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Info Wanted: re Star Wars Taxonomy

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 (Edited)

I’m interested in identifying different releases by the intermediate film print master used. This kind of taxonomical information is useful and interesting to preservationists like ourselves.

For now, I’d like to focus on ANH. We can focus on TESB and ROTJ later.

We need to identify a set of easy-to-spot characteristics that will allow us to quickly categorize different releases.

All I can think of at the moment are the “Tantive Orange Errors”: http://fd.noneinc.com/Glitch/starwars-tantiveorangeerrors/starwars-tantiveorangeerrors.html

Using this characteristic as a guide, we can assume that all home video releases of ANH come from one of two IPs: the one without them (e.g., the JSC LD) and the one with them (e.g., the Technidisc LD and all 35mm theatrical release-prints).

Interestingly, the IP without the “Tantive Orange Errors” is also the one without the burned-in subtitles for the Greedo scene.

Please weigh-in, guys. I’d like to come up with a Star Wars Family Tree.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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AntcuFaalb said:

Interestingly, the IP without the "Tantive Orange Errors" is also the one without the burned-in subtitles for the Greedo scene.

Actually, the PAL THX laserdisc I used for my preservation project have the TOE and not Greedo subtitles (except the german one, which has both)... possibly a third source was used?

The ResolveR ultimate restoration workstation | [Fundamental Collection] thread | blog.spoRv.com | fan preservation forum: fanres.com |

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_,,,^..^,,,_ said:

AntcuFaalb said:

Interestingly, the IP without the "Tantive Orange Errors" is also the one without the burned-in subtitles for the Greedo scene.

Actually, the PAL THX laserdisc I used for my preservation project have the TOE and not Greedo subtitles (except the german one, which has both)... possibly a third source was used?

I think they spliced-in the Greedo scene from the subtitle-free source (the other IP without the TOE).

That's what they did for the Technidisc LD, IIRC.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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This is really interesting stuff.  It would be really cool to figure it all out.

What's the deal with the variations in the Yavin starfighter takeoff shot?  (There's an extra cloud effect, and I believe there's either an extra group of fighters taking off, or they're in groups of 4 instead of 3).  Have those variations shown up in home video releases?

Anyone remember different camera angles from ROTJ?

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SpilkaBilka said:

This is really interesting stuff.  It would be really cool to figure it all out.

What's the deal with the variations in the Yavin starfighter takeoff shot?  (There's an extra cloud effect, and I believe there's either an extra group of fighters taking off, or they're in groups of 4 instead of 3).  Have those variations shown up in home video releases?

http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Print-variations-in-77-Star-Wars/post/600763/#TopicPost600763

IDK if msycamore has looked at any of the home video releases.

JEDIT: Actually, he has. Continue down the thread.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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For Star Wars (ANH) I don't know if we can come that much further than what we've already have in those few threads in the Thetrical Cuts vs. SE section of the forum. You basically have a family tree in that post you linked to, albeit a bit incomplete with all the PAL home video releases out there which I'm less familiar with.

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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msycamore said:

For Star Wars (ANH) I don't know if we can come that much further than what we've already have in those few threads in the Thetrical Cuts vs. SE section of the forum. You basically have a family tree in that post you linked to, albeit a bit incomplete with all the PAL home video releases out there which I'm less familiar with.

I agree, but I see this thread as a way for us to finally bring together all of this information, including PAL home video release information.

Can you re-post any/all of the conclusions you've come to in those other threads? It would be useful to start collecting that information here.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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Here's a tough question for ANH: Is the presence (of lack thereof) of the "Tantive Orange Errors" enough for us to determine which master was used to make a particular release?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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To me, the following seems to be true:

(TOE="Tantive Orange Errors")

1. IP without TOE -> all theatrical prints and all pre-SE NTSC home video releases produced prior to 1993.

2. IP with TOE -> all NTSC home video releases produced after or during 1993, including the Technidisc-pressed SWE LD, which is the only release of this master that wasn't run through the DVNR-1000.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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Also, it's worth noting that there haven't been any official home video releases with the original theatrical subtitles used in the Greedo scene.

It seems to be the case that even in the "IP with TOE" (which should have the Greedo subtitles burned-in), the Greedo scene was spliced-in from another source, most likely the "IP without TOE".

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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An IP with the TOE, and without the extra clouds in the Yavin shot, was also used for the 1989 French widescreen LD (and subsequently reused on the 1993 German widescreen release).

However, the color looks a little wonky, so I'm not sure it's the SAME IP as Technidisc/GOUT. Also, the French opening crawl, subtitle-less Greedo scene, and French end credits are dropped in from a different, faded print or IP. (It's weird, because when the film was aired in widescreen on French TV, it was a different transfer of a different source where those scenes weren't faded like that...)

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TServo2049 said:

An IP with the TOE, and without the extra clouds in the Yavin shot, was also used for the 1989 French widescreen LD (and subsequently reused on the 1993 German widescreen release).

