Here is a short clip from the 1080p version of ANH:R. In this comparison clip it shows that i’m using both the 2011 & 2020 blu-ray versions. You can identify which version I am using because , when that source is used, the sources title will turn red. It also shows just how washed out and badly graded the 2020 versions really are. At times its a sea of muddy brown whereas the 2011 versions had a blue tint added.
The audio track is just a temp track using the 1997 version and not and indication of what the final mix will sound like.
We’ve had an amazing response to the donation drive since my last post. The total needed has almost halved in the last week. The amount now needed to reach our goal is just £387. Thank you all so much. At this rate we could hit our goal by next weekend. As usual you can donate through Paypal’s Money Pool feature using the following link:
Don’t forget that , for every £20 you donate, you will get a ticket into the prize draw to win Blue Leader’s B-wing pilot’s helmet that was used in filming the extra scenes for ROTJ:R. If you have donated multiple times then your total donations are added up and divided by 20 to give the total number of tickets entered.
Now , as I promised last week, here is a short clip from the 1080p version of ANH:R. In this comparison clip it shows that i’m using both the 2011 & 2020 blu-ray versions. You can identify which version I am using because , when that source is used, the sources title will turn red. It also shows just how washed out and badly graded the 2020 versions really are. At times its a sea of muddy brown whereas the 2011 versions had a blue tint added.The audio track is just a temp track using the 1997 version and not and indication of what the final mix will sound like.
Well, a bit of a shock, but the download links for the 1080p version of ESB:R ended up being ready a lot quicker than i thought. Sadly though , ALL the DVD files for Ep4 are no longer available as they have been removed from the server. A 4GB MP4 of Ep 4 has now been added though for those who want the Standard Def version of ANH while i continue work on the 1080p version.
Well 2 months+ without internet was a nightmare. ISP claimed the problem wasn’t to do with them and that they couldn’t send an engineer to my house because of their Covid rules. Restrictions here were relaxed last Monday, engineer came around and it turns out the problem was at their junction box at the end of the street. So it seems the problems i was having with facebook and other sites was all linked to my line starting to crap out.
Anyway, some good news. ESB:R 1080p is complete and should be available to download next week. It will be a 12GB MP4 file with AC3 5.1 @640kbps. So keep an eye out on the page next week for the links. This is not a 100% upscale though. Many, many shots have been re-rendered in native 1080p . The opening crawl and end credits have also be re-rendered in 1080p
Now ESB:R 1080p is out of the way, i can get back to work on ROTJ:R & ANH:R HD. ANH:R HD will be native 1080p. I’ve already completed up to the droids going their separate ways on Tatooine. It was originally about 70% complete when i was originally doing it in 720p, but now i have to re-render all the FX & fixes i did in 1080p. Luckily the colour correction i did for ANH was originally done in 1080p, so i can just swap out the 720p version with the higher quality one. Here are a few screenshot comparisons of the new 1080p version of ANH:R….
As you can see, there a mixture of the 2011 & 2020 blu-rays being used here. I don’t think that the new 2020 blu-rays are as great as people that are raving about them think they are. There are some serious problems with both releases. The 2020 blu-rays have a serious problem with static grain, as you know, and the grading is horrendous. They’re just so flat. Just look in the bright areas and there’s no definition on details. A flat, muddy mess. It’s almost as if they didn’t even grade the raw scans they did. Also the digital noise reduction they used has eliminated a lot of detail. For the shots i have already added any fixes and effects work, i need to keep to the 2011 as a source, or i would have to start from scratch and i really don’t want to have to do that. So it’ll be a mixture of both sources.
Now onto the donation drive….
We’re now just £976 away from the goal target. So, if you can help us reach the target it would be very much appreciated and i can then get things really moving on ROTJ:R. I got the extra drives needed, but thanks to Brexit and the pandemic, prices of things have rocketed up here, so getting those wiped out a large chunk of the budget.
You can donate through Paypal’s Money Pool feature using the following link:
Sorry I’m late in sharing this from Facebook, I missed it! -005
Donation Drive update:
So far the total amount raised now stands at £1327. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. But there is still a long way to go to hit the target.
One thing i realised is that i forgot to do this time around was set up a prize draw. So here it is…..
