When fans become impatient they decide to take matters into their own hands. Here comes Star Wars in 4K!
Almost one year ago I wrote a lengthy article detailing the many releases there have been of the original Star Wars trilogy over the years. This was in response to a dedicated group of fans who created Star Wars: The Silver Screen Edition.
The updates on these kinds of projects are usually far and few between due to their time-consuming nature. Therefore, I don’t check up on the news on a regular basis. Somehow, I completely missed the news of another Star Wars project also in development that has now almost reached completion.
Before I start, it may be useful to read my article from a year ago about the fan-created HD remaster of Star Wars: A New Hope, the Silver Screen Edition, to get yourself up to speed. You can find that here.
In short, the Silver Screen Edition was created by scanning 35mm cinema projection reels one frame at a time. The images were then cleaned up to remove scratches, dirt and print damage. The image is then colour corrected and then cropped to the correct aspect ration.
It’s hard to see without a side by side comparison, but trust me, this is probably the best the original Star Wars has ever looked.
What many don’t understand is that 35mm film contains a lot more picture information than a 1080p HD image can contain. So, if anyone says an old film will be pointless in HD, think again. (Yes, I’ve heard this argument in shops several times.)
I remember watching The Wizard of Oz in HD for the first time and it looks spectacular! This was a film from 1939!
The point I’m making is that the latest television picture technology to take hold in consumers homes is 4K or UltraHD. 4K is simply a picture of higher resolution than HD, four times that to be precise (HD 1920×1080 vs 4K 4096 x 2160)
Imagine a 4K version of Star Wars that allowed you to see the film in a level of clarity and detail that hasn’t been seen before! An image potentially four times better than the official Blurays (assuming, of course, you have a 4K capable television)
This brings me to project 4K77. Another dedicated team of Star Wars fans have used the same cinema projection reels, as well as finding others of a better quality, and scanned them into the computer at a 4K resolution.
They have also cleaned and repaired the image and are currently in the final stages of preparation of releasing Star Wars: A New Hope in 4K onto the internet.
Whilst most of us won’t have computer monitors (or if your reading this on the go, a mobile phone screen) capable of displaying a native 4K image, you can still see the difference this new version of Star Wars has achieved.
It’s easier to see the differences in quality in this teaser video.
The following video compares what is known in the fan community as the GOUT* version of Star Wars versus the Siver Screen Edition and finally, the new 4K remaster.
*This is George’s Original Untouched Trilogy of which the highest quality available is a non-anamorphic version (i.e. not enhanced for widescreen televisions) released on a bonus disk as part of the special editions DVD release in 2006.
In my opinion, if you compare them side by side, this version of Star Wars easily outmatches the official Blu-ray release, especially as it is the original 1977 release without the CGI additions by George Lucas.
If you want to watch more samples or are interested in finding out how to they achieved their incredible work, you can visit Project 4K77.