I knew that Yavin shot would mess up my attempt to simplify things!

(TOE=Tantive Orange Errors; GSB=Greedo Subtitles Burned-in; CYS=Cloudy Yavin Shot)

So is there a third IP?

1. IP #1 - TOE: yes; GSB: yes; CYS: yes

2. IP #2 - TOE: yes; GSB: ?; CYS: no

3. IP #3 - TOE: no; GSB: no; CYS: ?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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 (Edited)

New hypothesis: Ben & Burtt damaged the negative rather than an IP, but an early IP was printed-off before the damage occurred. This early IP didn't have the subtitles for the Greedo scene burned-in, didn't have the cloudy Yavin shot, and was used for the pre-1993 NTSC home video releases, including the JSC LD.

(This would explain why they re-did the first C-3PO and R2-D2 shot for the SE!)

Two IPs were then printed off from the damaged negative:
1. An "early" IP that didn't have the cloudy Yavin shot, but was found and used for the >=1993 releases, such as the Technidisc LD. (<-- This might have been used for the pre-credits-fix theatrical run!)
2. A "late" IP that did have the cloudy Yavin shot and was used for the theatrical run.

This might also explain why the credits changed early-on in the theatrical run. The cloudy Yavin shot might have been added along with the credits fix!

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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Of course, this all depends on whether or not the JSC has the cloudy Yavin shot...

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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 (Edited)

The JSC does have the cloudy shot. Every NTSC transfer prior to 1993 did. The ONLY official transfer pre-THX I know to have the cloudless version was the 1989 French widescreen LD transfer. And that version DID have the burns.

The cloudy Yavin was not added with the credits fix. It could actually be the opposite - setting aside the official releases, every privately-owned print or bootleg tape I know of with the original end credit roll has the "cloudy" composite (your VHS, the "Moth3r" telecine, Puggo Grande), while the ones with the revised credit roll always have the cloudless version (the Spanish LPP print, the Treadwell/Starkiller/MeBeJedi full-frame bootleg, and possibly the British IB prints). I think the PuggoKrig Swedish 16mm print has the revised end credits - can someone check and see if it has the cloudless Yavin shot?

I think I said this before, but the reason the R2/3PO shot was "redone" for the SE was because the original violent shake was an optical effect similar to the ones right before the TIE battle. The operator did shake the camera on-set, but the end result was obviously judged to lack the necessary impact, so each frame was optically repositioned and smeared to give it that extra oomph.

During the SE restoration, that optical was either deemed to be too grainy due to the generation loss, or couldn't be used because the CRI stock had deteriorated. So they went back to the original camera negative - which only had the on-set camera shake.

The TOE-less transfers have the same optical shake, just not the burns.

And for the record, Ben Burtt said there was a jumpy spot when the Stormtroopers burst through the door - we on the forum were the ones who theorized that he was referring to the orange burn marks.

He also said that he damaged the color work print, and that at the time it was the only work print of the film. He wouldn't have been running the negative through a moviola. And the workprint would have been made from the negative, not vice-versa, so if Burtt damaged the workprint, it wouldn't affect the negative. He only said that "all the screenings from then on always had this jumpy spot right when the stormtroopers come bursting through the door of the Blockade Runner." He didn't clarify if that meant all screenings of that one workprint, or all screenings of the film, period. (We don't even know if this workprint contained the optically manipulated version of the scene, or the original production footage as seen in the SE.)

This is all very confusing because the literature at the time of the THX transfer said that Fox/LFL had to hunt down first-generation IPs because all the ones they had access to had subtitles:

"One small difference from the original films is that in letterbox transfers we prefer to put any subtitles in the black border beneath the actual picture area. Thus we didn't use the same interpositive as the theatrical one, because that one contains subtitling already. In tracking down the elements, we found that the only ones in the vault were ones with subtitles- these clearly weren't the first generation off the camera neg because they had to have the subtitles burned in. So a massive search was undertaken and the first generation IP's were found in a special vault having only opticals in Los Angeles."

But they already had access to subtitle-free IPs when they made the previous letterbox transfers in the 80s, and they are clearly not the same IPs that were transferred in 1993. The IP used in the old transfer had no TOE's and the cloudy composite - the IP used in the new transfer had the TOE's and the cloudless composite. I'm stumped...

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I have seen a 1978 print that has the TOE in it along with the original Pre-ANH crawl.

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I asked Ben Burtt about that 'jumpy shot' a long time ago, he said it was a physical 'jump' (similar to a missing frame or damaged sprocket chatter) in the film, not onscreen marks on the picture.

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 (Edited)

We know now that some actual prints were made right off the negative and they would have had the subtitles, so that laserdisc interview makes even less sense to me now. The guy seems to be making a leap that the whole movie is a generation away just because the subtitles are present.

