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Could the original, unaltered STAR WARS be on its way to Blu-ray?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 21, 2013.

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  1. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    That kind of assumes that the only reason people who grew up with the OT love it so much is because of the timing: the films were released, the fans were young. It doesn't take into account the real reasons people love the OT so: because they were GREAT films. Kids and adults loved them alike, and don't think that most kids don't know crap when they see it. They do.I'm pretty sure kids that grew up with the PT don't love them as much as Gen-Xers love the OT. The younger generation had a lot more competition for their attention, but the PT also exhibits the results of a lot of wasted opportunities, especially with the nearly unlimited money and talent available. I'd be surprised if there are any 18-year-olds going to film school because they were so inspired by Attack Of The Clones.
     
  2. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    I wouldn't reveal specific details of my life to a journalist if I were them, especially if I worked in the industry.
     
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  3. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Darn it! I knew I should have saved those pics of Lucas kissing Howard the Duck at the Star Wars 10th anniversary con! :lol:
     
  4. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    In order for a true "preservation" to take place, film-based protection elements need to be created. I would hope that a blu-ray release would follow, if they were to go to all that trouble. I think Robert A. Harris said that digital files are "good for eternity or five years, whichever comes sooner." ;-)
     
  5. AshJW

    AshJW Screenwriter

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    I like the PT to some degree and I watch them usually with the SE versions of the OT as a whole - and only there the SE's work just fine.
    But I like to watch the OT without the PT. And then the SE's does not work - at all!

    I understand Koroush's piont - and to look at it from an objective point: he's right.

    But although I am going to get me a copy of the DeSpecialized version, both the English and the German version, I will surely buy the next Blu-ray set.
    Disney/LFL will get my money anyway because I'm not very happy with the quality of the 2011 BD's.
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I'm sure they see their property in very black and white terms. They just don't say or do anything because they know that it's impossible to stop, that it'll give the effort more publicity & fan backing if the big evil Disney corporation beats up on the person trying to bring the original version back and it's a drop in the bucket in terms of money.
     
  7. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Artistic works, like any other work, belong to the creator/right holder until copyright expires. Then they belong to the public. That's the entire purpose of copyright, to give a creator a monopoly on how (or if) a particular work of theirs is distributed for a reasonable period of time. The public, who did not partake in the act of creation, simply get to choose whether to purchase a copy of the work if it's available.Interesting how the Internet is full of people who think art should be free to share, especially when they are not the ones doing the creating, or trying to make a living off such work. In other words, the general public believes that their entertainment should largely be free. Surprise, surprise. Once again, put yourself in the shoes of a creator, imagine someone changes your work against your wishes, then distributes it. If the public supposedly cares so much about artistic work, and cultural history, then they should respect the wishes of the artists who create that work.I don't care about Disney's or Lucas' financial situation, I'm more concerned that it's become completely accepted by many people to openly violate the moral rights of a creator. The most likely cause is that most people only consume, they do not create. So it suits their purposes to provide appropriate justifications.
     
  8. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    I agree with this, but I also think a good deal of Star Wars' success was timing. As a 10 year old in 1977, I felt like almost all worthwhile pop culture came from the past. In movies and TV, Star Trek was 11 years old, Batman was 11, Planet of the Apes was 9. The James Bond films (which had not yet seen The Spy Who Loved Me released) had their best days 10-15 years earlier with the Sean Connery films. Most current TV shows were condescending - the Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, even the TV POTA - all talked down to kids. Cartoons? People may get nostalgic for Super Friends, but the Filmation cartoons of the 60s were more exciting, along with gems like Jonny Quest. In comic books, there was a sense that the best stuff happened 10-15 years earlier -- the Lee/Kirby years, the Neal Adams stuff, etc. Music - the stuff I liked was the Beatles and the Beach Boys -- again, at least 10-15 years old.

    Then Star Wars happened, and there was a realization that - wow - great things can still be made now. Star Wars - with its very definite ties to the past - arrived as an oasis in the parched landscape of 1970s popular culture. It changed everything and reinvigorated the culture of every 10 year old.
     
