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Info: Mike Verta’s 4K Restoration - May 2020 Livestream — Page 3

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 (Edited)

RU.08 said:

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.

I know, but they said the o-negative has faded because it some of the film stock was notorious for quick fading, and some of it was unusable. Other sections of the negative were destroyed when they cleaned it. In 1997, they said they restored the negative by making duplications of sections from internegatives, interpositives, and the separation masters. So it seems to me that around 1997, what Lucasfilm is calling the “restored negative” (now conformed to the 97 SE), it would have to partially (or mostly) consist of new pieces of film printed in the 90s. All cgi shots were printed onto film, all digital composites were printed onto film, and the restored sections were new film created from IN, IP, or SM sources.

If there were any sections of the restored negative that were actually from the original negative, it seems like they would have faded even worse by 2013 when they did the 4K scan. Unless they were able to avoid additional fading through better storage methods. I suppose worst case scenario, if the sections of the negative that were printed prior to the 90s were unusable , they could have been scanned from the separation masters, since those don’t fade. I’ve heard even the IPs and INs had fading.

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While any of that speculation about continued fading might be true, it’s also important to remember that the tools available to deal with and correct those problems now are vastly superior to what was available in the ‘90’s.

So even if the film elements have continued to degrade, it may still be (and very likely is) possible to achieve better restorative results now than back then.

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Cthulhunicron said:

I know, but they said the o-negative has faded because it some of the film stock was notorious for quick fading, and some of it was unusable.

Film that couldn’t be scanned in the 90’s because it was too far faded can be scanned today.

Other sections of the negative were destroyed when they cleaned it.

No doubt, but there is as I said plenty of other material.

In 1997, they said they restored the negative by making duplications of sections from internegatives, interpositives, and the separation masters. So it seems to me that around 1997, what Lucasfilm is calling the “restored negative” (now conformed to the 97 SE), it would have to partially (or mostly) consist of new pieces of film printed in the 90s. All cgi shots were printed onto film, all digital composites were printed onto film, and the restored sections were new film created from IN, IP, or SM sources.

Right, but just because they printed those sections onto film doesn’t mean the interpos, dupe-neg, and separation film is gone.

If there were any sections of the restored negative that were actually from the original negative, it seems like they would have faded even worse by 2013 when they did the 4K scan.

Of course, but the scanning technology is much, much, much more advanced now. In the 90’s no one was scanning for digital 2K. They were doing it for TV, DVD, or digital effects on film.

Unless they were able to avoid additional fading through better storage methods. I suppose worst case scenario, if the sections of the negative that were printed prior to the 90s were unusable , they could have been scanned from the separation masters, since those don’t fade. I’ve heard even the IPs and INs had fading.

Separation masters are black-and-white film, so obviously can’t fade. That said, any dupe-neg would do fine to do a restoration from if the o-neg and the interpos are unavailable, and there would have been several dupe-negs.

__Valeyard.net

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DavidMDaut said:

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.

I think this is well said, some other similar posts saying the same too. Mike’s heart is in the right place, and good on him, and I too would love to see this in entirety one day, either officially released or not.
My one criticism (like others) would be in any situations where he is saying or even alluding that it’s a restoration in the more truest form. I for years have always said if you want to understand a true film restoration the stuff guys like Robert A. Harris’ have done, that is the science of restoring motion picture films. Unlikely it would happen but if a day came that Disney hired him and gave him all the support and access to source what he needed the world over, I feel we would see the right thing done without personal creative touches added.
Aside from that I think having guys like Mike with the legitimacy he has in that field helps, but it’s important his contributions are kept grounded and labelled correctly.

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CMMAP said:

To my understanding yet, not like the original negativ that was used in the camera but pretty close to this.
Here is an example of a shot from the SE 97 and in comparison his restoration:

SE 97
https://imgur.com/OGJBv7p.jpg

Verta
https://imgur.com/JJkb4pO.jpg

That first shot isn’t from the SE.

DavidMDaut said:

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.

