I have three versions of Star Wars episode 4 and four images in the screenshots below. This should provide an overview of the challenges involved in performing color correction. Clockwise from the top left.
1) RAW VOB file from the Star Wars Ep 4 “GOUT” edition.
2) GOUT modified to MP4 in Sony Vegas with no filters. Vegas hates MPEG-PS audio tracks and that VOB reports time incorrectly.
3) Despecialized version 2.5 by Harmy.
4) Editdroid’s version from the 1993 Laserdisc in VOB format.
You will note that the GOUT version in Vegas looks washed out. This is caused by a colorspace issue stemming from the NTSC color space (16-235) versus the RGB color space (0-255). I can change the levels in Vegas to make it look exactly the same as it does outside of Vegas with one of the built in presets.
The color pallet used in GOUT is the same as the Laserdisc because they both came from the same master. I would love to get my hands on the 1985 laserdisc release but that thing is beyond rare.
The Despecialized edition suffers from the f’ing Hollywood look with teal & orange slathered all over it as well as oversaturated colors. To fix issues like that I have to skew cyan towards blue to fix some of it. Desaturating yellow and red helps to fix the New Jersey fake tan look in most movies. Green is occasionally oversaturated. Couple all of that with lighness adjustments for cyan, yellow, magenta, red, green, and blue and things begin to get complicated quickly. Wait, levels are sometimes off as well. Add that to the mix.
I will be using the Editdroid version as my source and I am hoping to alter the color palette to be more inline with GOUT. Preliminary results at this point do not look promising at all. It looks like Harmy used the AAV ColorLab plugin, which I have, to modify colors. Sadly that plugin seems to have the side affect, at least on my machine, of screwing up some shades of orange like traffic cones and the orange Pinto in The Blues Brothers. My monitor is color balanced using a Spyder3Pro.
From the research that I have done there is no longer such thing as a “correct” version of Star Wars that a mere mortal like I can get their hands on. My hope is that Disney will fix the color issues in any reissues it may put out, but that is a pipe dream at best.