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ESB 70mm Soundtrack - 1980 in-theatre recording

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Hello, originaltrilogy-ers,

A few years ago I posted audio files of a stereo recording I'd made of a 70mm screening of "Star Wars" in 1977. 

http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/1977-70mm-Soundtrack-Recording/topic/5685/

 This was done taking two mono recordings – one taken at the far right front of the theatre, the other far left front – and marrying them together. Though there were sync and phasing issues, and clipping of the loudest sounds, it at least documented the film as it existed then, compared to the 35mm and mono soundtracks – let alone the subsequent special edition.

I'd written at the time that the process of doing this was complicated and time-consuming, and it was, but while I'd remembered doing a similar in-theatre recording at a 70mm screening of "The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980, I did not have the tapes and figured they had not survived. 

But, they did.

I recently located the raw right and left channel tapes, and have put them together, using a different process than I'd done with the reel-to-reel deck three decades ago.  Transferring both channels into WAV files, I used the right channel as a guide track and sped up/slowed down the left channel to sync as closely as I could, though it's not always perfect. There are still sync and phasing issue, and a few dropouts, but the sound is good enough to provide a window on how the film existed in a 70mm engagement in the summer of 1980. 

I did no equalization or adjustment of the original audio, and the stereo doesn’t kick in until the opening crawl ends. (At least I didn’t READ the crawl out into the mic as I did with "Star Wars.") The two instances where I had to flip over cassettes necessitated that the sound would be briefly in mono. 

Also, for part two (about half an hour) I have not located the left channel cassette, so that section as presented here is in mono only. If I ever find it I'll process and re-post.

Still, for those researching differences in the soundtracks of the 70mm and 35mm versions of ESB, let alone with the special editions and various video releases, I figure these files will help answer those questions. 

Here are the files:

http://www.4shared.com/audio/rhGezR3U/ESB_Part1_stereo.html

ESB_part1_stereo.mp3   (62MB) (approx. 54 mins.)

http://www.4shared.com/audio/rRqaINgX/ESB_part2_mono.html

ESB_part2_mono.mp3  (44 MB) (approx. 38 mins.)

http://www.4shared.com/audio/S8JFlAEB/ESB_Part3_stereo.html

ESB_part3_stereo.mp3   (36MB) (approx. 31 mins.)

 

And yes, life is still too short.  :)

Cheers,

morgands1

 

For more on Star Wars audio see:

http://www.wideanglecloseup.com/starwarsaudio.html

 

 

 

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Holy shit!!  This is amazing! THANK YOU!! :)

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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Fantastic to finally be able to hear how close it really was to the regular 35mm Dolby Stereo in terms of content, whining snowspeeder, shelter built, the same "the first transport is away", you're lucky you don't taste very good, I know where luke is etc. are all in the 70mm as well. Even the few extra lines and alternates heard here and there in the '97SE that many have claimed to be 70mm dialogue are not present.

Haven't listened to it from beginning to end yet, but the quality of the recording wasn't bad at all. What a damn fine job you did capturing this piece of SW-history and sharing it with us 30 years later! Simply amazing!

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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Wow! This is an awesome find, morgaands1! Glad you had this. At last, we have a definitive way of checking about the 70mm audio differences in ESB. Perhaps this makes a reconstruction of the 70mm version an easier thing to make! Now that would be a great project and all thanks to you. Anyway, one last thing, shouldn't this be in the Star Wars Preservation section, as you basically shared/preserved your audio recording of the 70mm ESB.

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Listening to the audio, you should be able to pick out exactly the length of the cuts to those few shots too. Neat.

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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Looks like hairy_hen has a new project... :-D

 

Well, only if he wants to do it of course! ;-)

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Yeah, but in order to do a worthwhile reconstruction, you'll need all the alternate takes (Lando's lines for example) in good quality, are they even available on other sources? and altered footage to support it. But it shouldn't be impossible with all the technical skills around these parts, I guess.

I can't thank you enough, morgands1 for sharing this, such an amazing treasure. Never thought a recording like this would surface after all these years. :) Also nice to hear all the responses in the audience.

 

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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Damn, I wrote out a whole long post and then my connection completely crapped out and I lost it.

Anyway--naturally I downloaded and listened to these as soon as I saw the thread.  Funnily enough, I'd just been reflecting the day before on how I'd probably never get to hear this version, and what should happen next?  lol

As I'd suspected, the ESB 70mm mix turns out to be almost completely identical to the 35mm version.  So much so that I pretty much think there's no point in trying recreate it unless you do the video editing to go along with it.  You've got the significant dialogue differences with Lando in the last scene, and it's missing the tracked music due to some special effects shots not being present (making the sound work here would be rather difficult because of all that), but aside from this one scene, there are only occasional minor changes in sound effects to show that it's even a different mix at all!  My current 5.1 will give a sound very close to what this would have been for the vast majority of the movie.  ;)

I always thought the notion of all those extra SE lines and such coming from the 70mm to be based on faulty logic.  Why would all those things have been there originally and then deleted?  Turns out I was right to doubt it!

