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Auto-correction from SE colours to GOUT colours

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Hi!

Since this is my first post on this forum, let me introduce myself. My name is Rune, I'm a 3D animation and VFX guy from Norway. I've been doing 3D for around 17 years, and like all healthy people I am a huge fan of Star Wars I discovered this forum after searching the web for documentaries on the Star Wars films. Thanks to myspleen, I've discovered the wonderful world of fan edits, and I thought I might give something back by sharing something I played with today.

Looking through the thread on screenshots ( http://www.originaltrilogy.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=9&threadid=4681 ) I thought it might be interesting to apply the GOUT colours to the new SE edition image. In other words, keep the excellent edge sharpness of the new transfer, but retain the old colours of the laserdisc version of the film.

When I do compositing I work in a piece of software called Eyeon Fusion. It's my favourite software for this kind of work (after having played with After Effects and Shake), and its node based interface makes it great for quick and non-destructive changes to a shot. It costs around 5000 dollars, but that's the price you have to pay for these things...

Anyways, I set up a project in Fusion that imports the screenshots from the mentioned post, and using some simple nodes I did this:

- transformed the GOUT image to match the SE version
- used the match histogram functions in a colorcorrect node to match the SE brightness to the GOUT
- used a color merge (similar to photoshop color layer) to apply the GOUT colors to the SE image
- keyed out the blacks from the SE and kept them, to avoid noise in the resulting image

The project in Fusion looks like this:

http://www.superrune.com/offsite/2006/anhmatch_fusion.jpg

The result was surprisingly good - at least on the 30-so images inside the screengrab comparison page. A New Hope got that instant seventies look right away, but with the super sharp quality of the new SE image. Combined it gives the impression of being sharper than the SE even. Scroll down to see some comparison images.

Drawbacks using this method:

- Each shot need a separate transform, which makes this time-consuming for an entire film.
- Transforming the GOUT is too simple, you need a warp to properly match the two images (the way it's done now, the corners have some slight alignment problems that would be very apparent on a large screen).
- I have not seen this in motion, there could be flickering in the auto-match node
- Some colour differences, both due to the necessary smoothing of the histogram curve (otherwise you get banding), and some differences due to the new transfer using selective correction in the telecine (this method can only do the entire image in one operation).

Despite that, it's really nice seeing these two sources blended together so successfully (after a couple of hours playing around). Hope you like the result. Here are some other examples:

Cheers, Rune

http://www.superrune.com/offsite/2006/anhmatch_shot06.jpg

http://www.superrune.com/offsite/2006/anhmatch_shot08.jpg

http://www.superrune.com/offsite/2006/anhmatch_shot15.jpg

http://www.superrune.com/offsite/2006/anhmatch_shot24.jpg

Click here for "shot03"

Click here for "shot09"

Click here for "shot17"

Click here for "shot18"

Click here for "shot21"

Click here for "shot29"

Click here for "shot34"
www.superrune.com
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Hi, Welcome aboard

Colour matchhhhhhh, I've tried allsorts of colour matching stuff on videos for a fan project im working on, ended up doing it by eye through vegas though its colour correction isn't 10bit so it looks horrible very quickly also tried using combustions which gave some nice results, your way looks alot easier and more professional. very impressed.
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So are you actually going to be applying this to the entire movie and sharing it?
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Holy freakin' crap, this is awesome! I really hope I get a chance to watch this when it's done.

I used to be very active on this forum. I’m not really anymore. Hi everybody. You’re all awesome. Keep up the good work.

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Welcome to the forum, Rune.

I had previously wondered whether it would be possible to do something like this, and I'm very impressed with the screenshots. Let us know what it looks like when you see it in motion!

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Do you actually need to warp? Don't the "match" filters just adjust the whole image to match (in terms of histograms) the other image, rather than comparing pixel for pixel?

DE

PS Sorry, I forgot to add that this looks absolutely fantastic!
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I'm now using fusion 5, the retail price on the site was around 3,000 us dollars, but there were student prices as well. It's a NICE program! I think it might help me out with my bluescreening a little better than after effects could manage. You still haven't answered my question, are you going to be releasing this?

By the way, how does this work out where a scene was changed, like the speeder with removed elements, obiwans house, the establishing mos eisley, entering mos eisley, establishing cantina monsters, and the greedo shooting scene, and the Jabba scene, or the troops on the dewbacks, or new sandcrawler scene, what about the changed sky and panning in the r2 desert scene, or in empire the new cloud city, or the ice monster scene, or any other shot Lucas saw fit to totally eff up?
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Welcome, Rune! Just had to state the obvious: your colormatch composites look AWESOME! Makes one wonder why Lucas didn't see fit to do this kind of thing for his precious SEs.
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Hi again,

Thanks a lot for your comments!!

Darthballs: Unfortunately I will not be doing this to the entire movie, there's no way I can get time to that when I only get to play with the computer a couple of hours per week. But I would like to try out a small sequence, maybe the boarding of the Tantive, since I really like how it turned out. If it works in motion, I would be happy sharing the Fusion project to anyone who want to have a go at the entire film, or I could setup a similar project in After Effects 7 if someone is curious Fusion is great for bluescreening, by the way. We also purchased Primatte for Fusion, but I rarely use it since the built in keyers are so good!

