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THE PHANTOM MENACE - THEATRICAL HD Topper's Version

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Hi All,

yes, I know, Episode I is not really worth saving. But after watching the Blu-Ray again and trying to explain to a friend that I like the "look" and "feel" of Episode I more than that of episode II and III and realising, that the blu-rays waxy cleaned look did no justice to the fact, that Episode I had still been shot and released on 35mm Film, I thought it would be great to have the option to see Episode I in the way, it was released in theaters:
Looking like 35mm film, with Yoda as a (ugly) puppet and without the prolonged Podrace Scenes that had been added for DVD but added nothing.

So I did my research here and tried to find ADYWANS Episode I Thetrical Version. After setting up usenet and stuff I didn't know about before, I managed to download his DVD and use it as reference. (Since I wanted to have the Film in HD, I couldn't stop here...)

I still have a copy of an pre-BluRay HD broadcast of Episode I (which is esentially the DVD in 720p) and used that for the picture.
The negatives: The frame is somewhat cropped on all sides and it has that infamous red tint all over it.
There is nothing to be done against the cropped picture, as long as I want to have the look of this 35mm scanned version, but the color can be handeled.
I tried to find ADYWANS 1080p color corrected version, that seems to go in the direction, the Blu-Rays went.
But since I didn't find it I did my own color correcting and used as a reference the Podrace Clip I found on a THX DemoDVD I have. This PodRace there is also obviously scanned from 35mm, has no red tint and strong color, with clear yellow/browns, the way Tatooine is sopposed to look.
I manged to make the HD-Broadcast I had look exactly like it and used this correction for the whole film. And It works everywhere, since the "red tint" that pushed colors to a weird red/blue combo are in every scene about the same ammount. Now you get more pleasing yellow/green, and more strong and warm colors as in ADYWANS version or the Blu-Ray.

Here are some screenshots: http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/96648/

The audio I'm using is the one ADYWAN was using, and that is a great Laserdisc DD 5.1 rip of the theatrical cut.

One thing I noticed, while editing the picture and comparing to the soundtrack: ADYWANS Thetrical Version was on the first half 2 frames and later 4 frames off sync.
So I checekd carefully every instance so the sound is now completely in sync to the laserdisc soundtrack.


So, basically I am finished with this, doing it only for my "pleasure".. or rather SW-Archive.
I have yet to export the project and make a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray..

But, since I am also often visitor to originaltrilogy.com I thought, maybe some of you may have some interest in this.

If so, then maybe I could share it with one of you, and you upload it to one of your places, where I usually don't operate.. ;)


And... I also have a question:
The HD Broadcast of Episode I is a 720p about 4gb file.
It's not too bad, but also not really great.
Does anyone have by any chance a larger file of the HD-Broadcast (not the Blu-Ray Rip!)?
That would definitely help out to make the quality better!

All the best,

Topper

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Welcome to the forum Topper.

rutracker is where I got my 34GB hdtv cap of TPM.  This looks interesting for sure.  Thanks for sharing.

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“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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The color correction is a good start.

Is there a good theatrical subtitle formatting/timing reference for TPM? I'd love a theatrical-restoration TPM to have accurate burnt-in subtitles like Harmy's Despecialized releases do.

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I would love to see this. I've always said that Phantom Menace really matched the OT in more ways than the proceeding two prequels. I don't like the Phantom Menace, and I'll be the first to admit that it's bad, but it holds a certain amount of nostalgia for me. I didn't see it in theaters, but I was pretty young still when it came out on tape (which I believe was the theatrical version) and I watched that. Years later, I saw it on TV and I noticed not only the podrace scenes, but also some added dialogue as well. I for one am very excited for this project, and I think you're really doing a public service to preserve this film, no matter how much people (myself included) ultimately dislike the movie. I look forward to seeing your updates on the project Harley!

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TV's Frink said:

Creepy Puppet Yoda isn't ugly, he's creepy.

JEDIT: *sigh*

How's that post count coming Frink?  LOL.  I think you've been jinxed by the Creepy Puppet Yoda yet again.

:)

Topper Harley said:

Thanx for the tip! I'm downloading it now and will check it out!

Cool beans mang.  I've always enjoyed the more "natural" look and feel of TPM as well.  I am going to be sending off my 35mm trailer of this for scanning so maybe when it comes back we can have some reference for colors based off of that.

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“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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I checked the 34gb HDTV version from rutracker and it seems to be the Wookiegroomer already color corrected version of Episode 1. That one has a lot more detail and quality than my 4gb version, which is a plus, but I am not too fond of the colors, since they are a bit on the pale side.
I'll try to tweak them toward the "THX Demo PodRace" - Scene (as seen in my corrected screen-shots), but If anyone knows a link or still has the not color corrected HDTV version, please let me know. It should make a better starting point.
I'll keep you posted!

