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Classic Trilogy release/version discussion
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Falconer wrote:
Raven Redstar wrote:
So, I'm a little curious... how many of you people who weren't fans of TLJ will end up buying the movie when it's released?

I won’t. I don’t own any of the ones I like, though, either. Though lately I’ve been thinking it would be neat to own a set of CBS VHS cassettes of the OT.

If I still had my CBS versions and they weren't completely worn, I'd gladly give them to you. Good luck in finding the OT on VHS for a reasonable price. The only Star Wars I still have on VHS are the Special Editions (1997) and TPM (2000). FYI, they did release the theatrical versions of the OT on DVD in 2006 and 2008 but they may be more expensive.


Minor clarification/elaboration here.

The 2006 release of the DVDs included so-called "bonus discs" which were the non-special-edition OT (I refer to as "OOT"). However, these were (in my opinion) mostly released to provide a legitimate source for people to purchase what is essentially a copy of the laserdisc edition from 1993, just stuck on a DVD.

Around the time that the SEs came out on DVD, there was...much frustration within the movie-buying fan community. The 2004 discs had several errors on them, which really turned a lot of people off. In addition, Lucas had made it clear with the 2004 release that he would never, ever release the OOT again, believing it to be a "flawed" version. I seem to recall him saying something to the effect of "I'm sorry everyone fell in love with a flawed version, but that's not the version I want out there anymore." Something like that, anyway.

So, the 2004 DVD set had some problems. There were weird color timing issues (e.g. Luke's aqua sabre was made to look whiteish instead of blueish; Vader's sabre looked more pinkish; some scenes hadn't been completely corrected from the original color palette to the more vivid "pumped up" palette of the PT, so you'd have jarring transitions), and there were some sound issues with the ANH disc (I think the right rear channels were reversed somehow, so if a ship flew from left rear to right front, you'd hear right rear to right or left front).

As a result, people went off to ebay and essentially bought bootleg versions of the LaserDisc edition, which at that point was the highest resolution edition available that wasn't the SEs.* The 2006 release basically contained the "bonus discs" which were exactly this: LD rips.

The problem with the LD rips, however, is that although they were higher resolution than a VHS copy, much like the widescreen VHS tapes (I still have a set of the THX "three faces" edition from '93, by the way), they're all formatted for pre-widescreen TVs. In other words, they're letterboxed. To fit the image to a 4:3 display, they basically squash the actual picture down, and stick black bars on the top and bottom of the frame to create a 4:3 image. They weren't formatted for widescreen TVs, because widescreen TVs didn't really exist back then.

When you try to watch these on modern displays, it's even worse. You end up having to do one of the following: either allow the picture to display naturally on your TV -- which means that you'll get bars on the sides and the top and bottom of the screen, or you have to use your TV to zoom the image in and stretch it to fill the whole screen, which (1) blows up a really low-resolution image to fill your screen (and looks awful), and (2) cuts off parts of the image itself (the actual image, that is, not just the bars).

In short, it's an awful way to view the films, but it's literally the only way to get the OOT on any kind of modern media. No idea what these go for nowadays, but...eh...I wouldn't spend the money. It ain't worth it other than if you're just a collector.

There are other avenues to obtain modern versions of the OOT, but you won't learn about them from any Jedi...

*I can't recall if the U.S. LD release was the same as the overseas LD release in terms of content. Given the different video standards, the overseas version might be slightly higher resolution. Also, the 2008 release was basically just a repackaging of the '06 ones.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solo4114 wrote:
Whill wrote:
Falconer wrote:
Though lately I’ve been thinking it would be neat to own a set of CBS VHS cassettes of the OT.

If I still had my CBS versions and they weren't completely worn, I'd gladly give them to you. Good luck in finding the OT on VHS for a reasonable price. The only Star Wars I still have on VHS are the Special Editions (1997) and TPM (2000). FYI, they did release the theatrical versions of the OT on DVD in 2006 and 2008 but they may be more expensive.

Minor clarification/elaboration here.

The 2006 release of the DVDs included so-called "bonus discs" which were the non-special-edition OT (I refer to as "OOT"). However, these were (in my opinion) mostly released to provide a legitimate source for people to purchase what is essentially a copy of the laserdisc edition from 1993, just stuck on a DVD.

Around the time that the SEs came out on DVD, there was...much frustration within the movie-buying fan community. The 2004 discs had several errors on them, which really turned a lot of people off. In addition, Lucas had made it clear with the 2004 release that he would never, ever release the OOT again, believing it to be a "flawed" version. I seem to recall him saying something to the effect of "I'm sorry everyone fell in love with a flawed version, but that's not the version I want out there anymore." Something like that, anyway.

So, the 2004 DVD set had some problems. There were weird color timing issues (e.g. Luke's aqua sabre was made to look whiteish instead of blueish; Vader's sabre looked more pinkish; some scenes hadn't been completely corrected from the original color palette to the more vivid "pumped up" palette of the PT, so you'd have jarring transitions), and there were some sound issues with the ANH disc (I think the right rear channels were reversed somehow, so if a ship flew from left rear to right front, you'd hear right rear to right or left front).