I really think people are overestimating this whole “they aren’t doing it out of respect to George” angle on the situation. First off no evidence blatantly spells out that’s what it is. You can refer to KK’s or JJ’s vague comments but they don’t exactly spell out its George. There is Pablo Hidalgo‘s Tweet from 2-3 years ago where he said something like “only one man is preventing it and he doesn’t wanna do it at this time” or whatever but again we don’t know for sure he means George. Maybe he was referring to a Disney higher up. Who knows??

Which leads me to my second point. It’s Disney’s property. George sold them LF, they bought out Fox, basically everything and anything SW is there’s free and clear. If they wanna do it they are well within there rights to do so. Frankly I think they haven’t done it because it’s just not a priority to them. They wanna sell you the new Trilogy and new TV shows, etc. If you ask me there probably in enough heat with George cause of the ST that releasing the OUT probably won’t even seem as big an offense to him at this point. I really don’t think he cares. It’s not his money anymore.

No matter what way you spin it it’s all speculation. Granted do I think if it was meant to happen it would have by now?? Yes. I definitely am in the boat, albeit begrudgingly, that feels it’s just a dead issue at this point. What we’re getting with these fan restorations is probably as good as it gets at this stage. Would I like to be proven wrong?? Sure but I have to be true about where it’s at at the moment.

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crissrudd4554 said:

CMMAP said:

To my understanding yet, not like the original negativ that was used in the camera but pretty close to this.
Here is an example of a shot from the SE 97 and in comparison his restoration:

SE 97
https://imgur.com/OGJBv7p.jpg

Verta
https://imgur.com/JJkb4pO.jpg

That first shot isn’t from the SE.

DavidMDaut said:

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.

I really think people are overestimating this whole “they aren’t doing it out of respect to George” angle on the situation. First off no evidence blatantly spells out that’s what it is. You can refer to KK’s or JJ’s vague comments but they don’t exactly spell out its George. There is Pablo Hidalgo‘s Tweet from 2-3 years ago where he said something like “only one man is preventing it and he doesn’t wanna do it at this time” or whatever but again we don’t know for sure he means George. Maybe he was referring to a Disney higher up. Who knows??

I think Pablo’s quote was really the smoking gun in the whole situation. He said something along the lines of “someone doesn’t want it, you know who I’m talking about”, in a way that made it clear he was referring to George. I think there’s basically no ambiguity about it anymore. The only reason they’re not releasing it is out of respect to Lucas’ wishes.

Which leads me to my second point. It’s Disney’s property. George sold them LF, they bought out Fox, basically everything and anything SW is there’s free and clear. If they wanna do it they are well within there rights to do so. Frankly I think they haven’t done it because it’s just not a priority to them. They wanna sell you the new Trilogy and new TV shows, etc. If you ask me there probably in enough heat with George cause of the ST that releasing the OUT probably won’t even seem as big an offense to him at this point. I really don’t think he cares. It’s not his money anymore.

But the controversial reception of the sequels is an even further reason why they would defer to Lucas’ wishes. Those movies have already proven that going against the franchise creator’s wishes results in bad publicity. I doubt they’d want to go against him even more by releasing the original cuts, at least not while he’s still alive.

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 (Edited)

As I said, it’s only continued speculation. I don’t personally think it’s about George’s wishes. That doesn’t mean my view is correct, it’s just my own view of the speculation.
As I said it’s their property.

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crissrudd4554 said:

As I said, it’s only continued speculation. I don’t personally think it’s about George’s wishes. That doesn’t mean my view is correct, it’s just my own view of the speculation.
As I said it’s their property.

But when the chief of the Lucasfilm canon department, one of the most important people there, basically states outright that it’s because of George’s wishes, it stops being speculation and starts being fact. I don’t see how there can be any more debate after what he said.

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StarkillerAG said:

crissrudd4554 said:

As I said, it’s only continued speculation. I don’t personally think it’s about George’s wishes. That doesn’t mean my view is correct, it’s just my own view of the speculation.
As I said it’s their property.

But when the chief of the Lucasfilm canon department, one of the most important people there, basically states outright that it’s because of George’s wishes, it stops being speculation and starts being fact. I don’t see how there can be any more debate after what he said.