  9. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    I don't agree with this sentiment on principle. The whole world had a very strong role in creating the phenomenon that is Star Wars. Where's our copyright on the experience we had in 1977? Without the ticket buyers, George Lucas would have ended his career a failed filmmaker, struggling to pay his bills like everyone else. The purpose of copyright is to make artistic works more accessible, not less. By rewarding the creator, more art gets made and everyone benefits, and Lucas has been rewarded billions of times over. Can anyone say that he has not been adequately rewarded for his efforts?

    Also, the creative process in relation to the film industry is a collaborative process. Specifically, we could identify the craftsmen and artisans who also worked on the films, the stockholders of 20th Century Fox who put up the funding for the first film, the actors and actresses, etc. George Lucas in not an island in this debate, but many people make him out to be the only player. And yes, I realize that contracts were signed and that the studio's rights were purchased, I'm simply trying to illustrate a point, that being that without the help of many, Lucas would have been nothing.

    Copyright law in the United States can be helpful or punitive, depending on your point of view and the specific case. My view is that if the law worked as intended, there'd be more original Star Wars available, not less.
     
  10. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    I'm already in those shoes, so I don't have to imagine it, and I've seen pirated versions of work that I've created or participated in floating around the internet. I also need those royalty cheques a lot more than someone like Lucas does, since I haven't spawned a multi-million dollar franchise.

    But I still think there's a difference between something like the "despecialized" editions and the pirating of the latest blockbuster. Yes, technically both are copyright infringement, but one is actually damaging to the producers/creators/distributers of the film, and one isn't. I don't think there's any financial loss for Lucasfilm/Disney/Fox as a result of a few hundred, or a few thousand fans - 99.9% of whom have already bought the films many times on every conceivable format, and will buy them again if the originals become available.

    And Lucas was perfectly content to profit off the original films for years until suddenly deciding "Nope, you can't see them anymore". Now he may have every legal right to do so, but we'll have to agree to disagree that he has the moral right.
     
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  11. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    He's also altering the work of other directors, one of whom is no longer around to approve or disapprove of the changes. Now I don't doubt that Lucas was the primary creative force behind the films, but even so, that seems at the very least, morally questionable behaviour.

    Should other powerful producers be granted the same rights? Arguably, someone like Jerry Bruckheimer is the primary driving force behind his films - would it be okay for him to start altering the work of Tony Scott?
     
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  12. UHDvision

    UHDvision Screenwriter

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    I think the problem here is that someone changed a work millions of people loved against their wishes, and then distributed it in it's place.

    What goes around, comes around. It's not surprise people want their OT theatrical cuts back. Does Harmy has a right to do that he does? Legally not. Morally, I would say yes. He's doing in essence what many professionals do (restoring original releases).

    When theatrical cuts are outlawed, only outlaws will have theatrical cuts.
     
  13. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    A few quick notes:

    Worth - we've actually lost both of the other directors who helmed Star Wars movies. Both Richard Marquand and Irvin Kershner are no longer with us. But we should also note that Marquand was very flexible with Lucas throughout the production of Return of the Jedi - there was no doubt whose movie was being made. And Kershner went with the minimal changes that the SE brought to Empire. I don't recall a single interview where he made comments about disliking the new effects or even the unfortunate material with Vader and his shuttle.

    David - it's not exactly true that Lucas "changed a work millions of people loved against their wishes". When the SE's were announced in 1996, fans were actually very interested to see what he was doing - to see the new effects, to see the Jabba scene they'd not had before, and even to see the end of Jedi without the Ewok song. I remember many posts on multiple boards of fans discussing the work that was being done - particularly after they saw the trailer for Star Wars with the new CGI in it. It wasn't until afterward that fans began attacking the SE's - and the trigger started with people objecting to having Greedo somehow shoot first. Then we began hearing about bad Jabba CGI, and then it built from there. Lucas' position throughout was consistent, saying that he had not felt that the movies were "finished" until he was able to fix a lot of VFX issues that had driven him crazy over the years. To Lucas, the SE's represent his vision for the movies, for better or for worse.

