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Star Wars Trilogy: Hyperspace Collection - 720p AVCHD Project Complete and Now Available! See Post 42 for final details!

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I announced this a while back on the Rebellion Collection thread, but figured I'd start a new thread now that I've made some real progress.

The Project:
Star Wars Trilogy – Hyperspace Collection
This is my latest attempt at working with GOUT. The primary goal is to remaster the original theatrical trilogy in 720p AVCHD format. Eventually, if there is any demand, I'll also downscale my final video masters for a standard DVD release in 16x9 widescreen.

Early Front Cover Art

Beyond The Rebellion Collection:
After my Rebellion Collection was finished, I upscaled The Empire Strikes Back to 720p as a test. The results were okay...but changes were needed. So, I started reworking my existing AviSynth script, but wound up starting from near-scratch. Eventually, I wound up with the script I'm using now, plus some additional post-processing.
Obviously, the films still suffer from the limitations of GOUT. The blurring will always be there. And the aliasing, while reduced, is still present. No matter what anti-aliasing I throw at it, the fine details can't be fully resolved. Well, at least they can't be resolved on my budget ;)

Color Adjustment:
Rebellion only used minor color correction. Just some tweaking of the black and white levels, a slight hue change, and an increase in saturation. This new project goes beyond that.
For Hyperspace, I desaturated the red levels a bit and then mildly increased saturation across the board. I also boosted the yellow levels a touch. Black and white levels have also been adjusted differently than before to decrease the crushed whites as best I can.
The spliced-in GOUT opening for Star Wars was adjusted separately from the rest of the film in hopes of making it blend more seamlessly...and restoring the yellow of the opening text.

Trimming The Fat:
Originally, I'd considered recycling my audio tracks from the Rebellion Collection. Since the LaserDiscs I used for the theatrical sound mixes were often shorter than GOUT by a few frames (due to telecining), I had to stretch some portions of the sound. Most people wouldn't notice, but it never sounded quite right to me.
Furthermore, I noticed that the '93 Definitive soundtrack had been stretched by the studio in some of the same areas. I'm not sure if that means the Definitive video is from a different source than the Definitive audio...or what.
In any case, the loss of a few frames from telecining seems a fair trade-off for slightly superior sound. After all, if we didn't have multiple home video sources for the trilogy, we wouldn't know about the telecining differences to begin with, right? So, I've decided to trim the video and sound to match the shortest audio. I did the same thing with my early 720p Empire and no one who watched it ever complained.

Sound Options:
Each film will also contain at least two audio mixes, which you can switch between with your remote.  All three films include both the '93 THX mix (LaserDisc sourced) in Dolby 2.0 and the original theatrical stereo mix in Dolby 2.0.  Star Wars also includes the restored mono mix (from Belbucus) in Dolby 1.0.

Special Features:
I'm still undecided what will be included.  At this point, I'm probably going to just do a single "Bonus DVD" with some selected extras to round-out the 4-disc case for which I'm designing artwork.  I'm not planning a massive, feature-filled extravaganza (like Rebellion).


Selected Screenshots:

http://img819.imageshack.us/img819/1488/bd10000.jpg

http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/996/bd20000.jpg

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/436/bd40000.jpg

http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/8903/bd50000.jpg

http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/9859/bd60000.jpg

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/329/bd70000.jpg

http://img849.imageshack.us/img849/6977/bd90000.jpg

http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/1351/bd100000.jpg

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Wow! Looks like quite an interesting project, OmegaMattman. The screen shots look quite nice, and I love the cover art. This HD conversion of the GOUT sounds fascinating. As for color correction, I'm glad that you color corrected the opening crawl separately, as its color is, as you mentioned, distinctly different from the rest of the movie.

Unfortunately, I'm running low on blank media right now and cannot test this.. However, I would suggest using Hairy Hen's 5.1 70mm reconstruction audio for this. The 5.1 mix is already set up to sync with the GOUT, so there's no problem there. It's very good and has been used in several projects.

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Yeah that poster is pretty awesome, did you make that yourself?


