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Star Wars Holiday Special - Zion Hybrid v3 (a WIP)


“My mum used to say ‘you can’t polish a turd’, but Zion often surprises me!”
– Laserman

I’ve been working on this project off and on for the past 8 months and it’s intensified in recent weeks, so I figured it was probably time to start a new thread. First and foremost, this project aims to be a high quality HD upscale of the SWHS using the best available sources. Additional points of emphasis will be on audio and subtitle tracks. Seeing all the wonderful audio and subtitle options from projects like Despecialized, 4K77, and Project Threepio has inspired me to attempt something similar with the SWHS. In addition to the standard English and Rifftrax audio will be Spanish audio and English subtitle tracks. I’d love to include the French audio if I can get ahold of a good copy, as well as any additional subtitles. Anyone interested in helping out with additional audio and subtitle tracks please contact me.

Hybrid v3 goals:

  • 1440x1080/59.94p upscale using EditDroid DVD as primary source (possible 4K as well)
  • WMAR commercials sourced from Tasjo DVD
  • “Fighting the Frizzies” clip added to commercial breaks
  • Isolated animated segment
  • Film shots replaced with footage from Harmy Despecialized and SW blu-ray deleted scenes
  • Spanish audio and English subtitles sourced from EditDroid
  • Two separate cuts

Nostalgia Cut:

  • Program starts with introductory bumpers and CBS Special Presentation logo
  • No opening crawl
  • Original English and Spanish audio tracks
  • English subtitles

Comedy Cut:

  • Program starts with introductory bumpers, CBS Special Presentation logo, and fan-made opening crawl
  • New RiffTrax audio mix
  • Original English and Spanish audio tracks
  • English subtitles


  • MKV release of each cut
  • BD25 ISO including both cuts

I’m mostly starting from scratch on this project considering the workflow is entirely different than v2. (And also since a lot of the software and plugins I used for v2 are now completely outdated.) I’ve invested a lot of time in fine-tuning the workflow to produce a high quality upscale. This is not simply a rip of the EditDroid DVD dumped into an upscaler. Time is being taken to do a proper deinterlace of the EditDroid source using QTGMC, conservative noise reduction is being applied, levels adjusted, etc.

Current upscale workflow:

EditDroid source -> QTGMC deinterlace to 29.97p & crop -> apply DNR in After Effects -> upscale to 8K with Topaz Video Enhance AI -> downscale to 1080p. Animated segment and commercials will be processed separately. I’m still working on tweaking various settings throughout the workflow, but screenshots and video clips will be posted here soon.

Film footage:

Toying with the idea of replacing the film footage shots with higher quality sources, since these tend to be the lowest quality shots of the entire program IMO. I’ve seen this done in another upscale release and although it vastly improves the quality of these particular shots, the difference between the sharp high definition BD footage and the lower res Holiday Special footage was quite distracting to me. My idea is to take 1080p shots from the Harmy Despecialized Edition, downscale to 480, then run it through the upscale process in order to better match the quality of the HS footage. As of now this is an experiment that may or may not make the final release. Some caveats of this approach are listed below.

"Life on Tatooine" shots: Most of the establishing street footage at the beginning of the cantina segment is not available from any source I’m aware of, save for the shot of the guy running through a pair of creature legs which is part of the blu-ray deleted scene “Stormtrooper Search”. Possible choices are to leave this segment completely intact or just replace the one shot.

"Darth Vader Widens the Search" scene: This scene is on the blu-ray, however I noticed the Holiday Special footage looks like a completely different take, so the blu-ray footage doesn’t line up exactly right. I’ve tried inserting the blu-ray shot anyway since the HS version is dubbed over and Bath’s lips don’t match the dialog anyway, but with the way the footage lines up, his mouth isn’t even moving for nearly the entire last line. I think it’s actually pretty funny this way but I don’t know that it’s worth replacing the HS shot (especially in the interest of preservation).


Having revisited and compared a dozen other SWHS projects recently, I realized there’s one thing missing from most releases that include commercials that definitely deserves to be included. It’s the one non-program-related trope from the Holiday Special very much ingrained into pop culture (thanks to South Park) - the “Fighting the Frizzies at eleven” news teaser. On the WCBS broadcast, this clip shows up at the end of multiple commercial breaks and is also mentioned in the Rifftrax audio when Kevin says “Is it time to fight the frizzies?” and Bill replies “Not till eleven.” I restored this clip from the WCBS DVD source on my v2 release and intend to include it in the same places. (An editing decision will need to be made as to whether to keep the one WMAR news teaser at the end of commercial break 5.)

More info to come.

My Projects:
[Holiday Special Hybrid DVD v2]
[X0 Project]
[Backstroke of the West DVD]
[ROTS Theatrical DVD]


Exciting. I’ll look forward to seeing this!

“Before the Dark Times. Before the Prequels.”


Zion, I hope you are well and staying safe my friend.

Any updates on this project?


“My skill are no longer as Mad as the once were” RiK