batguy

Sr Member
IMO the matte boxes ("garbage mattes") present a debatable gray area.

The problem is that modern digital media renders them MORE visible than they ever were on 35mm. I think you could make an argument for cleaning them up on the logic that it brings your "original" version closer to the 1970s theater experience.

And, just my opinion, but . . . if the garbage mattes had been this visible 40 years ago, I suspect the ILM guys would have take more measures to combat it back then. So I think it probably even matches the original creative intents to clean them up now.

This where slippery slopes start rolling.
 

edge10

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
IMO the matte boxes ("garbage mattes") present a debatable gray area.

The problem is that modern digital media renders them MORE visible than they ever were on 35mm. I think you could make an argument for cleaning them up on the logic that it brings your "original" version closer to the 1970s theater experience.

And, just my opinion, but . . . if the garbage mattes had been this visible 40 years ago, I suspect the ILM guys would have take more measures to combat it back then. So I think it probably even matches the original creative intents to clean them up now.

This where slippery slopes start rolling.
They were visible, in certain scenes, 40 years ago. Perhaps they were less visible when projected, compared to on the small screen, but they were there.
 

blewis17

Master Member
They were visible, in certain scenes, 40 years ago. Perhaps they were less visible when projected, compared to on the small screen, but they were there.
I saw SW multiple times back in 1977. Back in the day, you didn't really "notice" the matt lines and garbage matts when projected on a large movie screen from 35mm or 70mm stock. I am not sure why, but my guess would be:

1) Back then, we were not aware that we even should be looking for them. How films were made and special effects were done was NOT widespread knowledge among the majority of the public . But now, we have seen these scenes SO MANY TIMES in SO MANY DIFFERENT FORMATS, that our brains now can not un-see the matts
2) We were kids, and our brains were too hopped up on CocaCola, popcorn, and Milk Duds to notice
2) In a completely dark theater, the way the light plays through the celluloid and reflects back toward the eye from 100 feet aware probably has an inherent "anti-aliasing" type effect that fuzzies out the contrast lines along the edge of the bluescreen elements

6. There were three mixes during the original release. 4-track Dolby stereo surround (70mm), 2-track Dolby stereo (35mm), and mono. "Close the blast doors", for example, is in the mono mix but not the stereo. All three should be provided as options on any 'original version" release (and have been in the case of the 4K77).

My thinking is that the majority of theaters back in 1977 would have only had the ability to play the 2-track stereo or mono mixes, although 4-track was available at some theaters. BTW: if you played the 4-track stereo mix at a theater with only a 2-track stereo capability, what would happen? I am assuming a blending of the left and right tracks which would narrow/flatten the depth.
 

Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That wouldn't happen because they wouldn't install an expensive 70mm projector with 4-track magnetic sound readers and not have the sound system to match. But if by some circumstance that happened... I think they'd have to patch the front L-R to the theater L-R and leave off the surrounds entirely.
 

robn1

Master Member
I saw SW multiple times back in 1977. Back in the day, you didn't really "notice" the matt lines and garbage matts when projected on a large movie screen from 35mm or 70mm stock. I am not sure why, but my guess would be:
It was mainly due to the contrast level of the various film stocks used. Prints made for theatrical projection hid the appearance of garbage matte boxes, because it's contrast level didn't show the difference between the gray inner portion of the box and the darker black outer area. The inner area is grayer because the bluescreen matte isn't totally opaque, and allows a small amount of the printer's projector light to show through. While the garbage matte is opaque and allows the black background to remain black.

The matte boxes show on video because the video transfers were made from a special low contrast print stock. This stock generally made the film image on video appear better overall, but made the tonal differences of the matte boxes more visible. Any transparency in the mattes, allowing the background to show through an object was also more noticeable.

These matte anomalies were visible on theater screens in TESB, because of ILM's experimentation with different film stocks. Mattes were generally printed on high contrast black and white stocks to ensure that they were dense enough to prevent the background image from printing through. These stocks tended to have a hard edge however, due to their lack of mid tones. Objects with soft edges or transparency from motion streaking would require a matte to match these edge characteristics, but the high contrast stocks couldn't reproduce these tonal variations and would have a hard edge which showed as matte lines. ILM made the mattes for TESB using the same low contrast stocks used for making color separations, it had more transparency but fit the object's edges much better (this would apply only for the bluescreen mattes, high contrast was still used for garbage mattes). Unfortunately the transparency could be seen in theaters, and was horrendous on video. ILM later improved this by printing two copies of the mattes and sandwiching them together in the printer to double the density, while maintaining a clean edge.

