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Empire Strikes back 35mm restoration feedback thread (POUT)

I’m looking at having a private screening or two of the print for people who have donated, once the scan is finished.
Obviously it would be on the down low, so the location and time will be strictly invite only, but it would likely be towards the end of the year.
Any suggestions for which city people would prefer? It might be possible to do a double bill with a ROTJ print as well.

The Phantom Menace on 35mm

It will be interesting to see if the movie really did look good on film, or if it was just all of our collective want and need for this film to look great.

I do remember the reveal of the underwater city looking absolutely beautiful, and the print being very clean when I say it at the cinema, but I don’t remember much else positively really, except that I very much liked the girl I went to see it with.

4k77 released

Yes, the colour temperature of the bulb/carbon arc rods, and the screen colour are taken into account when doing a preservation that will be purely digital. These were actually pretty heavily regulated and the values are well known.
It doesn’t have to get to building a collider level of pedantry, but understanding colour science, and the original projection standards vs the colour systems of current digital devices is absolutely essential if you want to approximate the colour of the experience of seeing the print projected.

Brightness, that is an issue, but there were standards for the amount of foot/lamberts that a cinema was meant to have, and good cinemas did adhere to. So in your own home, you can calibrate your system to give a close approximation of the brightness levels that a good cinema would have exhibited.

It is best watched on a projector if you are leaving grain levels as the are on the scan, if you are watching on a television, then the grain will look far, far more pronounced than a projected print would look.
This stuff probably should have its own thread in the technical section, and get discussed there.
Otherwise it can look like people are dissing the efforts of everyone on this project, but it is a valuable discussion to have, and it is all something very much taken into account when companies that care enter into a restoration of their film properties. The film Suspiria that we worked on recently spent weeks discussing colour, grain and dynamic range settings to get the home experience to as closely match the cinematic experience as possible, and a lot of work and research went into it, so it is important, but maybe lets take it out into the other room if we are going to get into the nitty gritty?

4k77 released

Amano said:

timemeddler said:

I think my computer needs a better graphics card for it.

Yes, without official x265 hardware acceleration you are probably out of luck (unless you have a powerhouse workstation). I would rather go for buying a 4K UHD player and a 128GB USB 3.0 stick and playing that movie via your TV or preferably a projector. The Panasonic UHD players are very good at converting HDR to SDR and 4k to 1080p, so you can watch Star Wars 4K on any regular TV/projector and still have the benefit of better grain compression via the x265 codec and maybe even better colors.

Some UHD Players are getting cheaper already these days. The Panasonic UB-404 was under 200 Dollars the last time that I checked. Mine included 2 movies, “Passengers” and “Life”.

@deep blacks:

A projection cannot show really deep blacks. E.g. Christopher Nolan (of Interstellar fame) color-times all his movies with raised blacks for home-cinema to replicate the theatrical experience. For this reason he uses an IP for all his movies as the starting point. So colors and the grain are closer to theatrical prints then a scan from the OCN would have been.
Mike Verta on the other hand color-timed for rather deep blacks to hide the matte boxes in space. Because matte-boxes wouldn’t have been visible projected in cinema as well. So he was in a bit of conflict: Raised blacks as projected or visible matte boxes as not seen projected. I think that hiding the matte boxes was a wise choice. Because most people will watch Star Wars on the TV Screen and wouldn’t care that those black levels wouldn’t have been possible projected.

Just as an aside, the matte boxes absolutely are visible in the cinema on the 1977 prints of Star Wars, especially around the TIE fighters.

Yes, it is the eternal debate when making a 35mm release available on digital.
Do you make it look how the director would have liked it to look (no matte boxes, consistent black levels), how it did look, or something in-between.
Especially when most people are going to watch it on a screen that is only 32-80 inches in size, in a room with white walls and ceiling, with a screen set to who-knows-what as far as calibration goes.

You draw a line in the sand, and go with it. where that line is will be different for everyone who puts something out there.

4k77 released

Re is Mike’s revisionist, well it depends how you want to define it.
An IB Tech print cannot block 100% of the projector light at normal projection light levels, there are no true blacks in a cinema, so if you feel that adjusting black levels to be lower than the black levels in a cinema, then pretty much all restorations I’ve seen so far would be revisionist under that definition.

I think with Mike Verta, he has said outright that his is a restoration, not a preservation as such. He is layering prints to end up with a grain pattern that would never have been seen in any cinema, and has effectively re-created the crawl and recomposited other shots in his videos. I believe he is trying to stick to using original elements, but improving them to a level that they theoretically could have been at in 1977.

When it comes to colour, unless you are sitting in a cinema with the print, and doing your colour adjustments based on that, and revisiting them again by watching the print etc. then the grade is going to be revisionist, from a certain point of view.

However if you take a straight scan, and do a ‘one light’ correction to each reel, then the scenes will keep their colour relative to each other. i.e. you can see that the background space colour is lighter in scene 3 than in scene 2, but darker than scene 4. You can see that the Falcon walls are more towards yellow in shot 27 than in shot 14. The presentation will reatin the relative colour and shade values that the original had, so you are closer to seeing how the print looked originally.
Your base might be off, but each scene maintains its relative relationship to each other scene.

Trying to get to the original theatrical presentation colours is a very tricky exercise.

