Version 1.0 was only completed a week ago, and there are still some tweaks being made to that, but in the meantime work has already begun on v 2.0, with Empire and Jedi also being worked on.
The Spanish LPP cleaned for version 1.0 was just the beginning. As word of our project spread, collectors began sending us their prints of Star Wars, Empire and Jedi, many of which were better quality prints than our original LPP. Our equipment has also been upgraded over time to produce higher quality scans at 4k instead of 2k.
When using multiple versions of a film, whether they are to be sourced from 35mm as shown here, or from any combination of DVD, Blu-ray, laserdisc, VHS, etc. There are two key requirements that need to be met in order to successfully merge the sources.
- The colors of each source need to match as closely as possible.
- You need to be able to register the images as perfectly as possible (make sure the top image perfectly overlays the bottom image).
There are multiple ways to achieve both or these requirements, and we are experimenting with many of them. and we will go into more detail about each method in future posts.
First we prepare the sources. The 4k scan is scaled down to 2k, while the LPP is scaled up slightly from 1080p to 2k, and both are made to match as closely as possible when one is overlayed on top of the other. The LPP is also sharpened to help with the image registration and deflickered to help with the color matching. The second print is more closely cropped than the LPP which is good because that means the LPP can be used to repair damage all the way out to the very edge of the frame. Then, by removing the dirt from the top layer, the already cleaned, color matched and registered image underneath fills in the holes that used to contain dirt.
The most common problems encountered when using this process are the artifacts caused by either poor image registration, or mismatched colors, or both. You don't have to look too closely to see that a lot of the scratches are still visible, they are just a lot less obvious because instead of being black, they are now very nearly matching. Scenes with a lot of motion, which often contain frames that on their own appear quite abstract (wide shots of desert dunes, smoke filled corridors, motion blurs during the battle for Yavin) are very difficult to register automatically, while laser battles, particularly those that turn the whole frame pink for a frame, are hard to color match with Dre's tool, and I'll demonstrate some other techniques for dealing with these situations another time. Anyway here is a short sample from Reel 5 showing the result of this technique:
Download this file (Right click the link and choose 'Save Target As...')
A longer sample (along with previews of 2 reels from The Empire Strikes Back "Sanitized") can be found on MySpleen or, if you are not a member, you can also get them here:
If we compare v1.0 to v2.0 you can see that despite the visible damage, there is a considerable improvement in color, sharpness and grain reduction:
Finally, if we compare v2.0 to the official Blu-ray: