Sign In

Classic Edition: The Empire Strikes Back by Ocpmovie (Released)


Throw away your laserdiscs.

Throw away your '04 DVDs.

This is the only version of The Empire Strikes Back you’ll ever need.


Classic Edition

by ocpmovie

From the creator of Deleted Magic and Star Wars Classic Edition comes the ultimate restoration of what many believe to be the best film in the Star Wars saga.

It looks exactly as good as the real 2004 DVDs.

Because it’s made from the 2004 DVDs.

But this is the original 1980 version of the film. No special edition material to be found here.

The definitive preservation of this classic film.

I finished all my video editing today, and looked at a test burn of the DVD. I was actually blown away. It’s hard to overstate how well this worked out.

95% of it looks exactly as good as the official DVD (because it IS the official DVD), and the other 5% looks basically exactly as good as the official DVD, and it’s very very hard to tell the difference.

I am not posting screen grabs from the normal parts of the film. I’ll just post the parts where I merged bad quality stuff with better quality stuff. 95% of the film looks better than these screen grabs - if you want screen grabs from those, just screen grab your official DVDs. There, you’ve got it.

I learned a lot from doing the Classic Edition edit of the first Star Wars. One thing that people noticed were the DV artifacts - the miniDV format has trouble with highly saturated reds and blues, and they develop jagged edges visible on a computer monitor.

Although that disc looked great, I was convinced that I could do better.

I wanted to try to actually use the real official DVD encode for as much of the film as possible. This time round, I only rendered the portions of the film that needed to be edited. Any stretch of the film that was to stay unchanged, I didn’t touch. I then actually merged my little bite-sized chunks that I’d edited myself along with the actual 2004 Lucasfilm DVD files, making any change from one to the other completely seamless.

This means that for 90% of the film, I haven’t even touched it. In any way. It’s the 2004 DVD that you’re watching. This was a bit tricky to do, but resulted in a DVD of shocking clarity.

As for the scenes which have been reedited, these look equally great. The Cowclops V2 laserdisc transfer came in very handy here, and so did a DVD of the 1997 Special Edition.

It also saved some work in the long run, so I was able to spend more time on just the parts that needed editing, and finish the entire edit in a day or two - about 5 times faster than the first Classic Edition.

You’ll find I’ve learned some new tricks.

You’ll find I’m full of surprises.

I actually created a digital matte painting of the old grey corridor to replace the special edition corridor with its big pink windows. When Leia fires, I painted the gunshots back in frame by frame. The corridor is from the laserdisc, Leia and Lando from the DVD.

The “hatch” shots are my favorite. That is actually Lando and Luke from the DVD, but the white hatch is from the laserdisc. How is that possible unless I painstakingly painted out the CGI hatchway (added in 1997) frame by frame?

There’s a deadly clever trick to this shot. I used the “Lumakey” function in FCP, telling it to blot out everything from the laserdisc except for bright whites. So then I pasted the bright whites from the original shot over the 2004 DVD. Suddenly I’m back to the 1980 version of the shot, but in 2004 clarity. Now that is cool.

Luke hangs upside down. A tiny bit of laserdisc footage of Luke was used to merge two 2004 DVD shots into one 1980 shot. It’s so well hidden that it all looks like a 2004 shot. I defy you to notice it without watching it many times over and over with me there to tell you where the join is.

The middle of this shot is from 2004, the edges around the Falcon from 1980.

A brighter starfield has been added to the 2004 crawl, to make it look like the 1980 original.

Again, a brighter starfield.

The castmembers are from 2004, the background from 1980. This was an interesting shot to restore because in the 1997 version, the animators added a pan-down - the shot moves and you see more of them at the bottom of the screen. So I match-moved the moving version of the shot carefully until it was staying still again.

In truth, a lot of the special edition changes to Empire were very clever, and I hated to remove them, but the film does work better without them. Otherwise this site wouldn’t exist.

The 1997 version of Empire was definitely the best of the Special Editions. Apart from changing the sound mix back to the 70mm version, which resulted in at least one annoying line change, it was a good edit of the film. Particularly compared to the horrors committed on all the other films.

