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Hi everyone,

 

I'm writing a piece on the history of colour correction/grading through the ages and was wondering if any of you have been in the business long enough to have first hand experience of grading with film before it went digital?

If any of you have any information about who to talk to or know of anywhere that still processes film (preferably in London), please let me know!

 

 

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I guess these people would be your first port of call.



You may struggle to find anyone still working who's done a traditional film finish. We had a chap called Steve Farman on the forum a few times - he's a negative cutter and one of the last of the breed, since so few productions cut neg anymore. You might try looking him up.



P


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One thing I heard was more things involving color preference had to be done on set via lighting/in-camera. No concrete way to specifically boost the cyan tones on a shirt or boosting the red tones on a clown's nose.

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One thing I heard was more things involving color preference had to be done on set via lighting/in-camera. No concrete way to specifically boost the cyan tones on a shirt or boosting the red tones on a clown's nose.

Yes. No such thing as power windows, or secondary color grading. Just 3 printer lights, Red, Green & Blue. You could adjust the balance between them, and the overall exposure, but that was about it without specialized lab techniques like flashing or bleach bypass.

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What's that term - I never get to see it - er - pro-duc-shun-de-zyn?

 

P

Incredible idea. Designing the look of the movie and getting it right on set. Do you think it'll ever catch on?

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I found a section in the book 'Film Technology in Post Production' by Dominic Case to be helpful when I was looking in to technical info on traditional printer light color correction. I could probably scan that section and send it to you if you like.

 

It may be a tad off topic but perhaps looking in to a film like 'Reflections in a Golden Eye' that had a very extreme grade done on the prints would be useful to you. Or even 'The Crow' I recall was shot with a sepia or suede filter and had all those warm tones removed in the grade to create a colder desaturated. Looking at the outliers and all that.

 

Tristan

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When I began to work with film professionally in 1987 we had an ARRI KM 35, a copy of the Debrie Matipo, besides a couple Bell & Howell C and J at the lab. That printer employed a perforated 35mm Leatheroid band actuated by a maltese-cross movement. Circular apertures were punched out of the band and subtractive filter sheets stapled on. Timers would hold up snippets of a production against a light box, one hand on a wooden filter cabinet, and go “0.05 minus blue” and “0.25 plus green”. Wratten filters are still available. That is the old system. Short bands were assembled, eight frames of every scene from the dailies. In black and white they proceeded incredibly fast. I don’t know who is still alive of the timers I have met, Dietrich von Holten, Johannes Anders, Hartmut Engel, Fritz Windisch.

 

You have a time before and a time after the Hazeltine film analyzer.

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Here is a list of films post 2000 that were made without a digital intermediate. So they went through a photochemical finish.

I'm sure there are more films on that have not made it onto the list. But this is still interesting to see what films avoided a DI.

 

But also get in contact with Cinelab London. They're very friendly. They might be able to tell you if any films are not using a DI. I am not sure if any films are go through colour timing (photochemically) there, but it never hurts to ask.

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