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Info: Mike Verta’s 4K Restoration - May 2020 Livestream — Page 2

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In my opinion, the original Star Wars will only be released after George Lucas dies. Disney clearly wants the original versions to be released, but they will never have the guts to go against his wishes while he’s still alive. After he dies, they’ll probably still hold off the release for a few years in order to avoid seeming insensitive, but after a while they’ll release the original.

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As always, restoring the film is pocket change compared to what is spent on other Disney properties. Lucas was the only one saying it would be costly, because he never wanted to do it in the first place. Disney has spent money on restoring Song Of The South, and that will be released on video when Walt’s head is defrosted. They’ll make their money back on a OOT restoration.

Lucas sold the moisture farm to Disney and essentially retired. What wrathful act is he going to do if the OOT was released? TP Disneyland?

And imagine being the guy who ran the negative through that chemical bath! Not sure I could live with myself if I’d partially destroyed Star Wars. I felt guilty tossing a silent B&W Ken Films SW reel my old projector chewed up. 😉

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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StarkillerAG said:

In my opinion, the original Star Wars will only be released after George Lucas dies. Disney clearly wants the original versions to be released, but they will never have the guts to go against his wishes while he’s still alive. After he dies, they’ll probably still hold off the release for a few years in order to avoid seeming insensitive, but after a while they’ll release the original.

After dumping his final production Strange Magic and blowing off his ideas for the sequels, I have doubts that they are really that considerate of his wishes.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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My point is merely that if Disney really wanted to release the original films they’d have done it by now. As people inside Lucasfilm have indicated, the primary obstacle to an official release is Lucas’s wishes. Some have interpreted that to mean it’s a contractual obligation; I find that unlikely. I think it’s simply a calculated trade-off.

Whatever Disney estimates they could earn from a release isn’t worth losing having Lucas in good (enough) graces to occasionally show up for the opening ceremony of a new theme park land or maybe drop in at Star Wars Celebration. In other words, they’re willing to risk alienating him over the direction of VII, VIII, and IX, but not on a home video release of the original movies. To me, that says all that needs to be said about how Disney estimates their value.

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44rh1n said:

I wish Disney would just release his restoration. It looks phenomenal!

Mike’s “restoration” (if you can call it that, it’s really more of a fan-made special edition) is not a professional restoration. From feedback I received from someone who has seen it, it’s inconsistent and the best looking shots are ones where the camera is static since Mike focused on resolution and dirt removal. The reason why it looks phenomenal in his previews is because he’s hand-picked his best looking shots. Since resolution was his focus he also oversharpened the entire movie, not unlike the 2004 Lowry Digital restoration. As per his own videos he rotoscoped certain elements to make them sharper (for example the opening crawl) resulting in them looking nothing like they do on film. The re-compositing is ironically the same thing that GL did in 1997 as the main changes for the Special Edition, and Mike has also fixed things in the original the he didn’t like, so it’s odd that MV calls his edition a “restoration” when he’s making similar changes to what GL did, just using different tools and techniques. From what I understand the quality of the movie is not consistent since the techniques that he developed only work well for certain shots and not others. Mike’s creative decisions aside, he doesn’t have the tools or expertise for correct colour timing, to fix warpage, or reduce flicker.

This isn’t to criticise Mike, I haven’t seen Legacy myself. It’s his project and up to him to decide what he likes. It’s just to let people know that Mike’s idea of a completed restoration is an edition that he is happy with, with a bunch of changes in it, which looks different to the original film due to his own creative decisions, and without many of the restorative corrections made which most people would expect out of a professional restoration. If you want the original Star Wars, the O-OT, Legacy isn’t it. If Disney released it, well I honestly don’t know who it would really please (besides Mike obviously) we’d still be asking them to restore and release the original 1977 movie without any changes.

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RU.08 said:

44rh1n said:

I wish Disney would just release his restoration. It looks phenomenal!