On the other hand, the 2004 DVD is a travesty - thanks to just one thing. Replacing Boba Fett’s voice with a horrible performance by Temuera Morrison? Way to ruin one of the best characters in the film.

The sound mix here is the 35mm one from 1980. The one we love.

Note the window – Some laserdisc footage is carefully pasted in frame by frame over the clearer DVD image. The result is seamless.

More original 1980 architecture at the end of that hallway, pasted in carefully over the 2004 image, frame by frame.

Ditto - check that door at the end of the corridor. That’s not there in 1997/2004.

More fun with 1980 architecture in Cloud City.

Han gets his classic vest look back, restoring a popular continuity error otherwise fixed in '04.

(I liked doing this, but it did force me to actually edit the entire “I love you/I know” scene, rather than just take it straight from the DVD, which is a shame for the very very very slight loss of clarity that entails. For that reason I am still undecided on whether to put the imperial insignia on Piett and the other guy back on the wrong way at the end of the film, when they’re talking to Vader and the scene is flopped. They fixed it for the 2004 DVDs with some clever CGI, and I may or may not unfix it. You may or may not know what I’m talking about.)

The first appearance of the Emperor! Before the wonderful Ian McDiarmid was cast for Jedi. This scene appears here in DVD quality thanks to the 1997 special editions. It’s nice that Lucas filmed McDiarmid for the '04 DVDs, but the new scene is slow-paced and kind of vaguely awful (lots of closeups of Vader looking confused). And the emperor in it looks like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. It’s nice to bring back the original, just for old time’s sake. Even if he isn’t the “real” Emperor, this is very definitely the “real” scene.

So there you have it. I don’t want to blow my own horn here and say I’ve done it again, but, well, I’ve done it again. I can’t overstate this, this is the only version of The Empire Strikes Back you need.

It also only took me like a day or two to do, which is nice. A definite improvement on Star Wars Classic Edition, which took forever and lots of tries to get the shots right. This one was perfect on the first try. The sound isn’t all in sync yet, I’ll figure that out tomorrow.

To save room on the disc for the improved picture quality of this version, I won’t be really including any extras. Also because I’m really busy and don’t have time to create a great commentary track like for ANH (and I don’t have the interviews to do it with anyway). The isolated score will be included, and a few nice menus.

As always, you can email me at *****.

And before you ask will there be a Classic Edition of Return of the Jedi, the answer is maybe. (I get the feeling I’ll be answering this question ten times a day now too, along with the Deleted Magic sequel question.)

Enjoy this folks. You don’t need to throw your other versions away, but you can let 'em gather dust a little. You won’t be watching them much.

It’s the original version of The Empire Strikes Back, in quality so clear it’s just like George had bothered to restore it and release it himself.

You’ll love it.

I know.

Great news GG,

Hope I get a chance to see this. The ANH CE was awesome!

The Sith Revealed - A Scrapbook
Episode III The Video Game - The Movie
24: The Missing Day
Star Wars - The Interactive Board Game DVD
Battlefront - Journal of the 501st
The Clones Revealed

email me for details daveytod AT btinternet DOT com


Great job, OCPmovie! Loved Star Wars Classic edition, and would like to see this as well. When will it be available?
Woohoo! Sounds good ocp. I'll have to grab a copy from you at some point.

"ESB Classic Edition: Artoo never tasted this good."

where did the sound mix come from? Which laserdisc release?

is this a dual layer or single layer release?

i'm assuming it's 16x9?

what did you use to do your editing?

Not to be a dick--but what are you using for screencaps? Because those are pretty bad caps. I mean, even for laserdisc screencaps, they're bad. Lot of color anomalies, blocky artifacts, and oversaturation. I'm pretty sure that's NOT what the movie looks like on your set, but the caps aren't helping you "sell" your set here. They're certainly not matching up with your descriptions of the picture quality.