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The Aluminum Falcon said:
However, I would suggest using Hairy Hen's 5.1 70mm reconstruction audio for this. The 5.1 mix is already set up to sync with the GOUT, so there's no problem there.

I'd thought about it, but decided to go sans 5.1 mixes mainly due to disc space.  Plus, while I think Hairy Hen's 70mm reconstruction is awesome, I felt more comfortable using sources that I felt were 99.9% accurate to the original sound.  Unfortunately, the 70mm mix will always have some discrepencies since the only sources we have (unless I'm mistaken) are mono recordings from within the theater.

Still, thanks for the suggestion.  And, once this project is finished, people are free to remux it with any audio they choose :)

RedFive said:
Yeah that poster is pretty awesome, did you make that yourself?

I wish I could take all of the credit.  The picture is Frank Stockton's "Luke's Destiny" print.
http://blog.mondotees.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/StocktonBlog.jpg
The starfield is one I did in Photoshop about a year ago that I seem to keep altering and recycling for all of my SW projects.  Guess I'm just lazy that way ;)

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By the way, I'll try to post some MKV samples in the next few days.  My PC's in the midst of rendering Empire, so it will also be available for testing in the near future.

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True, by their very nature my mixes can't be called 100% accurate, mainly because the actual 70mm version had discrete channels while mine had to be upmixed from matrixed stereo; also my use of LFE is a judgement call on what the bass content could have been rather than being based on absolute knowledge, since the recordings available don't let this aspect come through clearly.  The surround channel in the recordings is either greatly subdued or missing altogether, so there may also be some occasional discrepancy there, as well.

Still, despite its limitations, it does come vastly closer to the theatrical experience, particularly by eliminating the unnecessary additions made to the 1993 mix (the most egregious of which I consider to be the shattering glass in the cell bay shootout).  Since the '93 mix did come directly from the 70mm printmaster and just had extra sounds dumped on top of it, it's about as close as it can be until the real thing is released (or someone of greater skill makes a more seamless version).  The other two movies aren't quite as close, particularly Empire, but still very similar in overall feel.

However, I quite understand not wanting to use them, since they aren't actually the real thing.  And if the video was shortened rather than patching audio gaps at the side breaks, then they probably wouldn't synch anyway.  ;)

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Thanks for understanding, Hairy Hen.  I didn't mean any offense to your mixes (which I really REALLY do like).  I went back and forth for a while trying to decide whether or not to include them.  At least it's easy to remux AVCHD in case I ever change my mind...again.  My main concern right now is disc space, but I'll know for sure once Jedi is complete

Since the '93 mix did come directly from the 70mm printmaster and just had extra sounds dumped on top of it

I did not know that.  Is that true for all of the '93 masters, or just Star Wars.  I had just assumed the '93 masters were based on the 35mm mixes...especially when I heard some of the areas where the sound had been stretched to fit the video.

A good example, if anyone doesn't know what I'm talking about, is during Empire.  Listen closely between the end of the asteroid hitting a star destroyer and the commander's hologram disappearing in front of Vader (about 50 minutes in).

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Well, looks like the 1st AVCHD disc is no longer available for testing.  One of the anti-aliasing portions of my AviSynth script caused some major havoc in portions of Empire...to the point where I think it may have done some damage to Star Wars that I failed to catch.  Embarassing to say the least :/

In any case, I'm rendering a new, pre-color corrected Star Wars AVI master as we speak.  But this script is slow (about 2-3fps at best).  One step forward, two steps back.

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I saw your old ESB AVCHD release a while ago, and just wanted to say that it actually was a pretty solid upscale. So if that was anything to go by, these next versions should be brilliant and look forward to them.

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The aim of the '93 mixes was to create stereo PCM tracks with a high dynamic range using the best quality, earliest generation material available.  In the case of Star Wars, the 70mm printmaster was the best sounding source they could find.  If they hadn't also felt the need to add unnecessary changes on top of it, it would have been a near-perfect rendition of that mix, aside from lacking discrete channels and separate LFE.  For Empire, they used an early four-track master that is very close to the 35mm version except for the mistakenly missing snowspeeder crash sound.  Jedi went all the way back to thirteen-track stems and was more thoroughly remixed than the others; there are no changes in content but the levels and directional placement may be slightly different at times.

