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Info: Which do you prefer - teamnegative1's 4k77/4k83 or Harmy's Despecialized?

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General Tantive3+1 - your thread will make a fine addition to my collection 😉

The ‘Which Is Best?’ Star Wars Preservation Project discussion threads…
 

^ from a part of the An Index & Help Thread for Star Wars Preservations…
 

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IMO, it’s all about what YOU want. Do you want to experience the films as if you were in a threatre watching them projected, or do you want to experience the films as if they’d undergone a respectful restoration and released on Blu-ray?

If the former, 4K77 and 4K83 are more likely to make you happy.

If the latter, Despecialized is most likely to suit your tastes.

Neither of them are perfect. In particular, Star Wars is pretty imperfect from both offerings IMO, but I come down on the side of Despecialized because I’m looking for something akin to a respectful Blu-ray restoration.

That said, 4K83 is amazing and worth a look, even though I still very slightly prefer Despecialized ROTJ, for nothing much more than the extra fine detail.

EDIT: D’oh, oojason ninja’d me.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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My preference is for the D+ versions, since the SE stuff left in is very inconsequential (e.g., the detention block hallway matte and one CG X-Wing during the Battle of Yavin, the recomposites that use the original elements, and the redone wipes).

While I love 4K77 and 4K83, the former isn’t exactly optimal for some. While 2.0 will hopefully make things better, I can understand not wanting to watch the movie like that. The EK Showprint used for 4K83 is amazing and should be optimal for just about anybody (albeit Despecialized and the upcoming D+83 will have more fine detail).

Once 3.0 of Despecialized comes out, that will take over as my preferred version. Now that Harmy has raw scans to work with from the entirety of the OT, the results should be so much better.

We’ve come a long way since the safari guy from Gorilla, Interrupted made the Classic Editions.

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I personally prefer the 4K versions. SW Despecialized and 4K77 are very close in quality, but 4K77 is just slightly better in my opinion. 4K83’s quality is almost perfect though, and I don’t see it being beaten any time soon.

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I feel like currently D+ is as good as it gets (D+83 seems to have stalled out in the past month after being on the verge of releasing back in mid-June) but that’ll probably change if/when Harmy goes to town on v3.0.

But then again, 4k77 v2.0 could be even better than that.

It’s a veritable bounty of options to choose from and still be highly satisfied, really.

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I like the 4K77 and 4K83 versions. There’s a purity to the presentation there. It feels tactile and welcoming. And I think Sanjuro’s colors look real nice. Shoot, I even enjoy the heck out of the ESB Grindhouse despite all the noise and damage. The Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays often look far too managed and manipulated - and not particularly well. Harmy’s and the D+ versions are very impressive. But they’re built on those Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays so their flaws are often baked in, and with all the tricks used to “despecialize” them, it can feel like I’m watching a magic trick. I keep wondering how they pulled it off. I’ve been largely watching 4K content for a few years now, so Harmy’s in 720p doesn’t really cut it. I’m happy he’s working on a 4K version, but the D+ versions basically serve the same purpose. And if I want to watch the real original versions, I can just watch 4K77, 4K83 and hopefully 4K80 soon.

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At this point I’m unwilling to shame any restoration efforts, it takes a ton of work. I can say for sure I don’t like the 2011 blu-ray, the Disney+ colors are not a bad effort but still wrong and ultimately not worth the fidelity for the original cut which is what I grew up with and what I want.

Despecialized and 4k77 are currently both in these in between states, I’m hopeful for the future of both and was quite happy to begin with when I saw the Silver Screen Edition, now it’s all clean up. I will say it will take more than a 3.0 or 2.0 to reach Legacy heights but that all has to do with time and resources, the color efforts have come incredibly far and at worst I can handle some dirt, all the work so far into making most of those issues become minor should be commended.

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

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At this very moment, I’d say the 4Kxx versions, mostly because the quality across the whole feature is basically the same throughout, whereas Despecialized varies from 1080p to barely DVD quality. Having said that, if Harmy can pull off what he’s trying to do with Star Wars Despecialized 3.0 and beyond, his versions would become my preference, especially since I’m still watching stuff at 1080p so any minor differences between the sources at 4K would become negligible.

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calculon559 said:

At this very moment, I’d say the 4Kxx versions, mostly because the quality across the whole feature is basically the same throughout, whereas Despecialized varies from 1080p to barely DVD quality. Having said that, if Harmy can pull off what he’s trying to do with Star Wars Despecialized 3.0 and beyond, his versions would become my preference, especially since I’m still watching stuff at 1080p so any minor differences between the sources at 4K would become negligible.

