We think most of the Special Edition was a photochemical restoration, and that only scenes with optical compositing were remastered digitally. It still needs to be scanned at 4K even if it is a 2K digital film-out, as the film-out is to negative anyway and the pixels will not align perfectly to the camera either. The 2K film-out resolution (2048x1556) includes the soundtrack area, once that is taken out it’s more like 1828x1556 or something (I forget the exact size), the soundtrack area is typically left blank and added separately. There’s also blank-space above and below the picture in the samples poita posted, however those are not digital scenes, so it’ll be interesting to see how the digital scenes look by comparison. Hopefully poita can post one for us soon!
No, I do not think they were, I think it is a common misconception but we will soon find out. (I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure they weren’t)
The new CGI sequences would have been done in 2K full aperture, but the rest of the film was done traditionally, and even the new wipes were done optically, so apart from the new effects, it should resolve well above 2K.
That’s a good point about the wipes, I’m interested to see about the rest of the re-compositing as well, although I imagine they were also done optically in the main.
Actually they may have done more work digitally than just the CGI, as I understand it these “burn marks” are a tear in the camera negative:
Here’s the same two frames from the 1997 SE (“TB release” of a Scandinavian DVB recording):
They’ve also removed the motion blur in that shot. I could be wrong, it could be the tear was to the o-neg and not the camera negative, but it doesn’t explain why they didn’t just make a replacement section from the master positive (or the camera negative) for the original 1977 release. I’m interested to see how the scan of this shot looks!