THE FOX LOGO 000001 -000270

Which to use, I wonder.  One of the great things about Star Wars is that it’s themes are so universal, that even 30 years later, the story doesn’t feel dated.  I’m concerned that the original FOX logo, which is in such bad condition on the print, will start the movie off on the wrong foot.  The first sound in the picture is the Main Title theme, recorded in 1976, and that’s going to date the picture as it is.  Perhaps using the pristine new Fox logo will help lighten the curse a little bit.  I can always swap it out later, but for now, the new one stays.

THE LUCASFILM LIMITED LOGO 000271-000532

This one I feel more strongly about. The original ’77 logo was very simple, but it was also very bold, with its thick, green block text.  It had some authority to it, but it didn’t give away any of the gag… there was no magic yet… that would be coming soon, out of nowhere.  You don’t expect it.  The new Lucasfilm logo is a shining, glimmering, sparkling piece of eye candy.  Looking at the two, I definitely like the old one better at the top of this movie.  But there’s a problem:  there is a nice, clean, “A long time ago” title coming up (from the DVD), and it would be a shame to precede that with what is unfortunately a shaky, blurry graphic.

Some years ago, I had the opportunity to discuss the fonts used in the title crawl and opening cards with Dan Perri, who did the titles for Star Wars. Although he told me which fonts he used, the commercially available font letter forms vary slightly from the ones he used. Here, I've begun with the base font, and then manually reshaped each letter to align precisely with the original.

My recreation of the '77 Lucasfilm Limited logo.

A LONG TIME AGO... 000533-000711

Right off, this looked wrong to me.

A quick comparison with the Definitive Edition Laserdisc image reveals that the font is correct, although it's too thin, and the color has changed to an aqua. The type tracking and setup is a bit different, as well.

Recreating the original.

The final image.

TITLE CRAWL 000712-002809

On the DVD, I noticed the STAR WARS title card receded into the distance far too quickly. I checked the alternate language tracks, and their title cards recede at the classic pace. At left is a chart showing the English title card at top, and the two alternate language cards stacked below. The first frame is displayed, followed by frames at 3 seconds, 6 seconds, 9 seconds, and 15 seconds.

Interestingly, the actual crawl itself starts just a few frames sooner than on the Definitive Edition Laser Disc.

CLICK FOR HIGH RES IMAGE

I restored the crawl by combining the title card from one of the alternate language tracks with the English crawl. A few custom mattes hide the blend - even I can't tell where it is. The crawl itself has been delayed by a few frames to align precisely with the timing seen on both the Definitive Edition, and Widescreen Laserdisc versions.

One thing that really disturbs me is that the entire starfield has been replaced. Seen left at top is the starfield on the DVD, below is the starfield seen on the Definitive Edition and Widescreen Laserdiscs.

The original starfields were done by making pinholes in black lucite, backlighting it, and filming it. The result were much larger, more organic, and very distinctive stars. The effect in the theater was profound, as you were instantly transported into this vast sea of shimming stars - an effect which doesn't happen with anywhere near the same effectiveness in today's much smaller, CG starfields.

There's only one fix - repainting the entire starfield, star at a time, by hand.

This was truly maddening. I didn't take the time to count as I was doing the painting, but there were tons of stars at various sizes. It took two solid days, but in the end, it lines up star for star with the original plate. The plate seen at left includes the area seen in the pandown to Tatooine. Although the two plates seen here appear slightly different, that is the result of the over-brightening and scaling necessary to show up on this webpage. The source plates appear identical at full resolution, with the new plate obviously being sharper and free of artifacts.

In order to incorporate the new starfield, I will have to track the original scene, and then matte out the starfield.

I originally approached the tracking as a simple 2D track, which is essentially what it is. Various factors frustrated the effort, and I eventually had to approach it as a 3D track of a nodal pan. It's a fine distinction, but by bringing the work into a 3D tracker, I was able to get a great solve instantly. I eventually imported the camera solve, and integrated the elements. Having the starfield correct makes all the difference.

I created a holdout matte for the Star Wars title card, which has always obscured the starfield inside the borders of the lettering, and animated it to align precisely with the recession. It's nice to be able to put back the "star" in Star Wars.

Although I was able to create image-based mattes for the crawl, the planets, Tatooine and the Tantive IV, I had to rotoscope a new travelling matte for the star destroyer - bits of the new starfield would be visible through certain areas of the ship without it.

All images (c) Lucasfilm, Ltd. Used without permission. This site neither practices, nor endorses bootleg DVD piracy. The project described herein is done soley for private, personal enjoyment, without the intention of public exhibition or distribution in any form.