4k77 released

GZK8000 said:

Williarob said:
A single correction was made for each reel. In most cases it involved nothing more than white balancing the image using the optical track for the white point and then adjusting the contrast so that the brightest point on the reel is right at the top of the scopes and the blackest right at the bottom. With a single adjustment like that, you can’t make space or the end credits completely black or you will crush the blacks in other parts of the reel.

Colors and levels could be greatly improved with a shot by shot grade, but I wanted to preserve the original colors and levels as much as possible for this version. So the colors quite accurately represent the digital scan of the print, which isn’t necessarily the same as when projected in a dark room with a 70s bulb, but nor is it anybody’s idealized imagination of what it should look like.

So if I understand what you say, wouldn’t this mean that if you screen 4K77 in a dark room with a 70s bulb you would have similar colors to what you see in the online screenshots of Technicolor screenings (assuming correct color balance)? Or does this mean that, even with 70s bulbs, people in 1977 did not see completely black space and end credits when they were screened a Technicolor print?

One thing to remember is that Star Wars was a rush-job, with budget problems and a lot of people working in the SFX crew that had never worked on a feature film before, and in some cases, doing things never attempted before.

So yes, if you were in a good cinema in 1977, and you were lucky enough to see a really good print, there still were many scenes where the inky blackness of space was a bit green, or a bit blue, or a bit grey, and the level of blackness varied considerably shot to shot.
Now, back in '77 you probably didn’t notice, because your mind was busy being blown by the visuals, but the optical shots really stand out, both in their heavier grain levels, and varying colour and sharpness. Not just the blacks either, the colours across the board vary a lot shot-to-shot on the original prints.

I just watched reel 1 of an IB in the same room as Reel 1 of the UHD version of 4K77. The colours are similar to the projected print in some places, and considerably different in others.
The grain looks completely different.
Part of the problem is projection vs rear-lighting an array of pixels. Projection has no ‘black lines’ around each pixel, so looks softer. It also has a lot more light scattering, so you tend to get a hard to describe luminous quality to the image, that tends to soften the perception of the grain.

Projecting 4K77 looks different to watching 4K77 on a television or monitor, let alone to watching it on film.

Short answer is, a project like this gets you a lot closer to seeing how the movie originally looked, before the home releases, you can see the colour variance, the varying levels and many of the flaws in the original way more clearly.

It isn’t really how it looked if sitting in a cinema, but it certainly does give you an insight into the less-slick experience that seeing a film in the 1970s was. Also, the Tech print has quite different colour to the non-tech prints.

If you want to really see how the film looked back then, you will need to grab a print, and a cinema and fill it with friends and project the film.
Short of that, feeding 4K77 to a home projector is as close as you will get right now.

4k77 released

Bobson Dugnutt said:

stretch009 said:

Google is your friend.

It really wasn’t, I thought it was some other private tracker like Myspleen but then there were different providers and fees and I found more questions than answers

RU.08 said:

You can use a free provider like, the only catch is the download rate is limited to 1Mbps so it will take a while to download.

I got as far as making an account installing BinBar, but now it wants a host and a port. I’m hopelessly clueless about this sorta thing.

Oversimplified version of usenet.
Usenet/Newsgroups are a way people share messages and files, it predates the world-wide-web, and was how us old farts used to chat back in the day.

Now its mostly used for sharing humongous files.

Basically, there are providers out there that have big servers that hold the files, and they hold them for a period of time. Cheap/free providers might keep the files for a few days, paid providers for up to 3 years or more.

The advantage over torrents, it is not peer-to-peer, i.e. you aren’t dependant on anyone else to keep sharing the file, and you also (with a good provider) can download at the full speed of your connection, I get 40Mbs downloads typically, so a 45GB blu-ray file takes about 2.5 hours to download.

To download a file from Usenet, you need a usenet client (like you need a bittorrent client to download a torrent) some popular ones are SnelNL, Grabit, Sabnzb, NewsbinPro, Newsleecher etc. SnelNL & Sabnzb work well on OSX.
You install the software, configure the server settings to match the settings that your Usenet provider supplies you, and set where you want your downloads to go etc.

Then you use a usenet search engine to find the files you want to download. If you have ever downloaded a torrent, you know that typically you download a small .torrent file and open that with your bittorrent client which then goes and downloads all the files. With usenet it is similar, you download a .nzb file, which you load into your Usenet client software, and it then goes and downloads all the files.

That’s about it really. There is a very out-dated, but still good guide here ( to help you understand the process.

Usenet is much faster, more reliable and you don’t get stuck waiting for peers or have downloads stuck at 95% 😃

Hope that helps, if you have any other questions, I’d open a thread in the technical sections, or drop me a PM.

Now back to our regular scheduled programming.

The Original Trilogy restored from 35mm prints

I will write up an overview of the software next week if I can get onto it.
It is using deep learning, basically I am training the software with thousands of dirty/noisy images and clean images and then utilising the deep learning algorithms to clean up the shots.
There is a ton of prep at both ends before the algorithm kicks in, I’ll try and put together an explanation of how it all works that will make sense to people. I’m working on this on behalf of the company, so I won’t be able to share the code, but hopefully I can give enough detail to let others develop something similar themselves if it works well enough for production use.