Because he didn’t say George and keep in mind we’re talking about a Tweet from like 3-4 years ago, before Disney bought Fox. If Disney hadn’t bought Fox, Fox would still have control over ANH. Disney owns the whole property now. Does this have anything to do with the OUT?? Most likely not but at the same time it’s easier to say “we’re not gonna do it because…” when at one point it doesn’t look like they’ll own the whole thing than to say that when they do.

Again I don’t see anything with the OUT happening any time soon but until I get an official confirmation that clearly says, not hinted, George Lucas is the reason it is not happening even though he more or less sold it all away back in 2012 and basically has no control over it anymore I will continue to chalk it up to speculation. Sorry for those who disagree with me.

One last thing. Restoring and releasing the OUT would only be disrespectful to George’s wishes if his preferred cuts became obsolete which even in a unlikely reality of the OUT being released again would not be the case. If anything it’ll be an optional cut in a future set with his preferred versions (if physical media is even still viable by then) or as others suggested something exclusive to Disney+.

With or without the OUT, George’s preferred versions aren’t going anywhere. Not to mention, and others have brought this up as well, if George was really adamant that the originals never see the light of day again he wouldn’t have released the GOUT. Yes they were outdated non-anamorphic transfers but they were released with his (begrudging) approval. Again as long as his preferred cuts remain the default versions and it’s not his money being put into it I really don’t think George cares at this point if the OUT is restored.

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For what it’s worth, the 70mm print of Star Wars screened publicly at the Academy last year was said to have been given special authorization by George Lucas, which corroborates Pablo’s inferred statement. You are correct that no one has directly said in absolute terms that George Lucas is the one preventing the release of these films, but it’s been so heavily implied and talked around that there’s no real reason to assume anything different. We can only speculate as to the “why,” but the “who” is pretty clear. It’s George Lucas. It’s always been George Lucas. He doesn’t want them released and the current rights holders are either unable (less likely, in my opinion) or unwilling (more likely) to go against those wishes.

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Weren’t the 4K scans done in 2014? Why did it take until 2020 to be released? Why wait? Maybe they’re sitting on the unaltered versions until a certain amount of time after the most recent release?

The scenes Garett Edwards used in Rogue One looked great. I know work was done to incorporate them into R1, but I have to think there’s a lot of material available. Certainly enough to restore the unaltered version and probably create some new special features we haven’t seen.

I always go back to George being the roadblock. I don’t think anyone else is opposed, so why not do it? Do they just not care? Or could they be saving the unaltered release for additional cash in later on?

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they were all remastered by Reliance in 2012 as the first step in 3D conversion for theatrical re-release. And then The Phantom Menace 3D didn’t do what they wanted it to do at the box-office, and then George Lucas gave up and sold the company.

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So what have we narrowed it down to in all this time?

Possible reasons for not releasing the unaltered versions:

  1. contractual obligation with Lucas
  2. respect for George’s wishes
  3. a proper restoration of the unaltered scenes isn’t possible
  4. Disney/Lucasfilm just doesn’t care about the unaltered versions

When will we see an official release of the unaltered versions?

  1. whenever Disney/Lucasfilm wants to cash-in on an updated release
  2. after George is gone
  3. never
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2/3, except that “never” means copyright expiration.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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Rodney-2187 said:

  1. a proper restoration of the unaltered scenes isn’t possible

I’m most certain this is not the reason. Yes maybe not 100% from the negative but there definitely enough resources to piece something decent together. Hell the projects of this site basically proves that.

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Yeah, the idea that it’s impossible to restore the original versions is patently absurd. Movies where the negative no longer exists in any form have been restored to excellent levels of quality. There’s plenty of source material to use.

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ChainsawAsh said:

Yeah, the idea that it’s impossible to restore the original versions is patently absurd. Movies where the negative no longer exists in any form have been restored to excellent levels of quality. There’s plenty of source material to use.

It’s not like it’s on silver nitrate or went through a fire. The archives have a bunch of material for a proper restoration. Also, it’s probably better for TESB and ROTJ than SW, from a film quality perspective.

