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The Star Wars Trilogy

A Digital Star Wars Scrapbook.

Project 4K77

Welcome to project 4K77.

"There will only be one. And it won't be what I would call the "rough cut" it'll be the "final cut." The other one will be some sort of interesting artefact that people will look at and say, "There was an earlier draft of this... Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won't last more than 30 or 40 years..." 

-- George Lucas

Sorry, George. We're not going to let that happen.

Update: March 20th, 2018

Wow, it's been another whole month already?! Beta 6 resulted in a bug list of only about 100 items, all of which were quickly addressed. A week or so later I was handed two new and improved color grades and did my best to select the best looking shots from each, while maintaining consistency. A full 4K HD DnxHR 444 master file (approx 1 TB) was then encoded (which took 4 days) and a "Final" x264, 1080p Bluray compatible version was encoded from that, and sent out for testing. Unfortunately, it seems that the libavcodec my computer is using, has issues when decoding the DnxHR stream, and it is getting the black levels/gamma all wrong. Experiments indicate that it works fine on other PCs. Anyway, I spent another 4 days encoding a new DnxHR 444 master, after I realized the top most 'layer' of fixes was not visible the first time, and then a new 1080p file using a different encoder that doesn't rely on libavcodec. Results were much improved, but there are still some color issues that need to be addressed. For example this shot now has too much red, while before it was too dark:

Chewbacca, too red in 4K77 Test Encode

There are only a handful of scenes that came out of the latest grade looking worse than they were before, but TN1 should really be renamed to "OCD films", because once we see this sort of thing we just have to fix it. Fortunately, we know a couple of industry professionals, and they have agreed to make a final color pass for us and correct these variations - not to create a whole new grade, but rather to smooth out the inconsistencies - brightness, gamma, contrast and tint still fluctuate to some degree, scene to scene and sometimes even shot to shot. This puts us back at least two more weeks, but it means the end result will be even better.

To show you that things are progressing nicely, here are some random frames from the current version to give you an idea of what you can expect...

Imgur Gallery

Obviously, these frames are from the preservation version, with no Digital Noise/Grain Reduction, or sharpening. A Denoised version will be created once this version has been finalized. Those of you who have only ever seen Home Video versions are probably thinking, "why is that first shot so green? Why is the Cantina so yellow? Why is the Deathstar so blue - I thought the walls were grey?" Well, that's how it is on the Technicolor film prints we have, so that's the color it was in '77.

Update: February 20th, 2018

Betas 4 & 5 seemed to wake up a lot of people - resulting in a list of over 600 items they wanted to see fixed. This was mostly small stuff like "small black spot on Han's cheek" at frame n, but also more important things too. I have been working my way through the list, correcting one reel at a time and then sending each reel for review as soon as it's ready. The first four reels of Beta 6 have already been reviewed and the list is much shorter than it was - just 65 items at the moment. I am hoping to complete the fixes to reels 5 and 6 this week.

Beta 6 will be the last beta. Once I address the new list of issues, it's as clean as it's going to get for now. Others can (and will) clean it further to make it even better, but those will be spin off projects. So I shall make a final pass through the whole film to check the final color corrections and then encoding will begin. I can't say with any certainty how long this will take, but it should be completed before the end of March.

Update: January 29th, 2018

Like you, we had really hoped that today would be the day, but so far, our dedicated beta testers have come up with a list of over 500 things to look at. Not all of them will need fixing, but we need to at least look at them all. Our colorists are also still working on finding the right levels - we don't want any highlight clipping or black crushing, and some scenes just still look too dark. Hopefully, it will happen in February, but I'm afraid it just takes as long as it takes. We all have real jobs, families and real lives so this is just an "in your spare time" sort of thing, consequently, it's hard to make and meet any deadlines. 

Update: January 25th, 2018

Beta 4 and a subsequent beta 5 resulted in 184 items reported (so far), of which only 15 have been addressed to date. They won't all be fixed - most of them are just reporting small spots of dirt or dust that were missed, and, in small quantities, these only add to the charm of watching a real 35mm film. However, things like gaffer sticks missing sections due to automated cleanup, and highlights being blown out in certain shots do need to be fixed. Working as hard and as fast as we can, I promise! 

