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Empire Strikes Back recording sessions footage


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I was rewatching this excellent 1980 BBC documentary on the music of the Empire Strikes Back:

 

It contains considerable footage from both the recording sessions and the spotting sessions of Empire. I was curious if anyone here knows anything about where this footage came from. Did the BBC just film bits of it specifically for the documentary? Or did they film large chunks of it for editing down later and for Lucasfilm to use for general purpose marketing use? I wonder how much of both the recording sessions and the spotting sessions were actually recorded and if any more of this footage survives beyond what's just in the documentary. 

 

Also, if the BBC filmed it, is it possible that the raw sessions footage exists in their archives somewhere? I'm not a Brit but I believe the archives should be openly available to British citizens right?

 

 

edit: before submitting this I looked up the person credited for photography, Kenneth MacMillan: https://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/macmillan.htm

Looks like he definitely did work for the BBC

 

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8 minutes ago, enderdrag64 said:

Also, if the BBC filmed it, is it possible that the raw sessions footage exists in their archives somewhere? I'm not a Brit but I believe the archives should be openly available to British citizens right?

 

For a time, the BBC (like many other broadcasting companies) notoriously taped over older recordings that had already been broadcast to save money (and storage space). Bits and even entire sequences of episodes of classic shows like early Monty Python stuff and quite a lot of Doctor Who have been lost that way. I don't know if that was still an ongoing practice in the early 80s though.

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1 minute ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

For a time, the BBC (like many other broadcasting companies) notoriously taped over older recordings that had already been broadcast to save money (and storage space). Bits and even entire sequences of episodes of classic shows like early Monty Python stuff and quite a lot of Doctor Who have been lost that way. I don't know if that was still an ongoing practice in the early 80s though.

 

According to this site (https://missingepisodes.blogspot.com/p/timeline.html) the junking practice was officially ended in 1978 (although there was some material that was returned from overseas that was junked until 1981, but I don't think that would apply to the Empire documentary

 

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Yeah that Parbot documentary deserves to be restored and preserved.  Both docs do.  I wish LFL would do a better job of restoration of these kinds of gems.  

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What was that other bit of footage where Williams makes fun of some musicians playing like they're still on a "lunch" break? Or something like that? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Or am I crazy and imagining it?

 

Karol

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Interesting how the video implies Duel of the Fates was being recorded there...

 

2:28 below:

 

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10 minutes ago, crumbs said:

Why would the choir be assembled while recording 1M2?

 

image.png

As you probably know, soundtracks are, usually, recorded out of sequence. It might be that 1M2 was recorded, followed, directly, by the Bespin sequence.

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2 minutes ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

As you probably know, soundtracks are, usually, recorded out of sequence. It might be that 1M2 was recorded, followed, directly, by the Bespin sequence.

 

Sure, I get that. Just seems surprising to keep the choir assembled in the recording studio the entire time 1M2 is rehearsed and recorded (a few hours work, surely).

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Hopefully the entire LA Master Chorale is assembled in the scoring stage for every Indy 5 session, but only used on the final day for one cue: The Raiders March [Vocal Version].

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41 minutes ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

It might be that 1M2 was recorded, followed, directly, by the Bespin sequence.

The screen says Episode I so this is not from the ESB sessions, more choir was used than in one cue, just to be clear.

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6 hours ago, Remco said:

 

3:24

 

Wow that's so cool! This is from the Empire sessions too? Interesting how it looks nothing like the footage from the other two documentaries

 

1 hour ago, crumbs said:

Interesting how the video implies Duel of the Fates was being recorded there...

 

Maybe they spliced together footage from completely different parts of the sessions between shots.

 

Edit: I went back to the cue sheet just for fun, it says that 1m2 Main Title was recorded on February 5th, and 6m7 The Great Dual was recorded February 10th. So not only different parts, completely different days too

 

You can actually see more of the TPM sessions starting at 58:32 in this documentary:

 

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14 minutes ago, enderdrag64 said:

Edit: I went back to the cue sheet just for fun, it says that 1m2 Main Title was recorded on February 5th, and 6m7 The Great Dual was recorded February 10th. So not only different parts, completely different days too

 

The plot thickens...

 

I guess a fair few cues in TPM use choir though, even beyond Duel of the Fates or The Great Dual. Do any of the other cues recorded Feb 5th have choir?

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23 minutes ago, enderdrag64 said:

 

Wow that's so cool! This is from the Empire sessions too? Interesting how it looks nothing like the footage from the other two documentaries

 

No, it's not from the Empire sessions. It's footage from the mid- or late-1980s, more likely from a concert rehearsal at an unspecified location.

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7 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

No, it's not from the Empire sessions. It's footage from the mid- or late-1980s, more likely from a concert rehearsal at an unspecified location.

Okay yeah that makes more sense

 

11 minutes ago, Jim Ware said:

 

This is Phantom Menace footage from February 10th 1999.

