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Theatrical 1979 Empire Strikes Back Trailer Restored

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Hi everyone,
For our next Star Wars video, our YouTube channel just released a restored version of the original Empire Strikes Back trailer from 1979, narrated by Harrison Ford himself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nccmNk8gsOc

This trailer’s restoration proved to be more difficult than the first 1976 Star Wars trailer. We started by replacing all matching scenes from the movie with scenes from The Empire Strikes Back Despecialized, matching them frame-by-frame as before. Alternate takes of the same scene were also replaced. In scenes that didn’t make it into the final movie, original footage was used from a relatively high-quality version of the trailer, after it had been cleaned, color-corrected, and sharpened to fit with the surrounding footage. Footage from the official Star Wars Blu-ray Deleted Scenes was also used in some cases.

We cleaned the film dirt from the starry background and explosion, and stabilized the logo crawl. We also re-mixed the original soundtrack back into the trailer audio, to bring back some of the lost highlights (especially the treble and bass). The trailer has been brought back to the original 23.976fps, widescreen format (as opposed to the cropped NTSC/PAL versions commonly available on YouTube).

As our goal has always been, we concentrated on bringing this trailer to the highest possible quality while keeping as many elements original as possible.

Enjoy!

  • The ReDiscovered Future
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sweet!!

“You can’t polish a turd. But you can shape it to look like candy.”

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Awesome! Thanks for doing these. Is there any chance that you could post the original quality anywhere? (For this and the A New Hope one also). YouTube compression makes me sad

May the Force be with you.

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rediscoveredfuture said:

Hi everyone,
For our next Star Wars video, our YouTube channel just released a restored version of the original Empire Strikes Back trailer from 1979, narrated by Harrison Ford himself:

Thanks for this. Question: I’ve seen speculation that Harrison Ford was the narrator, but was never sure. Do you have some definitive source that he’s the narrator?

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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That clip is a good (albeit creepy) example of a shot that was in the trailer but not used in the movie. Nothing major was done, just some saturation/color tweaking and dirt removal.

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Thanks. It’s always seemed strange to me that they would get Harrison to do such a gimmicky voice. But there it is.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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I find the sharp Star Wars logo against the blurry stars, and the pristine footage next to the slightly more blurry with compression artifacts footage so jarring I’d much rather just watch the original.

Sometimes, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

-G

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I always thought the Harrison Ford thing was a BS fan myth. It doesn’t sound like him to me at all, so it bugs the crap out of me that it keeps being repeated.

Have Lucasfilm ever confirmed? And I mean confirmed confirmed, not just repeated the myth themselves? I know that the “Orson Welles narrated the 1976 SW trailer” lasted until just a few years ago, when I think LFL were the ones to confirm it was actually Malachi Throne…

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This was rather good!

Is there any chance you can have a go at the re-release trailer also for Empire? That one also has a lot of deleted scenes in it. There is better stuff in the trailers than there is on the Blu-Ray.

Many of these little snippets were in the film until the late stages and either fix problems or enable music and dialogue to be restored in one instance.

Anyway Good work!

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Sure, we could definitely look into the re-release trailer. Do you have a link to the specific one you want done?

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You’ve clearly worked hard on these - with some good results - but I really ought to point out that this project has already been done by an associate (if not member) of these boards.

Have a quick look at the Earl Twirss channel on Youtube - he’s done most of the main trailers from the trilogy (though one or two appear to be missing at the moment, including his heroic effort on the production art-based ESB teaser).

Not saying this to be a dick, by the way - this is a worthwhile pursuit but it’s probably more worth your time to tackle some trailers still unavailable in HD, as opposed to reinventing the wheel.

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There was a 35mm scan done of the trailer here

http://thestarwarstrilogy.com/starwars/post/2014/02/10/Empire-Strikes-Back-35mm-1982-Re-release-Trailer-in-1080p

But they added a watermark in some bits so it might be worth asking them if you can get the file to do a proper restoration if you want to that is. Bear in mind also that this version only seems to be available in a cropped version. I can not seem to find an un-cropped version of this trailer anywhere in a proper widescreen ratio. And I am a bit gutted that it does not seem to exist.

There is also the Vivaldi trailer which is proper scope 2:35:1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CroqdjDv82s

But the only missing footage here is the extended R2-D2 on tippy toes as Kershner put it. Other than that it’s Blue Lasers. by far the best Narration though.

