Sign In

The 1978 Star Wars Storybook and Color Grading reference

Author
Time
 (Edited)

this thread grew out of Dr Dre’s 4k color grading thread in which I proposed the idea of the storybook photos being used for color reference , some dismissed the idea out of hand as not relevant due to the storybook photos being on set production photos and not stills from the film itself. I stated that I believe some of them are just that , but not all .The most obvious example being the shot of Vader without his cape on during the scene where he senses Kenobi’s presence . Some have used the 70s photo novels that were blown up from film negatives as examples of the plausability of my view that some of the photos are film stills and others have said they have studied it for years and denied the possibility. This is the place to state your case by showing examples , which are open to debate , for or against the topic of whether or not they are all stills , all production photos ,or somewhere in between and why, or why not, using the storybook photos as a guide for things like hue , color temp , value etc has relevancy .lastly , the joke about calibrating the storybook was hilarious ! ok , let the debate begin …

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

Author
Time
 (Edited)

In Empire Strikes Back Making of there is a double page spread of the Dagobah Planet Matte… It looks nothing like the film.

Original

Book Version (Attempt at capturing what the Book Looks Like)

As you can see Dagobah should be green but it is very washed out in the film but the matte painting it is very lush green. More Green than my attempt to match the Book.

Problem is it’s a double page spread so can’t really scan the image.

Also within the making of Empire Strikes Back you can also see that Bespin (Planet Matte) should be a brownish color and The X-wing Yoda Raises from the Swamp the Trees Matte is actually meant to be blue not yellow.

So The Book tells us that there is a problem with the Optical Printing and the Color has a problem and generally tends to lose vital information of what something is meant to look like vs the end result after Optical Printing. But the other thing that perplexes me if it is actually a blue screen shot how come it is so horrendously blue? Not Possible so something is being done after the Optical Print to make it that Blue as it’s more than spill.

This is not perhaps what you were looking for, but the books are best for looking at Special Effects Issues rather than the Normal Film Footage.

But to say sometimes things did not come off as intended, is the truth and I personally like the idea of exploring how much better things could look by going back to original elements and so on with today’s technology. Either way I will say the Empire Strikes Back Making of Book (Titan) is a good resource for a few of the effects shots that came out
wrong.

So anyway there is the proof that what it looks like raw vs after Optical printing can be very different.

As far as the Storybook goes the most interesting thing about the Vader Photo is he has Blue Button on his Chest Plate not Green 😃. I have suspected that there could be a Blue and a green version of the Chest plate and I think it was used occasionally or It is a just that cyan is the Wrong Shade and it is more a Turquoise Blue not green. But in this scene we also have in the Gout Vader with Pink Lights on his Belt! Not Green so there tends to be a case for questioning how some Colors become Inverted for ??? Strange reasons… It Happens occasionally in the Highlights this inversion and it has been by and Large addressed now with current iterations. But It causes a distrust for what you see of some form of tinkering that can cause color inversion or perhaps a Skewed effect. But I don’t know how his Belt Lights are pink… That is 100% inverted.

The Other thing from the Story Book is the Hexagon Lights in Lukes Garage Green or Cyan? This is equal and comparable to Vaders Chest Plate Green or Cyanish Blue?

It is also worth noting in the Garage there are also Weird Color Changes present in the Gout and Odd Hue Shifts to the Highlights at one point a Cyan Light becomes all of a sudden Red… Again we are seeing an inversion Occur but this time it is an Optical Effects shot.

But to touch on Optical Effects again Inversion does Occur when Making the Matte so I would assume the Cyan Light turning Red is to do with the fact that it is indeed an Optical Wipe this shot.

So if we think of the Dagobah Trees Matte Painting being Yellow if we Inverted it Correctly it would look how it was meant to look Blue.

If we Look at Bespin if it was that Brown Yellow Color if we inverted that it would be Blueish… After the Blue screen process it was probably in it’s inverted state and got all the Blue Removed and when inverted back there was only a white looking planet left when Composited.

Anyway this may mean that the scene where Vader Senses Obi-wan may have had a wipe at some point to explain the 100% Inversion from Green to Pink… The Same as when Vader first Steps on to the Tantive we have again Green in Inverted Pink so it is more evidence that it once was a Wipe to or from this scene via optical because the inversion.

But Skewing is something different it is not related to the Optical effects.

