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Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga 4k UHD -- 27 DISC Boxed Set -- 3/31/2020 — Page 19

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Chase Adams said:

Z6PO said:

Is the 2020 version stretched, or the 2011 version squished?

Judging by what Ady has provided, I would probably say that 2020 is stretched… Who knows? I’m welcome for anyone to correct me if I’m wrong!

I’m fairly certain the 2020 version is stretched. I haven’t given it the most thorough comparison by any means, but I chucked on a couple different releases and the image dynamics of the 2011 set seem consistent with earlier releases in terms of “stretching” (or lack-thereof), compared to the 2020 4K disc I put on which definitely seems to have a slight pull to the objects in the frame.

I also could be wrong and am happy to be corrected, but judging by some of the other poor presentations with this release a stretched image doesn’t seem too far fetched to consider.

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Having compared the 35mm scans to the 2011 and 2020 SE, I believe it’s the 2011 bluray, that is squished, not the 2020 SE that is stretched. The releases from the pre-DVD era are all unreliable in terms of aspect ratio.

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Assuming the front of the Falcon’s cockpit is a perfect circle (which it may not be), it seems to be slightly wider than it is taller on the 2020 image which I think suggests it has been stretched. Only a very rough measurement so I could be wrong.

One thing I find a bit odd is that pretty much every other screencap comparison I’ve seen shows the 2020 versions as being darker than the 2011, but with these it’s the other way around…?

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Keep in mind these are all shot with anamorphic lenses, so things can get squished or stretched based on their position in the frame, i believe.

Also interesting to note the 2004 ESB release was complete well before the ANH and ROTJ was finished and was colored by another person entirely seperate. Might have something to do with the weirdness.

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MikeMatt101 said:

Assuming the front of the Falcon’s cockpit is a perfect circle (which it may not be), it seems to be slightly wider than it is taller on the 2020 image which I think suggests it has been stretched. Only a very rough measurement so I could be wrong.

One thing I find a bit odd is that pretty much every other screencap comparison I’ve seen shows the 2020 versions as being darker than the 2011, but with these it’s the other way around…?

I just checked, and the front of the falcon has the same oval shape on the 35mm for that shot.

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Sounds like the stretching/squishing issue favors the 2020 version, but what about this cropping?

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What is the reasoning behind any cropping? What is the purpose of additional cropping? Is The Empire Strikes Back cropped throughout?

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Rodney-2187 said:

What is the reasoning behind any cropping? What is the purpose of additional cropping? Is The Empire Strikes Back cropped throughout?

All Blurays produced from scanned film have to be cropped to some extent to cover up edges of the frame, and things like the soundtrack. Different shots might require different amounts of cropping. When these films were originally projected in theatres, they were ‘cropped’ by the projectionist, but obviously you can’t really do that with a TV so the Blurays have to be cropped by the studios producing them. Clearly some times more thought and effort is put into this than other times.

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My goodness, that’s the best comparison I’ve seen in the improvements in the color for this 2019 release. Certainly a much better source to work off in that respect.

How much extra detail there is, seems to vary, but pretty significant in some areas. Shame there’s so much DNR in the image a lot of the time, it looks just awful zoomed in from that aspect.

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For the collectors among you - the ‘Skywalker Saga’ 4K box set - (18-discs, with a different box for disc housing) from Japan…
 

https://www.hidefninja.com/community/threads/star-wars-the-skywalker-saga-4k-2d-blu-ray-complete-box-sets-amazon-exclusive-japan.105723

https://www.amazon.co.jp/スター・ウォーズ-スカイウォーカー・サーガ-コンプリートBOX-ULTRA-ブルーレイ-Blu-ray/dp/B0851YN27Q/

 

From the Star Wars Home Video Library #282: Japanese Skywalker Saga Box Set(box set video review):-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiMDOYx-F6Y - at the Nathan P Butler youtube channel. (17 mins.)
 

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xandermac05 said:

I had a look at the old and new versions of ANATOMY OF A DEWBACK and THE BEGINNING. The former is on the 2011 box set and the latter is on the 2001 TPM DVD.

ANATOMY OF A DEWBACK:

Aspect ratios are both wrong, 4:3 with silly wee widescreen box in the middle, though the 2011 one has the frame more squished horizontally than the 2020 one does. The two encodes have different scanline arrangements (2011 is interlaced, 2020 uses interleaved fields); I’m wondering if that’s something to do with why 2020 one has significant interlacing artefacts, but 2011 doesn’t. They both have artefacts, I mean, but the 2020 one is much worse in places. There’s a bit around the 12 second mark where a rope is swinging about, bobbing up and down, and in the 2011 it seems VLC can de-interlaced it reasonably acceptably but the 2020 one just seems not to improve regardless of interlacing being on or off, which makes me think it’s the interleaved rather than interlaced video causing the issue to at least some extent.

Fixed it!