Mike’s “restoration” (if you can call it that, it’s really more of a fan-made special edition) is not a professional restoration. From feedback I received from someone who has seen it, it’s inconsistent and the best looking shots are ones where the camera is static since Mike focused on resolution and dirt removal. The reason why it looks phenomenal in his previews is because he’s hand-picked his best looking shots. Since resolution was his focus he also oversharpened the entire movie, not unlike the 2004 Lowry Digital restoration. As per his own videos he rotoscoped certain elements to make them sharper (for example the opening crawl) resulting in them looking nothing like they do on film. The re-compositing is ironically the same thing that GL did in 1997 as the main changes for the Special Edition, and Mike has also fixed things in the original the he didn’t like, so it’s odd that MV calls his edition a “restoration” when he’s making similar changes to what GL did, just using different tools and techniques. From what I understand the quality of the movie is not consistent since the techniques that he developed only work well for certain shots and not others. Mike’s creative decisions aside, he doesn’t have the tools or expertise for correct colour timing, to fix warpage, or reduce flicker.

This isn’t to criticise Mike, I haven’t seen Legacy myself. It’s his project and up to him to decide what he likes. It’s just to let people know that Mike’s idea of a completed restoration is an edition that he is happy with, with a bunch of changes in it, which looks different to the original film due to his own creative decisions, and without many of the restorative corrections made which most people would expect out of a professional restoration. If you want the original Star Wars, the O-OT, Legacy isn’t it. If Disney released it, well I honestly don’t know who it would really please (besides Mike obviously) we’d still be asking them to restore and release the original 1977 movie without any changes.

Interesting though, of course I was happy to hear what he did but also I questioned the volume of his „restoration“. He put out a 3h stream and shows only 4 images, if I recall it correctly. It is really funny that someone always know someone in this microcosmos^^ Thanks for that insight! And I agree, with legacy, we still would scream for oot 😄

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I don’t think it is possible for anyone to ever release any sort of restoration on any part of the Original Trilogy that wont immediately be regarded as inferior to what is actually desired.

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Rodney-2187 said:

I don’t think it is possible for anyone to ever release any sort of restoration on any part of the Original Trilogy that wont immediately be regarded as inferior to what is actually desired.

True, but 4k83 in theory gets pretty darn close to what’s desired since it’s from a show print directly off the negative.

4k77 uses a tech print which is also, theoretically, closer to the resolution of the camera negative than any run of the mill print could provide.

I’m not sure what’s being used for 4k80.

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Okay so I watched a little bit of the vid, and I can tell you that Mike is being both loose with the truth, and not fully forthcoming about what he has changed. The '77 crawl as I mentioned he rotoscoped every letter, it’s in one of his Vimeo videos, yet he says it’s what he got just from layering prints! He removed the colour distortions from optical compositing and the “garbage mattes” from space composites because he feels that audiences didn’t see them in 1977. That’d be no different to claiming that Terminator audiences in 1984 didn’t see the wires attached to the HK models as a justification for removing them. He goes on about how the Mos Eisley drive-through shot is the worst looking shot in the film, but he doesn’t make clear that lots of movies have one low quality shot like that in them, or that actually all of the optical composite shots especially involving optical zooms, dissolves, and wipes typically come out at lower quality. Which is why higher budget films do those effects using a 65mm intermediate. Touching them up to bring them up to the quality of the rest of the film is exactly what the intention of the 1997 Special Edition was - it was a photochemical restoration more than anything else, with a few CGI shots inserted.

Finally Mike says that Legacy is the “original version” - I disagree. It’s his version, that he is happy with and that’s perfectly fine. But he has made alterations to it to make it the way he feels the movie should look, including making it way sharper than was ever intended in 1977.