Unless of Course Vader was to have a Hand Animated Chest Plate via a Matte or Something like this which would probably explain why his Chest Button is Green and not Blue if indeed every shot of Vader is Run through Optical or Prepared for Such.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

interesting but I am not sure this makes the case as to whether or not ALL of the storybook photos are production photos or film stills .One thought I had about print media is that everything that is reproduced on the page to make multiple copies requires printers ink and after multiple copies are made , the saturation of the ink may become less , or in older books , there may be an issue or error with the printing plates . I am guessing they have quality control control for these things but would imagine with a high volume print run , some would slip through the cracks .The second youtube screenshot you posted looks a lot like the Gout ( 2006 Bonus dvd disc of the original film ) to me .Other than desaturated color, I see no difference between the two images , and why does the youtube clip say Luke leaving Dagobah ? Is he flying backwards ? I see the lights of four engines which are on the back of the ship . He is flying towards the planet , not away from it 😃 and after re reading your post , it does seem that you do see some value in images in pre digital print media as a valid guide to being used as color reference for editors

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

Author
Time
 (Edited)

screams in the void said:

interesting but I am not sure this makes the case as to whether or not ALL of the storybook photos are production photos or film stills .One thought I had about print media is that everything that is reproduced on the page to make multiple copies requires printers ink and after multiple copies are made , the saturation of the ink may become less , or in older books , there may be an issue or error with the printing plates . I am guessing they have quality control control for these things but would imagine with a high volume print run , some would slip through the cracks .The second youtube screenshot you posted looks a lot like the Gout ( 2006 Bonus dvd disc of the original film ) to me .Other than desaturated color, I see no difference between the two images , and why does the youtube clip say Luke leaving Dagobah ? Is he flying backwards ? I see the lights of four engines which are on the back of the ship . He is flying towards the planet , not away from it 😃 and after re reading your post , it does seem that you do see some value in images in pre digital print media as a valid guide to being used as color reference for editors

To Be honest I think really the only thing you can take away from that story Book is that Green might be a bit out on all media.

Vader’s Chest plate and Hexagon Lights are not as green as they appear in the Film.

I found looking at Star Wars Special Edition the Illustrated script interesting more so… But at the end of the day Look at the cover of A New Hope… Mos Eisley is meant to look like this,

That is exported straight from A PC it’s pink and overly red on film. This is how I judge that it is not looking correct once on film.

But it seems to be with Lucusfilm and you can’t say all films change like this well I don’t think so.

I looked at this today… I think this is the most accurate shot for this scene.

So what if the Special Edition looked more Like that?

This was only rough but I find Yavin is more Orange than Red in Space at leaset I don’t agree with the Pink and the trees are the Wrong Shade of Green it is Guatamala Jungle not a forest. I feel like I can feel the mist rising a bit off the Jungle now also.

Looks Wrong?

Author
Time
 (Edited)

ok , I am a little confused here …we are talking about the 1977 film and the 78 storybook with what says "full color photographs " on the cover . It is the comparison of those two things which is the subject of this topic .speaking to the special edition vhs cover you posted and the youtube screengrab …you are right , there was too much pink in the 97 and 2004 special editions which was fixed on the 2011 bluray , and George may have meant for Mos Eisley to look like a cgi crapfest ,but I prefer the original film . That , however is a different topic .

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

Author
Time
 (Edited)

screams in the void said:

ok , I am a little confused here …we are talking about the 1977 film and the 78 storybook with what says "full color photographs " on the cover . It is the comparison of those two things which is the subject of this topic .speaking to the special edition vhs cover you posted and the youtube screengrab …you are right , there was too much pink in the 97 and 2004 special editions which was fixed on the 2011 bluray , and George may have meant for Mos Eisley to look like a cgi crapfest ,but I prefer the original film . That , however is a different topic .

I wish somone would get a Lut for that Cover on the VHS and apply that to say 1997 Version.

The Blu-ray is still bad in my opinion.

My Theory is before the CGI was added to the film and it was Raw like on the Back of the VHS Straight out the PC it was matched to how a Master Print Looked which ILM would have had access to. Taking the difference there on the Special Edition shot RAW and applying it to the Film Footage I think will yield interesting results.

What ever they were creating the new shots to go with looked different to what any print in circulation looks like and Many Shots in 1997 Star Wars at the Battle of Yavin look more like the GOUT than the 2004 version or any subsequent iteration.

ILM Created the shots to Match something and then they were altered quite a bit from their Raw State. Why would you bother specifically creating new shots at the pinnacle of the Special Effects in the world only for it not to blend and translate without any further interference? Why make them look worse? Why Make them Pink and overtly red? These CGI shots are not compromised by Bluescreen or optical printing.

