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Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes — Page 12

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Moth3r said:

According to Lowry, they weren't recomped:

Whenever anyone lit up a lightsaber, it was done with an optical effect, and all of the opticals at the time were done on film--there were no digital effects. So every time you go to a lightsaber scene, bang, you drop two generations of film. It gets grainier and, as it's going through an optical printer, you have different characteristics in terms of contrast. And those are things we have to match up with the scenes immediately before and after. It took a lot of effort to match precisely the granularity, the contrast, and the sharpness. They flow very nicely now and, frankly, in the original movies, there was a distinct change. We were able to eliminate that change, and to me that's a very strong contribution to the storytelling process--removing something that prevents an audience from being drawn in.

However, Zombie reckons they were re-rotoscoped:

One unusual feature of this is the mention of lightsaber opticals losing generation quality--but these shouldn't be optical composites. In creating the 2004 DI, Lucasfilm re-rotoscoped all the lightsabers digitally from the looks of things, which would mean they went back to the raw negatives and not the final composites. Perhaps the negative in these scenes was simply dirtier because it had been run through the optical printer and picked up more wear. Videography says that they weren't actually using the O-neg but rather the 1997 Special Edition negative (the IN, I must presume?) because that was the only one that had the new visual effects work--but the O-neg would have had the new CG shots cut in, and why would they need to color correct it so heavily if it was the YCM Labs-corrected IN? Every other sources, including stills from their workings, and articles published by Lucasfilm (starwars.com) indicate that it was the O-neg, and not the the SE IN.

 The 1997 SE seems to be identical to the 2004 DVD

 

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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doubleofive said:

If they recomped all of the lightsabers, why are these still there?

http://www.thelightsaber.com/web/Goofs/ANH/anhgoofs.htm

Some of those are things they wouldn't have changed, but there are some terrible mistakes in there.

I don't think they recomped all the lightsabers, I just assumed they had recomped that particular scene as it looks quite different to the original effect, in a bad way. Yes, it's subtle but I noticed it from the first time I saw the SE and I'm still not sure what they did. To be extra picky, removing the additional grain in this scene is an alteration in itself, it's part of the visual effects technology of the time just as mattelines are. But whatever...

That goofs-list isn't entirely correct in its information, the lightsaber in the Falcon was blue originally, it's only later video transfers that made it look white or green. People forget that these films were beautiful when they first arrived, not that strange really, as these films only looks worse for every release they get, sad really.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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doubleofive said:

If they recomped all of the lightsabers, why are these still there?

http://www.thelightsaber.com/web/Goofs/ANH/anhgoofs.htm

Some of those are things they wouldn't have changed, but there are some terrible mistakes in there.

Great site, thanks.

I believe that if George would make a special edition which would ONLY correct all the errors and finish all the unfinished special effects, nobody would complain. Instead of correcting all errors we got Gungans, silly looking dinosaurs, comedic scenes which are not funny and a crappy looking CGI Jabba

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Thanks for pointing out the alteration to the first lightsaber scene, msycamore.  I too noticed that quite a while ago, and it bothered me because there was something not right about it.  Obviously the old transfers are of rubbishy quality, but you can still see the difference even there; the Technicolor print, of course, is by far the best representation.  The blade looks so well made and natural in that version, while the SE is flat and sharp and strange and stupid in comparison.

The same kind of thing is apparent on the Millennium Falcon's engine glows--the SE version never looks as good and is more artificial than the original.  Even with all the errors made back then, the older effects work was quite often stylistically superior.  Funny, isn't it?

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 (Edited)

Yeah the lightsaber thing definitely is a curiosity. To me, it looks for sure like they were altered in some way. Rather than being fat and "electricy" they are thin and sword-like, like in the prequels. I assume this is a new re-comp, but crushing the blacks and other image manipulation could have changed this. The saber's were definitely re-comped in at least some of the shots, because I've seen footage of it happening.

