ANH:R & ESB:R 1080p UPSCALE UPDATE AND DONATION DRIVE

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.

https://paypal.me/pools/c/8fZda4Wcai

Thank you

Adywan

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December 2020 Update and HUGE News!

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)

https://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/8778/picture:1

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.

https://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/8787

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.

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October 2020 Update

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:

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/7GZDLNNX

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/9ECJJNNU

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/7GZD7NNX

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Editing Resumes on ROTJ:R!

Work on Revisited has restarted…

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)

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/91J0CNNU

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/7YDYLNNX

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.

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/91J1JNNU

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.

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/7YDG7NNX

http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/91191NNU

So , that’s it for now. The grain cleanup is going to take a while and then I can move onto the grading.

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Summer 2020 Update – Editing Resumes Next Month

Work will resume of the Revisited edits on September 14th. 😁😁😁

At the end of this month we will finally start to have a wage coming back into the household. Sadly a lot less than we had before, but at least its enough for us to cover our bills and food. And there are a LOT of people that are suffering a LOT more than we have than still don’t have this luxury.

Thank you so much to everyone that helped support me through these difficult times. I really can’t thank you enough. Yes, this period has created a hell of a lot of debt for us, but at least, thanks to you guys, we were able to cover some of our bills.

I must apologise for not doing the Q&A video that i originally promised. To be honest i just haven’t been in the right frame of mind to do anything like that. But it will be coming shortly after i restart work on the edits.
Things will still remain quite quiet until the start date because i’m still severely limiting the time spent on the computer to keep the electric bill low until we can start affording it again.

I’m also going to go back in this thread to try and answer as many of the questions asked that i have missed

Thank you all for being so understanding.

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May The 4th Be With You!

First off i would like to thank everyone for your supportive comments/ messages during this difficult time. And to those that sent a donation & offered help i can’t thank you enough. I had a lot of messages/ comments asking how they could help with a donation (sorry to those that i haven’t replied to but i am limiting my internet time to once a week at the moment) , well the easiest way would be through the original donation Paypal money pool. This is the link.

https://paypal.me/pools/c/8fZda4Wcai

In other news, i have been able to check out the new Blu-Ray for ROTJ. Wow, what a difference. The picture is much sharper than the original blu-rays and the grading is also much better. It does still have its problems though. Static grain being the main one. The image has too much Digital noise reduction applied in places causing the image to look unnatural and soft. I think i have a way of minimising the static grain, but i won’t know until i can get back to work on the edits. The grading is good for the most part but it does need some work, but nowhere near as much as the 2011 blu-rays did.

While editing work is at a halt , i thought i might do a Q&A session where i can answer questions you have about ROTJ:R or the Revisited saga in general. So, if you post your questions in the comments on Facebook, i will try to answer as many as i can in a video that i will post in a week or two’s time.

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Spring 2020 Update – Project Delayed + Demo Reel

Well, the world really has gone to sh*t hasn’t it…

This will be my last update for a while. I’ll explain the reasons why further on.
So ANH:R has been coming along nicely. Apart from about 12 FX shots, I’ve now completed up to the escape from the Death Star. That’s 1hr 30mins of the film completed. But , as usual, something had to put a spanner in the works…

A few weeks ago, my wife lost her job. It came completely out of the blue. As the sole bread winner of the family this was going to hit us hard. But we were optimistic of her finding a new job in no time. Plenty of interviews lined up. And then the coronavirus pandemic hit our country. Every single interview cancelled within a week. Recruitment halted and places started ton close down. And then the lockdown happens. within a few weeks our life had turned upside down. But we are not the only ones as almost everyone is suffering through this crisis and there are people a lot worse off than we are.

Trying to get financial help off the government is proving to be very difficult. They have said it is unlikely we would qualify for Universal Credit, but we are still awaiting on the decision. So we are having to make a lot of financial changes to our lives until this pandemic blows over and things can hopefully return to normal and places start recruiting again. So, at the moment, we are surviving on her final wage packet. Things like TV services, internet, phones etc have all got to go until normality returns. But a huge reduction has to be our electric consumption. Just got our latest bill and that was over £160 solely for electric. So i have no other choice but to halt work on Revisited because i HAVE to stop using this computer completely to drastically reduce our consumption. When it on at least 14 hours a day it really does eat up the electric.