As a result, people went off to ebay and essentially bought bootleg versions of the LaserDisc edition, which at that point was the highest resolution edition available that wasn't the SEs.* The 2006 release basically contained the "bonus discs" which were exactly this: LD rips.

The problem with the LD rips, however, is that although they were higher resolution than a VHS copy, much like the widescreen VHS tapes (I still have a set of the THX "three faces" edition from '93, by the way), they're all formatted for pre-widescreen TVs. In other words, they're letterboxed. To fit the image to a 4:3 display, they basically squash the actual picture down, and stick black bars on the top and bottom of the frame to create a 4:3 image. They weren't formatted for widescreen TVs, because widescreen TVs didn't really exist back then.

When you try to watch these on modern displays, it's even worse. You end up having to do one of the following: either allow the picture to display naturally on your TV -- which means that you'll get bars on the sides and the top and bottom of the screen, or you have to use your TV to zoom the image in and stretch it to fill the whole screen, which (1) blows up a really low-resolution image to fill your screen (and looks awful), and (2) cuts off parts of the image itself (the actual image, that is, not just the bars).

In short, it's an awful way to view the films, but it's literally the only way to get the OOT on any kind of modern media. No idea what these go for nowadays, but...eh...I wouldn't spend the money. It ain't worth it other than if you're just a collector.
...
Also, the 2008 release was basically just a repackaging of the '06 ones.

Thanks for postiing all this info, Solo! From watching it last May, I can confirm that the 08 DVD rerelease of the unaltered version of ANH is indeed with the black bars all the way around on modern TVs. (I've never watched my TESB or RotJ unaltered version DVDs on any TV.) For ANH I did do the zoom to fill the screen, but very little is cut off. And the quality is pretty horrible before even zooming so it doesn't seem noticeably worse to me.

It may be that Falconer only wanted the CBS VHS set for collector purposes, and if so then visual quality of either media really doesn't matter, but there's really more context to this discussion.

My first bias is that I watch the blu-ray versions of the classic trilogy, despite some of the issues with the DVD versions still not being corrected in HD (like the lightsaber blade colors in some shots). And despite Greedo's blasphemous shot, which is literally blink and you miss it. And even despite Jedi Rocks. All the plusses vastly outweigh these things. Seeing ultra realistic versions of these classic films rendered in high definition is really a thing of beauty, even with Mark Hamil's facial blemishes and make-up. It boggles my mind how anyone would not want to watch these films on HD. The altered Battle of Yavin alone makes it worth anything else.

The #1 reason I have heard why fans don't watch the blu-rays are because of all the changes (97 Special Editions+04 DVD+final blu-ray changes). The past is superior. When someone says they want to watch or own versions other than the HD versions, I tend to presume it is because of being opposed to the changes. I've also heard a lot of these same fans complaining that they no longer have a VHS player and express a wish for these movies to be released on DVD, as if they were never had been. The 06 and 08 DVD releases that included the unaltered versions of the films have come and gone, so some fans don't even know they existed. (Others have complained about them being unavailable and/or expensive, but I would imagine that non-SE VHS versions would be even more expensive.)

Then we have all the reasons you mentioned why the DVD rereleases of the unaltered versions of the film are bad. Everything you mentioned is an argument for the HD versions of the films. If visual quality is more important than no alterations, then watch the HD version of the films like me. If unaltered version purity is more important, then I would think those fans could suffer through the horrible quality of the DVD rereleases. After all, quality isn't their primary concern. Even watching the original unaltered movies on film in the theater wasn't that great by the time the movies came to my town because the film reels were so worn. Movies had hairs, dust and dirt projected on the screen with the film. We didn't think anything was wrong with it because we didn't know any better. It's just he way it was back then. And while the unaltered versions of the classic trilogy were a one-time theatrical experience each for me, I watched the hell out of my VHS tapes. I went through multiple copies for each so the worn look became the norm. I get nostalgia for the past. I have a vinyl record album collection and even though I have most of the music in some more convenient digital format, I still like to get them out every now and then and enjoy the imperfections. The crackles and pops are part of the charm.

But then we have the people that want their cake and to eat it too. They demand high quality renders of the unaltered version of the films and nothing less is good enough. I have trouble sympathizing with these fans. They want something that never existed at any time. And the unaltered aspects of the original films just don't exist in any usable form, so the best possible high quality render would be a hideous frankenstein of high and low quality.
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Solo4114
Lieutenant Commander
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Joined: 18 May 2017
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
Whill wrote:
Falconer wrote:
Though lately I’ve been thinking it would be neat to own a set of CBS VHS cassettes of the OT.

If I still had my CBS versions and they weren't completely worn, I'd gladly give them to you. Good luck in finding the OT on VHS for a reasonable price. The only Star Wars I still have on VHS are the Special Editions (1997) and TPM (2000). FYI, they did release the theatrical versions of the OT on DVD in 2006 and 2008 but they may be more expensive.

Minor clarification/elaboration here.

The 2006 release of the DVDs included so-called "bonus discs" which were the non-special-edition OT (I refer to as "OOT"). However, these were (in my opinion) mostly released to provide a legitimate source for people to purchase what is essentially a copy of the laserdisc edition from 1993, just stuck on a DVD.