Also, the Falcon saber--in that one wide shot--was always green-cast. The sabers were never consistent, and in ANH Vader's alternated between red, pink and orange. The problem is that this was very, very mild in the original version, so you never noticed it, while in the SE they jacked the colouring on the sabers waaaay up, and then did all sorts of other colour manipulation which just exaggerated this further. As a result, it's not just a mild shift in the colour cast, like in the original, it's outright full-on re-colouring.

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zombie84 said:


Yeah the lightsaber thing definitely is a curiosity. To me, it looks for sure like they were altered in some way. Rather than being fat and "electricy" they are thin and sword-like, like in the prequels. I assume this is a new re-comp, but crushing the blacks and other image manipulation could have changed this. The saber's were definitely re-comped in at least some of the shots, because I've seen footage of it happening.
Which shots? What footage?

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 (Edited)

Well, the Falcon scene for one. This was for the 1997 release. The seeker ball, saber and hologram elements were re-comped for the wideshot, and additional dirt was clone-stamped out. You can tell because the seeker doesn't go in the same place as the original version IIRC.

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"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."

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zombie84 said:


Well, the Falcon scene for one. This was for the 1997 release. The seeker ball, saber and hologram elements were re-comped for the wideshot, and additional dirt was clone-stamped out. You can tell because the seeker doesn't go in the same place as the original version IIRC.
OK, just making sure there's not others.

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 (Edited)

Well, it certainly looks like there are other examples, although that one is the only one in which there is video footage of it being altered.

But if you look at the lightsabers...there was definitely something done to them. I don't know if it is just because of the darkened levels that crush down the glow, but it really doesn't seem like it me, and the "electrical" crackly glow is now replaced with a more solid, stable glow. It looks like the cores have not just been dimmed down, but outright thinned out (i.e. erased). Whatever the case, the sabers look different, and it's probably no surprise that they look exactly like they do in the prequels and all subsequent media.

Here is an example, I'm just using this because I already had these caps on my website. This is not too extreme, but you can see how the blades have been thinned out. I don't think it's due to black levels, because on Vader's you can see that where there was originally white core there is now nothing (i.e. the bg and glow), so it's been re-touched from scratch, plus the black levels here are close to the original and wouldn't account for such drastic difference even if it were possible.

I would like to hear some thoughts on this though, as I don't believe the sabers have ever been included in either LFL's or 005's pages.

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^@zombie84

What you're seeing is most likely the result of clipped white levels in the GOUT that is making the lightsabers core appear fatter. You can also see it in the ceiling light to the left, in the GOUT it contains much less white detail and nuances.

I don't have any of the 2004 DVDs available but here is (from top to bottom) the GOUT, the TB97 and the TB97 with white levels tweaked and clipped:

 

The electrical glowing effect in motion seems to be the same in the GOUT and TB97, if it appears different in the 2004 DVD maybe it's because the Lowry NR algorithms simply mistook some of it for noise and filtered it out.

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^^

Hmm, that's a good theory. Is it possible that there was tweaking done in '97, or that the elements were exposed at different levels?

The only reason I am hesitant to accept that 100% is because in so many media before the SE the sabers are fatter. Every video I owned had the sabers like in the GOUT, and in publicity material they often are, as well as in comics and the older video games. I suppose many of those designs could be based off of home video versions which never had proper levels, although it doesn't quite explain many of the pre-home-video media. But then there are just as many with the thin sabres, so I guess it varied. What is funny is that I don't remember ROTJ ever having the fatter blades that ESB does, but maybe my memory is wrong.

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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hairy_hen said:

Thanks for pointing out the alteration to the first lightsaber scene, msycamore.  I too noticed that quite a while ago, and it bothered me because there was something not right about it.  Obviously the old transfers are of rubbishy quality, but you can still see the difference even there; the Technicolor print, of course, is by far the best representation.  The blade looks so well made and natural in that version, while the SE is flat and sharp and strange and stupid in comparison.

