clearly, as in, they can picture it all, and their Uncle turning to them and saying ‘Whoopsie’ and laughing, so much detail, but can’t remember exactly how it went when asked, like did he haul it back in, was there another cutaway to stormtroopers and he just had the hook in his hand again, did Leia and him exchange worried glances, did he loop the rope or let it hang in a large loop etc.

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RU.08 said:

Dreamaster, I actually saw a film just last week and it had some scenes in it in which there’s one set in particular where the bluray has a neutral grey background, but on film it is green-hued just like your screenshot and these ones from ‘age’. So while the hue may not be accurate for this film there are examples of other films out there with that green-hue.

The green there is coming from a hue shift necessary to correct skin tones on 80% of the film. Since I’m doing a one pass, weaknesses like this show, but I promise the end result is going to be aesthetically pleasing (at least to me, LOL!) overall even if the colors aren’t 1980 correct.

Poita… my martial arts master once told us a story about his instructor hitting his fist with a ruler and bruising it to correct his dropped hand while in a stance. He said that his chest puffed out in pride for the entire rest of the day, because out of all the students, his master chose to give him the correction he needed to perfect his form. While I’m not quite to that level yet (stupid American entitlism!) I’m definitely listening to what you’re saying.

I’m rendering “version 7” using the 1080p version as the base overnight. /fingers crossed!!!

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