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Info: Mike Verta’s 4K Restoration - May 2020 Livestream

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I just stumbled upon Mike Verta’s livestream from May 2020 about his unreleased 4K restoration. I remember him working on this a number of years ago, when he was about to present it to Fox and Disney. In this livestream he gives some new info about it. Pretty interesting stuff! I wish Disney would just release his restoration. It looks phenomenal!
https://youtu.be/G3W_O-tp0_g

 

Mod Eidt: For info… here is the link to mverta’s StarWarsLegacy.com - The Official Thread

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Do you mean the image stacking approach with several prints? Surely an interesting and quite perfect approach. But as he stated, he invested (ten)thousands of $ in this private project and though i think not possible for this preservation community.
I do respect his ethical choice to not make it public, but deep inside me I wish he would for the sake of preservation of modern culture.
It would be interesting what Disney thinks about this particularly project and thoughts of doing it also. From my point of view it wouldn’t be a hassle for them with their resources. They could launch it to cinemas and after that physical, nearly everyone of the fanbase and half or three-quarters of other people would watch it several times in the cinema and buy the blu-ray (1080p and 4K).

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He has finished his restoration from the multiple prints, and he has given it to Disney. So they have it. However, he hopes to eventually get a scan of the negative to use as an additional source in the future. Probably won’t happen, but we can hope. I just hope one day Disney will choose to release it on home video to the public. He’s done some fine work!

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Did he really gave them the project? For me it seems he just showed it to them.
Why does he hope to get a scan of the negativ when its majority is severely deteriorated and has little use for such a project?

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The majority of the negative is not “severely deteriorated.” I don’t know where you’re getting that. The negatives were physically restored in 1995/96 for the original SE, and scanned for the 2004 DVD/HDTV masters (also used for the 2011 Blu’s), and again for the 4K Disney+/UHD Blu-Ray release.

a trolling bantha

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Ok, than I appear to have false information. Long time ago I heard from someone who knows someone at Lucas film, the negativ wasn’t stored as it should’ve been and therefore most of it lost its quality. But alright, it is a delight to know it is intact.

Edit: I think, mike verta is telling something about fading, eroding of the original negativ, also.

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The original negative is faded because that’s what film does. It fades over time. All restorations of old films that go back to the negative have to deal with that, that’s nothing new. If that was a problem that couldn’t be solved, nothing made before 2000 would look good in HD.

a trolling bantha

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Star Wars is notable for how poorly the original elements of the film have fared. For one, the film negative had severe problems with fading which made it difficult to restore even in 1997, and it has only faded more since then. There is also the fragility of the negative - certain parts were lost when subjected to the cleaning process.

Most restorations, when faced with these difficulties, would turn to an interpositive print or (ideally) the color separation masters, but in the case of Star Wars the separation masters were botched in production or storage and the interpositives were badly degraded due to the many print runs struck from them.

Most old black and white or Technicolor films don’t have the problems of Star Wars due to being very dye stable over time, and after Star Wars Kodak fixed their dye stability issues. So Star Wars suffers from a number of issues and extenuating circumstances which are fairly unique to this film.

Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? - oojason
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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So, it’s impossible to restore the original Star Wars to a professional level?

That’s a bummer, then.

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Lots of classic films (My Fair Lady, Lawrence of Arabia, for example), have had partially or completely destroyed negatives and managed to go on to have extraordinary restorations, using IP’s, private collector prints, and so on. That said, the film stock quality for those films was much better than the film stock used for Star Wars and Empire. It’s a matter of will, and that’s the main thing missing at Lucasfilm.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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CatBus said:

Lots of classic films (My Fair Lady, Lawrence of Arabia, for example), have had partially or completely destroyed negatives and managed to go on to have extraordinary restorations, using IP’s, private collector prints, and so on. That said, the film stock quality for those films was much better than the film stock used for Star Wars and Empire. It’s a matter of will, and that’s the main thing missing at Lucasfilm.

Exactly. It should be possible to use at least 2/3rds of the separation masters and IP’s/Technicolor prints and wind up with a brilliant restoration without even using the original negative. The reasons for not doing it have nothing to do with Lucasfilm’s technical ability.

Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? - oojason
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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So, from what I’m understanding, restoring Star Wars professionally could be possible, it would just take a lot of effort.

Disney hasn’t exactly been synonymous with effort recently, so I’m still worried, but at least it’s a possibility.