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Here was my remembrances when I asked Burtt on this issue:

http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Star-Wars-Tantives-Orange-Items-Thread-other-unintended-objects/post/592758/#TopicPost592758

 

I think listing out places where we believe a major/minor branch is made in the taxonomy and why is something to consider next.  For example, were early VHSs made from a lower generation source and maybe the Definitive Collection or one of the releases at the end of the VHS era used a different source, something 'better' or closer to the film source.  Did Widescreen and Pan/Scan work from the same or different sources?

The other problem considering a total film taxonomy is at any time they could replace a shot, because of SFX, crawl, credit, subtitles they all cause the taxonomy to bifurcate. 

Would it make sense to split the definitions to reel numbers.  Do some of the middle reels have less SFX and might not have been likely to have changes over the years?

Or conversely, find releases which share many traits and that helps whittle things down.

*EDIT*

What the Wookiegroomer split versions did for the research into SE identification (doubleofive's pages and Harmy's DeSps), SWTax needs a multi-release presentation to help the work along.  It's a pain finding one thing to look into then opening up 7-15 releases for that specific frame.  So what 5-10 releases would people consider good candidates for the next WG-like-splits?

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Thanks for weighing-in on this, none!

Another WookieGroomer-like split version is an excellent idea, but GOUT-sync'ing is a pain-in-the-ass enough as-is.

For now: why don't we choose a few easy-to-find frames from each IP reel (preferably ones just before or after a sharp scene change) that have unique characteristics and start the comparisons there?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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I read the initial post as Star Wars Taxidermy, and was a little scared, and intrigued to see what may be in the post.

Why not do a scene change run and grab two frames from each scene change. Differences in edits will most likely show up on scene change/reel change areas.

Donations welcome: paypal.me/poit
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 (Edited)

poita said:

I have seen a 1978 print that has the TOE in it along with the original Pre-ANH crawl.

AFAIK, every print that was intended to be projected had the TOE's, be it 35mm, 16mm or 8mm. Only transfers made for home video/TV came from a source which lacked them.

The questions are, which version of the Yavin takeoff shot is in it, and which version of the end credits?

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I can go around to the owner's house on the weekend and check it out. I'll get back to you.

Donations welcome: paypal.me/poit
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Just to help sweep the Burtt damage thing away as anything related to the purposes of this thread:

As TServo said, he would not have been handling negative. No one but the lab would have been handling negative. By "every screening" he would've meant during post production, not theatrical exhibitions. Nothing seen in theaters is ever a copy of anything in a work print. A workprint is a branch of the tree that has no branches of its own. When a work print is finalized, the edge numbers are matched up back at the lab and the Negative Cutter conforms the negative to match, and THEN copies made from that. The only time workprint is duplicated is for promotional stuff: trailers, TV spots, documentaries, etc.

So the damage he made would have no bearing on the Taxonomy effort.

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AntcuFaalb said:

Can you re-post any/all of the conclusions you've come to in those other threads? It would be useful to start collecting that information here.

Actually my discoveries and conclusions are right there in that post: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Print-variations-in-77-Star-Wars/topic/14705/ 

...combined with the discoveries here: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Credits-Leaders-Thread/topic/12960/

It's quite easy to see the pattern...

'77 May, opening day prints: "cloudy composite" - "rough credit roll" - "Dolby mix prints only."

'77 June, wide release prints: "cloudless composite" - "revised credit roll" - "both Dolby and Mono mix prints." (other very minor differences are possible, there has been speculation about the opening crawl for example)

^ this is of course only my theory and it may be wrong, but a lot seems to support my idea that this is an opening day variation going by all the sources out there. This is what I, and I believe, none have settled with for now.

Puggo Krig (Swedish 16mm) is too blown out in order to make out what composite it uses but it's most likely a "cloudless"- source as it is a mono mix print and contains the revised credit roll.

Baronlando said:

We know now that some actual prints were made right off the negative and they would have had the subtitles, so that laserdisc interview makes even less sense to me now. The guy seems to be making a leap that the whole movie is a generation away just because the subtitles are present.

Have it been confirmed that theatrical prints were made right off the negative? I recall some speculation on Verta's site but was there a definitive answer to this? There has to be some intermediate steps where the Tantive tears originated. The 80's home video source lack them, which makes me believe the damage originated in the Interpositive stage or Internegative stage.

The IP/IN used for home video from '82 up to '92 is edited together in both small and large chunks with mid-reel changes which results in many frames tossed, a real glue-party.

The IP/IN that was first seen used for the '92 NTSC Letterbox VHS / Technidisc SWE LD release and subsequent THX releases (GOUT) is most likely an theatrical IP or IN, battered from making countless of prints, contains the theatrical timing, albeit severely pink faded in many instances and further removed from it when it was tweaked in post to counteract it.

What doesn't make any sense is that Widescreen Review blurb and the American Cinematographer article's info regarding the IP's. In one of those articles which focused on the SE, it was mentioned that a new IP was created in 1985 that was meant to be the base for all future home video releases as the old one was biting the dust. This definitely doesn't add up with what we know. There are mainly two sources that we have been presented with in the home video market, from 1982 - 1992 and 1992 - 1995.

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