For every £20 donated, you will receive one ticket that will go into a prize draw to be held as soon as the drive total has been reached. This includes everyone who has donated so far from the start of this donation drive. So, for example, if you had donated £40 , then that’s 2 entries into the draw etc etc. If you have donated more than once then your total amount donated will be added up and divided to give a total amount of entries you will receive.
So, what is the prize this time around? Well , on offer, is Blue Leaders helmet that was used when we filmed the B-wing pilots for the Endor space battle ( as seen in the attached photo) and will be seen in ROTJ:R.
Once the total had been reached the draw will take place and the winner will be announced on this page.
Donations can be made via paypal’s money pool using the following link
Now onto the 1080p version of ESB:R. Well the good news is that it is about 90% complete. If i can find a way to be able to encode the audio as 24bit DTS then i will, but as the software just isn’t available for me to do this then it will have to be standard AC3 audio. So it hopefully won’t be too long now before the 1080p version becomes available.
We’ve just passed the £1000 mark in the donation drive. Thank you everyone who has donated so far. We’re a third of the way to the £3000 goal already. I really couldn’t do these edits without the amazing generosity of you guys, so i am eternally grateful for all your help.
First render passes ( 1 standard and one reverse) on the ESB:R upscale have been completed . I’m about half way though replacing the first 2-3 frames at the beginning of every shot to combat the issues with the upscaler bleeding frames from a previous shot. It’s a long process but this stage should be completed by the end of next week. So far i have counted over 100 shots that need to be either replaced , because the upscaler didn’t do a very good job, so it won’t be a 100% upscale. These will either be re-rendered in 1080p from the original project files, some native 1080p from the original blu-ray & some shots replaced using the new 2020 blu-ray versions. I’m hoping the video side of things will be finished by the beginning of May 2021.
Now the audio side of things for the 1080p releases . I’m not sure if rendering a 6.1 or 7.1 track is even worth it TBH. The 6.1 audio track on the 2011 blu-rays for the OT are a bit of a con. The extra track contains silence for about 99% of the film. There are very quick sound effects in about 6 places throughout Empire . And the 2020 7.1 just duplicate this track to give the extra track. So anyone that complains if i just do 5.1 audio is really complaining for no reason. But the main reason why it may just be 5.1 is because i do not have any software that can encode DTS-MA let alone encode a 6.1 or 7.1 audio track. The DTS software suite is ridiculous price and now only seems to be available for Mac. If i were able to create a 6.1 DTS track then i would need to remake the extra channel(s) from scratch and i only have a 5.1 setup so i couldn’t really test out the extra channels anyway.
But one thing i have decided about the audio tracks for the 1080p versions of ANH:R & ESB:R is that these will have duel audio tracks…
Track 1 – New audio mix without the “Battle of the Heroes” music during the Vader / Obi-Wan duel
Track 2 – Same audio mix as above but with the “battle of the Heroes” music added to the sabre duel
Track 1 – New audio mix featuring Jason Wingreen’s original Boba Fett dub.
Track 2 – Same audio mix as above but with Temuera Morrison’s Boba Fett dub.
So, for these two films, you will get a choice of audio track. Jedi will likely just have one.
I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New year. I missed the New Year completely. Fell asleep a few hours before midnight and slept through, so that’s why there was no “Happy New Year” message from me this year. So we are back in full lockdown again here in the UK. At least there now seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. So there’s at least a chance now we could get part of the live action shoots done late summer this year. But at least being stuck indoors all day has given me enough time to really play about with the upscale of ANH:R & ESB:R.
I did some tests with the trial version of the latest version of Topaz Video Enhance AI. OMG, what a difference. Much better than the old version i have. They have managed to iron out most of the problems with the older version. It now seems to be able to recognise parts of the image that are meant to be out of focus, whereas the older version tried to bring things into focus. The speed is about 3x as fast. Sadly the pro-res encoder has problems and shifts colours, so i can still only render as image sequence, which creates huge files. Also it has a bug which, when a shot changes to the next, the previous image can bleed into the first 2 frames, or the image quality really drops for those frames. Also, mainly when lasers are moving across screen, you see the ghost image of the laser from the previous frame bleed into the next. The only way to fix this is to do a first pass upscale, then render out a reversed version of the film and upscale this and replace the first two frames of every shot in the film in the editor. A long process, but worth it. Sadly the trial version has run out and I can’t afford the £200 for the full version just yet.