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SilverWook said:

StarkillerAG said:

In my opinion, the original Star Wars will only be released after George Lucas dies. Disney clearly wants the original versions to be released, but they will never have the guts to go against his wishes while he’s still alive. After he dies, they’ll probably still hold off the release for a few years in order to avoid seeming insensitive, but after a while they’ll release the original.

After dumping his final production Strange Magic and blowing off his ideas for the sequels, I have doubts that they are really that considerate of his wishes.

But those were done in a very low-key way, not really in public view. I doubt they’d go against Lucas’ wishes publicly, especially not to the degree of visibility that a release of the OOT would have.

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RU.08 said:

Finally Mike says that Legacy is the “original version” - I disagree. It’s his version, that he is happy with and that’s perfectly fine. But he has made alterations to it to make it the way he feels the movie should look, including making it way sharper than was ever intended in 1977.

In other words, it’s an elaborate fan-edit, only this one he isn’t sharing it–not in its entirety, anyway.

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alexp120 said:

In other words, it’s an elaborate fan-edit, only this one he isn’t sharing it–not in its entirety, anyway.

That is probably the most charitable way to describe it.

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StarkillerAG said:

SilverWook said:

StarkillerAG said:

In my opinion, the original Star Wars will only be released after George Lucas dies. Disney clearly wants the original versions to be released, but they will never have the guts to go against his wishes while he’s still alive. After he dies, they’ll probably still hold off the release for a few years in order to avoid seeming insensitive, but after a while they’ll release the original.

After dumping his final production Strange Magic and blowing off his ideas for the sequels, I have doubts that they are really that considerate of his wishes.

But those were done in a very low-key way, not really in public view. I doubt they’d go against Lucas’ wishes publicly, especially not to the degree of visibility that a release of the OOT would have.

Except I seriously doubt George cares anymore at this point. He released the unaltered cuts on dvd. Laserdisc ports, sure, but he did release them. He even changed his tune circa 2010 from “the unaltereds aren’t my vision for the saga” to “they’re too expensive to restore right now.” He let the Academy screen a 70mm of the ‘81 ANH just last year.

When he sold Star Wars for $4 Billion, he let it go.

George is not the problem anymore, it’s Disney.

Now, it might very well be the case that the bean-counters have decided the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. It might also be the case that they’re simply sitting on an OOT restoration intentionally biding their time. I swore up and down that people would not be nearly as enthusiastic about spending their money on “Jedi Rocks but in 4k hdr this time” after three rounds of revisions to these classics. It could turn out that Disney simply wanted to cash in on the latest format and still has the OOT in their back pocket for when the well dries up.

Time will tell.

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Maybe Apple will buy Disney and fix it all. 😄

Imgur

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alexp120 said:

In other words, it’s an elaborate fan-edit, only this one he isn’t sharing it–not in its entirety, anyway.

Mike’s special edition is probably more accurate, after all it is scene-for-scene accurate to the original 1977 film!

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I wouldn’t call it a special edition, this site is so hair trigger on anything that could be designated a change I think we miss the forest for the trees, if Lucas was only ever removing the garbage mattes I don’t think this conversation would even be happening. Fan-edit seems needlessly harsh too, Mike himself has changed his own view on alterations to very minor effect shots he’s decided to instead preserve rather than fix even when preservation is a lot more time consuming and counter intuitive than a fix. It’s much more of a true remaster.

I think there’s some sour grapes on here because we don’t have access to Legacy, but this is more than a decade of work and it has been a labor of love, I’m not comfortable brushing aside all that dedication and effort as MV just doing whatever he wants, he could really be much less considerate if it was the case that he was exclusively altering to personal taste.

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

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My understanding is that the problem with the color separation master is that that films have shrunk at different rates. In the early 90’s that meant they were useless. It is 2020 and I can’t even count the number of old technicolor films that have been restored from such non-aligned masters by doing it digitally. So an excellent restoration could be made from them today.