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It probably wouldn’t even take that much effort. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s already done, they just haven’t said anything about it, mostly because they don’t have any actual plans to do anything with it.

I have always found it highly doubtful there was ever a time when Lucasfilm was honestly considering using Verta’s restoration. I couldn’t explain why they supposedly took a meeting with him to discuss that restoration other than I’m sure someone cashed in a friendly favor, but I just don’t think it was ever going to happen.

The premise was always sort of self-defeating, for one thing: They don’t want to spend money on a restoration, so they’ll just license (? if that’s even the right term) a fan’s. OK. But if they were willing to go any sort of licensing route, why would they be talking to Verta instead of any other film company (namely, Criterion) who would be more than willing to PAY THEM for the opportunity to do it instead of the other way around. And then lets say this restoration is financially successful: They either got for free, or paid a small fee to use, Verta’s restoration and then hypothetically made a bunch of money on it. There’s still two other films in the trilogy that are completely unrestored now. Do we just only have the restored Star Wars and that’s it? Where do the other two restorations come from? How long do people have to wait to get them? Who is paying who to do them?

If ever there was going to be a restoration that became salable product, it was only ever going to be done in-house, or a licensed deal with a third party company who could do all three at once to a consistent level, and who would likely be willing to pay a decent price for the opportunity to do it.

And honestly, if they were ever going to make whatever restoration efforts a salable product intended for the consumer market, THAT’S probably when you’d see a bunch copyright strikes, DMCA takedowns, and the sorts of actions that we’ve been afraid of for over 20 years now. I think we’ll have a good idea if and when a original theatrical versions is actually coming to market because the fan-restoration “market” will get noticeably disrupted ahead of time.

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i think there would be no need for them to include a third party company (like criterion) to pay to get the permission to do a restoration as they would make a lot of money just bringing it to cinema and blu-ray sale on there own again, probably high third figure million of dollars.

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I think them licensing the OT to a boutique home video company like Criterion or ShoutFactory is unlikely as well, but it’s a couple degrees more likely than letting a fan-restoration become official product. IF an official release of the original theatrical versions ever happens again, they’ll do their own restoration work in-house (if it’s not already done) and they’ll put it on Disney+ as a bonus feature. They won’t re-release it in theaters or put it on disc. If you want the original theatrical versions in 4K, they’ll be there, and you gotta pay 6.99 a month to watch them legally.

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Disney has every motivation they could possibly need to restore and release the original versions. They paid $20 billion more than they’d originally planned (which was already something like $50 billion) to buy 20th Century Fox thanks to the bidding war they ended up in with Comcast. The original Star Wars was one of the films they gained the rights to in the buyout, along with the other five pre-ST films. Are we really to think 2020 was the last time we’ll see a new release of these movies?

With all of the talk these days about how movie theaters are hurting financially, it would sure make Disney look good if, let’s say, three years from now they were to release an unaltered OOT restoration in theaters and have that be the only way you could see it. They would of course announce a home release months later, but the message they’d be sending in the meantime about how they respect the history of their films and how much it means to their fans, not to mention the importance of the theatrical experience, would ultimately benefit their bottom line.

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Broom Kid said:

There’s still two other films in the trilogy that are completely unrestored now. Do we just only have the restored Star Wars and that’s it? Where do the other two restorations come from? How long do people have to wait to get them? Who is paying who to do them?

Star Wars is the real problem, there’s a reason it’s taken the most effort to restore, doesn’t even compare to the work put into ESB and ROTJ, there’s despecializing and there’s restoration.

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” - DV

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That doesn’t answer the question in the hypothetical though, and that’s a question that absolutely would have been asked by basically anyone in the company thinking of agreeing to this vague “deal.” I simply don’t believe they were ever going to seriously consider using Verta’s single restoration of 1/3rd of a trilogy. It just doesn’t make any sense in terms of logistics.

Are we really to think 2020 was the last time we’ll see a new release of these movies?

On physical media? Sure. If only because I believe they’re trying to push people who want catalog product to Disney+ and Hulu.

They’re issuing DCPs of the 2011 blu-ray cuts to theaters and drive-ins now. They’re going to premiere Mulan on Disney+ for an added fee, and they’ll probably do the same for Black Widow later in the year if Mulan turns a profit (and it likely will). Disney is preparing for the death of theaters. They’re not really looking to save them - They’ve been doing THAT for the past 10 years already, and it ended up not really mattering in the face of this pandemic.