Also, I don't understand WHY you put the "Vest" back in since he's not wearing a vest in the first place. Or his jacket. But I understand you're trying to restore the film to it's 1980 version.
The Best Show You've Never Heard
If he shrunk the 2004 to fit onto one single layer DVD, that's where that compression would come in.
True, but I'm saying even for DVD shrink level compression--those are bad screenshots. I know his DVD's are better quality, I enjoyed his Deleted Magic--but the discrepancy between what he's saying it looks like and what he's SHOWING us it looks like is HUGE.

basically, I'm saying whatever he's using to take screenshots isn't helping him.

The Best Show You've Never Heard
When you say the DVD sections are untouched, do you mean you have not re-encoded them from 04 DVD? If so, what method did you use to join your edits to the original mpeg2?

El Lono.
OCP is full of surprises! I, on the other hand, am as clumsy as I am stupid. I already know it is going to be great.
Can't wait to get my hands on this.
If its anything Like Star Wars Classic Edition, this is a must have disc.
I look forward to hunting it down.
Originally posted by: The Bizzle
basically, I'm saying whatever he's using to take screenshots isn't helping him.
I would expect high quality JPEGs of that resolution to be around 100-120KB. The ones in this thread are ~25-45KB. A simple case of too much JPEG compression, and the images are unlikely to be representative of the actual DVD.

Guidelines for post content and general behaviour: read announcement here

Max. allowable image sizes in signatures: reminder here

Of course it's dual layer, and of course its anamorphic widescreen... he did say he didn't even re-encode the footage except for the scenes that needed altering. But I'm curious about the sound mix aswell. And there's one thing, you ARE going to do it over when X0 comes out right? All the more because it took you only two days (which is unbelievable). Then you can really bet your ass I'll throw away my DVD's (OK they're burnt ones, but what the christ!).

That's no moon. It's a LaserDisc.

I'd never noticed Han's hands before! What's the deal with that? I'll have a look.

These screen grabs are heavily JPEG-compressed, hence the mediocre quality (but nice file size for the web!) and taken from FCP rather than the actual DVD (FCP's screen capturing is not the best). They are intended to show some of the restoration work I did on the film, NOT to show the quality of 90% of the film. As I said, 90% of the film here is taken directly from the actual DVD in great quality, and is not worth screen grabbing.

(Anyone who's seen my other work knows I don't lie about quality.)

I could go to the actual DVD and make some screen grabs if you're gonna be pedantic.

I used Final Cut Pro for editing, and DVD Studio Pro to put it all together. Yes, as I said, most of the film is taken directly from the M2V files of the official 2004 DVD, and has not been reencoded in any way. So the quality of the 2004 DVD is kept exactly.

Basically, I ripped and demuxed the entire 2004 DVD on a scene by scene basis, resulting in about 50 bite sized chunks of the film in M2V format. I only reencoded those sections which needed to be reedited, and made sure that my reedited versions matched up with the 2004 versions. I put them all together in DVD Studio Pro 3.

The sound mix is from the Definitive Collection, this is the Cowclops v2 mix. So this is the 1980 35mm sound mix, where Artoo doesn't taste so good. However, I am having to make small edits to it all over the place to sync it to this new version. The 2004 DVDs cut out a lot of random frames to remove splice marks, so you always have to reedit the sound to keep it in sync.

The disc is 16x9 of course.

I am editing it in dual layer format (about 6 gigs large), but I will release it as a shrunk single layer disc. There is honestly no real difference between the dual and single layer versions. (Even the official DVD's encode could fit comfortably on a single layer very easily actually, I think the video was 3.5 gigs ish.) I can't afford to buy dual layer discs. I'll probably save the dual layer version on two discs just to have it.

Vader's lightsaber will be the version from the 2004 DVD. The low-contrast pinkness only shows up in the second part of the duel. Oh well.

I will not be redoing this when the XO project comes out, there's no reason to. This project doesn't rely much on laserdisc footage, but when it does, the excellent Cowclops version 2 transfer was definitely good enough.

I had wanted to use dark_jedi's fullscreen versions of the trilogy to improve the picture quality of the laserdisc bits, but they're 60i rather than 24p and I still haven't learned how to do an inverse telecine. And his ANH and ESB aren't the best quality - his ROTJ is excellent though and I'd like to learn how to do an inverse telecine on it if I'm gonna go ahead and do ROTJ. Anyone know how to do an inverse telecine well in Final Cut Pro?