Around the time that the SEs came out on DVD, there was...much frustration within the movie-buying fan community. The 2004 discs had several errors on them, which really turned a lot of people off. In addition, Lucas had made it clear with the 2004 release that he would never, ever release the OOT again, believing it to be a "flawed" version. I seem to recall him saying something to the effect of "I'm sorry everyone fell in love with a flawed version, but that's not the version I want out there anymore." Something like that, anyway.

So, the 2004 DVD set had some problems. There were weird color timing issues (e.g. Luke's aqua sabre was made to look whiteish instead of blueish; Vader's sabre looked more pinkish; some scenes hadn't been completely corrected from the original color palette to the more vivid "pumped up" palette of the PT, so you'd have jarring transitions), and there were some sound issues with the ANH disc (I think the right rear channels were reversed somehow, so if a ship flew from left rear to right front, you'd hear right rear to right or left front).

As a result, people went off to ebay and essentially bought bootleg versions of the LaserDisc edition, which at that point was the highest resolution edition available that wasn't the SEs.* The 2006 release basically contained the "bonus discs" which were exactly this: LD rips.

The problem with the LD rips, however, is that although they were higher resolution than a VHS copy, much like the widescreen VHS tapes (I still have a set of the THX "three faces" edition from '93, by the way), they're all formatted for pre-widescreen TVs. In other words, they're letterboxed. To fit the image to a 4:3 display, they basically squash the actual picture down, and stick black bars on the top and bottom of the frame to create a 4:3 image. They weren't formatted for widescreen TVs, because widescreen TVs didn't really exist back then.

When you try to watch these on modern displays, it's even worse. You end up having to do one of the following: either allow the picture to display naturally on your TV -- which means that you'll get bars on the sides and the top and bottom of the screen, or you have to use your TV to zoom the image in and stretch it to fill the whole screen, which (1) blows up a really low-resolution image to fill your screen (and looks awful), and (2) cuts off parts of the image itself (the actual image, that is, not just the bars).

In short, it's an awful way to view the films, but it's literally the only way to get the OOT on any kind of modern media. No idea what these go for nowadays, but...eh...I wouldn't spend the money. It ain't worth it other than if you're just a collector.
...
Also, the 2008 release was basically just a repackaging of the '06 ones.

Thanks for postiing all this info, Solo! From watching it last May, I can confirm that the 08 DVD rerelease of the unaltered version of ANH is indeed with the black bars all the way around on modern TVs. (I've never watched my TESB or RotJ unaltered version DVDs on any TV.) For ANH I did do the zoom to fill the screen, but very little is cut off. And the quality is pretty horrible before even zooming so it doesn't seem noticeably worse to me.

It may be that Falconer only wanted the CBS VHS set for collector purposes, and if so then visual quality of either media really doesn't matter, but there's really more context to this discussion.


My pleasure! I frequent other forums where the subject of when/if we'll ever get an "archival" version of the OOT comes up periodically. There are some other sites out there that can explain the issues with the LD rips perhaps more clearly than I did. It's interesting to track the changes over time to things like sound mixes and such, too.

Quote:
My first bias is that I watch the blu-ray versions of the classic trilogy, despite some of the issues with the DVD versions still not being corrected in HD (like the lightsaber blade colors in some shots). And despite Greedo's blasphemous shot, which is literally blink and you miss it. And even despite Jedi Rocks. All the plusses vastly outweigh these things. Seeing ultra realistic versions of these classic films rendered in high definition is really a thing of beauty, even with Mark Hamil's facial blemishes and make-up. It boggles my mind how anyone would not want to watch these films on HD. The altered Battle of Yavin alone makes it worth anything else.


I have no idea why anyone would want to watch the LD version these days. I think it has to do with the fact that, in 2006, when they were released, you'd already had several years of people buying LD rips off of ebay, and LFL was really just offering a legitimate outlet for that.

The 2012 blu-rays are the best option people have available that's legitimate. There are also illegitimate sources out there for things like despecialized editions of the OOT in HD, but, like I said, the're illegitimate/pirate versions. (Also known by the more genteel moniker of "fan edits.")

Quote:
The #1 reason I have heard why fans don't watch the blu-rays are because of all the changes (97 Special Editions+04 DVD+final blu-ray changes). The past is superior. When someone says they want to watch or own versions other than the HD versions, I tend to presume it is because of being opposed to the changes. I've also heard a lot of these same fans complaining that they no longer have a VHS player and express a wish for these movies to be released on DVD, as if they were never had been. The 06 and 08 DVD releases that included the unaltered versions of the films have come and gone, so some fans don't even know they existed. (Others have complained about them being unavailable and/or expensive, but I would imagine that non-SE VHS versions would be even more expensive.)


Point of clarification here: I think when people say they wish they had a VHS player, they don't realize what it would mean to watch a VHS player on a modern display. You'd end up with exactly the same issue as the LD-rips packaged with the '06/'08 releases, only they'd be worse because the resolution on VHS is worse than on laserdisc. You might be ok-ish watching them on a smaller computer monitor, but otherwise, I'd say either give in and buy the bluray version, or resign yourself to piracy.

