Also, The Phantom Menace is not from any 1999 versions. The 1999 digital version (nicely captured and share in 1080p) is more cropped and has different colors. It was rescanned for the Blu-ray and has different colors and more image. If there is any piece of the 1999 DI, it is likely the original pod race sequence that was released in HD. It is more cropped than the BR but it doesn’t seem as cropped as the DVD and EU HD broadcast.
Hey lets just be clear about this.
From Time magazine, April 26 1999
“A typical summer movie has maybe 2,000 shots, with, say, 250 effects shots,” says Knoll. Titanic had about 500. “This one is backward. Of the 2,200 shots, only about 250 shots are not effects shots.” There is just one sequence totally untouched by the digitalizers. Hint: watch for the vent.
Basically TMP had no “Digital Intermediate” as we know it. Shots were digitized as needed, altered and then printed back to film. So the “master negative” of phantom is a cut negative comprising entirely of digital filmouts (with one exception). The resolution of these scans is most definitely 2K and the visual effects rendered at 2K or possibly less depending on the complexity of the scene.
This article here about the post conversion tells us how we got our current digital master. https://www.fxguide.com/fxfeatured/art-of-stereo-conversion-2d-to-3d-2012/
when Episode I was originally finished, it was done on a per shot basis – “done sort of old style, final a shot, film out a shot, look at a print of that negative and that’s what we would final”. It went through a conventional negative cut. An optical timed IP was generated from that and then then master printing negatives were made from that timed IP. So everything audiences saw in the theater was two generations down from the original. “When the original DVD was released,” Knoll says, “it came from scanning in the timed IP because it was the simplest thing to do. But when it came time to do [the conversion], we were going to take the movie and cut it up into 2,000 separate pieces, work on them and re-assemble it, we had an opportunity to go back to the original material. We could go back to the original film-out tapes that are a couple of generations better than what had been seen. So we figured let’s do that. We made a concerted effort to collect all the bits, re-create all the dissolves and pre-wipes. So that was all pre-graded material, so we had to do all new color timing, just to have the new Blu-ray master. Then there is a device-dependent color timing that’s done to compensate for the light loss that comes from stereo.”
So the 1999 home version of TPM, the VHS And the Laserdsc, both come from an early HD scan of an interpositive. The 2001 DVD used this HD Master, regraded it (for better and for worse) and inserted the new scenes (you can tell the new scenes as they have used digital noise to try and match the print noise from the interpositive).
The Bluray comes from ditching that “master negative” and going back to the digital film out files on tapes. Then a bunch of shit was done to make them more 3D friendly, nose reduction ect. and a lot of alteration on some shots. Im not 100% convinced that anything was “re-rendered” a lot of these changed shots could be simple alterations of the original source (Fode and Beed was definitely patched with after effects or similar, not a re-render).
The UHD appears to be an upscale of that master. But assuming that master was retained at 10bit 2K i see no issue with using it for the 4K.