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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. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    The color timing is poor on the 2011 Blu-ray releases. I've watched them on FOUR different Pro calibrated displays (Sony SXRD, Panasonic ST30, VT60, JVC RS4810). The skintones look unnatural especially in A New Hope and Jedi and there are many other issues with the releases, but the color bothers me the most and is probably just as arbitrary as Harmy's verisons. At least he is using some sources as I have no fricken' clue what they used for sources on the 2011s. The movies never had this kind of color. So much for professionalism.
     
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  2. BillyR

    BillyR Agent

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    If I remember right my 1995 VHS widescreen editions (the one with the 3 Faces covers) The overall color temperture of all three movies looked warmer. The 2004 and 2011 versions have a more cooler color temperature Why?
     
  3. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    Because the new colors fit with Mr. Lucas' "original vision".
     
  4. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Mike J. Nichols, aka the Phantom Editor, is currently an editor and vfx tech, mostly working in the field of DVD bonus materials, from what I can tell. The credits I see listed for him all start AFTER his time as the Phantom Editor. I don't know that he was working as an editor at that time. He might have been working as a colorist. His credits since that moment in the sun have continued in the same vein - although he did tweet that he'd like to be hired to work on JJ Abrams' movie. From what I can tell, he was a fan doing his thing when he did his Phantom Edits of both Episodes I and II. And at the time, to be fair to Lucasfilm, they commented that they would not pursue him legally. They enjoyed that the fans liked the movies enough to experience them in that fashion - but they did note that they would have a problem if people crossed the line - either by trying to market/promote their personal versions or by presenting Lucas' characters in an offensive manner.

    I don't know about Tarantino doing his own "fan edits", but I suppose it's possible. I know that Soderbergh did a fan edit of Heaven's Gate that we discussed here a few pages ago - Soderbergh noted that he knew what he was doing was illegal and immoral. But we're not talking about major filmmakers, are we?

    It's interesting to hear George Lucas' special editions being somehow referred to as "fan edits". That would be a no. Lucas' editions are the official presentations of the movies, as prepared by Lucas and his production staff. I agree that Lucasfilm finds the fan cut attention to be flattering - they probably enjoy the publicity and the dedication of the fans. But I don't think they'll respond well if the idea is that the fans turn up their nose to a new HD transfer by saying "I'd rather watch the (fill in the blank) fan cut!" I also agree that Lucas enjoys tweaking the fans - it's the only way to explain why he would wear a "Han Shot First!" T-shirt on the set of Crystal Skull.

    John, I think I should be clear about how I define a professional. A professional is someone who has spent years training for and in a work position, and then spent further years developing their craft. For example, a modern day editor doesn't just start from nowhere, call up the office of CSI and start cutting their latest episode. He or she will start as an intern in the post production department, and work their way into the editing bay. After a year or two, they'll work their way into becoming an Assistant Editor and spend years working as a team with a more senior Editor while they prepare episodes. And some years later, they'll become a full-fledged Editor on their own. A modern day Director of Photography doesn't just start with no experience and get hired to be the cameraman on James Cameron's next Avatar movie. He or she will start as a camera intern, and then work their way into getting to the level of a 2nd Assistant Camerman. (It used to be that they'd start as a Loader, but nowadays that position is covered by the DIT, which is a whole different animal) After a few years of being a 2nd AC, they move up to being a 1st AC, where they handle the focus pulling (one of the most difficult and stressful positions on any set). After a few years of that, they move up to being an Operator. And if they're really good at that, at some point they become a Director of Photography in their own right. (There are variations - I've seen Gaffers lateral over to become Camera Operators, but that's only after they've already spent years working their way up the Electric ladder). The point is that this isn't something that people can do just sitting at home using the latest Home edition of After Effects. It really does take years of training and experience. When it comes to working with film, RAH could tell us of hundreds of variables that can affect the way a piece of film looks, most of which would not be evident to any of us who don't directly work in that area. That's why you need people who have spent their careers developing that expertise.

    I agree with you that the passion of the fans is a huge thing, not just to Lucasfilm, but to all of us who work in this business. Frankly, I would hope that people like "Harmy" and "Adywan" would take their enthusiasm and see about working for an editor themselves. Given their commitment, they could wind up doing some great work. As we saw, Mike J. Nichols has done okay with it. There's no reason these guys couldn't do so as well. I also agree that it always helps to have people from all walks of life commenting and contributing. The only caveat I add here is that a professional team has much the same dynamic going on. In some of my DVD and Blu-ray reviews, I have commented on how some of the bigger movies I've dealt with, like Oblivion, benefited from exactly that dynamic of having multiple experts working together to figure out how to execute their VFX, etc.

    But this doesn't address the fact that an amateur working at home does not have the years of experience to know whether the changes he or she is making will cause further changes to occur. Messing with color timing can result in some really odd unintentional effects. And that's only one area where this enterprise can go south.


    Dave - I don't know that the color on the Blu-rays was arbitrarily timed. I believe this was an intentional effect by them. I agree that it may not have worked to the way they would have wished. But I wouldn't say they were just pressing a button and walking away. To answer your last, I think we know there's a difference between professionalism and a professional. One would think that the latter would practice the former notion. If they don't, the brickbats are earned.
     