Quote:
Then we have all the reasons you mentioned why the DVD rereleases of the unaltered versions of the film are bad. Everything you mentioned is an argument for the HD versions of the films. If visual quality is more important than no alterations, then watch the HD version of the films like me. If unaltered version purity is more important, then I would think those fans could suffer through the horrible quality of the DVD rereleases. After all, quality isn't their primary concern. Even watching the original unaltered movies on film in the theater wasn't that great by the time the movies came to my town because the film reels were so worn. Movies had hairs, dust and dirt projected on the screen with the film. We didn't think anything was wrong with it because we didn't know any better. It's just he way it was back then. And while the unaltered versions of the classic trilogy were a one-time theatrical experience each for me, I watched the hell out of my VHS tapes. I went through multiple copies for each so the worn look became the norm. I get nostalgia for the past. I have a vinyl record album collection and even though I have most of the music in some more convenient digital format, I still like to get them out every now and then and enjoy the imperfections. The crackles and pops are part of the charm.

But then we have the people that want their cake and to eat it too. They demand high quality renders of the unaltered version of the films and nothing less is good enough. I have trouble sympathizing with these fans. They want something that never existed at any time. And the unaltered aspects of the original films just don't exist in any usable form, so the best possible high quality render would be a hideous frankenstein of high and low quality.


I think you misstate the position of fans who want the "archival" version. What they're asking for isn't a sterile version of the OOT, exactly, but rather one which retains the natural imperfections that were the result of how the film was made, but removes the imperfections that are the result of it being shot on film. This sort of thing is done all the time in film preservation, although how the preservation is handled can be the source of some complaints among fans. And I'm saying this outside of the context of Star Wars, by the way.

For example, I'm a fan of the film North by Northwest. I have both the DVD version and later upgraded to the blu-ray version. The DVD version has some odd color-timing to it, where the entire image is tinted more "reddish." The blu-ray version seems to strike a more neutral tone, or at least removes the "reddish" tint to everything. Personally, with the exception of some dynamic noise reduction, I think the blu-ray looks gorgeous. It was done by Lowry Digital, the same restoration house that handled the Bond 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray collection, which I also have and which also looks amazing.

In North by Northwest and the older Bond films, what the restoration house did was to remove things like grit, hair, etc. and to basically "clean up" the image. I don't believe that they really messed with color timing, so essentially what you're getting is as close to a "perfect" experience o these films as possible. Free of blemishes resulting from the material on which the film was recorded, but still containing whatever filmmaking techniques the original movies had. So, like, if fight sequences were undercranked (which results in action looking unnaturally sped up at times), that's still left in, but you won't see random hairs or black spots popping up in the image the way you might at the drive-in.

For the most part, fans of the OOT just want that kind of experience. They don't care about how primitive the stop-motion photography looks for the holochess sequence, or that the Cantina scene includes a guy in a wolfman mask. They're fine with that stuff. They just want to see it without the kind of visual imperfections that pop up with film stock.

Where they may differ is on just how far one should go in terms of "corrections." So, for example, are matte boxes around TIE Fighters ok? When we can see the dowel for Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsabre in ANH, is that ok, too? There are also differences in sound mixes even between contemporary releases. So, for example, the line "Close the blast doors!" is apparently in the '77 mono sound mix, but not in the '77 stereo mix. So...which version is the "authentic" version? (I default to the stereo mix, but that has to do more with the version that I saw on VHS, since I was in utero for the theatrical release. Smile ) However, the consensus among OOT diehards is that they want a generally "cleaned up" version of the OOT in HD.

When the sale of LFL to Disney occurred, there was initially some speculation that this would happen, although those expectations were scotched relatively quickly when people learned about the rights status between Disney and Fox. (Short version: Fox owned the OT distribution rights until 2021, I think, and owned ANH in perpetuity.) That, of course, is a moot point now that Disney owns all of Fox's entertainment assets. So, basically, there's no legal impediment to doing an archival OOT.

That leaves the point you raised about the "frankenstein" nature of such a project (being a mix of awful low-res material, and high-res material). My understanding, however, is that that's not what is likely to happen, but is rather based on a...misleading statement...by Lucas himself.

At the time of the DVD release of the OT, the company that did the restoration was none other than Lowry Digital (whom I mentioned above, and who are now known as Reliance Media). Lowry's work was pretty extensive on the OT, and especially with ANH, there was a lot to clean up. Lucas claimed that "the originals don't exist" anymore (or something to that effect -- I don't have the actual quote). And it's true that the original negatives themselves probably don't exist in a coherent set.

However, there are other sources for those images in the form of things like interpositives. You can look up some of this information, but the short version is that negatives aren't the only source for image information available. There are other sources which are almost as perfect that probably are available.

Here's where things get more technical. I would say that the last refuge of hope for fans of the OOT is, basically, twofold.

First, there's the gradual shift towards higher resolution imagery, such as towards a 4K standard for displays and media players. There was a brief flirtation with 2K, but it seems like we've skipped from 1080p to 4K as more dominant display standards. People probably last bought a new TV -- a 1080p one -- in the mid-2000s or early 2010s as part of the changeover of broadcast TV to HD. Streaming services have contributed to this, too, with Netflix and others streaming HD streams now (although obviously stuff like net neutrality has muddied the waters there, and may slow down what would otherwise be an fast development of higher and higher resolution imagery). Regardless, the bottom line here is that it looks like 4K is probably the next likely major format that consumers will have for TV displays and media players.

