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Empire Strikes back 35mm restoration feedback thread (POUT)

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 (Edited)

This thread is intended for feedback on the ESB restoration from 35mm. The intention is to restore to a pretty clean print, the kind you would see in the first few weeks of the print run.
For the most part, compositing dirt and other foibles of the 1980 35mm release are going to be left in, including cue-dots, splicing glue and dirt in the elements that are common to all prints, variations in black levels and grain (during comps particularly) yet maintaining the level of grain that would be visible during projection.
The intention is to have the experience of viewing the print in 1980, as close to possible as it was.

I will likely be creating a slightly cleaner version with comp dirt and glue splices removed, and levels adjusted scene by scenes to remove the pink ships and brownish composites and varying black levels, and having a consistent grain, but that will be once this is done.

The samples posted so far have not been colour adjusted, and I am working in P3, so they may look a lot darker to you if you are viewing in Windows/OSX on a standard monitor or TV.

Please keep this thread to feedback, the other thread is for general discussion.

Reel1 is here https://infinit.io/_/jQdcNqd, it is around 75% restored, it still has some large blobs, flicker, missing frames and threepio hasn’t been done yet, but otherwise it is a reasonable indication of what I am shooting for.

Let the feedback commence!

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There is hair or something in the fox fan-fare (top of frame in a searchlight, frames 81-220)
Imgur

and there is a blue noise under the Lucasfilm Limited card (frames 252-465)
Imgur

are those they types of things you are looking for?

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There are a lot of compression artifacts in the video, so much so that I can’t comment with certainty on the dirt and grain in all shots, but overall it looks quite good. Some shots are very crisp and clean, others are grainy as I expect they would have been in the theater. The highlights seem clipped on Hoth, but perhaps that’s just because of the colorspace. All in all, I wouldn’t mind this being my go-to version 😉

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The hair in the fox logo is in every fox film from that era, so I am leaving it in. The blue under the logo is in a ton of prints, but not all of them, so I will be taking it out.
The highlight clipping is a result of the colour space conversion, they won’t be clipped in the final. I’m also looking for feedback on anywhere where the cleanup may have caused problems. I have a list of a dozen or so frames I have noticed that I need to redo.

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I can render a less compressed version if there is interest.

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poita said:

The hair in the fox logo is in every fox film from that era, so I am leaving it in.

Gotcha, figured i would ask. I actually kind of like a few things in there like that to remind me it is a film 😃

poita said:

I’m also looking for feedback on anywhere where the cleanup may have caused problems.

Ok, i will keep an eye out for cleanup mistakes primarily

poita said:

I can render a less compressed version if there is interest.

it might make things a little clearer. i would be interested, but can probably make do with what you already posted

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It’s looking very grainy, especially when compared to IB tech scans of Star Wars. I guess it could be in large part due to the blue-cast? Did the print really have that much grain in it when projected in 1980?

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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 (Edited)

It had considerably more grain when projected in 1980, and still does 😃 This sample has had the grain markedly reduced.
However, he opening fox logo is extremely grainy as it is a stock piece that was used and reprinted over and over again for every Fox release from the late 70s through to most of the 80s.
It is by far the grainiest part of the whole thing, so don’t take it as an example of the rest of the film.

Any of the scenes with multiple elements composited are also grainier as they have multiple layers each with its own grain pattern.

If you project this sample, onto a reasonable sized screen, it will also look less grainy than on a computer monitor. It will also look a bit less so once the contrast is balanced a little.
However, people are becoming more and more sensitive to grain as we see current movies shot without it or on ultra-fine grain film stocks, which is why so many older films are scrubbed clean for BD release.

You will notice some shots where done on different stock, you can see some fine grain scenes followed by very grainy scenes.

I will probably reduce the grain on the grainer sections to try and get a more consistent look on the ‘next’ version, but will be keeping it as to the print (with all its varying grain) for the first version.

Less compressed version uploading now: https://infinit.io/_/34Eyh4J. it should be up in about a hour or so.

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But Star Wars has way less grain than that! Did they use a particularly grainy film in the camera negative?

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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 (Edited)

RU.08 said:

But Star Wars has way less grain than that! Did they use a particularly grainy film in the camera negative?