 

Any idea why the title crawl would be on the projector 5 days after they recorded the main title?

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9 minutes ago, enderdrag64 said:

Okay yeah that makes more sense

 

Any idea why the title crawl would be on the projector 5 days after they recorded the main title?

They may have been in the process of spooling through the tape for the right timecode while Williams rehearsed the choir.

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5 hours ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

"Second flute still at dinner. It's, now, a solo".

ROTFLMAO

 

Always modest and humble, ja , ja...

 

Seth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers

 

 

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Okay I've decided I might as well compile a list of all known footage from all the original recording sessions. This is what i have so far:

 

Star Wars (1977)

 

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

 - Footage of the spotting sessions for 9m6-10m1 Carbon Freeze appears in the BBC "Star Wars Music by John Williams" documentary scattered near the beginning 

 - Footage of the recording sessions for 9m6-10m1 Carbon Freeze and 6m3 This is Not a Cave appears in the BBC "Star Wars Music by John Williams" documentary, the former at 16:21, and the latter at 52:00

 - More complete footage of the recording sessions of 6m3 This is Not a Cave appear in that Michel Parbot "The Making of ESB" documentary at 55:40

 - Footage from the Empire sessions was used to create fake sessions footage of ANH for the documentary "Empire of Dreams"

 

Return of the Jedi (1983)

 - Footage of the recording sessions for 4m4 Rev. Jabba's End appear in the June 16th, 1983 episode of 20/20 in a segment on John Williams "Music of the Jedi"

 

The Phantom Menace (1999)

 - Footage of the spotting sessions for the Darth Maul fight appears in the Movie Music webisode

 - Footage of the recording sessions for 6m7 New The Greal Dual (recorded February 10th, 1999) appears in The Beginning dvd documentary

 - Additional footage of the recording sessions for 6m7 New The Greal Dual (recorded February 10th, 1999) appears in the Movie Music webisode

 - unknown footage from the recording sessions appears in the Duel of the Fates music video

 

Attack of the Clones (2002)

 - Footage of the spotting sessions for the first zam cues appear in the Music EPK

 - Footage of recording sessions for some of the zam chase cues appear in the Across the Stars music video

 - Footage of recording sessions for some of the zam chase cues appear in the Music EPK

 - Footage of the recording sessions for Across the Stars appear in the Music EPK

 - unknown footage from the recording sessions appears in the Across the Stars music video

 

Revenge of the Sith (2005)

 - Footage of the recoding sessions of Battle of the Heroes  (recorded February 3rd, 2005) appears in the Endlessly Compelling featurette

 - unknown footage from the recording sessions appears in the Endlessly Compelling featurette

 - unknown footage from the recording sessions appears in Within a Minute around 1:09:40 (there's a clip of john williams saying they will start with 7m8, but I believe the rest of the footage is from a different cue, presumably one of the mustafar ones. Maybe either Heroes Collide or The Boys Continue)

 

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2 hours ago, enderdrag64 said:

Return of the Jedi (1983)

There are these:

This is from the ABC-TV News program, '20/20'. It features footage of the Abbey Road scoring sessions.

Also, 

This one has a brief clip of the Olympic Studio scoring sessions but no original audio on that film.

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25 minutes ago, SyncMan said:

There are these:

This is from the ABC-TV News program, '20/20'. It features footage of the Abbey Road scoring sessions.

Wow this is great thanks! I've updated my list

 

30 minutes ago, SyncMan said:

 

Also, 

This one has footage from the Olympic Studio scoring sessions but no original audio on that film.

Is the clip at 1:43 the Olympic Studio footage? Because that looks like the same footage that also appears here:

15 hours ago, Remco said:

 

3:24

which people told me before wasn't from the Empire sessions:

9 hours ago, TownerFan said:

 

No, it's not from the Empire sessions. It's footage from the mid- or late-1980s, more likely from a concert rehearsal at an unspecified location.

So you're saying it was from Olympic Studio for Jedi?

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1 hour ago, SyncMan said:

Also, 

For that 2nd video, I got the link from here in the forum and someone mentioned that it was from the Olympic Studio scoring sessions but I can't find a post that mentions this.  So I am not 100% sure if that footage is even a film-scoring session project.  However, I am certain that the said segment was broadcasted on TV in 1983, the year of ROTJ. 

So,  who knows?

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I found more footage from the AOTC sessions:

 

 

Based on the text at the beginning I'm guessing this came from some kind of Press Kit. Interesting they put so much effort into making this to not even release it to the public officially

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On 28/06/2022 at 2:51 PM, crumbs said:

Hopefully the entire LA Master Chorale is assembled in the scoring stage for every Indy 5 session, but only used on the final day for one cue: The Raiders March [Vocal Version].

 

 

The Raiders March with lyrics about Star Wars. It's called meta.