Watching 1080p content on a 4K display is going to be like watching a DVD on your 1080p display. You can do it, but it requires "upscaling" by your player, and even then, you don't have native information and it still looks kinda low-res-ish. Try watching, for example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer on your high-res panel, and you'll see what I mean. It doesn't look bad, but it doesn't look as good as a blu-ray does. The same (or worse) will be true of 1080p media on a 4K display.

However, the 2012 SEs -- and, for that matter, the entire prequel trilogy -- are all native at 1080p. In other words, you can't go to a higher resolution image. The PT was shot digitally at 1080p, and the stuff that's native to the SEs (e.g. Jabba in ANH) was also compiled at 1080p.

So, you have basically two-ish options. Option A is to simply take everything and digitally upscale it. Upscaling involves a computer essentially "guessing" at what's between the pixels in the image as you blow that image up. It doesn't look as natural, though, as what you'll see on film, because film actually already has that detail native to it. Film is an analog medium, so there's no "pixels" between which one must guess at what lies. 1080p/4k/8k is all digital, so you're dealing with discrete pixels, and when you get to the next "step" you have to guess at what's between the pixels. The main point of this is that Option A is never going to look as natural as Option B, which is to scan in the OOT, and then work with the additional material from the SEs to upscale or redo the digital assets alone.

IF Option B is taken, then you're in a position to release an archival OOT alongside, say, a 4K release of the OT SEs. Why? Simple. You'll have done the work already anyway, and it may be easier to do that than to try to manually recreate the SEs.

The second refuge of hope for an OOT release is the gradually diminishing value of the OT itself. Star Wars is moving on from the OT, and with each new addition to the franchise, the OT -- and especially the OOT -- becomes less and less relevant to the buying public. Which means that IF you're going to do an archival OOT...now's the time. Or at least in the next, oh, 10 years or so.

The one other sliver of hope (the "ish" in the "two-ish") is that Reliance Media already appears to have done some work on Star Wars in recent years -- more recently than the DVDs, I should say. I think they may have done work on the 3D releases, of which I think only TPM made it into the theater. But that still involved scanning in imagery.

One last point: Lowry/Reliance is not to blame for the imperfections in the DVD release of the OT. That blame lies squarely with LFL, from what I understand. As I recall, Lowry gave LFL the scans of the film, and then LFL played with them digitally in-house. That includes things like the color timing, merging assets like the 2004 Jabba in ANH (vs. the 1997 Jabba), and so on. It's also worth noting just how well Lowry/Reliance has handled other projects, in comparison to how amateurish the 2004 DVD release was. So, again, I suspect the blame lies with LFL.


Anyway, I personally hope for an archival OOT, and am happy to pay through the nose for it. I'll buy whatever 12-disc (or more) boxed set you want in order to get it, too. I recognize I'm in a pretty niche market, but hey, I'll pay niche prices. Hopefully Disney gets the message on that, and decides to make a buck off of folks like me, because I have zero desire to buy the SEs of the OT (and to date have not done so, although I've bought blu-rays of the new films).
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the wall of text, Solo! What content! You know so much of the technicalities involved here. I'm glad I moved this to it's own thread. By the way, I still have a working VCR hooked up to a working pre-modern TV and a small VHS collection. But the only Star Wars I still have on VHS are the 97 SEs and TPM.

A few minor points. One, TPM was almost completely shot on 35 mm with only a few scenes shot digitally. However the other two prequels were shot digitally with AotC being the first film in history being shot completely digitally. Two, the Star Wars Complete Saga blu-ray set came out in 2011, not 2012. That was the first time the OT was released on blu-ray. Three, I object to the use of "SE" to describe any or all of the three Lucas-revised versions the OT. Only the 1997 rereleases are the "Special Editions." The others are the 2004 DVD versions and the 2011 blu-ray versions. If you must categorically lump them together to differentiate them from the unaltered versions, I would think "altered" or "revised" should suffice.

I freely admit my biases, but I don't feel I've misstated the position of fans who want the "archival" version as much as I've oversimplified it. Thanks for elucidating that, but an OOT release "which retains the natural imperfections that were the result of how the film was made, but removes the imperfections that are the result of it being shot on film" is basically a clarification of, "high quality renders of the unaltered version of the films." The bulk of my experience with fans who want a higher quality digital OOT/archival version is unfortunately hand-in-hand with excessive Lucas-bashing and film-bashing (including prequel bashing). Thank you for not being one of those fans!

I am your opposite, the "anti-purist." I know very few other OG Star Wars fans who feel like I do. While I agree that Greedo's shot is an abomination (that takes away from the character of Han and drama of the film for first-time viewers) and there are a handful of "Whatever George" changes, I feel most of the revisions are improvements. And not only that, I have a laundry list of things that never got corrected/updated but should have been. Being ok with the blu-ray versions, it's hard for me to appreciate fans wanting HD like me but must not have the revisions. Sorry.