Thanks for noticing what I pointed out. ;) I thought I was alone there for a while. :)

zombie84 said:

Also, the Falcon saber--in that one wide shot--was always green-cast. The sabers were never consistent, and in ANH Vader's alternated between red, pink and orange. The problem is that this was very, very mild in the original version, so you never noticed it, while in the SE they jacked the colouring on the sabers waaaay up, and then did all sorts of other colour manipulation which just exaggerated this further. As a result, it's not just a mild shift in the colour cast, like in the original, it's outright full-on re-colouring.

Lukes' lightsaber was always blue in the original film, the same goes for Obi-Wans', it could go from a more saturated blue to a more light washed out blue depending on different shots and lightning but it was never green-cast as far as I can see. Where do you get this from? You can clearly see that it is blue in the bootleg telecine for example, even with its wonky quality, also in many older transfers and documentaries where the contrast levels were much better than later video releases. 

How the recomposited saber in the Falcons two wide shots turned green in one of the shots in 2004 is no miracle, as we all know the same kind of color-screwups are all over the place. One example is when Vader approaches Obi-Wan, the green lights on his belt goes from the correct green to blue and back to green again, another is Ben's purple saber and so on. I just find it hard to believe that the 2004 DVD have magically revealed those inconsistencies in colors you describe was always there. Especially when we know this lightsaber shot was recomped in '97. But I may be wrong about this, of course.

The '04 master is so amazingly F***ED up, that in the end it's even hard to study what really is a stupid deliberate alteration or what is just a regular amatuer behind the wheel.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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I didn't describe this little alteration so good last time. The matte appears three times not two. ;) But the first one is a little different, it have a much more visible seam between matte and live-footage. This is one of those things you would never notice if you didn't compare them side by side, I just thought it was interesting enough to point it out.

Gout first matte-shot, looks misaligned with a wide seam visible

Gout - second matte-shot, much better (the green/yellow wall lights in these shots are much more clearly defined in earlier transfers.)

Gout - third matte-shot, looks identical to the second one

'04 DVD digitally improved to remove the rough edges and seams to blend it better, notice the removed green/yellow color from the wall lights, could also be a transfer issue as the door panel to the left also lacks the colors.

'97 SE Just so you can see the tweak a little better

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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 (Edited)

msycamore said:

hairy_hen said:

Thanks for pointing out the alteration to the first lightsaber scene, msycamore.  I too noticed that quite a while ago, and it bothered me because there was something not right about it.  Obviously the old transfers are of rubbishy quality, but you can still see the difference even there; the Technicolor print, of course, is by far the best representation.  The blade looks so well made and natural in that version, while the SE is flat and sharp and strange and stupid in comparison.

Thanks for noticing what I pointed out. ;) I thought I was alone there for a while. :)

zombie84 said:

Also, the Falcon saber--in that one wide shot--was always green-cast. The sabers were never consistent, and in ANH Vader's alternated between red, pink and orange. The problem is that this was very, very mild in the original version, so you never noticed it, while in the SE they jacked the colouring on the sabers waaaay up, and then did all sorts of other colour manipulation which just exaggerated this further. As a result, it's not just a mild shift in the colour cast, like in the original, it's outright full-on re-colouring.

Lukes' lightsaber was always blue in the original film, the same goes for Obi-Wans', it could go from a more saturated blue to a more light washed out blue depending on different shots and lightning but it was never green-cast as far as I can see. Where do you get this from? You can clearly see that it is blue in the bootleg telecine for example, even with its wonky quality, also in many older transfers and documentaries where the contrast levels were much better than later video releases. 