Editous: The match thing works automatically for the first brightness and contrast pass, but to apply the colours themselves I use something similar to a colour transfer mode in Photoshop, I simply put the original video on top of the old one and transfer the colour down. For that I need a perfect match to avoid any bleeding. And that brings me to the final issue mentioned by Darthballs; you can't do a proper transfer where the elements have been changed. But Fusion lets you do histogram matching of colours as well, but it's not as accurate as just matching the contrast. You can get quite far by just doing that.

As soon as I have a small sequence colour-matched I'll post it here. I'll just have to finish another movie project and clean up some hard disk space first

Edit: By the way, if there are anything else that would be cool to do - please give me suggestions. I'm planning a series of tutorials on my new website, and stuff like this is great for learning.

Cheers,
Rune
www.superrune.com
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I had in mind a similar process; I tried manual gamma correction to match up a couple of shots, briefly discussed here:
http://www.originaltrilogy.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=9&threadid=1418&STARTPAGE=18
(see post date 7 June 06)

Your auto correction approach I think has the potential to produce the best yet version of the OUT, probably only surpassed by someone doing a laborious scene-by-scene manual correction.

Now I need to buy Fusion!

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very impressive superrune, that's awesome, some tutorials will be cool, what's the link of your website ?
Grooaoohumpf
(scuze my english)
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Originally posted by: superrune
Hi again,
I would be happy sharing the Fusion project to anyone who want to have a go at the entire film, or I could setup a similar project in After Effects 7 if someone is curious
Rune


I am very curious about the Adobe After Effects 7 technique. I would love to learn how to do this!


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I'd love to see the results of this ... it would be nice to have both a color-corrected SE and a crystal-clear OUT. I wish I had $5k for the software. These days I don't even have $5 for software.

More than any color correction, I'd love to see Yoda the proper color in ESB. Crappy as the GOUT image is, it is really nice to see Yoda the proper hue again. Funny they could get his CG color more accurate than the original puppet when it came to DVD transfers.
I am fluent in over six million forms of procrastination.
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Can the settings in Fusion be reused for a HDTV source later?
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First of all, thanks for bringing a new approach to this topic, and for sharing some great looking screencaps.

I have said in other threads that I didn't think a convincing color image could be recovered from the '04 DVDs, as the colors were individually tweaked. You've got around this problem by effectively combining the '04 luma with the GOUT chroma (as I understand it), an idea which has been mooted but never achieved, AFAIK.

However this still leaves the other main problem with the '04 image, inherent in the luma information, which is that the contrast has been jacked up to the point where considerable detail is lost in the dark areas. Your initial brightness/contrast pass has actually done a great job of retrieving some of this information (e.g. the first two shots you posted), although the contrast still seems higher in all your corrected shots than the GOUT.

Unfortunately, it seems some detail is still missing (e.g. shot 21), although this could be a by-product of your retention of keyed blacks from the '04. Is there any way you could post one or two examples without this addition? I feel as if a little extra noise is worth it for extra detail.

The other way to proceed with this type of project is to use the best available '97 SE source, which I believe are the TB & GKAR releases, and which apparently have similar sharpness to the '04 discs without the color "correction."

Once again, thanks, and a hearty welcome!

MODS: Could this thread be moved to the SW Preservation and Fan Edits topic?
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Welcome to the forums Rune! It looks like you've done some outstanding work.

This is very similar to work we are doing on the X0 Project. Though we are using different software, the concept is pretty much the same. This is probably the best method of taking a source with better detail and combining it with one with "better" color. The major drawback to this method, of course, is that no two sources are the same as far as cropping and warping go. Compensating for those two factors are indeed the toughest to overcome.

But it's amazing what kind of results you can get, isn't it?

My Projects:
[Holiday Special Hybrid DVD v2]
[X0 Project]
[Backstroke of the West DVD]
[ROTS Theatrical DVD]

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Besides a couple of the other thread here is this brillant. I hope your or someone can achieve this.
As THX said maybe look into the TB or G'Kar release for certain scenes.

I reall hope someone will attempt this
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Actually, the TB and G'kar releases do suffer from color "correction". Just take a look at either ESB. The Hoth scenes are just as smurfy as the 2004 version. Disappointing really, as I was hoping to use those for an upcoming project of mine without fixing the CC myself. They may be usable, but the colors are not even close...

You can go about your business. Move along, move along.

http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/4962/nowplayingbannermasterzc2.jpg
The Story of Star Wars
The Adventures Of Luke Skywalker

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I meant the TB for Detail that was lost in the '04 DVD's


And your color correcting on SOSW was really nice =]
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Thanks DR. For sure, there is more detail in the TB and G'Kar releases than the 2004's. Although, both are not without their own little idiosyncrasies. TB, imo, has a better picture but suffers from stutter and jumps. The G'Kar doesn't have those problems but looks as if it's been severely "smoothed". Also, it's not too much of a problem for anyone working on them, but the aspect ratio of these digital broadcasts is incorrect, roughly 2.50:1, enough to be noticeable...