However I hope they can and do release a high quality OOT. I would love for Star Wars fans to have less to complain about. I'd probably buy it too if it ever came down to a reasonable price. The truth of the matter is, I can enjoy any version of the films. But between 1987 and 1996, I watched the classic films approximately 100 times each on VHS (wearing 2 VHS sets completely out and getting a third in '95). Since then I watched the unaltered version of ANH once in 2007 and once again in 2017 (with my son). I really don't feel any need to watch the OOT ever again. To be honest I'm a little worn out on watching the classic trilogy films at all, even the blu-rays.
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Falconer
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post, Solo4114. The one thing I will disagree about is Star Wars moving on from the OT or the OT becoming less relevant. I think Disney and fandom will always be focused on two things:

  1. The OT
  2. The most recent release(s) (movies and shows)


I think this is natural, and it is self evident why this should be so, but the short version is that as the franchise sprawls and diffuses, the nearly universally beloved OT will always be the unifying anchor. It’s the reason Star Wars is even a thing, after all.

To Whill, personally, I try to focus my fandom around the things I like, and not around bashing things I don’t like, so, all I will say is that I *love* the OOT, and I have since my childhood. I was 17 or 18 the year of the Special Edition theatrical releases, which was a very cool thing. I had always heard the old timers talk about watching the movies in the theater, and now they fully belonged to me, too. But I had already seen Star Wars many times before 1997, and on rewatching I much prefer to relive the same experience from before, with Yub Nub, and Sebastian Shaw’s Jedi Anakin ghost, and Han shooting first, and Clive Revill’s Emperor. I prefer it because it’s a comfortable and likable experience and fills me with nostalgia. It’s dated, but it’s dated to where it should be, to the 70s and 80s (or sometimes intentionally throwing back to even earlier decades’ classic film or genre influences), whereas the later releases feel plenty dated to the 90s (eg., CGI Jabba) and subsequent decades (eg., Hayden Christensen and Jar-Jar appearances). I point those things out not because of “hatred,” but just as examples of things which are as dated as OOT elements. I don’t hate George Lucas, I don’t hate the Prequels, I don’t hate Disney or whatever. Simply, my fandom is centered on the OT, and for the most part if things fall too far afield of the OT there is no guarantee that I will care for them.
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Thanks for the wall of text, Solo! What content! You know so much of the technicalities involved here. I'm glad I moved this to it's own thread. By the way, I still have a working VCR hooked up to a working pre-modern TV and a small VHS collection. But the only Star Wars I still have on VHS are the 97 SEs and TPM.


Happy to contribute! I enjoy talking about this stuff, since it touches on several different areas that I find really interesting. I think I still have an old TPM VHS tape somewhere (with a Jar Jar cel of film stock, too). I also have (somewhere) the widescreen VHS '97 release, and the widescreen "Faces" THX set. I have what I think is a working VCR, but no more old school TVs. So, for me, it's all just relics cluttering my basement now (but it's hard to let 'em go...).

Quote:
A few minor points. One, TPM was almost completely shot on 35 mm with only a few scenes shot digitally. However the other two prequels were shot digitally with AotC being the first film in history being shot completely digitally.


Fair point there. The digital elements would likely have to be re-done, but the film elements could be scanned in as-is and probably survive for several more TV generations.

Quote:
Two, the Star Wars Complete Saga blu-ray set came out in 2011, not 2012. That was the first time the OT was released on blu-ray.


Right you are. My mistake!

Quote:
Three, I object to the use of "SE" to describe any or all of the three Lucas-revised versions the OT. Only the 1997 rereleases are the "Special Editions." The others are the 2004 DVD versions and the 2011 blu-ray versions. If you must categorically lump them together to differentiate them from the unaltered versions, I would think "altered" or "revised" should suffice.


Ah, that's just how they tend to be referred to in the circles in which I travel. No harm meant by it. But yes, the "altered versions" and OOT works just as well. I mostly just type SEs out of habit and because it's fast to type.

Quote:
I freely admit my biases, but I don't feel I've misstated the position of fans who want the "archival" version as much as I've oversimplified it. Thanks for elucidating that, but an OOT release "which retains the natural imperfections that were the result of how the film was made, but removes the imperfections that are the result of it being shot on film" is basically a clarification of, "high quality renders of the unaltered version of the films." The bulk of my experience with fans who want a higher quality digital OOT/archival version is unfortunately hand-in-hand with excessive Lucas-bashing and film-bashing (including prequel bashing). Thank you for not being one of those fans!


I used to do that. I got over it. I have my criticisms of Lucas, and I think they're valid, but I try not to couch them in quite so pejorative terms as other people, nor to engage in the worst examples of hyperbole that pop up online (e.g. "destroyed my childhood"). I think his later work suffers, and his earlier work is generally really good, and much of that is due to the limitations he faced and the collaborative process that influenced the early films (as opposed to the more top-down process of the PT).

I used to HATE the PT, whereas now I just view it mostly as not very well executed, but having some great core ideas and some rich settings. I recently revisited ROTS and found it to be...actually pretty enjoyable. TPM and AOTC, I think are beyond saving for me, though. I'll just never really like 'em overall, even though I like elements of them.

