Hi everyone. Time for something i haven’t done in a long time…One of my super long posts 😃
Now this is something i have been wanting to talk about for ages, but didn’t know if i would be able to pull it off. But, thankfully, i have been able to achieve what i set out to do. Now i’m talking about the crushed blacks problem with the 2011 blu-rays. I had an idea about recovering the missing shadow detailing by using the 2020 blu-rays to overlay just the dark areas onto the 2011 footage. Well, it isn’t as simple as that because there are vast differences in cropping, frame warping & different stabilisation between the two sources. So i had to go through each shot, frame by frame, and manually align the two sources, then mask out the areas i didn’t want, keeping only the detail in the dark areas. And i’m pleased to say that it turned out pretty good.
now i can hear you saying “why go to all that work when you could have just replaced those shots with the 2020 Blu-Ray”. Well, to put it bluntly, the 2020 ANH blu-ray is crap. It’s been so heavily scrubbed, along with its flat grading, so much detail has either been erased completely or almost none existent. Take this shot for instant. Just look at the droids panelling (or lack of) on the 2020 Blu-ray, compared to how it looks when using the 2011 blu-ray as a source.
And then there are SE shots that don’t even look like they’re in HD, they are so soft and blurry.
What the hell has happened to all the textures on the buildings? So i will be sticking to the 2011 Blu-rays as my primary source. Although there are some scenes or shots that do look better in the 2020 version, so i have swapped out a lot of their 2011 counterparts with those shots and scenes from the 2020 source. It’s pretty much a hybrid.
I get asked a lot “how much have you got left to do”. Well, it’s hard to answer this without counting all the shots left to do. A rough estimate is that its around 90% complete on the video side of things. But there is still a lot of the hard work left to do, which mainly involves lengthy rotoscoping. I’ve got a lot of the space battle shots left to do, a few shots in the Luke’s trench run ( adding the trench in the background in the cockpit shots), 3 or 4 shots in the cantina and various shots here and there throughout the second half of the movie. It isn’t a lot left to do, but these are very time consuming ones to do. So please don’t think that a release is imminent.
Another question i get asked regularly is “why is it taking so long when it only took you a couple of years to do it originally”. Well the simple answer is because i’m working in 1080p instead of 576p. There is so much you can get away with when doing effects work in SD compared to doing the same shot in 1080p. Rotoscoping for example. You can get away with not being too accurate when cutting out elements, like when replacing a background. In 1080p, you have to be a LOT more precise and this takes a hell of a lot longer per shot to accomplish. And, as with the original SD version, i am doing the majority of this work on my own.
There are going to be differences between this HD version and the original SD version. There are a few things i wasn’t able to do when i first started doing these projects. Like this shot for instance.
Chewie isn’t wearing his bandolier throughout this scene, apart from this shot when they jump into hyperspace. I wasn’t able to fix this originally because of chewie’s movement, but I have been able to now because I’ve learned new techniques. A bloody nightmare rotoscoping that fur though. This one shot took over 3 weeks to finish. Sometimes the shots that look the easiest turn out to be a nightmare to do.
Other changes that i have mentioned before are the extended space battle when the TIE’s appear. Thats not happening in the HD version. Most of the sources i used to make that were SD sources that, while looking ok in the original, would look like crap in 1080p. But the main reason is because it just doesn’t work in ANH. There’s not much space between dialogue in the yavin battle, whereas adding extra footage without dialogue would work perfectly well in ROTJ because of the way the space battle is structured. There is still going to be a new shot of many TIE’s approaching the battle and maybe an extra shot or two following this, but the rest is not. And, no, it has nothing to do with any “purists” badgering me to keep it like the original. I was experimenting when i did the original and it is something that i just don’t think works in the scope of the battle. it is 100% my decision
Another thing that’s going in this version is the extended scene where the sandtroopers are looking for the droids in the desert. For one, the CG there really doesn’t hold up and another is that these aren’t even ANH sandtroopers. They are using ROTJ helmets. So this scene is either going to be different to how it is now after i have been able to film some ANH style sandtroopers, or it will just go back to how it was in 1977 ( which i think actually works better). I’m also going to replace the mirrored troopers in this shot thanks to the newly filmed troopers.
And why are all the troopers added to Mos Eisley in the Special Editions just plain stormtroopers and NOT Sandtroopers?
I remember adywan mentioning there would be more comm chatter during the Battle of Yavin (I guess he’ll take this from the radio play).
That’s not something i’m doing. Maybe you have it mixed up with when i said that the extended space battle i did originally needed more com chatter?
Adywan, you may have come across this already but Adobe Enhance Speech is in beta right now:
I used it here on some clips from ANH and it’s pretty amazing:
It’s not flawless. And I’m sure you can mix the vocals into your edit better than I did in my clips. But I thought you might want to consider using this for certain parts in ANH:HD.
I have tested out some of these AI programs for vocals, including the Adobe one. It a long way off being usable. All the processed stuff sounds artificial. It changes their voice for one. And a lot of the time they end up sounding like they have a severely blocked nose. Then they tend to alter words. I tested the adobe on with the cam SW Celebration footage of the deleted death star conference scene where they mention “Sith” for the first time. It was terrible. It altered so much of the dialogue. For instance, and i still have the audio clip, the line “until this battle station is fully operational, we are vulnerable” was changed to " until this battle station is fully operation, we are buggerable". Well that really changes the meaning of that scene 😉 These AI programs can be useful for separating music from vocals sometimes, but using them to enhance the dialogue is just not viable yet.
Onto the new Death Star plans ( well not new because they featured in the original SD version). I see people complaining that having the red plans that match those seen in AOTC completely contradicts what we see in Rogue One. But not necessarily. It all depends on how you deal with it. Someone already guessed what i was planning on doing, but not you can see it for yourselves (albeit in low res gif). Might take time to load in your browser depending on your internet speed.
One last thing; today marks the last day i will ever rotoscope & enhance a blue lightsaber. I finished the very last Obi-Wan shot (Vader striking him down) earlier today and that will be my last for the Revisited saga. Moving onto green ones for ROTJ. I’ve seen some claim that i just use the videocopilot saber plugin to do the lightsabers, but i can assure you they are all done by hand, frame by frame.
So that’s it for now. Back to work on ANH:R for me