I won't be redoing ANH - ANH I did exactly how I wanted/needed to do it for that particular film. Doing ESB this way really relied on the fact that ESB had the least changes made to it of any of the films, so I could use the original encode for most of it. Different strokes for different films.

Early on it felt like a shame in some ways to use the 2004 transfer, because they've heavily tinted the first part of the movie blue, and tinted other parts red, losing some of the quality of the original film, they really went overboard .... but upon seeing how it worked out to use the 2004 transfer with all the clarity that entails, all my misgivings went out the window. Party on, Wayne.
Sounds like really neat work, OCP! However, from what I understand, this is not actually "the original version of The Empire Strikes Back" restored COMPLETELY faithfully (painting in laser bolts, slightly different numbers of frames, maybe the insignia will be flipped, the 2004 lightsabers, etc.)

It's a good point about the cropped cockpit shots- it seems like you would be able to fix that by taking the original and superimposing the DVD shot on there for better quality (maybe blending the edges to cover it up).

Another thing that you might not be aware of is that Lucas and co. made a specific point of changing the color and lighting of the characters (Leia and Lando) in the open window scenes, to match with the new environments. Even though your screenshot brings the hall back to the original, the orange still shows up on the characters (left over from the 2004 scene). If there was a way to tint that correctly or to eliminate the orange coloring, that would be great. Or maybe if the quality was good enough, you could just take the whole original shot- that way you wouldn't have to paint in the bolts.

One more thing I was wondering is what you've done about the famous snowspeeder transparency problem. Did you revert back to the original on that, or is it the SE version?

Either way, this looks like great work. Especially the corrected Cloud City shots and the Lando hatch shot. Great job on this.


Episode II: Shroud of the Dark Side

Emperor Jar-Jar
“Back when we made Star Wars, we just couldn’t make Palpatine as evil as we intended. Now, thanks to the miracles of technology, it is finally possible. Finally, I’ve created the movies that I originally imagined.” -George Lucas on the 2007 Extra Extra Special HD-DVD Edition

I'd never noticed Han's hands before! What's the deal with that? I'll have a look.

Well i'd point you out to the thread that covered this, i.e. - Another 2004 Trilogy DVD screw-up? but for some reason it's offline even though it's in the ***Index of Linked Noteworthy Threads for Info & Help***

There was also some other forum thats like that had some information on it, but I can't recall the name as it was a site someone here linked to...but in short they cropped it substantially for the new ones and a nit-picky as it is, some people (myself included) can't stand to see poor Han get his smuggler digits cut off like that.

<a href="" title="" target="_blank">.Truth.</a><br /><br />"Mmm....starcruiser crash!"

I could go to the actual DVD and make some screen grabs if you're gonna be pedantic.

Whoa, slow your roll. I'm trying to help YOU out. If you're going to be all carnival sideshow barker talking up your product, don't come with shit jpeg screenshots. That's all. Everyone here torrents everything, I'm sure they'd be okay downloading a 100kb jpeg that's actually representative of the quality product you put out. You owe yourself better. It's hard to get a handle on your restoration work when the whole picture looks like a fuzzy blocky mess.

Pedantic. Jesus. Pedantic would be going through and using a mediocre laserdisc transfer like Cowclops v.2 and re-editing a Star Wars movie painstakingly frame by frame in order to not only reverse the changes brought by the 2004 DVD's, but to restore all the mistakes, flubs, bloopers and goofs as they were originally seen.

Oh, and the deal with Han's hands was that both Kershner AND Lucas thought that the framing was odd in that sequence. In order to better give the scene the sort of cold, claustrophobic feel Kersh was going for, they tightened up the frame and timed the sequence inside a little bluer.
The Best Show You've Never Heard
Screenshots from the actual single-layer DVD.
Looks damn nice!

One question though...anyway that I could get my hands on a DL version? I would be able to post it to a.b.starwars for the whole world to enjoy.

A long time ago in the faraway galaxy...

Star War: The Third Gathers
Backstroke Of The West