It was really great hearing the reactions of the crowd to the movie.  Thanks so much for posting this, morgands1.  And a late thanks also for supplying the SW recordings a few years ago--never could have done my project without them.  :)

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On my quick listen these were the only clear differences I noticed:

The Imperial fleet establishing shot after the magic tree scene has a different TIE fighter sound effect. (Can also be heard on the foreign GOUT-tracks, SE have the music as originally composed for the scene)

In the final scene, there is no tracked music from "Yoda and the Force". The scene begins with the first establishing shot of the rebel fleet, then cuts inside the Falcon for Lando to say, "Luke, we're ready for take-off" (but a different take of this was used). After Luke says (voice over), "Good luck, Lando" the scene cuts to inside the rebel cruiser where Luke says, "I'll meet you at the rendezvous, " etc. Not in this version are two more establishing shots of the fleet and an interim effects shot over which Lando says, "When we find Jabba the Hutt and that bounty hunter we'll contact you."

Also, C-3PO's line, "Now remember, Chewbacca, you have a responsibility for me, so don’t do anything foolish" appear to be mixed as loud as on the '97SE. I'm not entirely sure about this one though as the audio levels on this recording can fool you easily.

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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So, this is something I always wondered, is Luke in the bacta tank missing the first shot (or whatever the missing shot is) like it is always reported? You should be able to tell by listening.

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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According to Mike Mattessino this is how that scene played in the 70mm:

The bacta tank scene starts on a close-up of Two-One-Bee and pans right to a closeup of Luke in the tank. It then cuts to FX-7 extending it's arm to the tank. There is no cut to Leia, Han and Threepio observing.

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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So is it the same length just with different editing for the first 2/3? Or is the audio for that scene on the 70mm shorter than the normal version?

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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So, who's gonna update the Wikipedia article on Star Wars changes with this new information?

a trolling bantha

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Zombie: Yeah, as I understand it, it should be a little shorter. Must take a listen and compare. Maybe they just moved around the shot of the others observing so the scene ends up equally long, which reminds me, aren't that shot included on the familiar 70mm stills.

IIRC the close up of Two-One-Bee and the subsequent pan to Luke should be included in one of the earlier trailers.

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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Having finally listened to the file, it does sound like that scene is the same as the 35mm version on first impression. Someone will have to do a closer comparison.

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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Kinda cool to hear the audience applaud Luke after he cuts of the arm of the Wampa which was a creature that the audience could not even see(at least not completly)!

Today's audiences are so used to seeing everything  that a similar scene in a contempory movie cut in this manner would induce disappointment.

Real shame as they don't know what they are missing out on!

I saw Star Wars in 1977. Many, many, many times. For 3 years it was just Star Wars...period. I saw it in good theaters, cheap theaters and drive-ins with those clunky metal speakers you hang on your window. The screen and sound quality never subtracted from the excitement. I can watch the original cut right now, over 30 years later, on some beat up VHS tape and enjoy it. It's the story that makes this movie. Nothing? else.

kurtb8474 1 week ago

http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=SkAZxd-5Hp8


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I did play this audio file synced up to the GOUT video, and they match up perfectly audio lenght wise in this scene, either the above info I provided by Mattessino is wrong in this case or the 70mm still is in fact from a 35mm print as that collection of stills have one that shows our heroes observing Luke. Could it still have been edited slightly different but with the same audio track in this scene?

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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Perhaps there was a 70mm early premiere that used a slightly different cut of the film, and that's where all those reported differences come from?  The proper 70mm general release may have been much closer to the 35mm version.

a trolling bantha

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I haven't had a chance to listen to this yet. Are the lines different when Han is talking to the Cloud Car pilot?

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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I can attest to the fact that shots of Leia, Han, etc., observing Luke in the medical center were not in the 1980 70mm version. I only saw those production stills taken on set after the film's run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Then I guess that would mean that the shot lengths were just longer. Even the soundtrack is the same and everything.

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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Time

Erikstormtrooper said:

I haven't had a chance to listen to this yet. Are the lines different when Han is talking to the Cloud Car pilot?

Nope.  Exactly the same as the 35mm.  R2 does not taste very good, the shelter is built, Yoda does not squawk with fear when Luke points the blaster at him, Chewie does not roar and drown out part of Leia's dialogue when he strangles Lando, Luke doesn't say "this is it!" before Zev is blown up, C-3PO doesn't say "there's nowhere to go" in the asteroid field, Leia still says "I know where Luke is", etc.  Apparently most of the SE dialogue changes really were just revisionism, and most of the 'Story of ESB' differences seem to be exclusive to that version.

The only different ADR I heard was Lando at the end.  "Luke, we're ready for takeoff" is the one heard in the SE, while "Princess, we'll find Han--I promise" is different take that I've never heard before.  Hearing that scene without the extra music and without the line "When we find Jabba the Hutt and that bounty hunter, we'll contact you" is strange, but it works in its own way.

When Luke runs out of the wampa cave, there was a sound of his lightsaber deactivating, as there is in the SE.  This has to have been done mistakenly, because onscreen it stays lit, which is probably why the 35mm mix removed it.  The double-ignition thing is still there.  I heard different laserfire during the Battle of Hoth at one point (the sound used for TIE fighters rather than X-wings), and there is a different sound for TIE fighter engines after the magic tree scene (not the one used for the SE), but other than that it was all extremely similar.  The levels may have been different at times but it is hard to tell due to the nature of the recording.

If msycamore says the length of the bacta tank scene is exactly the same, I believe him, because it certainly sounded that way to me.  They must have simply edited the picture differently but kept it the same length.  It seems to me that the ESB 70mm version really is virtually the same film, just with a few small things that were finalised afterwards.  The kind of large changes made to the SW mono mix are not to be found here, though admittedly it is the only one of the three movies to have actual visual differences.