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ChainsawAsh said:

Yeah, the idea that it’s impossible to restore the original versions is patently absurd. Movies where the negative no longer exists in any form have been restored to excellent levels of quality. There’s plenty of source material to use.

This. And there should be a decent chunk of the negative remaining that’s not faded. The badly faded sections are effects shots that were composited onto Color Reversal Intermediate (CRI) stock. It allowed for positive-to-positive printing to reduce generational grain, but was very unstable. This is why for '97, many (all?) of the effects shots were digitally recomposited from their individual elements. All shots without effects should be fine, aside from that one shot that got dissolved during a cleaning test.

There are several routes available to restore the faded sections. The individual elements can be digitally recomposited again at 4K, though purists wouldn’t like this as it removes the theatrical grain/alignment/patina. To restore the original look of the film, interpositives would be the next step. If they’re too worn from overuse, then it’s on to separation masters, which aren’t ideal because they add grain, but the result would still look better than a theatrical print. If the separation masters have differential shrinkage, this is correctable digitally (and even to a certain degree optically, as was done painstakingly with Spartacus in '91).

If it isn’t in completely unusable condition, it may even be possible to scan the faded CRI stock and add the colour back fron a different source. Restorations often use multiple sources/methods depending on condition, what is ideal for a shot, and how it looks next to other shots.

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lurker77 said:

ChainsawAsh said:

Yeah, the idea that it’s impossible to restore the original versions is patently absurd. Movies where the negative no longer exists in any form have been restored to excellent levels of quality. There’s plenty of source material to use.

This. And there should be a decent chunk of the negative remaining that’s not faded. The badly faded sections are effects shots that were composited onto Color Reversal Intermediate (CRI) stock. It allowed for positive-to-positive printing to reduce generational grain, but was very unstable. This is why for '97, many (all?) of the effects shots were digitally recomposited from their individual elements. All shots without effects should be fine, aside from that one shot that got dissolved during a cleaning test.

There are several routes available to restore the faded sections. The individual elements can be digitally recomposited again at 4K, though purists wouldn’t like this as it removes the theatrical grain/alignment/patina. To restore the original look of the film, interpositives would be the next step. If they’re too worn from overuse, then it’s on to separation masters, which aren’t ideal because they add grain, but the result would still look better than a theatrical print. If the separation masters have differential shrinkage, this is correctable digitally (and even to a certain degree optically, as was done painstakingly with Spartacus in '91).

If it isn’t in completely unusable condition, it may even be possible to scan the faded CRI stock and add the colour back fron a different source. Restorations often use multiple sources/methods depending on condition, what is ideal for a shot, and how it looks next to other shots.

The separation masters are B&W film with finer grain than color stock so they would not add additional grain compared to other sources. From what Lucas said, not a single duplicate negative had been struck from those. So the sources for the original version of the film are the o-neg, the separation masters, the tech IB prints, the interpositives (the last one known to have been made was in 1985, the others are probably more worn and wouldn’t be as good). For composited shots, you could go back a generation but then you have to recomposite the shot. So there are lots of sources for Disney and Lucasfilm to do a proper restoration of the original version of the film that would meet or exceed the best sources for many older films.

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yotsuya said:

The separation masters are B&W film with finer grain than color stock so they would not add additional grain compared to other sources.

They may be finer grain than colour stock, but you’re still layering three of them.

Also, they aren’t a magic bullet. They’re only produced to back up the negative, and as such aren’t always well produced.

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I don’t recall exactly where Mike said it within the stream, but what stood out was he said he doesn’t necessarily care for the story or characters of Star Wars.

At this point, he’s doing this passion project to preserve the film’s history, including the award-winning work of the sound and effects crew that’s since been erased.

I don’t know if that’s the sentiment the community mostly shares, but in many ways, that perfectly sums up how I’ve come to feel about the series at this point in my life.