    Silverwook and Worth - there is no reason to believe that "Harmy" and "Adywan" are anything more than what they have said. "Harmy" is by all accounts a 25 year old fan living in the Czech Republic. "Adywan" is a fan living in the UK with a lot of time on his hands, by his own admission. Neither is a professional - and they've both made that pretty clear. "Adywan" actually did reveal many details about his personal life to interviewers, if you look them up. Among other things, he explained why he had so much time, and he talked about what software he'd been using to cook up his own CGI additions and changes. The assumption that these guys are somehow secretly Stuart Baird or Walter Murch with an alias is not supported. The reality is that these are two fans who are doing well-intentioned amateur editing with copyrighted material. The problems with them doing this are twofold - the first is that what they're doing is tampering with someone else's movie, as we've discussed. The second big problem is that in making their changes - in redoing the color timing, rerendering and recompositing shots, etc, they are potentially affecting other elements as well. "Harmy" admits that his friends did some kind of automatic digital cleanup of some of his elements - which could easily have removed all kinds of detail without them knowing it. "Harmy" admits to his friends doing various passes of color correction trying to change what he saw as an inappropriate tint - but he doesn't seem to be aware that when you change color values in that way, you can unintentionally affect other colors as well. (I worked on one show where the post production staff was instructed to bring up a dark background in one of our scenes - the shots had been specifically done to keep that background dark. When the post adjustment was made, a camo green truck parked in the same area suddenly turned blue. That was a case of professionals deliberately doing something like that - who knows what would happen with amateurs multiplying that situation a hundredfold within a single movie? And that's just one example...)
     
  14. johnSM

    johnSM Second Unit

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    I think, to some extent, the issue of whether somebody is a 'professional' or not is moot. "From a certain point of view" ;) The end result is, after-all, what counts, in terms of watching these movies. I was shocked by the awful look of the Star Wars bluray set, a set produced and QCd by professionals. So much so that I sent it back in disgust, to Amazon. The Original Trilogy resembles Frankenstein's monster now - a patchwork film from several different eras of visual effects. They haven't been integrated well either. The cracks are now showing. The skin tones in many scenes are way off - Princess Leia's skin tones in the Blockade Runner look like she's been boiled alive! Awful. The blacks are 'crushed'. How did a team of pros let all that pass? How did a team of pros allow a digital rock to be inserted in front of R2 in one shot (a change that really wasn't needed, could have been shot at the time, and must be another 'Lucas whimsy' decision) and then in the following shot it's no longer there?! How come little changes like the afore-mentioned digital rock were made, blinking Ewoks, new carbonate unfreezing effects etc. and yet glaringly obvious faults such as inconsistent light-sabre colours and cores have remained highly variable in quality? I just don't get the mindset behind this 'professional' release. I can only assume the pros hands were tied (financially, or time-wise), and they were obeying to the letter what Mr Lucas requested of them...

    The 1997 editions were created to fix problems. And to road-test the CGI for the impending prequels. It stuns me that all these years later the films are still riddled with problems, many of which didn't exist before... How long does it take to fix a film?

    Now, Harmy may well be an 'amateur' when talking about official credits to one's name, but in practice (where it counts) he's anything but. I've watched all his re-constructions on a 110" projector and he's done a terrific job. And he's not resting on his laurels either. Once improved sources are found, he uses them. He hasn't guessed at the colour timing, he's used references from actual prints. The details may all be found in his threads over at original trilogy.com. The results are far closer to how the film used to look, then the current revisions. They look like film again.

    I find this a fascinating situation we're in now - people CAN achieve entirely professional looking results with home equipment. There are even people out there scanning in films at 4K, from home! I think the difference - and it's a crucial one - between the pros and the home enthusiasts is that the home enthusiast has no real time limit. They do not have any 'higher ups' breathing down their necks. They have a hugely knowledgeable army of people online whose combined knowledge is formidable, to draw upon. It's teamwork at its very best, with no limits in terms of corporate politics or intervention. The care and attention to detail really shine through, not to mention knowledge of these films in every conceivable detail.