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47 minutes ago, enderdrag64 said:

I found more footage from the AOTC sessions:

Based on the text at the beginning I'm guessing this came from some kind of Press Kit. Interesting they put so much effort into making this to not even release it to the public officially


This appears to be sourced from a VHS tape or other analog source. The same featurette was also available on starwars.com back at the time of the film’s release and on a DVD-ROM of some sort as well, as I recall. While the Episodes I and III music featurettes are still available at starwars.com, the Episode II one is not.

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Yes. Isn't that the one where Lucas is being weary about the use of Guitars in the mix? " Usable or Loosable" he had quipped to Williams from the inserts being recorded for Coruscant Chase cue. 

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2 hours ago, thx99 said:


This appears to be sourced from a VHS tape or other analog source. The same featurette was also available on starwars.com back at the time of the film’s release and on a DVD-ROM of some sort as well, as I recall. While the Episodes I and III music featurettes are still available at starwars.com, the Episode II one is not.

Oh okay interesting. I have the original Episode II DVD set still, would it be on the bonus disc?

 

update: I've looked into it a bit, it would appear the DVD-ROM feature was just a key to get you into the dvd.starwars.com website where the actual featurette was hosted. This site has been defunct since ~2009. I've been trying to research if anyone ever archived a higher quality version but I've had no luck so far. All I found was this description of what was actually on the site for the AOTC disc:

https://www.theforce.net/episode2/story/First_Look_at_Clones_DVDRom_Content_64676.asp

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4 hours ago, enderdrag64 said:

Oh okay interesting. I have the original Episode II DVD set still, would it be on the bonus disc?

It was on an EPK VHS tape. Unfortunately I've never seen a higher quality version circulating.

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I checked the "Legacy Collection" of bonus material on the Skywalker Saga Blu-Ray box set but without success.

 

:-(

 

 

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8 hours ago, enderdrag64 said:

Oh okay interesting. I have the original Episode II DVD set still, would it be on the bonus disc?

 

update: I've looked into it a bit, it would appear the DVD-ROM feature was just a key to get you into the dvd.starwars.com website where the actual featurette was hosted. This site has been defunct since ~2009. I've been trying to research if anyone ever archived a higher quality version but I've had no luck so far. All I found was this description of what was actually on the site for the AOTC disc:

https://www.theforce.net/episode2/story/First_Look_at_Clones_DVDRom_Content_64676.asp

 

3 hours ago, Jim Ware said:

It was on an EPK VHS tape. Unfortunately I've never seen a higher quality version circulating.

 

I have the original MOV file that was hosted on that starwars.com site.  Unfortunately, it was available only at 320x180 with a frame rate of 10FPS, with significant visual and aural compression artifacts.  Doing a bit of digging, you can find the MOV file on archive.org:

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20060110163323if_/http://starwars.apple.com:80/ep2/dvd/ep2_music_m320.mov

 

Copy/paste that text into a browser window.  You may get the following error message depending on the browser you're using:  "No video with supported format and MIME type found."  Don't worry.  In your browser, go to "File", "Save Page as" (or similar function) and you should be able to save the MOV file to your computer.

 

BTW, this thread reminds me that I need to rent a U-matic playback unit to transfer this goodie I picked up on eBay a while back...

 

Spoiler

IMG_3105.jpeg

 

IMG_3104.jpeg

 

It's running time is longer than the "Movie Music" segment available at starwars.com, so I'm curious to know what this featurette entails. :)

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I've been playing around with an AI upscaler.  Sometimes produces interesting results but gives everything a painted look.  I haven't gotten good results overall, the original video quality is just really poor quality.

upsc.jpg

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1 hour ago, thx99 said:

I have the original MOV file that was hosted on that starwars.com site.  Unfortunately, it was available only at 320x180 with a frame rate of 10FPS, with significant visual and aural compression artifacts.  Doing a bit of digging, you can find the MOV file on archive.org:

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20060110163323if_/http://starwars.apple.com:80/ep2/dvd/ep2_music_m320.mov

 

Copy/paste that text into a browser window.  You may get the following error message depending on the browser you're using:  "No video with supported format and MIME type found."  Don't worry.  In your browser, go to "File", "Save Page as" (or similar function) and you should be able to save the MOV file to your computer.

Wow thanks for this! I was hoping the "320" part at the end of the filename would imply there were other size files available, but if there were they don't appear to have been archived. 

 

1 hour ago, thx99 said:

 

  Hide contents

IMG_3104.jpeg

Ooh maybe that "Unedited B-Roll" might include some of the raw recording session footage

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3 hours ago, enderdrag64 said:

Wow thanks for this! I was hoping the "320" part at the end of the filename would imply there were other size files available, but if there were they don't appear to have been archived.

 

No, I've never seen anything above the 320x180.

 

I've gone ahead and uploaded this version to YouTube:
 

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