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Info & Opinions Wanted: Choosing Between Various 4K Restorations

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I finally upgraded to 4K, and am trying to decide which versions of the Star Wars Trilogy to download. Hopefully this thread can also be a resource for others, so feel free to also post your related questions!

I have been reading about 4K77/80/83 DNR/noDNR and D+77/80/83, and that’s a lot of choices.

My general preferences: I prefer home video transfers that have a filmic look (as in, no need to turn O-neg and interpositive transfers into wax fests), but I also have no real desire to see a warts and all “what it would look like in the theater in 1977” look for these movies.

In the DNR vs noDNR of 4K77, the DNR is distractingly noisy for me. I think I’ll go with 4K77 DNR or D+77. Is there good info somewhere about what in D+77 wasn’t restored to theatrical? Any thoughts on what I should try first?

For Empire and Jedi, I don’t see any such comparison videos. I will probably go with 4K83 given how high marks it’s gotten, but how grainy really is the noDNR compared to the DNR? Is there a sample somewhere? Same for ESB, but also, what changes were left in D+80?

Thanks for your thoughts!

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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I suppose it all depends on what you’re willing to compromise.

Unless Mike Verta’s Legacy Edition is ever released and it’s everything he claims it to be, the 4KXX projects are the most pure restorations currently available with the highest resolution.

The versions without DNR have the least cosmetic work done but as a result, film grain is more prevalent.

There are some samples of 4K83 you can pull up on Youtube.

4K83 v1 (no DNR)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PTn_qmVaQSw

4K83 v.1 (DNR)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oRqmZAat4uw

The no DNR is preferable to me, although the DNR version is more colorful. I’m not tech savvy to advise on why that is.

You can also find multiple samples of 4K77 without DNR on YouTube.

This fan trailer for 4K77 might be DNR but I’m not sure.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JL9nRJMowas

If you have a smart tv, I’d suggest pull open the samples on your screen to get an idea of how’d they’d look.

Fan projects such as Harmy’s Despecialized that aim to recreate the original versions will look better, but some of the edits may not flow as consistent with the main HD footage. Other projects sourced from the Blu Rays/ UHD discs will also inherit whatever methods were used by the studios to clean and sharpen the images.

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The “minimal DNR” versions of ROTJ are my go-to’s since they remove stuff some may find distracting like excess grain, writing on the print and reel change markers, but still retain enough grain to not scrub away fine details. To my eyes, the maximum DNR version looks vaguely like the 2011 Blu-ray (albeit with competent color grading and without the changes), and that’s no good.

I’ll shower you with coconut cream pies

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I just finished a marathon of the OT.

I thought 4K77 DNR looked really good. I’m glad I went with this version. I would not want anything noisier than this. I can’t wait to see what the next versions of 4K77 and SW Despecialized bring.

D+80 was entirely different. Detail on the UHD Blu-Ray footage is amazing, but the frozen grain is distracting and the quality drop of the DNR’d restored footage is unfortunate. This is certainly an amazing effort and a great stepping stone to ESB Despecialized. Can’t wait for this and an eventual polished 4K80.

4K83 minimal DNR color by Dr.Dre: drop down gorgeous. If there was never a new version of ROTJ, I’d still be happy.

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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If I may ask, because I don’t have D+80, is the restored footage mostly to replace the Emperor, the windows and fly overs of Bespin?

I figure ESB has the fewest amount of restored shots of the OT.

I don’t mean to sound ignorant of the projects and their efforts, but as far as restoring the unaltered footage goes - my understanding is we’re at the mercy of the 35mm print sources for the best available quality, short of someone breaking into the Lucasfilm vaults and stealing the negatives or interpositives.

Since Harmy is also using the new Blu-Rays and 4KXX as his primary sources for 3.0 , I wonder how much different it will be than the D+77/80/83 versions.

I also understand there’s a Skywalker Edition in the works, which looks absolutely stunning on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc9A54WgTrc).