Quote:
I am your opposite, the "anti-purist." I know very few other OG Star Wars fans who feel like I do. While I agree that Greedo's shot is an abomination (that takes away from the character of Han and drama of the film for first-time viewers) and there are a handful of "Whatever George" changes, I feel most of the revisions are improvements. And not only that, I have a laundry list of things that never got corrected/updated but should have been. Being ok with the blu-ray versions, it's hard for me to appreciate fans wanting HD like me but must not have the revisions. Sorry.


Actually, although I would happily characterize myself as a "purist," what I'd really like is a kind of "ultimate" set of discs, where I can watch all of the changes. From a film history perspective, I think it's absolutely valuable to see the evolution of the films as evidencing a filmmaker's own evolution alongside the evolution of filmmaking technology. The ideal version for me would include branching versions of every edition, and the option to even mix-and-match elements from different versions, but which would also just let me watch each version "clean" the whole way through if I wanted. So, if I want to recapture the feel of going to the theaters in '97, I can watch the '97 theatrical version. If I want the old school version I grew up with, I can watch that. Or if I feel like watching the original Mos Eisley sequence, with the exception of wanting to see the 2012 Jabba sequence in it, I can mix that in, too. I'm actually not sure you could fit that on a single disc, though.

Alternatively, I'd love a version like the release of Blade Runner that included the U.S. theatrical version, the International theatrical version, the workprint, a "Director's Cut," and the "Final Cut," each on separate discs.

In short, what I object to most is not the existence of the altered versions, but rather the lack of any archival OOT. As I said, I'd be delighted to shell out plenty of cash to get a limited edition release that requires me to buy literally every film they've made to date (including the Clone Wars film) if it also came with an archival OOT.

Quote:
However I hope they can and do release a high quality OOT. I would love for Star Wars fans to have less to complain about. I'd probably buy it too if it ever came down to a reasonable price. The truth of the matter is, I can enjoy any version of the films. But between 1987 and 1996, I watched the classic films approximately 100 times each on VHS (wearing 2 VHS sets completely out and getting a third in '95). Since then I watched the unaltered version of ANH once in 2007 and once again in 2017 (with my son). I really don't feel any need to watch the OOT ever again. To be honest I'm a little worn out on watching the classic trilogy films at all, even the blu-rays.


Growing up, I had a copy of Star Wars on VHS that was recorded off of the old PRISM cable movie network (for those who don't know, PRISM was an early competitor of HBO). My family wasn't religious growing up, and I was always an early riser, so I wound up watching Star Wars every Sunday morning from the time I was probably 5 or 6 until the time I was probably 12 off of that tape. I still have the physical tape packed away in a box in my house. I honestly don't watch the classic trilogy that often anymore, except for on May 25 each year, but I fully intend to watch it with my daughter when she's old enough (she's only 2, and I think I have to wait until she's about 5 or so), and I intend for her to see the unaltered versions.

Now, that's part of my own biases regarding film and educating kids in general. Growing up, my folks had me watch a ton of older films in addition to all the dumb stuff I wanted to watch, and as a result, I think it gave me an appreciation for a whole range of cinema and filmmaking techniques and styles. I'd like for my daughter to be able to appreciate that some day, so showing her older styles of movies will end up being part of that.
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Falconer wrote:
Excellent post, Solo4114. The one thing I will disagree about is Star Wars moving on from the OT or the OT becoming less relevant. I think Disney and fandom will always be focused on two things:

  1. The OT
  2. The most recent release(s) (movies and shows)


I think this is natural, and it is self evident why this should be so, but the short version is that as the franchise sprawls and diffuses, the nearly universally beloved OT will always be the unifying anchor. It’s the reason Star Wars is even a thing, after all.


That makes sense, but I think the point is more that, as much of a touchstone as the OT is and will remain, younger audiences will have far less of an emotional connection to it, and therefore will be far less likely to shell out cash for a copy of it, especially for an unaltered version. So, while it will always remain important, the company will see the most bang for its buck by selling an unaltered version now and over the next 10 years or so, rather than trying to hype it up later. They'll have grown up with the blu-ray versions, so to them, who cares if Han shoots first, right? What's the big deal about seeing the old models instead of the flashy CGI?

By contrast, there's still a pretty good audience out there that grew up with the old stuff and is still invested in it and would shell out cash for it.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Falconer wrote:
To Whill, personally, I try to focus my fandom around the things I like, and not around bashing things I don’t like, so, all I will say is that I *love* the OOT, and I have since my childhood. I was 17 or 18 the year of the Special Edition theatrical releases, which was a very cool thing. I had always heard the old timers talk about watching the movies in the theater, and now they fully belonged to me, too. But I had already seen Star Wars many times before 1997, and on rewatching I much prefer to relive the same experience from before, with Yub Nub, and Sebastian Shaw’s Jedi Anakin ghost, and Han shooting first, and Clive Revill’s Emperor. I prefer it because it’s a comfortable and likable experience and fills me with nostalgia. It’s dated, but it’s dated to where it should be, to the 70s and 80s (or sometimes intentionally throwing back to even earlier decades’ classic film or genre influences), whereas the later releases feel plenty dated to the 90s (eg., CGI Jabba) and subsequent decades (eg., Hayden Christensen and Jar-Jar appearances). I point those things out not because of “hatred,” but just as examples of things which are as dated as OOT elements. I don’t hate George Lucas, I don’t hate the Prequels, I don’t hate Disney or whatever.
Solo4114 wrote:
Whill wrote:
The bulk of my experience with fans who want a higher quality digital OOT/archival version is unfortunately hand-in-hand with excessive Lucas-bashing and film-bashing (including prequel bashing). Thank you for not being one of those fans!

