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Preserving the...<em>cringe</em>...Star Wars Holiday Special (Released)

Sadly,  the original WBBM source is from a transfer done on one of those VHS-to-DVD machines (not by me) and the resulting mpeg2 file was a constant moderate bit rate. I believe it was only 3.2GB in size or something along those lines. (I can't pull up the file to confirm because my drive is corrupted at the moment.) I could still output my final video at a high vbr for DVD9, though I don't know how much better it would be.  What the hell, I'll do it anyway.

Upscaling to 1080i/p might be laughable. I'll see how 720 looks and decide whether HD is even worth it.

Preserving the...<em>cringe</em>...Star Wars Holiday Special (Released)

Thanks to everyone involved in getting my version up on myspleen and all the seeders.

Here is the nfo file for my Holiday Special release last year (copied and pasted, sorry the formatting is a little crappy):


Star Wars Holiday Special - Hybrid Edition

  .:: Release Information ::.                                                
  Release Date....: 17NOV2010                                                
  Air Date........: 17NOV1978                                                
  Source..........: WBBM 2nd Gen. VHS tape with commercials taken from the   
                    WMAR version posted on Google Video                          
  Format..........: DVD5 NTSC                                                
  Image...........: ISO                                                      
  # of Disks......: 1                                                        
  Size............: 4.28 GB                                                  
  Video Format....: MPEG2 (3-Pass VBR)                                       
  Resolution......: 720x480                                                  
  Aspect Ratio....: 4:3                                                      
  Frame Rate......: 29.97fps                                                 
  Audio Format....: Track 1 (Original): Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kbps CBR)      
                    Track 2 (RiffTrax): Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kbps CBR)      
  Subtitles.......: None                                                     
  Menu............: YES/Custom                                               
  Genre...........: Black sheep of the Star Wars franchise                   
  Run Time........: 01:57:35                                                 
  .:: Group News ::.                                                         
  Secret-Shadow Ninja Pirates                                                
  Are you a pirate? Have you always wanted to be a pirate?  Do you talk like 
  a pirate?  We are currently looking for more 1337 pirate types to join our 
  super-awesome team.  So grab your eye patch and fake Scottish accent and   
  get with it!                                                               
  .:: Synopsis ::.                                                           
  Art Carney and a bunch of muppets waste time waiting for Chewbacca and Han 
  to show up for Life Day. Luke experiments with makeup. A stoned Leia sings.
  .:: Release Notes ::.                                                      
  This DVD is mainly a cleaned-up version of the original WBBM transfer,     
  taken from a 2nd-generation VHS copy. I added the commercials from the     
  WMAR version posted on Google Video in order to sync up with the RiffTrax  
  audio. This is far and away the best quality version of the Holiday        
  Special currently in circulation, IMHO.                                    
  The original WBBM video was already pretty damn good, but I took it one    
  step further by adding some sharpening and color correction filters. I     
  also added some fades to make the transitions to and from the commercials  
  a little smoother. The fades match up to the WMAR version for the most     
  part.  The quality of the commercials is substantially lower, but          
  unfortunately I don't know of any other source that's better.              
  The original audio was sharper compared to the other versions, though      
  quite noisy. I used a noise filter to get rid of most of it. The quality   
  of the commercials is substantially lower.                                 
  MENU and CRAWL                                                             
  The DVD menu is an original creation. Star Wars "Disco" tune originally by 
  Meco, with some added sound effects. The crawl was taken from the WMAR     
  version on Google Video, but redone by me to more closely match the films' 
  If you intend to watch this DVD with the RiffTrax commentary (which is the 
  only way to watch it IMO), please take a moment and donate a few bucks to  
  RiffTrax for their awesome work:
  .:: Thanks ::.                                                             
  Thanks to SKot for all the expert info on the Holiday Special, Rikter for  
  the original inspiration to create my own DVD version, and of course the   
  RiffTrax crew for making this DVD watchable.  Also a big thanks to Jay,    
  Moth3r, and everyone at                               




Looking back at this project, I realized that I could have done a much better job on the video. I actually used Adobe Premiere for the sharpening filters and color correction, which I now wish I hadn't done. However, at the time I was a little rushed on this project and I chose the quick and easy path, rather than going all out and using avisynth.

Obviously, we now have a much higher quality version of the commercials, so I'd love to go back and add those in as well. I have a new and improved version in the works (as mentioned earlier in this thread), but it's been stalled for months due to the many other projects I have currently involved myself in. I also managed to screw up the 2TB RAID10 partition all my video projects reside on, rendering the entire drive unreadable, so there's that problem as well. Here's hoping I can recover it and get back to working on some of my video projects in the near future.