Another problem with the upscaling I found was that there were many shots it just didn’t give good results in the final upscale, so I had to render it again using different settings and replace the bad ones in the editor with the new ones. But a lot still looked bad, no matter what settings I used, especially when I had to use lower res images/ video and used any form of sharpening filter. Strange artefacts where it tried too hard to add details, over-sharpened sections and images that almost look like an art filter had been added to the picture. Very artificial. And it really doesn’t like shots like holograms or macrobinocular displays. Luckily for me I still have all of the original project files , so I have the luxury of re-rendering these shots to help eliminate these problems. I also have the chance to use some element from the new 4k versions of the films to replace the lower quality from the 2011 blu-ray. For example, the picture below, where I enlarged Obi-Wan so he didn’t look like a tiny little figure in the shot. The results were never that great using the 2011 blu-ray, but sort of passed when being 720p. But upscaled to 1080p it looks horrendous. But using Obi-Wan from the 4k version, the results are miles better.
So I will be able to improve all of these type of shots for the upscale version. There are a lot, but many are just an easy re-render with some of the original filters turned off and applied after the upscale process. Plus there are some shots that were originally rendered in native 1080p and downscaled for the original release that I can use in the upscaled version. So it won’t be a 100% upscale for ESB:R and with ANH:R I can swap a lot of the upscaled footage with the original 1080p colour graded master I created when I started that. ROTJ:R of course will be native 1080p. ESB:R 1080p could well be ready in a couple of months after i can start work properly on it.
But now I come to the biggest problem with the upscale. Just rendering ESB:R as an upscale using uncompressed image files, and a few test renders of replacements, it almost filled a 4TB drive. The resulting filesizes are huge. And with working on ROTJ:R, upscales of ANH:R & ESB:R AND being able to back the files up, there just isn’t enough space even with the new larger format drive I have now.
As you may know, last year wiped us out financially with my wife losing her job. We were lucky that she was able to find a job later in the year, but at a greatly reduced salary. This sadly meant that I am no longer in a position to plough any more funds into Revisited for the foreseeable future. So I have no option other than to reopen the donation drive. As I said last time, I was planning on matching the money raised during the last one plus any extra, which would have fully funded this project, which was £3000. I’m just going to use the same Paypal money pool as last time as it’s the easiest thing to do, keeping the same links. I desperately need to get some more large size external drives for backup purposes and a couple more large format internal drives for the main rendering of the upscaled versions. Plus the last batch of materials for the live actions shoots and miniatures.
You all know I really hate doing this, but I have no other choice at this point in time. Here is the link for the donation drive. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Work on removing as much of the static grain as possible on the 2020 blu-ray version of ROTJ is coming along nicely. I was surprised at just how bad the problems are on this latest release. Not only do you have the static grain, but also the over use of Digital noise reduction has caused so many shots throughout the film to have less detail than even the old 2011 versions. On top of that you have Temporal noise reduction halo blurring ( where an object/ person moves on screen and the background around it becomes blurry as it passes) and some very bad digital noise reduction motion smearing. As you can see in the image below, Yoda’s face is just a smeared mess in the 2020 Blu-Ray, yet it is fine on the 2011 version.
So many shots in the Yoda Hut scene have had so much of the detail scrubbed away. So i have replaced the worse shots with cleaned up footage from the 2011 blu-ray
There is so much to fix on ROTJ before i can start work on the edit.
But i’m taking a short break from the restoration until after Christmas. So far i have completed up to the arrival on Endor. But it’s a very tedious task and i just need a short break.
Now, onto some news… While taking a break from ROTJ, i decided to try out upscaling ESB:R using Topaz Video AI. I’d seen so many people raving about this software so i tried some shots from the 720p lossless master to see if it would be worth releasing a 1080p version. Well i was shocked at how good this software is. Now, it does have its problems. You can’t just stick the file in and let in render away and end up with an amazing looking result. Doing some tests i found out that , while one setting is perfect for some shots and gives the best results, its horrendous on others. Starfields especially suffer when they are moving using one setting. You get a strange ghosting effect or they just smear across the screen. You also get sections of them disappear for a frame or two. So doing it several times, using different settings, is the only way to do it. Then its a case of combining the best elements by rotoscoping to give the best result.
