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Death Proof

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Does anyone have any information regarding the DI process for the film "Death Proof"? The first part of the film looks like it has been scanned from a print, but I'm not refering to the, probably fake, scratches and damage, I mean the way the image looks. Either that or it's a very good approximation of a film print done in grading. It's hard to put my finger on it though, what exactly gives that look. It's not just the contrast. There's something "in your face" about film prints which seems to be hard to emulate in grading.



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It was shot in 3-perf according to IMDB, which means most likely a D.I. but as for the wear & tear and the look of a print, I don't know. The Robert Rodriguez film tied to it in "Grindhouse" was shot digitally on the Panavision Genesis camera, so probably the same software used to make that look more rough and contrasty was modified and used on "Death Proof".

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I just found this:



This clip features some alternate takes where actors seem to give their regards to the editor. The thing is, these clips seem to have really been lifted from a print, because there are pen writings near the slate and that same print look (only more warmer in tone) even for the second part of the film (which on bluray looks a lot different and more like a regular film transfer). It seems that for some reason they made film dailies even though the film obviously went through DI. Maybe they used them for reference in the grading process to recreate a print look, or perhaps they actually used them in scanning of the first part of the movie.

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  • 7 months later...

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I've been looking into this issue again after quite some time and have found new information about it.


In one interview the film editor, the now late, Sally Menke, explained the process of creating film scratches and other film damage for the first part of the movie. I quote:

"SM: We’d take a pen, a needle or some other implement, and scratch the film. Nina Kawasaki, my assistant, would go out and thrash it against the bushes on the driveway. We have video of it; it’s actually kind of funny. We kept asking the lab to make this section dirtier. We never even got it; we were too careful. We should have gotten it dirtier in some places. The lab had a lot of fun, though, not being careful. Want to smoke a cigarette over that? No problem."


This is from the volume 30 of the EDITORS GUILD MAGAZINE.


It seems that there is really nothing fake in Death Proof's "look". It's actual film damage, and I assume real splices, even though she doesn't mentioned the splices.


Another interesting thing is that the end credits feature a negative cutter, titles typographer, and color timer at Deluxe, and no mention of any DI work in any shape or form. It seems like this film didn't go through a regular DI at all . IMDB mentions a 2k DI process though and it could be at the stage of combining it with Planet Terror, using a photochemically finished IP maybe? The fact that print dailies (as seen in DVD/Blluray bonus materials exist of the entire film (even the second half) doesn't suggest a full DI was done.


But DI or no DI , what I wonder is, what sort of elements were they thrashing against the bushes. Would it have been a color timed IP, or prints?

Is there any way to tell from the damage if it's an IP or a print? And how likely would it be that all those tape splices were done on an IP?


Either way it must have been quite a strange workflow.

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UPDATE: Further thinking leads me to this conclusions. A lot of the scratches and lines are GREEN in color, which would suggest they are emulsion side scratches on the top magenta layer, which would suggest it's a print. AFAIK the top layer on the negative/intermediate film is yellow. Can someone comment on this line of thought?


Which leads further to the possibility that the 2K DI part was scanning those scratched prints. Or maybe an internegative was struck from those prints in order to get the density levels down for scanning.

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