The negative was badly faded in the early 90’s. If storage conditions have been improved and it has been cared for, there is no reason to assume it has faded more. And we don’t seem to be in a position to know if a new color separation master was made to archive the negative so that even if the original deteriorated, they would have a copy as it was then. The new D+ scan (which appears to be 8 years old at this point) shows as much color as any of the older telecines made from interpositives of the o-neg. So whatever the state, it is good enough to get a really good scan. So whatever they have done since the early 90’s, the film is in pretty good shape.

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Yes, my understanding of the separation master is that the cyan version was mis-aligned, something that could be corrected digitally with ease today.

As for the Kodak negative, I haven’t ever heard of a way to stop the fading of a print entirely. At some point those Kodak prints will completely fade to red no matter how well they are stored.

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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act on instinct said:

I think there’s some sour grapes on here because we don’t have access to Legacy, but this is more than a decade of work and it has been a labor of love, I’m not comfortable brushing aside all that dedication and effort as MV just doing whatever he wants, he could really be much less considerate if it was the case that he was exclusively altering to personal taste.

Speaking only for myself, this isn’t a case of sour grapes. I’m very happy with version 1.0 of 4K77, and the improvements being worked on for 2.0 just push it over the top. No, the reason I’m down on Verta is because he’s courted this cult of personality surrounding himself predicated on this hypothetically perfect preservation of Star Wars that, after all these years, he still has almost nothing to show from it. Further, what little he has shown, it seems clear that he is grossly misrepresenting the process used to achieve those results (I’m trying very hard not to use the word “lie”). I’m just very exhausted by having to continually pretend that Verta’s Legacy project is worth being discussed in the same conversation as legitimate works of preservation and reconstruction like 4K77 or Despecialized. Or worse, that it is somehow superior to those efforts despite the fact that not a soul on Earth has seen it. If Mike ever sees fit to release this thing, I’m more than happy to evaluate it on its own merits. I look forward to having that conversation in the year 2086. In the meantime, I wish we could all move on and stop hailing as a hero the guy selling something that, at this point, might just be snake oil.

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My feelings on the project are complicated.

On the one hand, it is clear that he has spent a vast amount of time and money to bring together a large collection of sources for a restoration, and he clearly believes that the results have been worth it. I appreciate and applaud the enthusiasm.

On the other hand, the results he touts in his videos of doubling the detail in the final result simply aren’t apparent to me. The resultant image has less grain, but the way he has described his detail recruitment algorithm makes it clear that there’s not much benefit in stacking sources and the majority of the detail may be coming from temporal super resolution instead. The issue is that he describes his algorithm as using a weighted average in determining a pixel’s value across multiple stacked prints. However, if an image is blurry and low-detail from several generations of printing, it will be blurry in the average of these values as well. Worse, if you have a single high quality print stacked with several lower-quality prints, a weighted value would result in the lower-quality image. The only appreciable gain would be in removing the grain, which is what we see from his process.

I made a comment to this effect and even started an entire thread discussing a potential solution:

https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Info-The-Ultimate-Super-Resolution-Technique/id/52162

I would really like to do a test to see if this would actually work.

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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If no one ever gets to see it, does any of it matter?

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act on instinct said:

I think there’s some sour grapes on here because we don’t have access to Legacy, but this is more than a decade of work and it has been a labor of love, I’m not comfortable brushing aside all that dedication and effort as MV just doing whatever he wants, he could really be much less considerate if it was the case that he was exclusively altering to personal taste.

There’s no sour-grapes from me, I just want people to know/understand what Legacy is and what it isn’t. It’s up to people to decide for themselves whether they would call this project a “restoration” or something else. I personally would not call it a “restoration” and whether you want to call it a “fan made special edition” or “fan edit” or something else is up to you.

There are many issues with 4K77 as well of course that make it at best an incomplete restoration, and some of the decisions there were as well to remove some of the imperfections that are in the original film rather than only print/scan imperfections like dirt and scanner noise. As far as fan projects go of course it is very good and really significant improvements will require new film scans (not easy to acquire!)