  5. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I've seen QT say that he's made 'highlight reels' of performances from guys like Michael Parks but I've never seen him say that he's re-cut a movie. That being said, I remember back when Pulp Fiction was new and he said that he was looking forward to the fan who would send him a chronological reworking of that movie cut together with two VCRs so I don't think it's too hard to imagine that he might have done similar things before he used his talent to make his own movies.
     
  6. Dave Farley

    Dave Farley Second Unit

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    Don't apologize for the length of this, John. In this case, the length of the post was appropriate. Great post! The second one was good as well.
     
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  7. David Weicker

    David Weicker Producer

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    In general, I agree with this statement.However, films are a colloborative effort. There are multiple 'creators', multiple 'artists'. So ethically and morally, the current system is a failure at protecting the multitude of creator's rights. In most cases it succeeds in protecting the rights of the money-people - the ones who paid for the project.And what's worse, is that often the work is sold to a 2nd-party, who had no part what so ever in the creation. So Copyright Laws tend to protect the investment, not the art.

    At least that's my opinion.
     
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  8. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    It's true that the timing was very important, that's true of every film. I remember when I went to see The Big Lebowski in 1998, I thought it was a much better film than Fargo and I couldn't understand the bad reviews and poor box office. Now it's a cult classic, thanks to DVD. If it had been released 5 or 10 years later than it was, I think it would have been a huge hit. I just think audiences weren't ready for it yet. But it was a good film, and it now gets the appreciation it deserves.The PT had a ready-made, built-in audience. Lines around the block just on the films' heritage alone. Everyone wanted to like the films. They were just terribly disappointing.
     
  9. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Not the same situation as Harmy, but many film "pirates" have squirreled away films or scenes from films that ended up being the only existing copies, thanks to the film studios' negligence. Many would not exist today if it weren't for these illegal acts.
     
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  10. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    The two are linked. Without sufficient investment, a great deal of creation would not occur, because it would not be viable. The public loves the romantic notion of starving artists releasing their work out of sheer love, but in reality, most high-quality movies, TV shows, music, video games etc. - the staple diet of our modern entertainment - are costly endeavors and can't get made if there is no protection for the "money people" as you call them. Oddly enough, creators need to pay bills just like the rest of us. Most people don't work for free, but very conveniently assume that artists should.

    In any case, and this will be the last time I post on this, as clearly it's pointless, the fundamental issue in this particular instance is not the potential loss of income. Disney and Lucas are certainly not hurting for money. The fan edits are unlikely to make a significant dent in sales of the current DVD and Blu-ray editions.

    The primary issue that really concerns me is that fans seem incapable of understanding the concept that they do not have any right, whether morally or legally, to alter someone else's work, and mass distribute it. If you create a fan edit at home just to practice your skills, and perhaps show it to a few close friends, that's perfectly fine. But once you start mass distributing someone else's work, whether in its original form, or worse still, altered form, you violate a right that belongs only to the creator, or to those whom the creator has sold that right.

    In the long run, messing with copyright leads to reduced income from creative work, and also a reduced incentive to invest time and effort into creation if only because there is so little practical control over others bastardizing your work. Copyright was created for a reason. The only argument against copyright comes from consumers who want to justify piracy, or in this case, getting their hands on a version of the film which the creator/rights owner have, for reasons of their own, decided not to release. That's their prerogative, not ours, much as it may pain some of us. They're not withholding food, clothing or shelter from us, just an entertainment product.

    It's a shame that so many people these days think that doing the right thing is only necessary if they are legally compelled to do so. I'll end my post with some food for thought:
     
  11. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    In the case of Star Wars the simple and easiest thing to do to stop all that is to just release a quality version of the original trilogy unaltered on blu ray, a minimum 2K scan from an Interpositive would suffice for this.

    Of course it would stop nothing because there would still be people complaining about light saber colours, garbage mattes sticking out even more in HD and, someone out there in internet land would want to fix all that.

    In the digital age it's much harder to stop copyright theft because digital allows 1:1 without a drop in quality but the answer is not more draconian measures, i think getting the price right, making the product irresistible in it's legally released form is part of the answer, in the case of Star Wars they would sell again if they did this, start by doing 4K scans of the best possible source available.

    1) The original trilogy unaltered, put on the disc the original soundtracks, mono, 4 channel and a re-mixed 7.1 track based partly on the 70mm blowups, also include a version with minor fixes, those fixes could include garbage mattes, let consumers choose to watch the actual originals with no fixes or the version with minor fixes via seamless branching.

    2) The special editions, use seamless branching again, include the 1997 versions, the 2004 versions and the last versions released on blu ray, all accessible via seamless branching, thus we have a choice of three different special edition versions, perhaps re-render the new CGI footage and go to town with the soundtrack options, have the original cinema dts sound and have a 7.1 re-mix and also have a full blown new sound mix using Dolby Atmos and many more side and height speakers.