@Jonno - Earl Twiss just replaced the scenes that were not in the film so they are not the original trailers! 😃

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TServo2049 said:

I always thought the Harrison Ford thing was a BS fan myth. It doesn’t sound like him to me at all, so it bugs the crap out of me that it keeps being repeated.

Have Lucasfilm ever confirmed? And I mean confirmed confirmed, not just repeated the myth themselves? I know that the “Orson Welles narrated the 1976 SW trailer” lasted until just a few years ago, when I think LFL were the ones to confirm it was actually Malachi Throne…

If you want to hear just how much Ford can sound just like this trailer, watch the scenes in Blade Runner where he is pretending to be an inspector while he talks to Zhora. I am 100% convinced it is Ford. The other trailer never sounded like Orson Wells to me, but he was doing a lot of voice over work, such as Buck Rogers, about that time so I can see where some untrained ears might think it was him. Definitely was Malachi Throne.

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@jonno We realize that other people have already done what we’re trying to do, yes. We actually watched the Earl Twirss version quite a bit during our work on this trailer, which helped us figure out what footage could be replaced (a.k.a. what was in the final movie) and what couldn’t. For lack of a better explanation, we’re restoring these trailers for the challenge of creating a better and more accurate final product. Even if we can’t get them 100% perfect, we hope to build a stronger foundation so other fans can possibly use parts of our videos in their future restorations.

@Ronster “But the only missing footage here is the extended R2-D2 on tippy toes as Kershner put it.”
The Vivaldi ESB trailer has got to be one of my personal favorites! We’re working on a test version currently. Which footage are you referring to here that’s missing? If you mean the one of R2-D2 outside Yoda’s hut peeking through the window, it seems that footage is present, frame for frame, in the final movie (I might be interpreting you wrong here, please let me know if I am!)

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Ah I might be wrong actually I think it is perhaps the DVD menu from the 2004 Special Edition that features an extension to R2-D2 outside Yoda’s hut sorry my mistake!

Van Ling Menu has the extra frames.

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TServo2049 said:

I always thought the Harrison Ford thing was a BS fan myth. It doesn’t sound like him to me at all, so it bugs the crap out of me that it keeps being repeated.

Wow. It seems obvious to me that its Ford.

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Ronster said:

@Jonno - Earl Twiss just replaced the scenes that were not in the film so they are not the original trailers! 😃

Strictly speaking, none of these are the original trailers - just various attempts to recreate them. Earl Twirss made the decision to maintain a consistent quality, rather than frankensteining shots from varied sources; it might not be strictly accurate, but without that distraction it’s arguably more successful as a trailer. IMO of course.

Ronster said:

Bear in mind also that this version only seems to be available in a cropped version. I can not seem to find an un-cropped version of this trailer anywhere in a proper widescreen ratio. And I am a bit gutted that it does not seem to exist.

A scope trailer wasn’t necessarily made at all. This is hypothetical, but seems consistent with the trailers I’ve seen: Most trailer reels would have been shown flat, avoiding the necessity to change the projector lens during the pre-show. Scope trailers were more likely to be found tagged onto scope features, once the main show had started, and were generally high-profile releases. A rerelease, as in the case of that ESB trailer, probably wouldn’t warrant such fanfare.

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ronwlim said:

Wow. It seems obvious to me that its Ford.

I just had trouble accepting it as Ford. I’ve heard the Blade Runner argument before.

I’ve kind of had a problem with that voiceover, always thought it sounded goofy. But I listened again…and yeah, now I definitely hear it. Ford is the only person who pronounces it Lando’s surname as “Calrizzian”, and when he says that I totally hear the Ford in there. I think I’m sold now. 😃

Maybe my wires got crossed, and the one I was skeptical of was the allegation that Mark Hamill did the temp voiceover for that “workprint” version of the 1985 ROTJ reissue trailer that’s made the bootleg rounds.

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Ok Jonno, I agree that you can tell that the shots from the trailer need a bit of sharpening and the gain and contrast and color need adjusting but it could easily sit next to that footage much more seemlessly if more was done to it.

But it’s still a good effort to re-create the trailer, and it’s honestly the first attempt I have seen to actually do this and not use other footage from the film rather than shots that were not in the movie only found in the trailer.

So I respected that decision.

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Oh, was that Harrison? I couldn’t tell!

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.