IB Techs are made a very different way, which has less grain. Also Star Wars is for the most part, a pretty ‘bright’ film, shot with plenty of light, which allows for finer grained film stocks, and the amount of layers in composites are way, way less than in Empire, which had much deeper composites (some of the asteroid scenes went through the optical printer 75 times!), and is for the most part a dark film, shot with less light and grainier stock, and was never released as an IB tech.

There are some finer grain scenes in Empire, but mostly the stage scenes which are better lit.





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Right, but my understanding is that most grain is in the camera negative because it had to be shot at 24fps (or up to 120fps for slow motion), whereas later generations were duped using more sensitive film?

Like with like:

Star Wars
Empire Strikes Back

For the benefit of the forum, I understand poita’s Empire scans were done using state of the art equipment that introduces virtually no “scanner noise”. The “blue-yellow” grain in particular is far higher than is visible on Star Wars. I’m curious as to whether it really represents how the Kodak stock looked in 1980 or whether the grain has accentuated itself over time?

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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That is a 38 layer comp vs a three layer comp, plus the Empire scene is considerably darker. The Star Wars shot looks grainer and more contrasty to me looking at those two shots. The bright lighting makes quite a difference though.
If you want to compare like with like, look at a well lit interior shot from both films. IB prints have almost no grain, whereas the Kodak stock is considerably grainier. An IB will always look considerably less grainy.

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Sorry, I love you poita.

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Love means never having to say you are sorry.

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Love means never having to say you are sorry.

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<grin>

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poita said:

Love means never having to say you are sorry.

Haha! Perfect!

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poita said:

That is a 38 layer comp vs a three layer comp, plus the empire scene is considerably darker. If you want to compare like with like, look at a well lit interior shot from both films. IB prints have almost no grain, whereas the Kodak stock is considerably grainier.

38 layers? Why?

Sure, as you and I agree SW is much less grainy.

“Like with Like”:

SW
ESB

“Leia with Leia”:

SW
ESB

My question is, is this really how it looked in 1980 or has 36+ years of age on the film stock accentuated the grain?

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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It’s not the age of the print, it’s just the print itself.

You’re comparing two very different film stocks/processes. And two films that were shot very differently (Leia on the Tantive is very bright, Leia in the Hoth base is dark).

To answer your answer: yes this film was more than likely that grainy in 1980.

I don’t know when people last saw an actual film print in a theater but whenever my local art theater has a film print of an older movie I am surprised by how soft it looks. Even a modern film like The Game which I saw a couple months ago was soft and grainy.

Technicolor prints (and nitrate prints) are amazing to watch projected. Cheap Eastman prints… meh.

What’s the internal temperature of a TaunTaun? Luke warm.

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I’ve seen several 35mm prints projected in the last couple of years Mav, as I live closeby to a cinema that screens them quite regularly. The most recent 35mm print I saw was Thunderdome and it didn’t look grainy at all for the most part (some comp shots did). It is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that most film grain is in the camera negative because it has to be fast-exposure film - i.e. shot at 24fps or faster if you want slow motion. Later generations of film, including prints, used longer exposures and more sensitive dyes with finer grain fidelity.

I am genuinely surprised there is such a difference between Star Wars and Empire

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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Like Poita said: Star Wars has a classical Hollywood look to it: lots of bright light, contrast etc. Empire has a more realistic look to it. They may have used a higher ISO filmstock or pushed it during development to make it more sensitive to light.

What’s the internal temperature of a TaunTaun? Luke warm.

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RU.08 said:

I’ve seen several 35mm prints projected in the last couple of years Mav, as I live closeby to a cinema that screens them quite regularly. The most recent 35mm print I saw was Thunderdome and it didn’t look grainy at all for the most part (some comp shots did). It is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that most film grain is in the camera negative because it has to be fast-exposure film - i.e. shot at 24fps or faster if you want slow motion. Later generations of film, including prints, used longer exposures and more sensitive dyes with finer grain fidelity.

I am genuinely surprised there is such a difference between Star Wars and Empire

If you have an extremely fine grain print film stock, or an IB Tech print, then yes the grain is mostly in the negative. However the difference between an IB Tech print, and 1980 Eastman is staggering, a lot of the grain is on the print stock. Check out ESB on Fuji sometime, it is even grainier.
Anyway, if we could discuss it in the other thread, I would like to keep this on track to be specific feedback on specific scenes/frames of the film.

I am re-rendering reel1 with a bunch of changes fixed, and will upload it in the morning when it is done, so you all might want to hold off on feedback until it is up as I have re-done about 800 frames or so.

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