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