One of the major drawbacks though is the time it takes to process. a 3 minute clip took over 12 hours to render. You get about 5 seconds processing/ rendering time per frame. Then there is the fact that it renders to uncompressed png format ( the MP4 option is horrendous quality). The hard drive space it takes up is astounding, so i’m going to have to look into investing in several external drives and larger internal ones.
So, is the quality of the resulting upscale even worth all the effort, just to have ESB:R in 1080p? Well, here are 10 screen shot comparisons showing the finished upscale 1080p version against the 2011 source blu-ray. No sharpening filters have been used on the Revisited upscales, this is just purely the result from the Topaz Video AI software.
(Just click on each tab to see the different shots. To compare each shot just hover your mouse over the image)
Well, i think the results speak for themselves. It looks better in clarity for the most part than the original 1080p blu-ray. But why don’t i just use the new 2020 blu-ray of ESB to replace the unaltered footage from the 2011 blu-ray? Well, sadly, then latest version of ESB is crap, to put it mildly. It may have better clarity overall in detail, but it is heavily cropped and horizontally stretched, making everyone gain about 20 pounds. I have no idea why this was such a botched release and why it was stretched and cropped as bad as it is, because the other two films don’t suffer with that. You can see just how much of the picture is lost due to the cropping and horizontal stretching. Some shots are worse than others but this gives you an example of the problem.
But then there is all the work needed to be done to match the grading of ESB:R for it to match up. It would be like starting from scratch. So , while there may be some shots that i will use the 2020 blu-ray, i shall be sticking with the upscales.
So i have come to a decision…
THE REVISITED SAGA WILL NOW ALL BE RELEASED IN 1080P INSTEAD OF JUST 720P
Upscaling ESB:R should only take a month or two. Luckily i still have all of the project files so, if needed, i can replace a shot that isn’t working in the upscale with a newly rendered version. Then i can move onto ANH:R. All the work i have done so far on ROTJ has all been in 1080p, so no need to do any upscaling there. ROTJ:R will be native 1080p.
And there you have it. Guaranteed someone will say “well why don’t you upscale then to 4k?”. 😉 Sorry, but that is not going to happen.
Work is continuing on processing the 2020 blu-rays to remove the horrendous static grain. Its a very long process though. Having to create multiple masked layers, lots of rotoscoping so that only the areas that need processing get processed (and to enable different levels of processing to sections of the picture) so that you don’t scrub away the detail (like the digital noise reduction has sadly done for so many shots on these new versions). It’s very tedious. So far the first 37 minutes of the film have been completed. This side of things is going to continue well into the new year, but the result will hopefully be worth it. I really wish that it could be an easy fix, just adding a layer of 35mm grain to hide it, but that doesn’t work. Yes, the final result will have some added real 35mm grain, but this film does need to end up with around the same amount of grain as the previous 2 films or it will look completely out of place when watched back to back. Some shots are beyond repair though. Shots that have had so much digital noise reduction applied than the image is blurry and lacking detail. Detail thats actually better in the older 2011 blu-rays, and those are notorious for lacking detail. So its a case of swapping out the destroyed shots and replacing them with either their processed 2011 versions or from footage taken from 4k83. These shots also have to be regarded and processed so they don’t look like they are from completely different versions when viewing. In the end though, it will result in a much better looking version of this film.
When i get bored and tired of the monotonous rotoscoping work, i like to test out what the final grade could be like. Using the 4k83 scans as a reference, i’m able to get this film to look pretty close to how it looked originally. The 2020 blu-rays, for some reason. look washed out and have a very brown tint to them. The highlights are completely flat too. Luckily these are still a better grade than the older 2011 blu-rays, so i’m not having to remove that bad blue tint that was added to the films. Fixing the highlights alone has brought out more detail in the picture but fixing the grading is really making this film look so much better. Being able to bring out colours and tints that were hidden underneath the brown flat current grade. I’ve attached a couple of comparison samples, but the best way to see just how the grading looks compared to the 2020 blu-rays is through these links:
So today i started delving into the new Blu-Ray versions of the OT, beginning with ROTJ as this is the one i will be using these versions for. Well it is the best the trilogy has looked on home video. Which, in itself , is a very sad statement to make. A very subpar release i’m afraid. Although the grading doesn’t suffer as bad as the 2011 Blu-rays, it isn’t great either. Whereas the 2011 blu-rays suffered with oversaturated colours and a heavy blue tint, these ones are very undersaturated and it seems like the blues have almost been stripped from the film. Skies are almost grey and other areas that should have heavy blues are missing almost all traces of blue colour. So, where i thought that ROTJ wouldn’t need so much of a regrade as it would have using the 2011 blu-rays, turns out there needs to be as much, if not more, work done in that area.