Right, so… THE BEGINNING is perfectly fine on the old DVD version of THE PHANTOM MENACE. That’s something, although it’s incredibly frustrating that we couldn’t just get that encode ported over to the Blu-ray box set (and got an aliased abomination instead). ANATOMY OF A DEWBACK, however, is another matter.

This featurette was released in 1997, I think around the time they were shooting THE PHANTOM MENACE in England. The original 1997 web video (which was encoded to stream over the internet on a 56k modem, using RealPlayer) is long since deleted, but I kept a recorded copy of the files and recently dug them out to have a look. The video appears to be 320 x 240 pixels (4:3) but this includes black letterboxing; without the letterboxing it’s more like 320 x 192 px, which is a somewhat unusual aspect ratio of 5:3. Although this is the native aspect ratio of 16 mm film, this featurette seems to have been shot on video so it’s probably more significant to note that 5:3 was used in some countries as an early “widescreen” format for a while, presumably as a compromise between theatrical 1.85:1 and 1.33:1 (a.k.a. 4:3) home video. This original version looks something like this, if you crop off the letterboxing from the top and bottom:

dewback-george-1997

On the 2011 Blu-ray, the featurette was for some reason encoded to display as (almost) 5:3 “widescreen” on a 4:3 television screen. The trouble is, even in 2011, those were a dying breed, and definitely aren’t anywhere near as prevalent in 2020. The result of this is that the vast majority of people will watch this on a 16:9 screen, but the “widescreen” image will not even come close to filling the display on account of being restricted by the 4:3 box. The actual image is a very rough looking 700 x 430 or so pixels, inside a 720 x 540 pixel 4:3 frame. It’s “open matte” to some degree as it hasn’t been framed correctly for this release, but it’s also skewed toward one side, with the left side not cropped enough and the right side slightly over-cropped compared to the old web video. It also appears to have been slightly squashed horizontally. That one looks like this:

dewback-george-2011

The 2020 Blu-ray is different again, with the image being about 720 x 440 but this time it’s been cropped much more noticeably on the right-hand side than the 2011 transfer was. As a result, it can’t be restored back to an accurate representation of the original framing, and to be honest, it looks like crap overall when compared to the 2011 version. It’s also noticeably stretched horizontally, from less than 700 px (I’m guessing 640 px) to 720 px:

dewback-george-2020

Since the least cropped (and least aliased) reasonably modern source seems to be the 2011 disc, I cropped and upscaled that (without sharpening the hell out of it) to fill a 16:9 screen, in order to ditch the letterboxing and attempt to fix (as far as possible) the slightly deformed aspect ratio. Since a bit had been cut off the right hand side, I also cropped a little bit off the left to recentre the image, adding equal borders on the left and right to fill a 16:9 screen and upscaling to 720p. Since the source was interlaced, standard definition NTSC, I deinterlaced it with QTGMC. Do not expect this to look like HD footage, because it’s not, and it shows… but it’s a heck of a lot better than the 56k web streaming version and is framed better than either of the official Blu-ray Disc versions as well.

Here’s the 1997 web version with the letterboxing removed, then the remaining frame upscaled to fill a 5:3 frame inside a full-screen 16:9 display, to show what the ideal framing would look like:

big-george-1997

Then the same thing but cropped in slightly on all sides to better match the available picture information in the 2011 Blu-ray version (since the 2011 BD version is slightly cropped on the right as well, I cropped in on all sides to restore the original 5:3 aspect ratio):

snipped-big-george-1997

This was used to work out the most accurate crop and size adjustments for the 2011 video.

The end result is a precisely 5:3 frame with black bars at the sides to fill a 16:9 screen at 720p, instead of a tiny 5:3 frame inside a 4:3 box in the middle (which would have been great when we all used 4:3 TVs but is extremely inconvenient nowadays).

dewback-george-restored

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To be blunt, this is the same thing they did with the GOUT. They took what they had lying around and put no effort into it.

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yotsuya said:

To be blunt, this is the same thing they did with the GOUT. They took what they had lying around and put no effort into it.

It is precisely what they did with GOUT, yes.

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yotsuya said:

To be blunt, this is the same thing they did with the GOUT. They took what they had lying around and put no effort into it.

Same could be said for the old masters for the unreleased 3D conversion they just had laying around. Or in 2011, for the old DVD masters they just had laying around. Lucasfilm has a cheapness about home video releases that’s still very much alive under Disney.

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How does one take something that looked perfectly fine as a DVD extra and make it worse?

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Some info for us UK’ers re the 4K releases…
 

What happened to the UK’s individual 4K Blu-ray releases of the Star Wars films? - article at The Digital Fix

^ the upshot is it seems Amazon UK may well have some sort of ‘time-limited exclusivity window’ re the recent Skywalker Saga box set releases. It would explain why the 4K release of ‘Rogue One’ has been put back / on hold in the UK - and possibly why the 4K 2019 SE ‘Skywalker Saga’ films are not currently available individually to buy.