    Lastly, I'm sure Mr Lucas is well aware of all these edits. That forum has been around for a long time now, and word has undoubtedly spread over the years. It's to his immense credit I think, that he hasn't bought the law down onto this area of fandom. One assumes he could easily have done so years back. If he had, we'd have no way to see the original films in such high quality. I think I speak for many when I say I know these reconstructions are (I assume) technically illegal, or at the very least in a very grey area (they're not meant to be sold, but to preserve a piece of film history). But I think just about every fan I know will gladly buy the originals in a nano-second and 'bin' the reconstructions (assuming the official version is done correctly, with care) just as fast. I'd bought nearly every version of Star Wars over the years. From the Story of LP, to the P&S video, to the later widescreen releases, the laserdiscs, the remastered THX laserdiscs, the 1997 sets, the 2004 DVD sets (and I'm sure I've missed some out!). But I had to draw the line at the Blu-ray set. The tampering has gone too far and caused more problems than existed before. I voted with my wallet. I shall do so again, when these films are giving the proper care & respect in transferring all the versions in a level of fidelity to the originals that represents the state of the art, as befitting the combined financial clout & technical resources of Lucasfilm & Disney.

    - John

    P.S. Sorry that was such a long post folks!
     
  15. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    John, I appreciate your enthusiasm for the fan edits, but I do need to provide a few corrections here.

    First, I totally understand your frustration with the 2011 Blu-ray set, particularly if it was enough for you to send it back. Although you should be aware that "Harmy" has publicly stated that the 2011 Blu-rays are his primary sources for the amateur work he has been doing. And I do hear you that some of the changes are real head scratchers, and some of them can be distracting. But I'm not distracted by issues like lightsaber cores - I realize they can be annoying, but there are other things in those movies that get my attention quicker.

    Second, and more importantly, there is a very large issue whether this kind of work is being done by a trained, experienced professional. In the same way that I would not permit an untrained amateur to do custom work on my car or my computer, and in the same way that I wouldn't hire an untrained amateur to do contracting work in my yard. There are real skills needed to do this work - ones that the various fan editors have admitted they do not have. Attempting to diminish those differences is problematic both for the professionals who do this for a living and for the fan editors who wind up being unfairly compared to people who have far more resources.

    That said, I agree with you that you have every right to be concerned when a paid professional team makes a grievous mistake with their work on a movie - particularly when that team has been well paid and when you've had to shell out your 20-50 bucks or more to buy it. And I agree with you that in most cases, the problems you're speaking of were intentional choices by George Lucas, which the team executed for him.

    Thirdly, the fact is that "Harmy" and "Adywan" and all the others really are amateurs, both in name and in practice. Contrary to fan belief, these guys really are guessing at everything from the color timing to the grain structure to any other technical aspect. Because, as I pointed out, they are unaware of how one change they make to improve a color level for one shot might affect other elements in that shot or others. So that they think they've fixed one element, but wind up causing problems in several other areas. That's why I gave the example of the truck that changed color. I had also pointed out that the fan editors are admitting that they're using home software to do automatic digital cleanup and processing - which means they're using a really crude tool that might work for home movies but could cause real problems to a 35mm film with multiple VFX layers going on.

    Fourth, I must again point out that the results that fans get working on their home computers is NOT professional, for all the reasons pointed out above. And that's the problem. The difference between fans working at home (even when they're emailing with other fans and pooling their efforts) and professionals using state of the art equipment on the actual film materials should be fairly obvious. The professionals may have a deadline (although those get pushed all the time), and they may have a boss checking their work (which is a good thing), but they have the full resources of a place like Fotokem. They have a professional staff that collectively has several decades worth of experience doing exactly this kind of work. They have access to the best quality source materials and they have the best equipment available to do that work. That's the point of a professional team, and it's why we pay to get the latest restoration from someone like RAH or Grover Crisp. An amateur working at home has only their enthusiasm for the project. They may have endless amounts of time, but that doesn't help very much if they don't know what they're doing with the materials. They may have a great attention to the little details they wish to correct, but that doesn't help if their corrections generate further problems that they didn't see coming. Again, it's simply not a fair comparison.

    Finally, I honestly have no idea what George Lucas thinks of all these fan edits. I agree with you that he must be aware of them. He certainly has to have heard about the Phantom Edit of Episode I. I do think that Lucasfilm has actually pursued some issues regarding the fan edits - in that I believe that sites like YouTube cannot host full versions of any of them without being told to take them down. I know that YouTube does host some clips, which it seems that Lucasfilm is not pursuing.