Update: January 15th, 2018

Another round of color correction has been completed, and "Top Men" (and women) are checking it out Beta 4 now to see if it's good enough... Fingers crossed!

latest Star Wars 4K77 beta thumbnails

Update: December 12th, 2017

Color Correction is about  99% done. We are currently waiting on the final 2200 frames of Reel 5 to be completed. After that, there will need to be some test encodes, and then some final encodes, all of which will take days to render. 

The London Premiere was December 27th 1977, but the rest of the country wouldn't see prints of the film arriving until the end of January. While I would still love to have this completed by December 27th, I just don't think it's going to be done in time for that. There's still too much to do and we don't want to cut any corners and produce a sub-optimal product. Plus, our families will be expecting us to spend at least a little time with them over the Holidays and to enjoy some time off - not be tied to our computers, rushing to get this finished. January 29th, however, should be possible, and will still mark the 40th anniversary of 35mm Technicolor prints like our sources arriving in British Theaters.

We are getting real close!

Update: November 26th 2017

2nd Beta version is being reviewed. Here is a nice screenshot comparison between Beta 1 (created back in May), Beta 2, The Silver Screen Edition, The official Bluray, GOUT and more. Best of the Best of the Best?

Update: November 11 2017

I just created some new trailers for the project. These are recreations of original TV Spots, and all the movie footage is exclusively from project 4K77. The audio tracks are from the original trailers.



Simply put, we are restoring the original, theatrical version of Star Wars in 4K. Using multiple 35mm prints, scanned at 4K, cleaned at 4K, and rendered at full 4k UHD resolution. To be clear, this is not simply an upscale of any other source, this is all to be done natively in 4K from 35mm sources. The only exception to this rule is when we don't have a particular frame available, in that case either an upscale of the Silver Screen Edition, or the official Bluray will be used.

Completion Date is uncertain due to the amount of work involved, but we really hope it can be completed in 2017 to mark the 40th anniversary. Formats TBD, but probably an MKV initially.

Latest sample:

0247-Cleanup-Progression Password: LookSir-Droids!  (Note: Color correction here is not final! Colors have changes a lot since this was made)

Each frame is a 16-bit color Tif or DPX file that weighs in at nearly 100 MB. Therefore each complete film requires 21 TB of storage. If you would like to contribute to the purchasing of additional storage space and computing power, please consider donating.

Donate with PayPal - it

Thank you to all who have donated so far.

Despite more than two years of working on this project, some people are still skeptical and post comments like "Yeah, I can use Instagram filters too," or "That's just the Bluray." So here is a very short clip from the uncropped source files in full 4K... So go ahead, skeptics, rip this scene from your official bluray disc and see if you can recreate it in instagram with some "filters". The tighter cropping and the CGI falcon in the bluray version shouldn't prove a problem for such powerful tools...

Bookmark this page and check back often to keep yourself up to date with the progress.

Learn More

Join the discussion in the forums

Take a closer look at the lifecycle of a shot. 

Watch the extended preview

Learn more about the cleanup techniques.

Find out more about the 35mm sources being used.

Progress (Frame by frame Cleaning) 

Finally, Huh? All six reels are now clean. Before you get too excited though, there is still some work to do. All six reels need to be color corrected. The Final colors for each scene have been decided upon and a reference created, now they just need to be applied. During this stage, we will likely find some small issues that need correcting - I've already found and fixed some frames that had smearing caused by the deflicker filters, and some issues with cropping still need to be dealt with. Finally there will be encoding. Choosing the right encoder and the right settings for the best experience. With a little luck, it will all be ready by Christmas...







Whole Film

Color Correction

Reel 1, October 2017 preview:

Right now, we are reviewing all the reels, making additional fixes to various shots including additional dirt and dust cleanup when it looks necessary. Unfortunately, this work is much harder to quantify, as it's happening on several reels at once, and being performed by multiple people, so some sort of progress wheel for this stage would be hard to do. However, work continues at a blistering pace! Here's a look at the latest version of the Binary Sunset from Reel 2:

Reel 4 Color correction in progress:

Screenshot of Reel 4 being color corrected

Last Updated: 3/21/2018

More updates, videos and samples coming soon!

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