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 Post subject: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 08 May 2017, 16:54 
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Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) [SF148-1196]

It's cool to hate Star Wars in 2017. For the past 40 years it has not only been an influential series of films, but a cultural institution. I can bargain that more people know the twist in The Empire Strikes Back than they have seen any Star Wars film. Though a slew of reaction videos can argue otherwise, my theory holds true because I was one of those people before. As a film aficionado, it's hard to discuss Star Wars, otherwise known as "A New Hope", without mentioning Akira Kurosawa's great work of crowd-pleasing entertainment The Hidden Fortress. I brought it up with a baby boomer who lived to experience 1977, she said Star Wars brought inspiration to many stories because "it did not suck."

This film does not suck. It's a masterpiece of editing and groundbreaking in visual effects and sound. The characters are archetypal but are still likable. No plot holes I can think of, at least now. Some finna film. Too bad I can't like it because it's popular.

Who am I kidding? This is a fun movie but it's no Hidden Fortress.

Video:

Video Chain: Panasonic LX-600u - Composite >> Toshiba D-RW2 - Component >> Samsung DLP 1080p TV

Calibrated using the THX Wow disc then compensated afterwards for 0 IRE.


Historically, before the first major alterations in the 1990s, Star Wars was a soft film. The Silver Screen Edition 35mm scan on the Internet further supports this. This Japanese Special Collection release isn't going to assault you with sharpness, there's the official Blu-ray release for that business. The only aspects that keep this three-disc set from being the definitive version are the noticeable amount of film dirt (and water damage at one point?) and the limited contrast to perverse detail in old composite NTSC video. I don't think I over-compensated my set for Japanese NTSC (0 IRE) playback, the blacks in the frame of the film are dull and the letterbox around it are perfectly black. Unfortunately, this brightness boost reveals one too many of garbage mattes in the many optical effect shots.

Colors are subdued, flesh tones are natural and the splendor of the famous dye-transfer I.B. Technicolor print (used as a reference in Harmy's Despecialized Editions and the 1997 Special Edition) is hardly present. I'll admit the blue tones on R2-D2 change depending on the environment he's in (not a transfer error as I see it) and its fun to see them go from navy blue in the rebel ship to cyan outside in the Tatooine daylight. Lukewarm about the colors, I set my TV's color settings to where it was for 7.5 IRE, but that only introduced color bleeding.

The picture is shifted up to make way for Japanese subtitles below. At no point during the film did the subtitles intrude on the 2.35:1 frame of the feature. It can be framed without losing picture adjusting the zoom setting on my Samsung TV. Greedo's dialogue is translated only to Japanese where the subtitles usually reside, no English translation here.

Problems aside, it is still an enjoyable way to view the original theatrical cut of Star Wars.

7/10

Audio:

Audio Chain: Panasonic LX-600u - RCA Stereo >> Samsung DLP 1080p TV

For a disc produced in 1986, it enjoys the benefit of a PCM audio track, which was listened to for review. It is a remix done in 1984-1985 supervised by Ben Burtt himself that placed the soundtrack to Star Wars in the digital domain. Reportedly, it is identical to the 35mm Dolby Stereo mix from the 1977 theatrical release, but with added dynamic range and an extra line of dialogue from C-3PO. Its remarkably quiet for today's standards, but it rather is a faithful reproduction of the film's sound. Don't expect a wealth of dynamic range here, or earth-shattering bass. This is a very clean sound mix all in all.

7.5/10
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 09 May 2017, 06:03 
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Nice review :)

While 0IRE became the official standard for Japanese NTSC there aren't actually that many LD's mastered to it and this isn't one of them (afaik they're all fairly late releases).
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 09 May 2017, 14:42 
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I'm not sure. I did a quick Google search, and I came across this:

In Japan, the standard black level was changed from 7.5 IRE to 0 IRE in 1985. So, Japanese NTSC (informally called NTSC-J) has black level at 0 IRE and white level at 100 IRE.

The JSC was pressed and released on Christmas Day 1986, a year after 0 IRE was standardized. It could be from before it was adopted virtually nationwide, though I don't know for sure.
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 09 May 2017, 15:16 
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I'm not an expert but my understanding is that while the standard for broadcasts did change, the great majority of LD's were still mastered at 7.5IRE.

If you're calibrated for 7.5IRE and play a 0IRE disc it should immediately look too dark/crushed blacks. On the other hand if you play back a 7.5IRE disc when the system is set for 0IRE it should look overly bright and washed out. I've got the adjustment selectable on video processor so it's easy to do a quick A/B. (BTW on many processors the setting is video=7.5IRE, PC=0IRE). I can safely say that only a handful of the Japanese discs I have are 0IRE.
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 09 May 2017, 19:28 
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I have come across only few 0IRE discs out of my several hundred Japanese discs. I don't recommend d-ext for this as it crushes black detail. A separate calibration or change of settings to PC is the solution. I don't believe JSC is at 0 but rather 7.5.
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 10 May 2017, 09:11 
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Interesting. I've only got a handful of Japanese discs, most from the mid to late 90s, but also some from throughout the 80s. I always switch the black levels and haven't noticed any of them looking too dark. Would it be worth starting a thread that lists which Japanese discs were actually mastered at 0IRE?

Getting off topic I know but was the same also true for PAL discs as they're supposed to be mastered at 0IRE too.?
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 11 Nov 2017, 16:09 
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Calibrated using the THX Wow disc then compensated afterwards for 0 IRE.[/i]

Just curious if this WOW disc is better to calibrate with than the Video Essentials disc?
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2017, 00:28 
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I don't know. I don't have any Video Essentials LD, but I would assume they're more accurate than the THX disc as they have more hard-hitting tests. The THX disc was mainly focused on sound, but the video calibration patterns are a nice touch.
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars [SF148-1196] NTSC/LBX/SRD/CAV (1977)
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2017, 04:55 
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Just a note the 1985 mix has reduced dynamic range from the Dolby stereo 1977 track. Still a wonderful listen though.
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