I was not aware of any stretching done to the audio tracks, but it's possible if there was some damage somewhere.  The spot you mention in Empire, there seems to be a rather large jump-cut in the music, probably done to accommodate a change in the edit made after the scoring was already finished, but as far as I know that's in every version . . .

Sorry if we're getting a bit off-topic in your thread here.  ;)

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The filtering looks overprocessed and artificial. I would back off a bit on whatever DNR-style filters you have running to avoid the waxy, soft look I'm seeing in the caps. It also looks that in crushing the whites, the image has been dimmed a lot and looks murky. I don't know if there is any way of getting the white levels to not be so clipped without making the image dull but I think it would help a lot. I'm thinking more in regards to the shot of Luke in the homestead and Obi Wan duelling; other shots look pretty good but these ones have a murky quality to them.

Interesting project though. :) I like seeing how people tackle the same GOUT problems in their own ways.

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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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I really don't have too much running in the way of DNR.  I have a feeling that a portion of the waxiness might have been that last anti-aliasing portion I threw in which was causing all of my difficulties with Empire.

Both it and Star Wars look a little bit sharper as well since I've taken it out of the script...and with no real increase to the jagged edges.  I don't really know why I put that last line in...except that those jaggies really bug the crap out of me and I was determined to pound the livin' heck out of them.  I feel like that old Three Stooges bit where Larry keeps trying to wash the spot out of his jacket and winds up rubbing a hole through it instead ;)

It's weird how different monitors and players can make things look so different.  On my PC, I saw it looking too dull as well.  But, when I played back a test through my BD player, it looked much better.  Since my TV is set to much more neutral color and white levels than my PC monitor, I figured it was a more solid sample.

Hopefully, I can get some MKVs uploaded in the next few days and get some "in action" opinions before I start making additional tweaks.

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I must agree with Zombie that the image looks perhaps a bit too processed. Could you post the same screenshots from the new version? It would be interesting to see how much the anti-aliasing filter affected it.

I think you 1st 720p Empire was awesome, what did you change? And I mean how will it be different, not what commands did you change in the script, because I don't understand that anyway ;-)

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I'll try and get some new screengrabs posted within the next day or so.  I've also changed the scripts several times since my last post, so I'm hoping that does the trick.

Because of the time they are taking to render (slightly over 1 fps on my quadcore processor), I'm doing these new scripts as a "first pass" with minimal noise reduction.  If they're too grainy, I'll work out the kinks on a 2nd pass.

My existing 720p Empire was just an upscale of my Rebellion Collection master AVI, but with a slight increase to the black levels.  It was done through a program called Video Enhancer that I'd purchased via direct-download a few years back.

I was planning to use that program for this project, which would have saved me A TON of trial and error.  But...when I started taking a closer look at the output files, I saw some real weirdness.  The best example I can think of is during bright flashes of white.  The white frame itself and the first frame or two following were riddled with tiny blocks...but not block noise.  I'll see about getting a screengrab to demonstrate whenever I can.

So, I've had to go back to upscaling in AviSynth and VirtualDub.

As for what will be different between my original 720p Empire and the version I'm working on now:

- The new version will hit the aliasing a lot harder.  Those jagged edges are the one thing about GOUT that drives me totally nuts beyond anything else.  But, it will not be done at the expense of overall image detail.

- The new version will no longer have the "accidental sharpening" that occurred in my Rebellion DVD set.  Any edge-enhancement will be done on purpose with the proper script ;)

- The new version will "try" to reduce the major color and white level problems with GOUT.  It will slightly reduce the clipped whites and decrease the oversaturated reds, while still increasing overall saturation.

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Thanks for the info.

I wouldn't go so far on the red reduction, it is definitely needed, especially when increasing saturation, but maybe a bit less than in the screenshots. Tantive IV is almost as blue as it is in the 2004SE.