I wouldn’t expect too much improvement in terms of “quality seams” in newer Despecialized releases. Most of the original footage in the current releases of Harmy’s trilogy is from 35mm print scans (not necessarily from the 4Kxx project, but comparable amounts of detail). In Jedi, for example, there’s only one original element taken from the GOUT, and he only did that because the 35mm theatrical scans didn’t have appreciably more detail than the GOUT for that shot (think about THAT for a second!). The optical duplication process used to create theatrical prints from 35mm negatives simply blurs out fine detail, and it doesn’t matter what resolution you scan a projection print at, you’re not going to get that detail back. When you notice certain parts of Despecialized don’t even seem to have 720p worth of fine detail, more often than not, that’s from a 1080p or 4K 35mm print scan, not the GOUT.

That said, since the UHD’s aren’t covered with fake grain like the Blu-rays, it may be possible to grain-match the various sources without over-graining the 35mm footage, which might help to a small degree. Also, the Jedi print used by the 4K83 project is a bit of a unicorn, so there may be a hair’s improvement to be gained from using 4K83 as a source. But these will be very, very incremental improvements at best. The huge quality jump will come from the UHD source, and that will make the quality seams harder to hide, not easier. Not that Harmy may not have learned a trick or two in the intervening years.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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That’s actually not true, there’s still plenty of GOUT footage in ANH and ESB Despecialized. The inclusion of 35mm footage in ROTJ Despecialized is the reason why that’s arguably the best-looking of the trilogy.

I just don’t like how a lot of the time you seem to undersell the 35mm releases, saying that they’re no better quality than the GOUT, when they look much better to my eyes.

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StarkillerAG said:

That’s actually not true, there’s still plenty of GOUT footage in ANH and ESB Despecialized. The inclusion of 35mm footage in ROTJ Despecialized is the reason why that’s arguably the best-looking of the trilogy.

I just don’t like how a lot of the time you seem to undersell the 35mm releases, saying that they’re no better quality than the GOUT, when they look much better to my eyes.

There’s 35mm footage in ESB too, but you’re right that the percentage of 35mm footage goes up chronologically through the trilogy. Star Wars has lots of GOUT footage. Add them all up, and most of the original footage in the Despecialized trilogy is from 35mm, but yes there’s still too much GOUT.

I wasn’t implying that projection prints in general weren’t better than the GOUT. I’m saying that for that particular original element of Boba Fett flying behind Luke in one scene, the 35mm sources didn’t provide appreciably more fine detail than the GOUT. It’s one shot, and a blurred composite at that. It’s not that surprising. I’m not a big fan of 4K77 to be honest, but I’m a fan of 4K83. It looks good. Much better than the GOUT. And, like the person I was responding to stated, much more consistent levels of detail than Despecialized. Consistently low, yes, but consistent nonetheless.

That said, I will state without any reservations that Star Wars projection prints – even unusually good prints like the one used for 4K83, don’t really have enough fine image detail to max out 720p’s capacity. I’m not saying 4K is wasted on them – the film grain is better resolved at 4K, there are clear benefits to oversampling from an historical preservation perspective, and so on. But when you watch Despecialized at 720p and 4K83 at 4K side-by-side, there’s a reason Despecialized has so much more fine detail. This is why 1080p Blu-rays remaster from negatives or interpositives. There’s more detail there than can be seen on a projection print, and 1080p resolution would reveal that.

Again, this is not trying to say lack of fine detail is bad. Lack of fine detail is what people saw in the theatres. That’s literally how projected film prints look. If that’s what you’re after, then 4K83 is a pretty great reproduction of the experience. I just personally prefer something that looks more like a respectfully restored Blu-ray release. As of 4K83 1.6, lack of fine detail is my ONLY gripe about 4K83, and considering that that’s baked into the source, I feel like I’m effectively stating that it perfectly achieves its goal of reproducing the theatrical experience. If that’s underselling, I don’t know what to say.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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I guess it’s just a personal opinion, but I think that the 4KXX versions have much more than 720p of fine detail. There’s some stuff there, like the details on the Tantive 4 door frame, that haven’t been noticeable in any previous release. It isn’t as good as a restoration from the negative, but it’s definitely HD.

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It depends on where you’re looking, 4k isn’t going to be the magic number in terms of fidelity, that’s a misconception that’s often made, there’s bound to be a bottleneck somewhere.

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

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StarkillerAG said:

I guess it’s just a personal opinion, but I think that the 4KXX versions have much more than 720p of fine detail. There’s some stuff there, like the details on the Tantive 4 door frame, that haven’t been noticeable in any previous release. It isn’t as good as a restoration from the negative, but it’s definitely HD.

