With the official release date for the Star Wars Blu-Rays just a month away, Lucasfilm is really starting to build up the marketing machine for them. As part of that, they hosted a group of home theater press up at the Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco (no trip the to Ranch for this one, unfortunately – they did that for the Episode I DVD and I was there!), and Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits has come back with an amazing preview of the set that just gets us more hyped.
In addition to the color timing issues from the 2004 DVDs being fixed, along with the lightsabers and other errors such as being able to see the Wampa puppeteer’s arms, they also did some amazing things to the audio:
Matt and his team have been very careful to ensure that these new 6.1 DTS-HD MA uncompressed audio mixes reproduce in exacting detail the sonic experience of these films we all know and remember, albeit with the added quality and clarity that the latest lossless mastering technology can provide. Matt reported that the 6.1 mixing process for Episodes V, IV and the Prequels was relatively straightforward, because all of the original audio stems and elements were readily available and were well catalogued. For Episode IV, however, “getting it exactly right” required a rather extensive forensic effort, as this material just wasn’t cataloged with future surround remixes in mind. In many cases, Matt and his team went back to original analog tape recordings made in 1976 to get the best quality of all the required elements. As a result, it’s fair to say that the surround mix for Episode IV was almost completely rebuilt from scratch, with Matt comparing his work to the original print master to ensure its creative accuracy. And at every step of the way, director George Lucas and original sound supervisor Ben Burtt were consulted to ensure that the mix reproduced as closely as possible their original intent for the film’s sonic experience. In fact, Matt says he played the film’s reels many times for George, in 15-20 second chucks, to get his feedback.
While he can’t go into detail on the deleted scenes, he does say they are the real draw of the BD set:
Now then, let’s move on to the extras. Is it really worth getting the Complete Saga set just to get the three extras discs? For me at least, the answer here is clear: Absolutely. Yes… I’ve now seen many of the Original Trilogy deleted scenes. No… I can’t tell you much about them (believe me, that drives me as crazy as it does you). But I was pretty surprised by them and in a good way. What I can tell you is that they are substantial – at least for the Original Trilogy. This isn’t just dribs and drabs stuff – it includes long sequences. And they’re extremely cool. Frankly, for me this is the real draw of the entire BD release. As you’ve seen in some of the teaser clips Lucasfilm has released, they’re not pristine, but most of them are in HD – at least the Original Trilogy clips. And trust me, they’re well worth seeing. It’s stuff some of you have wanted to see in good quality since 1977, along with a few things fans may not have known even existed.
To read the entire preview, and if you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll want to, head on over to The Digital Bits right here.