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Well, let’s suppose that someone decided, because it had not been done yet (again, supposing), to do a restoration of Gone With The Wind, himself. Now it turns out this fellow isn’t actually a fan of this movie because it doesn’t suit his personal tastes, he doesn’t care much for war/drama, etc. (however you wish to categorize the story) films. But he does recognize that it’s a very important film in the history of film making and so on, and feels it’s his duty as a film enthusiast with at least some of the skills needed to take up this challenge and restore it as well as he is able, using the best sources he can find. Mike doesn’t have to be a huge fan of films like Star Wars for him to recognize how important a film it is. In fact, it’s all the more impressive how he put such an enormous effort into this, even though it’s not quite his type of movie. =)

As to George Lucas. I read about a fan sometime back that was able to get invited to an event where George would be. I think it cost money, it might have been a ticket that was auctioned off for charity or whatever. Anyhow, he got to attend and he met George. He complimented him on his film-making and how much he enjoyed Star Wars and so on. Then, like a true Star Wars fan, he took the opportunity to ask George something like, “Hey, why not just also release the original Star Wars trilogy unaltered?”. George’s answer was along the lines of rolling his eyes and saying that they were his films, etc. George simply prefers the altered versions, apparently because they more seamlessly blend (Hayden, etc.) with the prequels and so on. Which I can see what he means, even if many of us fans would like at least the option to see the trilogy unaltered in the best possible quality. But George was quite clear in his answer, he wants the latest version of the Special Editions to be the ones that are on store shelves now. This clear response directly to a fan when asked, combined with the not subtle hints given by others at Lucasfilm, etc., makes it nearly certain that the reason the unaltered trilogy has not been fully restored (at least publicly) and released in a box set is because George doesn’t want it to be. And as much as I wish he would change his mind on that, I can respect that as an artist he wants his various alterations and also the way the two trilogies blend together now to be what is being offered for sale at this time. Even though I strongly disagree with some of those changes. Maybe he will change his mind, but for now, fan restorations are the only option. Fortunately, with the film scans now available for replacing altered scenes, those can be very good indeed.

The Star Wars trilogy. There can be only one.

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Dunedain said:

Well, let’s suppose that someone decided, because it had not been done yet (again, supposing), to do a restoration of Gone With The Wind, himself. Now it turns out this fellow isn’t actually a fan of this movie because it doesn’t suit his personal tastes, he doesn’t care much for war/drama, etc. (however you wish to categorize the story) films. But he does recognize that it’s a very important film in the history of film making and so on, and feels it’s his duty as a film enthusiast with at least some of the skills needed to take up this challenge and restore it as well as he is able, using the best sources he can find. Mike doesn’t have to be a huge fan of films like Star Wars for him to recognize how important a film it is. In fact, it’s all the more impressive how he put such an enormous effort into this, even though it’s not quite his type of movie. =)

As to George Lucas. I read about a fan sometime back that was able to get invited to an event where George would be. I think it cost money, it might have been a ticket that was auctioned off for charity or whatever. Anyhow, he got to attend and he met George. He complimented him on his film-making and how much he enjoyed Star Wars and so on. Then, like a true Star Wars fan, he took the opportunity to ask George something like, “Hey, why not just also release the original Star Wars trilogy unaltered?”. George’s answer was along the lines of rolling his eyes and saying that they were his films, etc. George simply prefers the altered versions, apparently because they more seamlessly blend (Hayden, etc.) with the prequels and so on. Which I can see what he means, even if many of us fans would like at least the option to see the trilogy unaltered in the best possible quality. But George was quite clear in his answer, he wants the latest version of the Special Editions to be the ones that are on store shelves now. This clear response directly to a fan when asked, combined with the not subtle hints given by others at Lucasfilm, etc., makes it nearly certain that the reason the unaltered trilogy has not been fully restored (at least publicly) and released in a box set is because George doesn’t want it to be. And as much as I wish he would change his mind on that, I can respect that as an artist he wants his various alterations and also the way the two trilogies blend together now to be what is being offered for sale at this time. Even though I strongly disagree with some of those changes. Maybe he will change his mind, but for now, fan restorations are the only option. Fortunately, with the film scans now available for replacing altered scenes, those can be very good indeed.

well said, my friend 😃