You can go about your business. Move along, move along.

http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/4962/nowplayingbannermasterzc2.jpg
The Story of Star Wars
The Adventures Of Luke Skywalker

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Very cool images! That's about all I'v got to say.
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Sorry to continue off topic, but...
Originally posted by: MoveAlong
...the aspect ratio of these digital broadcasts is incorrect, roughly 2.50:1, enough to be noticeable...
Really? Are they are cropped or squeezed? These are the '97 SE, right? I always thought the CC on the '04 was much heavier.

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THX, they seem to be cropped (slightly) and squished. Here are some comparison screenshots of NTSC GOUT, PAL G'Kar 97SE, PAL TB 97SE, and NTSC 2004SE. These examples have been resized for easier comparison. The GOUT examples have been cropped for the same reason.

NTSC GOUT
http://img290.imageshack.us/img290/9721/goutst6.jpg

PAL TB 97SE
http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/7958/tbwt7.jpg

PAL G'Kar 97 SE
http://img429.imageshack.us/img429/2977/gkarjn0.jpg

NTSC 2004SE
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/8783/2004wg1.jpg

Check out the leg being cropped on the left in the 97's along with a little top frame cropping, too. Dare I say the PAL digital broadcasts are even more blue than the 2004's? Also, look at the floor light directly below the Falcon's cockpit. Which version shows more detail? Interestingly, it's the GOUT.

Another example

NTSC GOUT
http://img429.imageshack.us/img429/3461/gout2fg3.jpg

PAL TB 97SE
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/3325/tb2zt8.jpg

PAL G'Kar 97SE
http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/9290/gkar2vg9.jpg

NTSC 2004SE
http://img65.imageshack.us/img65/6114/20042ar5.jpg

The PAL digital broadcasts' problems really shine through here. Again, even more color "correction" and a lot of compression blocking artifacts from poor encoding. The G'Kar suffers the most from this. So, with all this, I would say that the PAL digital broadcasts have too many faults to be seriously considered as sources for any kind of project like this. I think you'd be better off using the 2004's, as bad as that sounds. I haven't gone through all 3 of the 97 and 04 SE's. There may be some 97 scenes that are more usable than these examples. But, it sure doesn't look like it.

You can go about your business. Move along, move along.

http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/4962/nowplayingbannermasterzc2.jpg
The Story of Star Wars
The Adventures Of Luke Skywalker

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Thanks a lot, MoveAlong. I wasn't aware that the '97 SE broadcasts had the mega blue, mega contrast issues. Are the '97 SE LDs the same?

Presumably the encoding could be improved if you could get the original recordings?
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Nice stuff!
We have been using a similar technique for a while in a system we developed that we have nicknamed 'blackmagic' that uses Shake and a bunch of custom scripts to allow the combining of multiple sources to get the best out of it.
Basically we are taking in the various telecines (i.e. the various laserdisc releases), do a quick transform to get the corners roughly aligned and then doing a stabilisation pass to try to remove as much gate movement etc. as possible (this simplifies the next steps enourmously).
We then pick one transfer to be the reference master and, using the tracker, pick suitable track points in each transfer. Once a solid tracking solution is found, we then feed the trackpoint data to the warp (morph) function to get the picture elements to align within frame as close as possible.
Then stealing an idea from the astronomy boys, try to treat it as a multipass capture of the same source (which it basically is) and create a composite image throwing away noise and gathering detail to get a final result that is a lot cleaner and more detailed than any of the individual laserdisc transfers are on their own.

I've been writing up the process and sent a draft of it to Zion a couple of weeks ago for him to turn into one of his slick looking webdocs for the X0 site, so it is great to see someone else looking at a similar process using different software.
We had been discussing wether using free/cheaper programs the same thing could be achieved (although Shake recently became a lot cheaper anyway).

You should be able to achieve the same thing in Digital Fusion, but I haven't played with Fusion for years, so I'm not sure how much control you get with its tracker and warp tools (does RE:Flex run on fusion?)
I remember back in the mid 90s when one of the guys that wrote fusion was demoing a beta of V1 at a little trade show. I watched him run it through its paces and the damn thing was so *fast* for the time. I went up to him and commented that "now that is why people spend so much on SG workstations" he lifted the tablecloth and showed me the standard PC it was running on (it was a 486 DX4-100 or a Pentium 60, I can't remember which) and I was literally standing there with my mouth open.
It was the first time I thought PCs might actually be able to be a real force in post. It still astounds me how fast they came on. In 95 if you had said to me that 10 years later people would be able to re-edit and add effects to feature films in their bedrooms on their home PC's and see most of the results in *real time* I would have laughed out loud. If you had said they could then put it out to a DVD atthe same quality that the studios get I would have thought you were truly crazy. It has been an amazing transformation for just a decade.