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4. October 2013 12:12
by jedi1
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New Recording of the Star Wars Holiday Special Surfaces

4. October 2013 12:12 by jedi1 | 0 Comments

Until a couple of weeks ago, there were really only two or three common sources to 99% of all the Star Wars holiday Special video available on the internet, a first or second generation VHS recording of the broadcast recorded from KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa, another from WBBM in Chicago, and one from WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. The latter is not as good quality as the other  two, but it does include all of the original commercial breaks, which many would argue are more entertaining than the show itself.

In the early to mid-1990s, before the advent of the internet and digital video, these original recordings were duplicated and re-duplicated on tape until most fans who wanted a copy would be lucky if they could find a sixth generation VHS dub. Then, with the birth of the internet, BitTorrent and YouTube, much cleaner earlier generation VHS dubs of these sources started to appear. There was a KCCI Angrysun Edition in 2005, and later a "hybrid Edition" combining the WBBM show with the WMAR commercials, both of which are pretty good quality.

Then, a couple of weeks ago an OriginalTrilogy.com member calling him (or her) self "Tasjo" picked up an original first generation VHS recording of the Star Wars Holiday Special from WHIO in Dayton Ohio. The video quality is about as good as VHS ever gets. Is the quality is better than the AngySun or Hybrid editions? Let's find out. I don't know about you, but I love comparison videos. For these comparisons, we have the 2004 Angrysun Edition (not sure which broadcast this is, or how many generations from the original), the KCCI Angrysun Edition, the Hybrid Edition by Zion (WBBM 2nd Generation VHS tape with commercials taken from the WMAR version) and the new WHIO edition presented by Tasjo.

First up the 2004 Angrysun Edition vs the new WHIO.

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Winner: No comparision here really, WHIO (top) is clearly better. It has much more detail and a much sharper image - look at the star fields!

Next the 2005 Angrysun KCCI Edition vs the new WHIO.

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Winner: Still WHIO, for the same reasons.

WHIO vs the Zion Hybrid:

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Winner: Zion's hybrid is definitely sharper, but has it been sharpened too much? Perhaps, but I think Zion may have the slight edge here. However, if we apply some sharpening ourselves to the WHIO...

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...I think the results might tip back in favor of the new version - the picture is still much softer, but I think it is more natural looking and easier to watch. What do you think?

It is also worth noting that, according to the thread on OriginalTrilogy.com, this is only version 1.0. A new capture is planned using higher end equipment, in order to obtain the best possible quality preservation of this Star Wars rarity. 

One final comparison for those of you looking at that last picture above and thinking it doesn't look much sharper than the one before:

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It's subtle, but it definitely is a little sharper, and of course it could be sharpened more.

For now, this is as good as it gets, and it is doubtful that there will ever be an official release:

"If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every bootlegged copy
of that program and smash it."
- George Lucas

Without further ado, we present the full WHIO version of the Holiday Special. We have deinterlaced the video, applied some mild noise reduction and sharpening filters, and split it into 5 parts to make watching it online as bearable as possible.

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[Thank you to all the OriginalTrilogy.com members - Rowman, Zion, Blaksvn, Tasjo, et. al. - for your efforts in preserving this piece of Star Wars history.]

See Also:

Star Wars Holiday Special Boba Fett Cartoon

Star Wars Invades TV

Starlog Star Wars Holiday Special Cover

 
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