How the recomposited saber in the Falcons two wide shots turned green in one of the shots in 2004 is no miracle, as we all know the same kind of color-screwups are all over the place. One example is when Vader approaches Obi-Wan, the green lights on his belt goes from the correct green to blue and back to green again, another is Ben's purple saber and so on. I just find it hard to believe that the 2004 DVD have magically revealed those inconsistencies in colors you describe was always there. Especially when we know this lightsaber shot was recomped in '97. But I may be wrong about this, of course.

The '04 master is so amazingly F***ED up, that in the end it's even hard to study what really is a stupid deliberate alteration or what is just a regular amatuer behind the wheel.

 I'm not saying the saber was green, it was always blue, but in that first establishing shot it has a bit of a green cast to it. Go take a look at the GOUT. It was never a strong blue in that first establisher, and at least on the GOUT I can see some mild green hues coming out. So, on the 2004 version when they yanked up the saturation, played around with other colour levels, and shifted the cast greener still, as the entire shot has a more pronounced green shift, that green saber cast really came out and totally overrode any blue element that was originally weakly there.

However, and this ties in with what I had mentioned earlier, it's hard to say what of the original saber element is even valid in the SE anyway--the saber is a re-comp. The original one was a nubby saber that didn't quite extend to the top of the frame, and they redid the blade (probably for 1997?). So this may also further complicate how the colour deviated so much. I don't know if this shot was ever catalogued as a change/recomp, but it is.

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--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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zombie84 said: 

I'm not saying the saber was green, it was always blue, but in that first establishing shot it has a bit of a green cast to it. Go take a look at the GOUT. It was never a strong blue in that first establisher, and at least on the GOUT I can see some mild green hues coming out.

Sorry if I came across sounding like a smart-ass, zombie. I must've misread your post. Yeah, you're right, it's almost completely washed out in that establishing shot, (I haven't noticed any green hues though, I'll have to take a look) that's also why I don't think the GOUT saber in that shot is any good representation of it's true color as other earlier transfers have a quite colorful saber there, more like how it look in the close-ups in the GOUT. IMO that first wide-shot symbolize everything that's wrong with that transfer, all GOUT flaws in one single shot. ;)

zombie84 said: 

So, on the 2004 version when they yanked up the saturation, played around with other colour levels, and shifted the cast greener still, as the entire shot has a more pronounced green shift, that green saber cast really came out and totally overrode any blue element that was originally weakly there.

That could be the case, but I have a hard time swallowing it, especially when the 2004 version have so many illogical color screw-ups throughout combined with the knowledge of a recomped saber.

zombie84 said:

However, and this ties in with what I had mentioned earlier, it's hard to say what of the original saber element is even valid in the SE anyway--the saber is a re-comp. The original one was a nubby saber that didn't quite extend to the top of the frame, and they redid the blade (probably for 1997?). So this may also further complicate how the colour deviated so much. I don't know if this shot was ever catalogued as a change/recomp, but it is.

Yes, at least both wide shots were recomposited for the '97 SE, as those two scenes where the most affected by the built in dirt due to having so many elements in it. Lightsaber, remote, remote-laser and chess pieces within the same shot. The change was officially catalogued but it's a little vague in its descriptions, you can see when they work on it in the SE documentaries but I'm not sure if all composites were actually redone. I can take a closer look at the whole sequence from various transfers and post a few comparisons so that we can see what really was recomped or not.

Anyway, how trivial these minor changes may be and how scary obsessive and geeky this thread must look for outsiders, ;) I think we're doing a very nice comprehensive list here, quite important IMO as it will be a great information source both for future fan restorations and for making awareness how much that really has been changed in these films.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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All these changes and tweaks and color differences boggles the mind.