I used to do that. I got over it. I have my criticisms of Lucas, and I think they're valid, but I try not to couch them in quite so pejorative terms as other people, nor to engage in the worst examples of hyperbole that pop up online (e.g. "destroyed my childhood"). I think his later work suffers, and his earlier work is generally really good, and much of that is due to the limitations he faced and the collaborative process that influenced the early films (as opposed to the more top-down process of the PT).

I used to HATE the PT, whereas now I just view it mostly as not very well executed, but having some great core ideas and some rich settings. I recently revisited ROTS and found it to be...actually pretty enjoyable.

Solo4114 and Falconer, I think you're both top shelf Star Wars fans.

Solo4114 wrote:
Growing up, I had a copy of Star Wars on VHS that was recorded off of the old PRISM cable movie network (for those who don't know, PRISM was an early competitor of HBO). My family wasn't religious growing up, and I was always an early riser, so I wound up watching Star Wars every Sunday morning from the time I was probably 5 or 6 until the time I was probably 12 off of that tape. I still have the physical tape packed away in a box in my house.

I saw the films once each in the theater in 77, 80 and 83. I saw ANH on TV in 84. I saw the trilogy on VHS in 1987, and that began the ten year cycle of watching the trilogy about once every month or so - watching one episode almost every week, always in sequence (I always remembered the last one I watched). I've seen the pre-SE ANH twice since 1997 (in 07 and 17). Solo, if you watched the pre-SE ANH once a week for 6 or 7 years (and more since), you've seen it more than triple the amount of times I have!

Solo4114 wrote:
I honestly don't watch the classic trilogy that often anymore, except for on May 25 each year, but I fully intend to watch it with my daughter when she's old enough (she's only 2, and I think I have to wait until she's about 5 or so), and I intend for her to see the unaltered versions.

Now, that's part of my own biases regarding film and educating kids in general. Growing up, my folks had me watch a ton of older films in addition to all the dumb stuff I wanted to watch, and as a result, I think it gave me an appreciation for a whole range of cinema and filmmaking techniques and styles. I'd like for my daughter to be able to appreciate that some day, so showing her older styles of movies will end up being part of that.

That's cool. My son's first SW viewings the movies were spaced out, but I was still worried that as he worked through the series, the classic films couldn't compete for his attention with the shiny newer films, so I showed him the blu-rays of the classic films with a live edit to restore "Han shot first" (but I wasn't showing my son black and white films and a bunch of classic cinema leading up to that). It worked. My son loves the classic films, but really he loves all the films. I showed him the original ANH last year on May 25th because I wanted him to experience that version once, and I think it actually helped him appreciate the revised version even more. But notably, he still enjoyed the original version.

Solo4114 wrote:
Actually, although I would happily characterize myself as a "purist," what I'd really like is a kind of "ultimate" set of discs, where I can watch all of the changes. From a film history perspective, I think it's absolutely valuable to see the evolution of the films as evidencing a filmmaker's own evolution alongside the evolution of filmmaking technology. The ideal version for me would include branching versions of every edition, and the option to even mix-and-match elements from different versions, but which would also just let me watch each version "clean" the whole way through if I wanted. So, if I want to recapture the feel of going to the theaters in '97, I can watch the '97 theatrical version. If I want the old school version I grew up with, I can watch that. Or if I feel like watching the original Mos Eisley sequence, with the exception of wanting to see the 2012 Jabba sequence in it, I can mix that in, too. I'm actually not sure you could fit that on a single disc, though.

Alternatively, I'd love a version like the release of Blade Runner that included the U.S. theatrical version, the International theatrical version, the workprint, a "Director's Cut," and the "Final Cut," each on separate discs.

In short, what I object to most is not the existence of the altered versions, but rather the lack of any archival OOT. As I said, I'd be delighted to shell out plenty of cash to get a limited edition release that requires me to buy literally every film they've made to date (including the Clone Wars film) if it also came with an archival OOT.

That would all be cool, but I would be thrilled with a blu-ray version of ANH with a menu you could select Han Shot First: Yes or No. Greedo's shot is only an eye blink, but it's the principle of the matter!

Falconer wrote:
Simply, my fandom is centered on the OT, and for the most part if things fall too far afield of the OT there is no guarantee that I will care for them.

Believe it or not, my fandom is centered on the CT as well. I truly mean that. Those are the three magical films I saw once each in the theater in my young childhood when going to the theater was rare and special. Those are the three films I watched 100 times in 10 years, and the only Star Wars films there were during my first 11 years of running the RPG (which is based on those three films). I view all six Star Wars movies since then as expansions upon the CT.
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