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Charles Daniels

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How could I have had a VHS without "A New Hope" in the crawl as a kid?

I can imagine a variety of ways this might happen.
One thing I wonder is if the 1981 alteration was then universally used for TV airings? Does anyone know?
It’s possible that an airing in Europe, Australia, or some parts of Asia – say Hong Kong – might have been recorded off air in PAL.
I think an NTSC to PAL converted take would look so bad that the viewer would notice.
But a really good video off a commercial free broadcaster, say BBC. I could see that looking legit to a kid.

How accurate are the Harmy versions?

towne32 said:
As a Star Wars fan, the most frustrating thing is that people go through such incredible measures for Doctor Who, because of a mistake made in the 1970s (trashing the episodes). And everyone would kill for those episodes to be back. For Star Wars, it exists and we’re watching the mistakes happen in real time, and for no good reason.

Yeah it’s just simply beyond my comprehension what the hell is going on with Star Wars.

I’ve read the various explanations from George Lucas on this topic and it’s like
“I understand all the words and all the points being made here… But… How on earth did this make sense?”

How accurate are the Harmy versions?

Wazzles said:

Charles Daniels said:
I worked with various teams on trying to reconstruct various missing Dr Who stories, and while that is very hard stuff to do well, it would be peanuts compared to what Harmy has done.

Really? I’d think that would be harder, since so much footage is actually lost, unlike Star Wars, where much of the footage was just low-quality.

For a lot of stories there are pictures taken off television at the time. For some there are 8mm off air clips - taken by fans. And for a few there are film trims and clips salvaged from other shows.

But, for some there is NOTHING. Well other than behind the scenes photos, but not a frame of broadcast.

This means reconstruction is often rather a case of making it up as you go along.
For example if you have a story set in the Renaissance you look for the same actors appearing in other productions in period costume.

All the audio for every episode exists in full, thanks to dedicated fans who recorded it on reel to reel in surprisingly amazing quality.

So a lot of times it’s just a slide show, showing pictures to match the action as close as possible. Sometimes you have a clip to add in at the correct point.

If you are very lucky you have scenes which focus on props, or close ups of Daleks or monsters firing web guns, and you can go ahead and film those scenes and slot them in.

Sometimes you can even get access to the original props.

Alternative Prequel Ideas

NeverarGreat said:
SNIP The problem of Anakin can perhaps be solved by recognizing the effect this training could have on students and masters. What if the student’s fear is great, but reasonable? What if the student fails in their final test, but understandably so?

What if Anakin were to realize that his greatest fear was his own death?

When the test of a Jedi is against an enemy, the test is simple. When it is against death itself, how can any test be devised? Ironically, the Lucas Prequels have almost this same test in the character of Palpatine. If Anakin destroys Palapatine, he is severing the temptation to use the Dark Side to become immortal. Since he cannot destroy the promise of immortality, Anakin falls and becomes Darth Vader. This aspect of the prequels, if seen through the lens of the ‘Final Test’, succeeds. Anakin doesn’t even need to commit evil acts. His fall was the ultimate irony - saving a life. However, through the lens of this test, it is essential that Obi-wan kill Anakin, but since Anakin’s fall is entirely human and reasonable, Obi-wan is massively conflicted. The Mustafar duel could play out essentially as it does in the prequels, and over the next twenty years Obi-wan would try to convince himself that Anakin was indeed ‘seduced’ to the dark side by Palpatine. Anakin and Obi-wan are both tragic characters in the end, and when Anakin destroys the Emperor, he finally makes good on his test to become a Jedi.

This has to be the most well structured, interesting, and dramatically satisfyimg idea I’ve ever read on this topic.

The theme is excellent and coherent.

Perhaps too intelligent for Hollywood. Really compelling.

How accurate are the Harmy versions?

Haarspalter said:

@Charles Daniels

Color-timing and contrast of the image could be a slightly distracting thing - it depends on the viewer. As far as i assume, you are used to the home video releases of the OT, which feature a brightened up image (Experienced Users: please correct if i’m wrong). So you may notice (for example in Star Wars 2.5) some shots with slighty different colors and a darker image you are not used to, due to your viewing experience.

My viewing experience for these has been:

A French VHS release of La Guerre Des Etoiles played back on VCR which was happy to play SECAM tapes on a PAL TV

A betamax copy of Empire Strikes Back, the picture quality wasn’t bad in comparison to playing a French tape on a British telly!

And a VHS off TV recording of Jedi off network TV from about 1987. That was NTSC and so after I moved to the UK I had to deal with NTSC played back on PAL equipment.

What I’m getting at – is that for the last 12 years my viewing experience of Star Wars has been smeared like looking out a car window while doing 90 miles an hour with muddy sound – occasionally in French…

Seeing Harmy’s Despecialized editions is like watching a movie again. And I’m floored.

Its worth noting that I have the special edition trilogy box set on VHS, was a gift, but I couldn’t bring myself to take it out of the plastic wrap, much less watch it!

How accurate are the Harmy versions?

towne32 said:

Return of the Jedi 2.5 is ridiculously accurate, because Harmy seemed to be comparing every shot to the 35mm print. He discovered recomposited shots that no one had ever noticed before, because they never had a high enough quality source. He also discovered that some shots that we presumed were re-comps were actually not, just well restored.

Wonderful to hear the level of detail and investigation.

My mind baffles at how much work would be involved.

I worked with various teams on trying to reconstruct various missing Dr Who stories, and while that is very hard stuff to do well, it would be peanuts compared to what Harmy has done.

I know of very few things that he ‘missed’ in “Star Wars” 2.5, but the quality of many of the shots he restored is far lower due to the sources he had at hand.

Hmm… I wonder if 16mm reductions were ever made for exhibiting and broadcasting these films in Africa.

Or even 35mm copies on the black market in South Africa.

I’ll ask around. It might be some expat is sitting on a full trilogy somewhere.

Empire Strikes Back 2.0 has many recomposited shots (from the Blu-ray) remaining. Since it only slightly affects the positioning of things, he was right to not downgrade them to the GOUT’s sub-480i low quality image. But they’ll probably all be upgraded using 35mm shots in the near future.

Oh! Fantastic!

But if you’re asking ‘how close is it’ experience wise, focusing on the kinds of changes that the general fanbase would notice, like CGI ships and creatures and other nonsense, then you would consider it 100%. Anything less is what we around here would call ‘semi-specialized’. It’s the finer details that we obsessives notice that end up getting saved for last.

Charles: I know you have a common name, but you wouldn’t happen to be a Doctor Who fan and a film collector? Edit: Based on your posts, I suspect you may be. Great to have you here and welcome to the forum (even if you’re someone else 😃 ).

Cheers mate!
Scary that my reputation precedes me!
Yeah, I’m the crazy Dr Who guy with the film collection. 😃

I don’t have a lot of Star Wars on film, I mostly have British TV shows. But I do have some. And yeah, would be great to pick up more. But I imagine the mark up is substantial! Lol

Cheers mate! Great to be recognised on the door!

How accurate are the Harmy versions?

I haven’t seen the originals in a very long time.

I sort of lost heart after the first CGI Special Edition, and I couldn’t find good quality copies of the films I loved as a kid.

I have NTSC VHS sets,I have Empire on Betamax, I have A New Hope on SECAM video from France. But those are all hard to watch now that I live in the UK. And old and near death when I try.

So how accurate are all three films?

I saw Return of the Jedi and that sure the hell seems like the film I remember.
So I know these must be good.
But how close?
Just very curious about these versions