The Blu-ray definitely has some spots where color boosting clips the detail out of the image. Typically red lights, but you can occasionally see it elsewhere. And there’s a bit in Jedi where the film scanner was just out of focus for a few minutes (already fixed in DeEd). But seriously, these are exceptions to the rule. The Blu rays had more fine detail than a projection print, and the difference is still apparent scaled down to 720p. The UHD’s even moreso, in spite of being DNR’d into oblivion.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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ShiftyEyes said:

I like the 4K77 and 4K83 versions. There’s a purity to the presentation there. It feels tactile and welcoming. And I think Sanjuro’s colors look real nice. Shoot, I even enjoy the heck out of the ESB Grindhouse despite all the noise and damage. The Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays often look far too managed and manipulated - and not particularly well. Harmy’s and the D+ versions are very impressive. But they’re built on those Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays so their flaws are often baked in, and with all the tricks used to “despecialize” them, it can feel like I’m watching a magic trick. I keep wondering how they pulled it off. I’ve been largely watching 4K content for a few years now, so Harmy’s in 720p doesn’t really cut it. I’m happy he’s working on a 4K version, but the D+ versions basically serve the same purpose. And if I want to watch the real original versions, I can just watch 4K77, 4K83 and hopefully 4K80 soon.

Have you seen the cleanup of the grindhouse version of ESB? Now that looks fantastic. It’s been my preferred version since before 4k77/83. I believe it was done by Dremaster if I remember right.

Luke astro-projects himself to Salt Lake Planet, gets shot at by gorilla walkers, has a non-lightsaber duel with Darth Millennial, then dies of a broken heart, inspiring broom boys throughout the galaxy to get creative with their sweeping. - DuracellEnergizer

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StarkillerAG said:

I guess it’s just a personal opinion, but I think that the 4KXX versions have much more than 720p of fine detail.

I don’t think it’s a personal opinion at all. It’s easily observable fact.

right now, D+ is best-of-both-worlds stuff. It uses the big increase in detail (and the reversal of numerous bad coloring/de-noising/crushing picture decisions from the last blu) of the “new” 4K restorations as a base, fixes what mistakes those had, and matches the 4KXX raw scans to that look as closely as possible before unifying everything with a great color-correction and film grain pass.

It’s easily the most watchable, and best-looking “original” versions of the OT currently available. It can be improved upon, certainly (Oohteedee’s improved it about 4 times already) but it’s current level of quality is such that only a completely new from-scratch attempt at the 4KXX scans could possibly beat it in terms of detail and uniformity of quality - and that’s exactly what’s happening with 4K77 right now (and arguably, with 4K80, even though it’s never actually been released). Although who knows: if Harmy can rotoscope, mask, and DNR his way to replacing individual elements on the Reliance remaster with 4KXX elements, the D+ versions might get topped there.

But at this point, I think the only other big leap that’s left to make in terms of fan-restoration is audio-based, not visual. If there are ways to even more-closely replicate how the movies sounded back then, or opportunities to directly capture straight-off-the-print the audio stems themselves, that’s the golden ticket, right there.

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Broom Kid said:

StarkillerAG said:

I guess it’s just a personal opinion, but I think that the 4KXX versions have much more than 720p of fine detail.

I don’t think it’s a personal opinion at all. It’s easily observable fact.

The zoomed-in image on the left has no more than 720p of detail (it’s from the Blu-ray via 720p Despecialized, resized to 4K to give a comparable size). The image on the right is 4K83 (admittedly, just grabbed the version I had handy, not the latest iteration, but it’s all the same print/scan).

The 720p has some funky contrast boosting to be certain (yay 2004 master!), but even taking that into account, it clearly has more fine image detail. I feel I need to reiterate that I’m not trying to trash 4K83. It’s the best reproduction of the theatrical experience out there, hands down. But to pretend Star Wars projection prints have that much fine image detail is silly.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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Broom Kid said:
D+83 seems to have stalled out in the past month after being on the verge of releasing back in mid-June

Sorry about that. It’s about a week away. Just rendered out a beta to test.

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Firstly: No apologies wanted or needed! I only brought up that it wasn’t out yet to minimize confusion should someone go seeking it out after my recommendation for the D+ as the best possible at-home version of the OT (which it is!)

Secondly: That’s great to hear, and I can’t wait to see the fruits of all that hard work. Thanks again for taking on the job.

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For Despecialized vs 4k77 and 83, I’d have to go with 4k77 and 83…but my ideal trilogy right now is oohteedee’s D+77 and D+80, with 4k83 (dnr version).

It was the 2016 election…I regret this name choice

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For now, I like the DNR versions of 4K77 and 4K83, with D+80 in the middle. Once Harmy’s 3.0 is available, that’ll most likely become my preferred SW; I do tend to prefer the polished home release look. I liked D+77 fine, but I got really distracted by the landspeeder shadow. I haven’t looked at D+83 yet.