There is one still of this Master in the Back of the Making of Star Wars Revised Special Edition (Titan) to show before and After Comparison of R2 & 3P0 looking at the informant from the Cantina talking to Storm Trooper. Looks pretty Good to my eyes also.

This is the Master. Does any other Version have that Scratch?

I would say the Story Book Does Have similarities with this Image but it is Overtly more Red.

For Comparison the Blu Ray

Author
Time

this is all very interesting , as I stated however ,we are talking about the 1977 film and the 78 storybook with what says "full color photographs " on the cover . It is the comparison of those two things which is the subject of this topic . I would like to stay on that track but can see the merit in what you are saying .it just seems more suited to the theatrical cuts vs subsequent releases thread .

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Ok sorry not wanting to derail… But would you say this is comparable to the Storybook and how it looks?

I think the Mos Eisley Shot Does seem comparable and I also think this looks comparable also. Like of the same type of look and feel to it?

You know trying to build a picture…

Same Picture Different Hue Variant (I trust this more than the scan I did)

Film

Old 4:3 Composite without the Inversion color Issues…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPS9FlBLh5o

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Yeah it is how I remember it also! 😃

I actually only have the revised edition of the Story Book it was never released in the UK the Book you have…

But Anyway I took a look through a youtube clip and I found something very Interesting!!!

Planet Yavin is 100% correct in this image… Death Star suffering from Color Inversion (ForeGround Object Inverted)

UNused IMage of Death Star but unmatted and 100% Correct

Unused Image of Death Star Approaching a Planet… (Foreground Object Inverted)

Ah ok Deathstar Approaching Alderaan well I never 😃 !!! So Alderaan is not Blue more sort of Cyan or they decided to make it more blue or it is just unused concept either way I love it 😃.

Look a bit Better now… THIS MUST BE RESTORED TO THE FILM DAMN IT!

I actually think it has merit that it is more Cyan than Blue…Halfway Cyan push

Full Cyan Coloration

I think I would settle on about Halfway though for what it “Should look like” I dunno? I can’t make up my mind I might change it?

Author
Time

I think the issue here is, that even if film stills were used in the book, there’s no reason to assume the colors are accurate. For one both the scanning and printing would introduce inaccuracies. Then there’s the fact that the colors were likely adjusted to look appealing in the book, and not so much match the film. Just look at the Topps cards, which often contain many film stills, but none of them look like the real thing, with colors often balanced, or altered. The reality is that these photos are likely no more accurate than any of the telecines, where the colors can be in the ballpark, if the operator was going for accuracy, but usually are not .

Author
Time
 (Edited)

DrDre said:

I think the issue here is, that even if film stills were used in the book, there’s no reason to assume the colors are accurate. For one both the scanning and printing would introduce inaccuracies. Then there’s the fact that the colors were likely adjusted to look appealing in the book, and not so much match the film. Just look at the Topps cards, which often contain many film stills, but none of them look like the real thing, with colors often balanced, or altered. The reality is that these photos are likely no more accurate than any of the telecines, where the colors can be in the ballpark, if the operator was going for accuracy, but usually are not .

The Books are useful for Spotting when something is Inverted in Special effects… If We take Alderaan for example it is Blue then in the Next shot where Tarkin is Looking at it out the viewscreen it is Cyan. So What Color is it?

The Answer for you is most probably it is both Blue and Cyan… I would not expect any less I don’t mean that in a nasty way or anything but your conclusion is probably oh well that is what the film says it should be and not question the fact that it changes between the first time we see it to the second time we see it.

I however do not look at things like this if the same Object changes Color between shots, as in noticeably quite different and it is an effects shot… It causes me to ponder to answer such a question… And I wish people here would discuss why the Planet is Blue then Cyan in the next shot…Never mind the Pink Console Lights which a red Console Lights Later… Anyway The Deleted scene is very cool I think and it is what makes the books good but it also can give up some Answers too especially for Color Inversions and so on Like in the Tractor Beam Matte Painting is much Worse now than it looked on TV because it has reverted to the Theatrical Scan Version and not the Fixed Matte in the 4:3 Version. But the Fact that this was prepared for Broadcast in this fashion without error should tell you something, it went out on TV Fixed and it is also in a storybook from 1978 😉

^ This I think looks pretty Good though from that Book, I would go as far to say it is the best still in the book for what Reality was on set, I would say yeah best still in the book.

Found this one just now and it Adds up… Looks good to my Eyes.