Post-Production Lessons from a Star Wars Restoration

first_imgLearn how you can master post-production techniques by reworking older movies in this detailed, shot-by-shot video tutorial.If you’re a fan of the original Star Wars films, you probably aren’t a fan of the later releases of episodes 4, 5 and 6 — the ones that included additional CGI effects.If so, you might want to throw your support behind people like Petr “Harmy” Harmacek, a visual effects artist who is restoring his own version of the original trilogy from scratch (for the third time!).After getting noticed for his work online, Harmy recently landed a job at Prague-based VFX house UPP and has worked on films like Blade Runner 2049 and Wonder Woman. (So internet dreams can come true!)In this post, I wanted to break down a few of the techniques that Harmy uses in the following tutorial to restore a single shot from his Despecialised v3.0. He’s working on version three of each film because his skill-set has improved dramatically over the last eight years, when he began the project with no post-production experience.In this recent tutorial over at Harmy’s YouTube channel, you can see just how much work goes into each shot he restores, which demonstrates that this project is truly a labor of love.Problems Harmy had to fix:Scratched and grainy footage.Shot stabilization.Re-compositing matte paintings.Rotoscoping moving elements.Color Correction.The best thing to do first is to sit back and enjoy the 24-minute tutorial (above) and then work your way through the resources to learn some of these techniques for yourself.The tutorial embedded above is part 2 and you can watch part 1 here, which details his workflow for fixing certain shots from The Empire Strikes Back version 2.0 to bring them up to version 2.5 standards.This offers an interesting and highly detailed look at a VFX workflow when preparing assets, tracking progress, directory and file naming conventions, and staying organized across a long project.It’s also an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast the quality of the various sources Harmy is working from, such as the Blu-ray release and some very dirty 35mm scans.Harmy uses the assets that he prepares in part 1 for the shot restoration in part 2.Harmy is working in VFX and compositing software Nuke; you can download a non-commercial version of to try out for yourself, from The Foundry’s website here. There are a few limitations, such as no third-party plugins and an HD-limited output, but the intent is that “With Nuke Non-commercial, you get access to free, non-watermarked versions of Nuke, NukeX and even top-of-the-line Nuke Studio for as long as you like, so you can learn, explore and have fun on your own schedule.”Shot Clean Up and Dirt RemovalHarmy uses Neat Video’s noise reduction plugin to clean up his 35mm scans in preparation for compositing them in Nuke. He goes into more detail on this in part 1 of his tutorial, but it’s worth noting that he applies the sharpen filter in Premiere Pro before applying Neat Video v4 to compensate for the softening effect of the de-noising.This version of Neat Video can also do dust-busting, but because that can also introduce artifacts very easily, we will be careful with it, for this pass.He then layers different plates of the same shot to benefit from the de-noise pass in the right places, to produce a clean plate for his final composite.In the official Neat Video tutorial above, you can get a quick lesson on how to use the Neat Video v4 plugin to effectively remove dirt and scratches.You can learn more about using Neat Video in After Effects.For a deeper look into noise reduction specifically, you can watch this half-hour tutorial from colorist David Torcivia who does a great job of explaining the following:How noise reduction works in DaVinci Resolve Studio.How that compares to Neat Video.An interesting technique for “passable” noise reduction without using any plugins at all. Shot StabilizationHarmy uses shot stabilization in a couple of different ways: one is to stabilize the shot and remove any “gate-weave” from the original 35mm scans.As part of his process, he chooses to leave in some of the shake that was in the original composite between the matte painting layer and the live action plates to maintain the authenticity of the original composite.So he really is trying to restore the film to its original condition, rather than spruce it up for 2018.If you want to learn how to stabilize footage for yourself, then both DaVinci Resolve and Premiere Pro have built-in stabilization tools, which you can pretty much drag and drop onto your clip.This tutorial from Joshua Noel walks you through how to do it, and you can also get some tips on what Warp Stabilizer is doing under the hood.RotoscopingOne of the challenges that Harmy faced was that de-noising the shot reduced some of the frames of the “birds” that fly through the shot to ghosts of their former selves.The solution to this was to rotoscope each one and animate those masks by hand to bring back the birds from the original plate. This obviously introduces noise back into the parts of the frame where the birds were scratched or dirty, which Harmy then had to paint out by hand.Another technique that Harmy demonstrates while “dust-busting” this shot is using the Clone Brush tool to fill in gaps — as well as painting in parts of some frames with clean plates from other frames.It’s worth noting that Harmy doesn’t have just one mask that is the outline of the bird; rather, he has several overlapping and some more simple shapes, which he can then animate as a group for a more efficient rotoscope.If you want a decent introduction to compositing, keying, rotoscoping, and animating masks, this 20-minute tutorial from PremiumBeat’s own Adobe After Effects Fundamentals course will deliver just that.If you want some more in-depth tutorials on rotoscoping specifically, check out this edition of After Effects for Film Editors, which gives you a whole host to choose from — including this one on advanced rotoscoping techniques from Surfaced Studio.Color CorrectionAnother Star Wars fan-restoration in the works is Mike Verta’s 4K Legacy edition, which I’ve written about previously. I bring it up because Mike’s video demonstrates some of the radical differences in the color grade between the Blu-ray releases and the original theatrical prints, which is something that Harmy also has to deal with in his restoration process.Harmy also uses color correction to blend together the differences between the matte painting in the background of the shot, and the live action elements (the birds, the ship) in the shot. He also removes much of the crushed and blue-toned darkness in the shot (check out the four-way comparison in the image at the top of this post.)If you’re an absolute beginner to color correction principles and techniques then this post on Rocketstock.com offers a handy round-up of introductory tutorials.Looking for more information on post-production? Check out these links.Our Favorite After Effects Tutorials of 2018 (So Far)223 Free Animations, Transitions, LUTs, and Overlays for Video EditorsVideo Tutorial: Better, Faster, Stronger Editing TipsAnimate Clean Commercial Graphics in Adobe After EffectsHow to Animate a Text Stroke in Adobe After Effectslast_img read more

