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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Britain’s Andy Murray beats Swiss Roger Federer to win Olympic tennis gold

first_imgAndy Murray had Centre Court rocking on Sunday, winning gold for the home team and beating Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the tennis final at Wimbledon.The result was a royal rout. Murray swept nine consecutive games, breaking Federer’s serve four times in a row.The victory marked a breakthrough for the Scotsman, who has lost all four of his Grand Slam finals, three against Federer.For Federer, the drubbing marked another Olympic disappointment. Playing in the games for the fourth time, he sought a victory to complete a career Golden Slam but still earned his first singles medal.From the start, there was no doubting spectators’ loyalty. The retractable Centre Court roof opened shortly before the final, and Federer walked onto the sun-splashed grass to a standing ovation. Then Murray entered, and the roar tripled.At the far end of the All England Club, thousands of happy fans with grounds passes enjoyed a carnival atmosphere on the picnic hill known as Murray Mount while watching the match on a huge video screen.Federer wore red and Murray blue in the most colorful tournament ever held at Wimbledon. Their tactics were also in sharp contrast.Murray returned aggressively to repeatedly put on Federer on the defensive when serving. Federer tried to come forward more than in any match this summer, but Murray answered with a succession of crisp passing shots for winners.The fans loved it, waving Union Jacks of all sizes. “An-dy! An-dy” they chanted. They applauded when Federer won a point, but they roared when Murray won one.And the bounces seemed to go Murray’s way. One of his service breaks came when he hit winners that clipped the net cord on consecutive points. But then the net, after all, was British. Federer showed little frustration as the match slipped away. Instead, it was Murray tossing his racket in the second set when he made a rare error.Otherwise, the usually dour Scotsman had little to get upset about. When he netted an easy forehand on break point early in the match, he laughed at his mistake.Murray won with plenty of flair and a succession of spectacular shots. A lunging backhand pass in the corner had fans on their feet. And he erased a break point with an acrobatic leaping overhead, followed by an improbable reflex volley winner after Federer fired at him from point-blank range.Murray fell behind 15-40 serving in the opening game but rallied to hold, and from 2-all he took charge, winning every game until 5-0 in the second set.Federer struggled to hold but had his chances to break, including in the third game of the second set. He held six break points but Murray erased them all and won the game on the 20th point on an errant Federer backhand, one of many.advertisementlast_img read more

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Hope I am lucky enough to get Arjuna this time: Yuvraj

first_imgYuvraj Singh , who has recovered from a rare germ cell cancer, feels “honoured” that the BCCI has again sent his nomination for the prestigious Arjuna award and is hoping that he will be more lucky this time.”It’s an honour that BCCI has nominated my name for the Arjuna Award. This is the second time that my name has been nominated and I hope that I am lucky enough to get it,” Yuvraj told mediapersons at the launch of the “YouWeCan” — an initiative by Yuvraj Singh Foundation, to spread awareness about cancer detection.The BCCI has decided to nominate Yuvraj for the award .Incidentally, the BCCI’s decision came after a miscommunication with the Sports Ministry regarding the last date for filing the nomination form.The BCCI had alleged that they did not have an intimation about the nomination like earlier years, a claim which was strongly refuted by the Sports Ministry.However a couple of days back, the Joint Secretary in the Sports Ministry Mukul Chatterjee called up at the BCCI office to inform about the date of nomination being extended till July 20.Although Virat Kohli has been a standout performer last year, the BCCI has decided to nominate Yuvraj’s name since he is one of the seniormost cricketers who is yet to receive the award. His contemporaries like Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir have all received the award.last_img read more

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