It's odd that all of these problems were eventually worked out, and near perfect composites could be done. But it only lasted a few short years before digital compositing became the norm.
 

batguy

Sr Member
They were visible, in certain scenes, 40 years ago. Perhaps they were less visible when projected, compared to on the small screen, but they were there.

I recall one of the ILM guys talking about this specific issue one time. They were saying home video has made garbage mattes a lot more obvious.

It's not really the image resolution, so much as the viewing medium. With an image projected on a silver screen you just don't get the deep blacks & contrast that home video can do. Glass screen TVs show it more than film, but modern digital monitor-type screens REALLY bring it out.


If you've ever watched Disney's 'The Black Hole' on modern disc, it suffers with severe compositing issues. The movie is basically 2 hours of nonstop matte painting comps. I can't think of another movie that is so ripe for a re-comped SE. (Too bad Disney probably didn't keep all the original paintings or film elements. George Lucas was unusual for doing that.)
 
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anamorphicWayne

Sr Member
Funny. I don't remember noticing the garbage mattes thru-out SW/ESB/ROTJ, despite knowing about them later on. In fact, I didn't even know about the 'blob' around the Emperor's head until Jedi came out on video. But I do recall ILMers talking about how the video/digital transfer brings out these artifacts.

With that, there was one shot in Empire that stood out for me on my first viewing. It was during the Hoth evacuating sequence, specifically the shot of a Star Destroyer is approaching Hoth. You could see the matte started to fall apart at the tip of the ship. Either too much 'blue spill' or a bad comp or print. Anyways, at some point that clip was replaced because I never saw it again.
 

robn1

Master Member
I didn't even know about the 'blob' around the Emperor's head until Jedi came out on video.
Oh yeah, the "dark side of the force". There's a point where he turns to the side and says "Fire at will, commander", where the black blob breaks up and something white shows through. I figure it was a white card or piece of fabric that was visible and the blob was an animated matte to cover it up.
 

blewis17

Master Member
Oh yeah, the "dark side of the force". There's a point where he turns to the side and says "Fire at will, commander", where the black blob breaks up and something white shows through. I figure it was a white card or piece of fabric that was visible and the blob was an animated matte to cover it up.
So... in an "unaltered" release of ROTJ, should the Emperor's head worms/blobs be present? cleaned up? removed entirely? Again, on opening day 1983 as I sat in the theater, I NEVER noticed anything funny about the shadows under his cloak.
 

anamorphicWayne

Sr Member
And the TIE that got blasted by Wedge.
4k77 tie boom.png
 

The Goon

Active Member
A cleaned up version is fine, and I would probably choose that most of the time for casual viewing. But I still want an unaltered version in a hi res format, as a fan of effects history I want to be able to see the original as it was.
I wouldn't mind that myself, but it depends on what they decide to "clean up" and what they decide not to. When they announced they were going to remaster all of the episodes of Star Trek's original series because of high definition television they went out of their way to inform people that they were going to "faithfully" duplicate and replace all of the effects shots with CG versions, nothing more. We Trek fans know now that didn't happen. And not ONE of their changes improved those episodes. :mad:
 

batguy

Sr Member
It's always the same story.

1. The fans want technical changes only.

2. They give us technical + creative changes.

3. We hate it and start asking for an unaltered version.
 

Cephus

Sr Member
I wouldn't mind that myself, but it depends on what they decide to "clean up" and what they decide not to. When they announced they were going to remaster all of the episodes of Star Trek's original series because of high definition television they went out of their way to inform people that they were going to "faithfully" duplicate and replace all of the effects shots with CG versions, nothing more. We Trek fans know now that didn't happen. And not ONE of their changes improved those episodes. :mad:
I don't want them to replicate the original, I want the original. I don't want CGI, I want the model that was made in 1966.
 

robn1

Master Member
I don't want them to replicate the original, I want the original. I don't want CGI, I want the model that was made in 1966.
The ST set got it right though, the original effects were included. SW fans would have no complaints if we got the same.

It's always the same story.

1. The fans want technical changes only.
Fans never asked for any changes, they were rammed down our throats.
 

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