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NeverarGreat said:

My feelings on the project are complicated.

On the one hand, it is clear that he has spent a vast amount of time and money to bring together a large collection of sources for a restoration, and he clearly believes that the results have been worth it. I appreciate and applaud the enthusiasm.

On the other hand, the results he touts in his videos of doubling the detail in the final result simply aren’t apparent to me. The resultant image has less grain, but the way he has described his detail recruitment algorithm makes it clear that there’s not much benefit in stacking sources and the majority of the detail may be coming from temporal super resolution instead. The issue is that he describes his algorithm as using a weighted average in determining a pixel’s value across multiple stacked prints. However, if an image is blurry and low-detail from several generations of printing, it will be blurry in the average of these values as well. Worse, if you have a single high quality print stacked with several lower-quality prints, a weighted value would result in the lower-quality image. The only appreciable gain would be in removing the grain, which is what we see from his process.

I made a comment to this effect and even started an entire thread discussing a potential solution:

https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Info-The-Ultimate-Super-Resolution-Technique/id/52162

I would really like to do a test to see if this would actually work.

They way he described it was that he was removing grain that was the result of additional generations. So yes, the grain is reduced/removed, but if he did it right, it would be the o-neg level of grain which was made worse with each generation. The Tech-IB prints don’t have a lot of generations, a color separation and a dye print, but it would remove anything made worse from those. By also applying the frame before and frame after, you could remove even more grain. Several of the shots in ANH look really bad because it is normal 35 mm shots with several generations of FX processing over it. I think his goal was to try to remove that error. From watching his videos, he tried to correct several things in his project that were the result of compositing. Not sure I agree with that for a preservation, but that is what I would hope to seen in a modern restoration of those shots.

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So, the O-negative had badly faded by 1994, so it seems like that means that what Lucasfilm is calling the O-negative is actually partially (or mostly) comprised of new film printed in the 90s. We know parts of the o-negative were unusable, and other parts were destroyed in the cleaning process. Damaged sections were re-created from the separation masters, interpositives, and internegatives. Any shots containing CGI (including digital recomposites) were rendered in 2K and then printed to film in 1997.

So when they did the 4K scan, most of what they were scanning would logically have to be new film printed in the 90s, correct? Also, is it possible that the 1997 version contains more frames from the actual o-negative than the 4K scan? It seems like if there were any o-negative frames in 1994 that had survived with minimal fading, then the fading would have been even worse by the time they started working on the 4K version.

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yotsuya said:

They way he described it was that he was removing grain that was the result of additional generations. So yes, the grain is reduced/removed, but if he did it right, it would be the o-neg level of grain which was made worse with each generation.

That’s what he said but it’s not what he did.

However, as someone who watches quite a lot of 35mm projected I can tell you the grain you see in a scan, even a top-quality scan with no visible scanner noise, is significantly more than is apparent on projection. So it is quite reasonable to do some grain reduction to match projection.

Cthulhunicron said:

So, the O-negative had badly faded by 1994, so it seems like that means that what Lucasfilm is calling the O-negative is actually partially (or mostly) comprised of new film printed in the 90s. We know parts of the o-negative were unusable, and other parts were destroyed in the cleaning process. Damaged sections were re-created from the separation masters, interpositives, and internegatives. Any shots containing CGI (including digital recomposites) were rendered in 2K and then printed to film in 1997.

So when they did the 4K scan, most of what they were scanning would logically have to be new film printed in the 90s, correct? Also, is it possible that the 1997 version contains more frames from the actual o-negative than the 4K scan? It seems like if there were any o-negative frames in 1994 that had survived with minimal fading, then the fading would have been even worse by the time they started working on the 4K version.

There’s plenty of material because they kept everything. The best material is the camera negative, then there’s the dupe positives, the dupe negatives, the separation masters, and so on.

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