Stuff like an offical original theatrical Star Wars Trilogy restoration is absolutely going to be something they use to drive subscriptions to streaming, not to drive people to the movie theater. That’s the future we’re looking at.

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We always circle back to this argument and the conclusion is always the same: there’s far less incentive for Disney to release the unaltered original trilogy than fans estimate (the home video market is effectively dead and the number of people who know or care enough to seek out the original versions of these movies are diminishing by the day). Combine that with an internal reluctance at Lucasfilm to go against Lucas’s wishes for these movies, and there’s not really any plausible reality in which these movies are released anytime soon.

The good news, though, is projects like Despecialized and 4K77 exist and account for virtually every taste. Want something that feels like a modern home video release? Despecialized’s got you. Want a more true, warts-and-all preservation? Great! There’s 4K77. Sure, an official release would be nice, but I suspect I’d still opt for 4K77 even in that hypothetical scenario because I just don’t see Disney offering up a true preservation like that to modern audiences.

Anyway, as for Verta, do we have receipts that he ever actually met with Disney/Fox? Wouldn’t be the first time he’s, uh, shall we say, told stories from “a certain point of view.”

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NeverarGreat said:

Star Wars is notable for how poorly the original elements of the film have fared. For one, the film negative had severe problems with fading which made it difficult to restore even in 1997, and it has only faded more since then. There is also the fragility of the negative - certain parts were lost when subjected to the cleaning process.

To expound on that for the curious:

Tanaka: I remember when we were working on the Star Wars restoration, that was a different process. I think we optically recreated interpositives. But in order to do this, it went through some kind of warm chemical bath cleansing. The weird thing about Star Wars was that it was made up of different film stocks, so it went through this bath and they didn’t know what would come out on the other end…

Parker: You mean if it would survive or not? ‘George we might destroy your entire film, but it’s… we think it’s going to be OK.’

Tanaka: There’s a space battle shot and a close-up on Hans Solo, and the original negative is coming out of this cleaning solution and it’s just acetate.

Parker: It’s all clear. Oh no, did the bath dissolve it?

Tanaka: Yeah, it dissolved it, depending on the film stock.

Source

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Stepping softly in a danger zone…

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DavidMDaut said:

there’s far less incentive for Disney to release the unaltered original trilogy than fans estimate (the home video market is effectively dead and the number of people who know or care enough to seek out the original versions of these movies are diminishing by the day).

I think you’re massively underestimating the Star Wars fanbase, in particular the fanbase of those who love the original film in its original theatrical form. This is a movie that literally millions of dedicated Star Wars fans haven’t been able to see, in an official way, for over 20 years (crappy GOUT version excluded).

And the home video market is nowhere near dead. What a strange thing to say. It’s pivoted to digitally-owned movies, sure. But dead? No way. In fact, it’s stronger than ever.

If Disney were to release the original theatrical version in 4K, the press would be all over it, and thousands upon thousands of people would buy or rent it. Guaranteed. Not to mention, with a little bit of marketing, Disney would reach the casual fans of the series who maybe hadn’t realized they’ve been watching an altered version.

Disney is literally sitting on a gold mine with this.

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44rh1n said:

And the home video market is nowhere near dead. What a strange thing to say. It’s pivoted to digitally-owned movies, sure. But dead? No way. In fact, it’s stronger than ever.

A lot of stories came out last year about how the home video market topped $25 billion. I’m guessing that’s what you’re referring to. It’s important to note, though, that the vast majority of that is in subscriptions to streaming services. Digital sales are rising, but not enough to offset the decline in purchases overall which dropped over 9% from 2018 and only accounted for $6 billion out of the aforementioned $25 billion (disc sales barely topped $3 billion).

https://variety.com/2020/digital/news/2019-us-home-entertainment-market-25-billion-1203463878/

At this point, the motivation to release the original films would lie solely in courting new subscribers to Disney+. The question, then, is how many new subscribers would they actually attract that hadn’t already signed up for the existing versions of the Star Wars movies or The Mandalorian or The Clone Wars, and is that enough to justify the cost of restoring the original films and potentially invoking the wrath of George Lucas? The answer, as ever, is probably not.

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CatBus said:

44rh1n said:

Disney is literally sitting on a gold mine with this.

Stage 1 😉

😂 I know Disney has no interest in releasing it. I accepted that a long time ago. That doesn’t mean it’s not a gold mine though!