    Now, in another 18 months or so, I do think we will see HD transfers of the original cuts made available as part of the new Blus that will be used to market Episode VII. At the least, I think they'll look passable on large screen HDTVs - in that they'll be 2K transfers which will translate decently for home video. The real question will be what happens when some fans scream that the VFX look terrible? What happens when some fans demand that the older VFX be cleaned up? What happens when they say that they'd rather watch the "Harmy" cut? That will be an auspicious moment. I'm curious to see what happens then.
     
  16. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    You have to wonder then about the professionals who worked on The King and I with regards to colour timing. :D

    This is what Gareth Edwards the director of the low budget film Monsters has to say about things, now he made that film from home using Adobe After Effects and it was a big hit, would you call him unprofessional, it got him the directing gig on Godzilla.

    Edwards claimed that advancements in computer technology is what made it possible for him to create the films visual effects on such a low budget, saying; "You can go in the shop now and you can buy a laptop that's faster than the computers they made Jurassic Park on."
     
  17. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    That's inevitable. It could be best release in history (it won't be but even if it were) and there will still be a handful of people that will still criticize it for something. And then at that point, it'll be "I HATE [fill in the blank]! I'll just stick with Harmy's version!!!!!!!!"
     
  18. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Malcolm, I think that Phil Tippett and others would tell you that one big difference is who's operating that computer.

    Also, I noted that you have every right to be displeased when a paid professional team does substandard work. No question about that. Whether it's King and I or any other movie.
     
  19. UHDvision

    UHDvision Screenwriter

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    Phantom Editor was/is a professional and Lucas even invited him to the ranch (or so he says) and showed him his own recuts of other people films.

    Even heard Tarantino made his own recuts/reconstructions of favorite films and is showing them to friends in private.

    I don't think Lucas will ever sue OT website or others. He is the source for all this phenomenon existing, after all, he was the first who started doing fan edits of his own directed/produced films.

    In fact I'm fairly certain he enjoy the fans dedication and creativity. You can't try to police that. The work Harmy is doing is probably the sincerest form of love for a movie (or movies). I think it's flattering to Lucas and what he created.

    Lucas get much bad rap online, but trust me, all the recent changes are probably just him playing with the fans throwing oil on the fire and enjoying the creativity he triggers.
     
  20. johnSM

    johnSM Second Unit

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    Kevin, I think we're pretty much on the same page really, but to me the term 'professional' is just that, a term. A friend of mine (for example) could do a far better job at servicing a car, than a garage. You get good & bad examples of employees in every walk of life, that fall under the 'professional' banner. Now, I'm not pointing fingers here, and I'm sure many hands were tied with this release (boy I'd love to read the complete inside stories on all the releases from 2004 onwards!) but the end result, by professionals, is unprofessional. Need I also bring up examples of drowned out music, switched surround channels, flimsy excuses about dvd colour spaces being the cause of pink light-sabers and so forth?... There's a catalogue of blunders with each official release where Star Wars is concerned.I must take issue with this quote of yours:"Because, as I pointed out, they are unaware of how one change they make to improve a color level for one shot might affect other elements in that shot or others. So that they think they've fixed one element, but wind up causing problems in several other areas."This may have been the case with the v.1 release of Star Wars, but these 'amateurs' are learning quickly, and they often are given help & advice from those who work on legit releases. Disney would do well to take note of their passion & knowledge, and apply that to any official future release. These people know their stuff. The internet brings people from all walks of life, and abilities, together to pool resources - and many share & ravenous desire to see these films treated right. I'm not going to make a list of examples here, but if you peruse the relevant project threads, it's eye opening. Better still, simply watch them. The end result of Mr Harmy 's work (v2.5 currently, I believe) speaks for itself. Compare that with the bluray image side by side, and then tell me it's unprofessional, and merely ad-hoc guesswork... We're getting/gone beyond that stage these days; These amateurs are learning very fast, have access (from what I can see) to more material than you might think to accurately correct colours scene by scene, and often shot by shot. Pro quality hardware & software is also now within reach of mere mortals. Remember, this is a global bunch of enthusiasts who share knowledge & freely help one another for a common goal - that's giving them the edge with each new release.Interesting times we're living in for official & unofficial releases. It keeps both camps on their toes, which can only be a good thing.
     
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