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 (Edited)

Ok, for the '97 SE, the remote along with its lasers was recomposited in every single shot, I also noticed that these laser-impact-effects, (which I believe are separate elements from the actual saber composites) were recomped. Just look how close they are in appearance to the original comp, I strongly suspect this is exactly what's going on with the actual lightsabers as well, also in '97 they didn't recomp these elements just for the sake of fixing the minor glitches in the composites, it was mostly done to get rid of the extra layer of grain and dirt. One problem with this IMO is that these primitive effects by today standards benefited from that extra layer of grain and softness it created, it was a part of these effects, if you remove those layers of grain, these old effects looks even more primitive, then you may as well produce an entire new digital effect in its place instead of using the same old composite elements with its minor glitches. That is also why it's hard to see what has been recomped or not, if you're not comparing them side-by-side like some obsessed nerd. ;)

These impact-elements only appear in one single frame, I included the JSC LD for easier comparison as the GOUT- transfer have the problem with DVNR-smear and clipped white levels.

JSC LD

GOUT

2004 DVD

JSC LD

GOUT

2004 DVD

JSC LD

GOUT

2004 DVD

JSC LD

GOUT

2004 DVD

JSC LD

GOUT

2004 DVD

JSC LD

GOUT

2004 DVD

As you can see they are damn close in their appearance, some of them almost identical. Btw these digital recomposites were all made in '97, doubleofive. To be continued...

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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 (Edited)

Sorry for being a little off topic, but just for the heck of it, a little color madness...

Moth3r's '77 bootleg telecine - unknown source -> 3/4" U-matic tape -> VHS copy -> DVD recorder copy -> Moth3r's Xvid, although it has gone through that many stages it is an invaluable source for reference, believe it or not, if you can look past the wonky quality, you actually get an general idea of how things are supposed to look, more or less. Don't know if you can see that much in this screen-cap though.

if you think I'm crazy, Senator theater Technicolor Print top, bootleg telecine below.

1982 Laserdisc I think this was the first home video transfer, the source is different than what the later transfers was made from, quite nice vivid colors even though it was yellow/green tinted throughout.

'86 JSC LD this transfer had also a green/yellow tint to it, but even with its dull colors in this shot you get the general idea that the saber should not look like it does in the GOUT establishing shot.

GOUT clipped white levels along with other nasties, just look at the floor Luke standing on! I have even heard something so silly, that there was an EU explanation built around this one or the SE- lightsaber, Luke apparently had some sort of training mode swithed on, that's why his lightsaber looked so different here. Yeah, right...  

1997 SE unfortunately this video transfer had a pink hue in some scenes and blue in others, in some scenes the beautiful original colortiming/photography shines through though.

2004 DVD damn, I'm looking forward to these colors on blu-ray, the lightsaber was always meant to be green. ;)

I don't think anyone of these transfers makes the original lighsaber-effect any justice, as it is IMO along with other sort of prototype Star Wars effects completely dependent on a well done video telecine to work. I just find it interesting with its many variations. Did I cover all different video masters or are there more?

GOUT

2004 DVD I also noticed another one of those thousand color glitches in these DVD's, in the next shot when the blast hit Luke, the color is back. :) (the '97 SE doesn't have this color glitch)

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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 (Edited)

I was watching Making of SW from the Executor set and since that was made in the 70s, it still had some colors left. The lightsabers were better looking. In the wide shot on Falcon it certainly does have a greenish tint but it looked kind of like turquoise. The closer shot had a great cyan color on it and wasn't washed out like later releases. Also the duel has better colors, too.

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The lightsaber in those re-comps is also comletely new, either from 2004 or probably 1997. The shape is different. The crackly electrically edges have been smoothed away as well, could blame lowry but since it is a brand new 1997 or 2004 likely digital saber they might have just done it like that, the way the prequels looked.

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--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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 (Edited)

I think what zombie is talking about is the two wide shots, in those they actually made a new saber from scratch in '97, at least in the establishing shot, I'm not sure of the other, have to take a look. If you look carefully, you can see that it's slightly longer and lacks the original sabers characteristic flickering.

Edit: I did take a look, and both those shots seems to just have a digitally extended top, you can actually see where the original saber ended by looking at the glow, the tip of the blade doesn't have any.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com