Congratulations/condolences to our new moderator, Anchorhead

none said:


Termoil has engulfed the

Original Trilogy Forums. 

The moderation of talking

channels to outlying threads

is under a new gaze.


I've lost track of where this

PT parody Anchorhead won't

get should go so


 You forgot to add something exciting like an upcoming senatorial vote or trade routes being in dispute.


I still have moderator status, Warbler. Though I assume it's more of a formality at this point. But, you now, don't be acting all DanielB or AdamwanKenobi in here or I'll be forced to go all ocpmovie on your ass. That is, if Anchorhead doesn't beat me to it.

.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) (* unfinished project *)

Correct, not all of the files were finished uploading until yesterday.

Not counting the NZB file, there are 789 total files. Though, you can probably get by just fine with downloading only one or two of the PAR files and skipping the rest unless you find a lot of parts missing and you absolutely need them.

.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) (* unfinished project *)

Asaki said:

So does Zion have the JSC captures too, (or whatever else they were sourcing) or is it only the '93?

We do have a very good quailty JSC capture of ANH captured with the PDI deluxe card, but it was not captured from the X0 LD player. It was not available to us at the time, unfortunately.

How to average best picture from multiple captures....

TooT may or may not work, depending on how different the video is. It doesn't actually average the sources together, but rather compares all three sources and outputs the information that's consistent in at least two out of three sources. So like if there was a rot spot on one of the captures, it would take the information for that area from the two sources that don't have the rot spot. If all three sources differ, then I think it defaults to the first one.

The other avisynth filter you might try is Merge, which actually does average the two sources together.


.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) (* unfinished project *)

Ah yes, I do remember that now! Did L ever manage to get you that lost side of ROTJ by chance?

I did not send your LD yet. Couldn't find anything I trusted shipping it in as a matter of fact.  I used to have these sturdy boxes that fit like a glove, but I can't seem to find them anywhere. Any suggestions?

How to average best picture from multiple captures....

If they're all from the exact same LD release (i.e. they're all from Star Wars Definitive Collection LDs) then look up an avisynth filter called TooT (stands for Two out of Three). It will essentially take your 3 captures and combine them into one good one that's free of any rot spots or other imperfections not on the original LD. I'm sure there are other avisynth plugins out there as well.

If they're not from the same LD release, good luck and let me know if you come up with something.

.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) (* unfinished project *)

RedFive said:

So the upload is the raw capture of the XØ?  Something like 40gb?

Are these cleaned up at all, or completely raw?

What will be done with them (if anything)?

This is the raw capture, yes. It's the exact same set of files Laserman sent the rest of us after the capture was done. I would assume he IVTC'd them himself before sending to save on disk space, as the frame rate is already 23.976.

If someone wanted to prep this for outputting to DVD or Blu-ray or whatever, I would recommend a quick and dirty avisynth script with at least the following:

  • Combine the 8 files into one
  • Crop and resize to 16x9
  • Adjust video levels (set black and white points)
  • Upscale and sharpen


At this time, I have no plans to do anything other than release the raw captures to Usenet. If you want them uploaded somewhere else, burned to blu-ray, or converted to your favorite video flavor, you're better off asking someone else.

.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) (* unfinished project *)

Heh, I'm out of it for a little while and this thread explodes with talk of conspiracies and blu-ray requests.

I know everyone's waiting for the transfer files and I don't blame anyone for getting upset it's taking so long. The truth is I've been putting in 10-12 hour days at work the last couple months and projects like this haven't been at the top of my priority list.

Here's the deal. I'm currently RARing and PARing  the original X0 ANH transfer files and getting ready to upload them to a.b.starwars.

The original files we received from Laserman were AVIs encoded in HUFFYUV @23.976 fps and uncompressed PCM audio. The total file size is about 35GB (per film).

ESB and ROTJ will follow, though I will have to retrieve them from by backup discs first. And as I mentioned before, I am missing an entire LD side from ROTJ which was never sent to me, and may not exist anymore unless MeBeJedi was ever able to get it from Laserman.

If people really want it, I can upload a copy of the timecode print. (To clarify, the TC print was a 700MB DivX5 compressed version of the X0 transfer with burned-in timecode and we used it as a reference.)