So it’s highly likely there won’t be any updates from me for a while.
I was going to schedule some screenshots to be posted over the next few weeks but i thought, what the hell. Forget screenshots, why not post a video showing these shots in action instead. those that can remember the very first video i ever posted when i began working on Revisited will get the homage to that with the disco soundtrack. Hopefully they won’t block this video.
Oh, and for those that noticed the 8 minute preview had been removed from Vimeo, well it seems that they are clamping down on there too now. This doesn’t mean that the project is dead. Just that a request to remove it was placed.

I hope everyone can understand why i have to stop work on Revisited for now.

Hope you enjoy the video

Stay safe everyone. And see you all on the other side…

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Merry Christmas! First 13 Minutes of ANHR:HD!

Merry Christmas everyone. Here is a 13 minute clip from the HD version of ANH:Revisited. The audio was taken from the original SD version of ANH:R, so this won’t be how the final version will sound. But the video side of things is 100% complete. See how many changes you can spot 🙂

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December 2019 Update

Sorry things have been quiet here lately. But it’s that time of the year when i concentrate more on getting things needed to be done at home to be ready for Christmas and work on the edits take more of a back seat. Plus i seem to have been getting every single damn bug that’s been going around here in the UK lately, so have been quite ill. Still haven’t fully recovered. But they weren’t the only reasons why i have been so quiet

There has been a major development that has altered plans for these edits somewhat…. Disney+.

There had been rumours, prior to the streaming service going live, that there would be brand new 4k scans of the OT and now we know this came to be true. Unfortunately we don;t have access to Disney+ in the UK so i was unable to check out these new scans until recently. Well they have turned out to be a game changer. While ANH and ESB seem to suffer with some grading problems in places, ROTJ looks beautiful for the most part and would need minimal work to enhance the grading, unlike the amount of work needed to fix the current blu-rays. This was the film that had so many problems with grading and having a whole reel scanned out of focus on the Blu-Ray releases. So the rumours of a 4k set of the saga being released in 2020 are looking much more likely now.

While i won’t be using the streaming versions for my edits, because of compression etc, i will be using official physical releases for ROTJ:R. Which has changed plans significantly. I have stopped work on the grading of ROTJ as i will no longer be using the current blu-rays for that film. This means stopping work on the film until an official Blu-Ray release of the new versions. It would be madness for me to continue when there is going to be something much better to use at some point. This also means not working on any effects shots that incorporate parts of the blu-ray picture ( like fixes, matte enhancements etc). I will, however, be continuing work on models and shots that will be used as a complete replacement for existing ones. This will all start after Christmas now i have all the supplies needed. But just because i will be using the new 4k transfers of ROTJ, this doesn’t mean that it will be in 4k. The saga will still be 720p

So i’m going to concentrate mainly on ANH:R HD. I’m happy with the completed colour grading i did for that film and having already completed the first quarter of the film it wouldn’t be worth scrapping everything just to use the new versions.

I’m off now to down another Lemsip and try to recover from this damn ilness

MTFBWY

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New A New Hope Revisited HD Screenshots

Here are a few screenshots comparing the official blu-ray, the original SD version of ANH:R and the new HD version. As you can see i’m sticking pretty close to the shots in the original SD version of ANH:R (impossible to exactly recreate the shots without all the original elements and project files). Some shots though will be different . This will be due to a few reasons, but mainly because i wasn’t able to do / fix something when i first worked on the edit or because the original elements used just don’t look very good in HD. In the case of the R2 canyon shot, for example, the AOTC Blu-ray is so soft and digitally scrubbed ( not to mention the new awful colour grade used), the Tatooine elements that i originally used just don’t look to good and pretty fake/ cartoony. Plus i was never really happy with that shot in the first place.

71350244_2903018053047091_399542837403713536_o

Battle Droid has been re-added to the shot from ANHR.

70654518_2903018023047094_8548487427449159680_o

The Special Edition skyline has been replaced.

70528933_2903018126380417_8732655728180854784_o

New sandcrawler (actually a shot of the sandcrawler that was replaced for the Special Edition)

71221893_2903018169713746_4493321027601825792_o

The Special Edition skyline has been replaced.

70523549_2903018216380408_5608307650178580480_o

This shot was recomposited with new suns elements.

71082862_2903018289713734_5516781416064483328_o

The Special Edition skyline has been replaced.

70903092_2903018283047068_2461089803333009408_o

The Blockade Runner is deeper in the docking bay and grasped by the pincers.

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