    They can of course do a new scan of The Phantom Menace at 4K too and re-render the FX footage at a higher resolution, of course a new Dolby Atmos mix for the prequels and release the original trilogy in one boxset and the prequels in another and of course all together too, after a year they can start to release them separately and make further sales this way.

    The point is they need to establish something new for any re-release, this is one way that would interest me.
     
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  12. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    MielR, I would love to hear about a situation where a fan editor or a pirate was the one who saved a movie from a major studio's negligence. Not just something like Metropolis where an ancient print got discovered several decades later. Please give us some examples of fan editors or pirates who have actually preserved a movie that would have otherwise disappeared. Keep in mind that a situation where the producer or studio still has the original negative and other items like the IP and the separation masters does not count.

    Malcolm, I hate to say to you that the only thing new you may be seeing in new Blus of the Star Wars trilogy may be whatever HD transfer is presented on bonus discs. Which means that it sounds like you may save some money on this release, when it finally happens - most likely in 2016.
     
  13. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Would be nice to legally watch the original Star Wars in a movie theater just one more time in my life. Pity it's been considered an unreasonable request for the past 17 years.

    Lucas is darn lucky he hasn't been put into a public relations pickle by a terminally ill fan.
     
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  14. Carabimero

    Carabimero Producer
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    Lawrence was an 8k restoration from 65mm.
     
  15. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Does Nosferatu count? Bram Stoker's estate sued over it and won, and every print was supposed to be burned. Either someone was really sloppy in rounding them all up, or somebody purposely hid a copy or two.
     
  16. UHDvision

    UHDvision Screenwriter

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    Don't want to give a link, but you can google preservations edits.

    Just to give a few examples

    "A 40th anniversary restoration of the ultimate horror classic, presenting the film in its original version as seen at the time of its 1973 release and... never since."

    [color=rgb(68,68,68);font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:13px;]ORIGINAL DIRECTOR'S CUT [HD 1080p][/color]
    This full-length, original director's cut was only shown in theaters for a couple of days when the film premiered, before being recut due to negative audience reaction. It was never released on VHS, LD or DVD or BD.
    Runtime : 01:58:46

    [color=rgb(68,68,68);font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:13px;]THEATRICAL CUT [HD 1080p][/color]
    This version runs 15 minutes shorter than the original director's cut. It was recut by John Boorman the day after the premiere of the film, and was released in theaters worldwide, then on VHS. This was the only version of The Heretic available for more than 15 years. It then completely vanished when the film was released in a different cut, first on the VHS re-edition in 1993, then on DVD in 2002. Although this rare theatrical cut misses many scenes, it also features some additional footage exclusive to this version. Some scenes are ordered differently. It includes an added flashback scene, stock footage of Regan as the demon, extra gore, and a different ending. Some of the music and sound effects are also noticably different.
    Runtime : 01:43:05

    Edgar Wright made this film first during High School. He later remade it on a budget of £10,000 and shot it entirely in the English county of Somerset. It was picked up and distributed for a couple years on VHS before disappearing into obscurity - unlike Mr Wright himself. Don't expect the snazzy editing and pace of Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but a fledgling director who even back then was doing a fairly decent job.

    Using a videotape recording of the original 1976 two-part broadcast as a reference source, the ABC OHMSS Preservation Fanedit is a shot-for-shot reproduction of the ABC broadcast which faithfully reproduces all transitions (wipes and dissolves), edit points, censored scenes and/or dialogue.

    A reconstruction of the rare, official Super-8 Digest of the RHPS.

    There are many theatrical cuts now lost that are hurting for the fans to take the law into their own hands. So to speak ;)

    There's also the soundtracks preservations. Does anyone have the right to preserve the original mono dubs mixes to GBU and share? Probably not. But hey, I can't watch my Leone in those horrible revisited remixes. So I'm glad a cottage non profit, sharing industry allows me to experience these films as I originaly saw and heard them.

    To be frank, I think their should be a law that force producers and directors to make the original cuts available, no matter how much they twiddle with the works after the fact. I always thought rewriting history was reserved to fascists and nazis, not entertainment filmmakers. No accusation intended.
     
  17. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    I couldn't think of a better quote myself to apply to George Lucas.
     
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  18. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Alan, yes - Lawrence was scanned at 8K. And I've heard people in this topic say they want Star Wars scanned at 8K too. I was thinking in terms of the 4K presentation that was done of the restored Lawrence at the Academy a few years ago... Silverwook, the Nosferatu idea is similar to that of the Metropolis print situation. I was looking for a case where a fan edit was the way a movie was somehow preserved.David, I'm not sure what you're referring to with those quotes. Are those fan edits? Did fans do their own cuts of those movies? What movies are they?
     
  19. UHDvision

    UHDvision Screenwriter

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    Exorcist, Rocky Horror... We're talking preservations, not fan edits.
     
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  20. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    So these were fan editors that somehow preserved these movies? The original statement was about how fan editors and pirates actually preserved versions of movies that nobody else did, including the filmmakers. All I've seen so far is the idea of fans getting their hands on tapes of existing workprints, etc. These are private materials that have not been lost per se. And I'm not sure that the filmmakers wanted these versions in the public square.
     

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