I'm currently having some issues trying to create PAR2 files (I keep getting a "could not allocate output buffer" error in QuickPar). If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) (* unfinished project *)

Harmy said:

msycamore said:

To me that "Look sir, droids" shot just looks like it could be color corrected 2004 DVD footage. 

That's what I thought too and the fact that it is cut off on both ends at exactly the time which would reveal it as an SE shot (just after the digital Dewback would be out of the frame at the beginning and just before the wipe to the new SE sandcrawler at the end) only supports that theory.

I need to look up the actual conversation on our private board where Laserman posted about that shot, but I'm pretty sure one of the sources is the 2004 DVD. That's why it's cut off at the beginning and doesn't show the dewback. Keep in mind that this was the first shot he ever completed with the Black Magic workstation and that it was never meant to be released or actually used in the X0 project (obviously, since it isn't the full shot). I assume a few of you are paranoid or whatever, but you need to believe me when I say that I'm giving you exactly what Laserman presented to the rest of us way back when. If he says this was a direct output from Black Magic, then that's exactly what it is. 

I really hope I can find that other shot.

.: The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids :. (SEE FIRST POST FOR UPDATES) (* unfinished project *)

Sorry for dropping off the map the last couple of weeks. My internet went down at home and my modem still isn't working. I'm actually posting from a Kinko's right now because my cable modem is currently running at the blazing fast speed of about 56K. :|

Now, to answer a few questions:


bkev said:

Luckily, those are two of the shots that needed the work the most! Thanks, Zion. I still hope one day we'll see a raw capture, at least, but I think these two shots are more important to the community.

This is exactly the reason Laserman chose them. The worst shots are the easiest to demonstrate what a great job the black magic process could do.


none said:

Zion since the thread is yours, might want to update the first post with the recent 'here's where things stand post' link.

and if you can find the Laserman post alluded to.

It's not going to make the bumps go away, but it'll make the explanations easier, "go see first post".



boba feta said:

I'm curious to know how the untouched capture compares to the GOUT, both pre and post g-force script.

It's much better than the untouched GOUT. I'm not sure how it compares to the g-force script, as I have yet to take a good look at the output of the script, but you'll soon be able to judge that for yourselves.


pittrek said:

BTW guys do you plan to put your website back online ? Or post it to some free webhosting service ?

I've archived it to my personal site, but that's down right now as well. Once I've got it back online, I'll post the link.


Harmy said:

"I want it all, I want it all, I want it now!!!"

No seriously, these two shots would be awesome to have, especially this one:

In GOUT this shot looks like sh*t (possibly the worst shot in the whole thing), so it would be extremely valuable for any future reconstruction (I would have loved to use this in my SW PDE to get rid of the stupid dinosaur but the GOUT quality was too bad) so maybe in v.3.0...

Sadly, this is the shot I'm having trouble locating at the moment. I'll have to do some more digging on my other drive and see if I maybe saved it to a different location than the other one. If I can't find it, it means I never actually got it from Laserman, or that he never actually sent it to me in the first place, which would suck.


Darth Editous said:

Zion, can you give any more detail as to what such a piece of software would specifically need to do?


A little history on Black Magic:
As far as I know, "Black Magic" was the name of the workstation (yes, a workstation, not just a software application) Laserman was able to borrow from his office. If you guys didn't know, Laserman used to work for Weta Studios in Australia, so this had to be built on some sort of cutting edge in-house software that the public didn't have access to.

Obviously, since it wasn't just a piece of software, Laserman couldn't copy it and send to anyone. And I'm assuming he eventually had to take the workstation back to the office, so I'm guessing it's back in the hands of Weta Studios.

What Black Magic actually did was take several different sources of the same video (e.g. different LD captures of Star Wars), analyze them for similarities and differences, and output a new pristine version of the video mostly free of any analog noise or other nasties, and with outstanding detail.

I recall one of the last things Laserman suggested on our private forum was to try and use an application built on MatLab to emulate the output from Black Magic. I downloaded it once upon a time, but I never had the time to devote to teaching myself another programing language to get the thing running, much less learn how to use it. I'll try and see if I can find some more specifics on that and post them here.


And for your viewing pleasure, Laserman's Black Magic version of the "Look sir, droids" shot: (This is an AVI either uncompressed or in HuffYUV. I don't know for sure because this machine won't tell me.) Enjoy. And here's hoping I can find the other one.

At some point soon (probably in a couple weeks), I'll try to see if I can't upload ANH to a.b.sw.