Now getting onto the image quality. While , again for the most part, the quality of the video is much better than the previous 2011 blu-ray set, it does suffer with many problems. Most of it is down to RelianceMediaworks grain reduction/ restoration. Static/ frozen grain is a problem that plagues releases they have worked on. Background really suffer with frozen grain. While the image is static, it doesn’t pose too much of an issue. But if the background is moving along with the shot, then it makes the background look like its a still image just sliding across the screen, almost making the shot look like the background was added at a later time. The biggest static/ frozen grain problem though is when it is on people faces/ bodies. The frozen grain then unnaturally moves with the character, while still being frozen. Then there are areas of the image where RelianceMediaworks algorithm seems to have missed the grain completely and actually over-sharpened it. I’ve been doing some experiments to eliminate/reduce this problem and , so far, the results are promising. Sadly this isn’t going to be just a case of adding a filter to remove the frozen grain. Each shot will have to be worked on individually. Each shot will require multiple mask layers to separate background and foreground objects to apply filters to reduce this problem. Sadly adding a layer of slight film grain doesn’t hide this problem, so heavy rotoscoping & multiple mask layers is the only route. Then, once this cleanup is done, a slight layer of film grain can be added to match the previous 2 films in the Revisited saga. Very time consuming, but it will be worth it.
Another problem with the grain reduction is that the digital noise reduction has been applied to heavily on many shots, destroying a hell of a lot of detail. These shots are spread throughout the film and are worse quality than the old 2011 blu-ray set (as you can in the comparisons between the 2020 blu-ray set and the 2011 in the link below). (either press the number on your keyboard that corresponds with the image to cycle through them or click on each tab)
Now , for these type of shots, I will be replacing them with the 2011 versions. With some clean-up work these shots can look pretty good, much better than they are on this new set. Here is a rough example of what can be done.
that last shot also shows ( in motion it can be seen much clearer) another problem with this new set: the use of Power Windows. This is where an area is masked off so that a different grading can be applied to it. In that shot, Han and Leia have been badly masked off and have been brightened. The problem is that the shadow areas have also been brightened and do not blend in with the surrounding areas. What is worse is that the mask is so badly applied that is doesn’t follow the movement of the characters and then they have what looks like a black line around them at times. It’s horrendously bad. Theres a bit in ANH when they pull up to the cantina where this has also been badly applied. In the background as they get out from the speeder in front of the cantina, the background buildings have been masked to enable a different grading for the sky. But when the camera moves, the mask doesn’t move with it correctly and the sky in that area becomes a sandy colour. Although this one isn’t as noticeable as other ones
Now we get onto the films grading. Dull. That’s all I can say about it really. It’s so lacking. Like I said before, they seem to have gone the other way with this release and removed a lot of the blues that should be there and reduced the saturation . When you look at older releases of the OT, prior to the 2004 SE’s, you can see just how much the colouring differs. Thankfully we have the 4k83 releases, which are scanned from original film prints and give us a better idea of that the grading should or can look like. While these may not be 100% accurate to how the film originally looked, they’re the closest we are going to get. So I have been tinkering with the grading to try and get it to look more like the 4k83 versions. Below are a few examples of a test regrade.
The Star Wars Revisited project is a series of fan-edits of the Star Wars movies, freely available on the internet. It is not for sale, and no one can ever make money on it. It is done by a fan, for the fans. We ask that you own a copy of the official DVDs before downloading.
You can donate to the supply fund for Adywan's continued work on this project by donating via Paypal:
All rights and respect to George Lucas, who made this universe for us to play in.