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One more inmate of Bihar’s Aasra shelter dead

first_imgOne more inmate of the Aasra shelter home in Patna has died. Anamika, 27, died at a government hospital on Friday night, police said.Police have also rescued one of two inmates who had gone missing from the shelter home. She was found at Saguna Mor in Patna.Anamika had been taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) after her condition deteriorated on Thursday night. “She was complaining of breathlessness and was severely anaemic. She died around 8 p.m. on Friday,” said Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, superintendent of PMCH. It was the third case of death of an inmate of the Aasra shelter home in the last three weeks.The government-funded home is run by the NGO Anumaya Human Resources Foundation. The secretary and treasurer of the shelter home, Chirantan Kumar and Manisha Dayal, were arrested after two of the inmates were brought dead to PMCH on August 10.Two missing inmates — Meera, 35, and Anita, 30 — were said to have run away from the home on Thursday. “We have found Anita and she is with the local police now,” said Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj. There are 68 women and girls, most of them physically challenged, living in the shelter home. After the arrest of the secretary and treasurer, the State Social Welfare Department deputed its own personnel for the home’s upkeep as an interim measure. “Several measures have been taken to improve the living conditions at Aasra shelter home,” said department director Raj Kumar. The department is also planning to shift this shelter home from the Rajiv Nagar area, said department officials.“Gradually, the government is taking over all the shelter homes run by NGOs in the state…such incidents are not acceptable and those found guilty will face action”, Krishnandan Verma, social welfare department minister said on Friday. Earlier, after the Muzaffarpur sexual abuse case involving 34 minor girls was exposed in a social audit report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the Nitish Kumar government had decided to phase out awarding contracts for running shelter homes. Chief minister Nitish Kumar had announced that “the government will run all the shelter and short stay homes in the state”. There are 110 shelter and short stay homes in the state and the conditions in most of them, as the TISS report had said, are “deplorable”.last_img read more

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BCCI: Old habits never die

first_imgA friend called the day after Chandu Borde was anointed India cricket manager and said, “See, given that it’s Raj Singh and Sharad Pawar, do you think they meant Chandu Pandit?” It was good for a laugh, but creeping into the back of the mind came the immediate afterthought. Suppose?As,A friend called the day after Chandu Borde was anointed India cricket manager and said, “See, given that it’s Raj Singh and Sharad Pawar, do you think they meant Chandu Pandit?” It was good for a laugh, but creeping into the back of the mind came the immediate afterthought. Suppose?As farce after farce has continued to unravel, taking the fans’ minds with it, mistaking Pandit for Borde could have been a very real possibility with this BCCI. To be absolutely fair to the BCCI, Graham Ford’s conduct after he left India was unbecoming. Even if he was given a roasting at the interview, offered monkey-nuts for a salary and forced to accept a straitjacket in the name of working conditions. Whatever his reasons for changing his mind, a courtesy call to anyone in Indian cricket who had sought him out in the first place was the least he could have done before posting a thanks-but-no-thanks message on a website. It’s called manners.The BCCI’s mistake-one more in an impressively long list this year-was to jump into an announcement that could have waited 24 hours. They left the door open, and ended up looking stupid. Not that that takes any effort, with the current dispensation. Surprising because most of its key office-bearers have the reputation of being pitbulls in their own fields. Somehow, with the bogey of Jagmohan Dalmiya banished (and no doubt chuckling in Kolkata), all they look like now is a bunch of squabbling school boys each trying to impress the headmaster who himself has lost control of the entire institution.advertisementDespite Ford’s unbecoming conduct, the BCCI’s mistake was to make an announcement that could have waited 24 hours.Inside the first six months of the year, the BCCI has demonised its best players, tried to cut salaries, changed terms previously agreed upon, given one TV partner a discount on a deal (not its fault), allowing bank guarantee to lapse which caused the collapse of a $216-million TV deal (most definitely its fault).The BCCI’s many marketing partners are struggling to find takers for numerous mickey mouse tours before the Indian team’s tour of England this summer, but no one in the Board has been able to schedule an extra practice game for the team when they travel to Australia in their winter.When Pawar, who now has ambitions of heading the ICC, took charge at the BCCI, he promised transparency, accountability and professionalism. Today, those words sound like the Borde or Pandit gag. In any case, Pawar seems distracted between choosing a President and finding a coach. Naturally, anarchy has broken around him. The BCCI’s current hierarchy has produced a platoon of mini-Pawars, wannabes who strut around the country eager to be seen and heard, preferably on TV.A weary BCCI official says, “Board officials must be responsible. You don’t have to be on TV everyday, you don’t have to make statements everyday. Only one person should speak for the Board.” These days it’s a rotating roster. It began with Lalit Modi, the marketing guru, followed by Shashank Manohar, the hardliner. Now it’s N. Srinivasan, the financial whiz, and no, we won’t go on about the bank guarantee. Ambient noise continues to be provided by Rajiv Shukla and Niranjan Shah, still head to head in the contest for soundbite production.When self-righteous Australians and outraged Englishmen rant on about the BCCI’s sinister plans to hijack cricket, Indians have to stop themselves. Not so much from shrieking ‘racism!’ but from breaking into giggling fits. The western world must have spotted a military efficiency that escaped us.All we see is the embarrassing anticlimax of the World Cup, imploding TV deals, the coach hunt that turned to custard and the appointment of a manager who will celebrate his 73rd birthday in England, aviator sunglasses and beaming smile in place. Cake, anyonelast_img read more

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