I’ll be that guy. Because, in many ways, I AM that guy.
But first, I apologize if I took the thread the wrong way. I’m here to answer the question as presented. If this was just a matter of venting frustration, just skip my response, because it’s really not going to help.
“Disappointment” is defined by expectations. If you expect something and don’t get it, that’s a disappointment. Now a lot of people who love 4K77 want to re-live the original Star Wars experience, as it literally was when watching it in a real theater back in the day. That very specific expectation is met, in spades. Those who want that will not be disappointed.
But a funny thing happened between 1977 and 2018. People’s expectations changed. Classic films are regularly restored from negatives and other source materials that have far more fine image detail than a projection print, and by the time 4K77 was released, people had been enjoying films that way for over a decade. How many acclaimed high-def releases are based on projection prints? None. And there’s a reason for that. If someone scanned a projection print of My Fair Lady and released that on UHD, people would say “What is this crap? The old UHD is way better!” Especially if it was a 35mm reduction print. And you could say “But the projection print is how it looked in the theater!” until you’re blue in the face, and you would convince essentially nobody. Because the My Fair Lady UHD looks, in a word, loverly. And that really defines the significant split in expectations: some want movies to look like they did in the theater, and some want them to look not only better, but significantly better – at least in terms of fine image detail.
So, when your random person on the Internet hears that there is a 4K restoration of the original Star Wars, there may be an expectation that it has the fine image detail equivalent to 4K restorations of other classic films. And, let me be very very categorical on this point, 4K77 doesn’t have that. Now that’s a bit of an unfair expectation, because Star Wars was first of all not a large-format film like My Fair Lady, and 70’s filmstock kind of sucked, and it’s rife with optical composites, and so on. But even then, they may have that expectation, and it will not be met. A more realistic expectation, given all that background, would be for it to have the equivalent level of fine detail of a 1080p restoration or 2K upscale. But that expectation is also not met, because people forget exactly how much detail is lost simply in the optical duplication process that creates projection prints. In fine image detail equivalency terms, what you’re really talking about is less than 720p and more than 480p, most of the time.
Is 4K resolution wasted on a projection print? Not at all. Resolving grain well is important, and supersampling is actually an extremely important principle when trying to digitize things for posterity, which is exactly what 4K77 is doing.
But when you tell people that there’s a 4K restoration of the original Star Wars, that gives a certain impression to those who aren’t versed in all this technical background. Or to those so steeped in industry trends for the past few decades that they simply expect a certain minimum level of image quality at 4K. But with this expectation, 4K77 can’t help but disappoint. It’s unfair of them to say it’s no better than the GOUT, certainly. But let’s be clear – in terms of fine image detail, it IS a lot closer to the GOUT than to the My Fair Lady UHD.
Now, I can’t make people on the Internet less rude or anything, but you do have to take people’s perspectives into account. If this guy really does work in the industry, he is probably MORE likely to have these high expectations for fine image detail than your average person. He probably considers projection print restorations as the sort of thing done for “Manos: Hands of Fate” caliber films. He likely doesn’t care about the dedication or resourcefulness that 4K77 demonstrates, only the final product. He may truly want a 4K restoration of Star Wars, but simply not this one.