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Okay, I didn't write down the original frame numbers, so here are the closest images I could get to the frames of my original screengrabs.  A couple might be off by a few frames.  The only shot I left off is that of the opening text, which won't be changing in any drastic way.

Please note, these are from my new "first pass" rendering.  They lack a lot of polish that will be seen in the final product.  The edges of the frame have not been trimmed and the Greedo shot is missing the subtitles.  Also, the noise/grain reduction is at a bare minimum and no sharpening has been applied.  If it still looks too processed, I'd be more likely to attribute that to GOUT than my current script.  I'd also ask you to wait for an "in motion" video sample before passing too much judgment ;)

These screengrabs DO include revised color and levels settings.  Thanks to Harmy and zombie84 for the additional input.  I've lessened my desaturation of the red channel and made a few other tweaks.  The image is now (in my opinion) a touch brighter, while still reducing the over-clipped whites.  And the corridors of Tantive IV are not as blue, though admittedly more blue than GOUT.

http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/6454/bdx20000.jpg

http://img703.imageshack.us/img703/8902/bdx40000.jpg

http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/37/bdx50000.jpg

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/518/bdx60000.jpg

http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/3417/bdx70000.jpg

http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/530/bdx90000.jpg

http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/9921/bdx100000.jpg

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Looks very nice. Compared to the old ESB one you did, I can see quite a difference! Very awesome. 8)

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These look much better, especially the colours.

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This is my latest attempt at working with GOUT. The primary goal is to remaster the original theatrical trilogy in 720p AVCHD format.


Have you considered that by upscaling you're locking yourself down needlessly? A lot of TVs and media players out there that do some pretty damn good upscaling, and are always getting better, but if you've already upscaled the input, you rob them of the opportunity to do a possibly better job.

DE

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Darth Editous said:

Have you considered that by upscaling you're locking yourself down needlessly? A lot of TVs and media players out there that do some pretty damn good upscaling, and are always getting better, but if you've already upscaled the input, you rob them of the opportunity to do a possibly better job.

DE

At first, I did feel that way (especially since my home BD player really kicks @$$ at upscaling).  My thought was that, in the end, it's still GOUT.  Heck, that's probably the single most important argument I use for not doing a full-on BD-R version ;)

But, after comparing my original Rebellion version of Empire to my first 720p test, I was able to see a clear difference.  It wasn't dramatic by any stretch of the imagination, but it did look a bit sharper and a bit more...filmy.

You make a good point.  And, just in case there are players that can do a better job, I do intend to release a standard DVD counterpart to this set.  I guess, more than anything, this is an experiment just to see how well a 720p upscale of GOUT "can" be done.  It'll be up to the viewer on the other end whether or not it "should" be done ;)

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dark_jedi said:

LMAO, nice little dig there buddy, to each their own, that is all I will say.

OOPS, I seriously didn't mean that to sound like a stab at Project Blu!  There are gains to be made, especially (IMO) in terms of lossless audio :)

It could be this script I'm using...or the limits of my software/hardware...or something else, but when I increased my settings to a Blu-level bitrate, I wasn't seeing much of a gain in picture quality.  Maybe I've just been staring at this darn GOUT for so long that it's starting to all look the same no matter what I try ;)

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Darth Editous said:

 

This is my latest attempt at working with GOUT. The primary goal is to remaster the original theatrical trilogy in 720p AVCHD format.


Have you considered that by upscaling you're locking yourself down needlessly? A lot of TVs and media players out there that do some pretty damn good upscaling, and are always getting better, but if you've already upscaled the input, you rob them of the opportunity to do a possibly better job.

DE

 

You do have a point (the same argument applies to deinterlacing material that it natively interlaced).

But can hardware that upscales in realtime really compare with the best software upscalers?

original NNEDI upscale: http://bengal.missouri.edu/~kes25c/t0.png

latest NNEDI3 upscale: http://bengal.missouri.edu/~kes25c/nnedi2_images/clown_4x_nnedi3.png

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