Topper

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Here is the THX-Demo Pod Race I am talking about: I uploaded it to YouTube so you can see the colors.

(It's not the HD-Version I am working on, but ripped from the THX Demo DVD I have. Notice that this seems to be an more "original" 35mm scan, colorwise, then the actual first DVD version with the red tint)

UPDATE: Ok, forget YouTube.. I'll upload it somewhere else and let you know.

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I like the idea, but the best source material for this project would be the theatrical cut itself, which was aired on Austrian TV in HD in 2012. I don't have the complete film on my UPC DVR since it really took me by surprise when I found out it wasn't the DVD Director's Cut.

The balance between picture clarity, detail and grain is perfect in that version. The hues are also very good.
Shame there is no way to get it off the UPC DVR because of the unique encoding of that box. 

Here's to hoping the Sky Star Wars channel will use the same source. Also, why not use the 7.1. DTS-HD audio and make a couple of edits? I believe most of the newly added shots are SFX only.

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Star Wars: I-VI. One Saga.

Pro Saga, pro Special Editions, pro Lucas- anti-minimum effort, terrible color timing and DNR on the Blu-Rays. Glad to see there are people here to make them visually shine again!

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I think any theatrical restoration should use the laserdisc theatrical 5.1, which is supposed to be significantly better than the DVD 5.1. I don't know how the BR DTS-HD sounds, but it's probably a remix, so I don't think it should be considered for a preservation project.

And the Vimeo link works. That clip seems to have a bit of pink- or red-shift to it too, but it's certainly better than the DVD or BR.

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The Laserdisc Audio sounds awsome and seems to have a great dynamic range. In the old discussion about Adywans Theatrical DVD it has been discussed. http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/The-Phantom-Menace-Theatrical-Version-NTSC-DVD-ADYWAN-NOW-AVAILABLE/topic/10615/

And I wouldn't edit the Blu-Ray Audio for this versoin, because the changes are more intricate than you might think. For example before the podrace starts, there have been different shots edited for the DVD cut, so you sometime have a succession of original shot, added shot, original shot, added shot.. and that with music.. so they had to change and lenghten or significantly alter the music to fit those scenes.
Similar in corruscant where the "taxi"-scene has been added, showing them driving through the city. The music cue is different and an edited Blu-Ray or DVD-Audio wouldn't achieve the accuracy needed for a real theatrical presentation.

@StarmanSkywalker: Well, if there is an HDTV version of a theatrical broadcast, that would be it! ...then there would be no need to make this or any other version.. and it would definitely be more "true", because in this (and Adywans) version there are about 3 shots that have to be taken from Laserdisc, because they are not used in the later DVD and Blu-Ray edits. So there is a drop in quality for those shots. So a HD version with everything intact would be great.

Does anyone else heard about this version or has any clues?
Or is it just a legend...? ;)

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If you need proof, let me know, I have it on my UPC DVR. ;)
Beginning with the night before the race all the way to the end.

Unfortunately there is no way to get it off the DVR's HD without breaking the warranty seal (it's a rental only deal) and everything on it is encoded in HDCP.

Star Wars: I-VI. One Saga.

Pro Saga, pro Special Editions, pro Lucas- anti-minimum effort, terrible color timing and DNR on the Blu-Rays. Glad to see there are people here to make them visually shine again!

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Time

StarmanSkywalker said:

If you need proof, let me know, I have it on my UPC DVR. ;)
Beginning with the night before the race all the way to the end.

Unfortunately there is no way to get it off the DVR's HD without breaking the warranty seal (it's a rental only deal) and everything on it is encoded in HDCP.

I would certainly like to find a way for you to be able to extract this without losing the warranty.  It would certainly be helpful.

:)

“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

Author
Time

HD Fury is the only helpful device. But let's hold off on any investments until Sky Germany starts their Star Wars channel in a few weeks. With a bit of luck they will air the theatrical cut as well.

I can take photos of the screen tomorrow. The original Republica 500 exterior shot after the arrival on Coruscant will be the most obvious proof. Anyone have any requests?

Star Wars: I-VI. One Saga.

Pro Saga, pro Special Editions, pro Lucas- anti-minimum effort, terrible color timing and DNR on the Blu-Rays. Glad to see there are people here to make them visually shine again!

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Time

While I hate that Yoda puppet, I would definitely be interested in a higher quality version of the film that doesn't include those pointless extended scenes.  I mean, as interested as one can be in The Phantom Menace.

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Erik Pancakes said:

The color correction is a good start.

Is there a good theatrical subtitle formatting/timing reference for TPM? I'd love a theatrical-restoration TPM to have accurate burnt-in subtitles like Harmy's Despecialized releases do.

 There's a "Z" theatrical camcordered copy, which of course has the original subtitles. The quality is terrible but it's probably sufficient for positioning and timing the subtitles correctly. Getting the correct font may be trickier.

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