Some news after many weeks …
Since ChewieLewis’ project (https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Phantom-Menace-99-HD-Theatrical-Version-by-Chewielewis/id/60924) started on the same basis as mine, and since ChewieLewis told me that he wanted to deliver his project as soon as possible in 2018 (and thus, it wouldn’t be possible to collaborate because my work speed was much more slow than his), it seemed constructive to me, for the benefit of all, to restart/reload my own project on a new different base, even closer to the “Despecialized” approach: rebuilding TPM in HD by taking Blu-Ray as the main source (instead of merging HDTV and STDV sources).
As a result, the OT community will benefit from two different approaches:
- a reconstruction from HTDV and SDTV sources (ChewieLewis’ project)
- a despecialization from Blu-Ray (my project).
The process is obviously more complicated, but is well advanced:
- rebuilding every altered scene (mainly via rotoscoping + the modeling technique I developed for the previous project) - almost done
- color grading and cropping on a scene by scene basis - to be done
I have also been able to find other major sources (ie captures from the first DLP version of Texas Instruments in 1999, or negative scans with original cinematographic subtitles).
I’ll try to deliver the final result for the 20th anniversary of TPM (19th May 2019)
NB: I sincerely regret that ChewieLewis insisted so much on finishing the project in 2018 - which was the main reason for our lack of collaboration (since I was not able to work so fast)… finally, his project was not delivered as fast as he said in 2018, so we could have collaborate.
That’s life… 😃
Some comparaisons :
As some of you maybe know, I’m working on a reconstruction of The Phantom Menace in full HD for more than one year. The goal of this project is to provide a 100% theatrical version of the movie, in 100% HD (not a single frame in upscaled SD, everything in real 1080p), as it was never released, except maybe a German HD broadcast that was never succesfully recorded.
Why do I talk about it now
Two reasons :
I didn’t want to create a thread about it until my project was advanced enough. Well, I feel that it is now advanced enough ! I think it’s time to talk about it and share on this forum some sources, some personal techniques to recover missing scenes in HD, the results that I can get, and to discuss about it.
Other similar projects are on the way (certainly Poita’s 35 mm scan and ChewieLewis HD reconstruction, and maybe other ongoing projects), so it seems to be a good time to talk about mine. While other projects are pursuing the same goal (providing a theatrical version of The Phantom Menace), they take different paths. I hope that when each project will be released, it will be possible to merge the various skills of everyone to achieve an ultimate version.
Challenges in HD reconstruction
There are two main challenges in recovering the theatrical version :
- The original theatrical colors are not available in HD: the HDTV version has too much red everywhere and contains some scene differently regraded than others ; the Blu-Ray was re-regraded on a scene by scene basis and has no more original color at all.
- Some scenes seem to be definitely lost in HD and only available in (poor) SD : arrival on Coruscant – with a view on Palpatine’s office (replaced by a taxi sequence), Palace of Naboo by night without an added CGI-bridge, and Senate scene with a cameo of Trish Biggar and Iain McCaig as Senators. Other scenes were reassembled differently in HD, or were available only on some bonuses, but they are not definitely lost. The scene of Qui-Gon on Tatooine by night was directly taken from Digital Video for HDTV and BR versions, contrary to the original 35mm version, so the colors are pretty different.
Solutions that I used
The original colors can be deduced from some versions, since LaserDisc, ORF1 broadcast, Euro Canal Plus broadcast and some bonuses on Blu-Ray or Digital Collection show the same range of colors (once they are well calibrated), that perfectly fit old photos taken from 35mm in early 2000. For the rest, the amazing DrDre’s Color Matching tool, and a lot of time, allowed me to do a scene by scene color regrading.
Missing scenes were painstakingly recreated in several steps :
- Widely enhancing video quality by using ^…^'s PaNup technique (as described here) and merging together ORF1 broadcast, Euro Canal Plus broadcast, LaserDisc and VCD.
- Then, a very complicated technique of my own (whom I’m very proud of) that gives full HD frames.
- Everything was edited in 24p (not 23,976p), as it was shown in theaters almost 20 years ago.
- Every shot was upscaled in 4K using Super Resolution fo better HD-reconstruction, then downscaled to 1080p.
- Theatrical DTS sound was fully restored from theatrical DTS CD-ROM, without any other audio treatment than applying the APT-X100 post production recommendations (as found here).
- Theatrical Dolby EX 6.1 was fully restored from Laserdisc.
- Reassembling HDTV sources to theatrical cut : 100 %
- Rebuilding missing scenes (PaNup) : 100 %
- Rebuilding missing scenes (1080p) : 50 %
- Regrading colors : 70 %
- Syncing Audio (DTS, Dolby EX, PCM 2.0) : 00 %
- Misc (bonuses) : 00%
Here is a comparison between a “simple” upscale from SD and my final HD reconstruction for the Senate scene :
Here is a comparison between original LaserDisc, Euro Canal Plus PAL broadcast (SD), ORF1 PAL brodcast (SD) and my final HD reconstruction for the arrival on Coruscant (presumed unavailable in HD). It is the 80th frame of the scene :
Same frame compared in detail :
Is there a contention with other projects ?
Well no. We waited so long to have a theatrical version of The Phantom Menace in HD, that we will not sulk our pleasure now that several projects are moving forward!
There is definitely no contention with Poita, since the two projects are totally complementary, and I rely heavily on his work to further improve the missing scenes in HD (and I financialy support it).
Regarding ChewieLewis, we started this project approximately in the same time (even though I’ve already talked about mine a long time ago). It seems that we work with the same sources and we will probably achieve similar results, even I’m pretty confident that the scenes fully rebuilt in HD will probably be sharper and more detailed in my version, due to the technique I developed. But as far as I am concerned, there is no contention, but rather a kind of « competitive sportsmanship » which is probably pushing us to go beyond our limits, and it’s a good thing.
I am pretty sure that some scenes will be more satisfactory in his version, and others in mine, and I really hope that we eventually can make later an even better common version.
When will it be released
As I have a little girl that requires a lot of time, plus a full time job, it will take me several more weeks to release something.
The scenario is to release my version before the 20th anniversary (19th May 2019), and I hope even in 2018.
[This part has yet to be written]
- Harmy for the inspiration
- Nightstalkerpoet for his German HDTV source that he shared almost a year ago
- DrDre for his amazing Color Matching tool
- Althor1138 for his precious Laserdisc preservation that made me want to discover the amazing world of Laserdiscs a year ago
- ^…^ for his PaNup technique and all the FanRes community
- Schorman for his HDTV 1080p preservation
- ChewieLewis for the challenge 😃