Zavvi UK do have the individual 3-disc Steelbook releases for the OT as being available from June onwards… so hopefully there’ll also be individual releases for the various ‘Skywalker Saga’ films available around then too…
 

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SilverWook said:

How does one take something that looked perfectly fine as a DVD extra and make it worse?

This happens all the time and is a reason why I sometimes hang onto to otherwise outclassed DVDs. Usually they don’t take the time to convert, re-encode and worry about legacy extras and just shove them on without thought. Thus on a lot of BDs what once looked fine are filled with aliasing, noise, compression artifacts or in the worst case scenario look like low quality youtube uploads which is what happened on some Kino Blu-rays. 9 times out of 10 extras look better on DVD. It’s only the specialty labels that care to rebuild things in 1080p or present them in 1080i upconverts and preserve quality of the original standard def materials-companies like Arrow, Criterion, Indicator, Eureka.

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SilverWook said:

How does one take something that looked perfectly fine as a DVD extra and make it worse?

indeed

If you want a more appropriately framed version of Anatomy of a Dewback for 16:9 screens, gimme a shout.

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Zavvi UK do have the individual 3-disc Steelbook releases for the OT as being available from June onwards… so hopefully there’ll also be individual releases for the various ‘Skywalker Saga’ films available around then too…
 

The New Hope and Empire 4K steelbooks are sold out for preorder, though there may be more stock later in the summer.

The Return of the Jedi 4K steelbook is now available for preorder.

Update 06/04/20:

Zavvi have just sent an email notification that more than 20 previously sold out steelbook titles will be on sale again in the next few days, but only to subscribers to their Red Carpet service (£10 for one year). I suspect the ANH and ESB steelbooks might be two of the titles on offer. This is annoying but over one year the subscription might pay for itself.

Another update (sorry!):

Panic over - none of the steelbooks are Star Wars titles. Mainly Marvel.

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Got a chance to watch the new 4K Dolby Vision version of Lawrence of Arabia, and my goodness did it remind me what a proper film restoration is supposed to look like with the latest tech. It was bright and grainy and the colors looked more like old film stock than some of the HD clips from an earlier release I found on Youtube. I pulled up Empire Strikes Back by comparison that looked dull and waxy by comparison. (Of course LOA was shot on 65mm vs 35mm for SW, but I don’t think most of what I was seeing was due to that).

I even watched King Creole, a B&W film staring Elvis Presley from the 50’s, in 4K Dolby Vision and that looked better these 4K versions of the Original Trilogy. (forgive some sections that were restored from a late generation print, but otherwise the vast majority was sourced from the original negative).

I seriously am more and more disappointed and confused about how these movies continue to look like absolute shit when compared to other classic films.

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emanswfan said:

Got a chance to watch the new 4K Dolby Vision version of Lawrence of Arabia, and my goodness did it remind me what a proper film restoration is supposed to look like with the latest tech.

Dang, I’m jealous. I can’t justify forking out over $100 for that Sony boxset right now, especially since I already own Lawrence of Arabia in 4K on VOD. Unfortunately, it’s only in SDR on VOD right now – I’d love to see that new Dolby Vision HDR grade sometime! Hopefully in the future!

EDIT: Never mind. I just checked, and the 4K VOD release has been upgraded to Dolby Vision. Yay for free upgrades! I’ll have to check it out soon.

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emanswfan said:

Got a chance to watch the new 4K Dolby Vision version of Lawrence of Arabia, and my goodness did it remind me what a proper film restoration is supposed to look like with the latest tech. It was bright and grainy and the colors looked more like old film stock than some of the HD clips from an earlier release I found on Youtube. I pulled up Empire Strikes Back by comparison that looked dull and waxy by comparison. (Of course LOA was shot on 65mm vs 35mm for SW, but I don’t think most of what I was seeing was due to that).

I even watched King Creole, a B&W film staring Elvis Presley from the 50’s, in 4K Dolby Vision and that looked better these 4K versions of the Original Trilogy. (forgive some sections that were restored from a late generation print, but otherwise the vast majority was sourced from the original negative).

I seriously am more and more disappointed and confused about how these movies continue to look like absolute shit when compared to other classic films.

Because, except of 2003 when the scanned it for DVD and HD broadcast, they haven’t actually scanned it for release since. The 2011 BR was just the 2003 HD scan. The 2006 extra disc was just a quick transfer of the 93 Definitive Collection LD master. And this was the scanned master for a supposed 3D conversion from several years back. So we have never really had a quality release of these films. I don’t suppose we ever will. What we need is a proper restoration for all these films.

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I WAS thinking about buying the individual 4k releases of the Original Trilogy just to check out the “new” transfer. From everything I can gather, these don’t have Dolby Vision. Isn’t Dolby Vision the standard for true HDR color/contrast interpretation on 4k OLED displays? We get the higher resolution but we don’t get the true HDR color range with these discs?

Send help.

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