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RAISE THE RED LANTERN


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#1 jake lane

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 02:33 PM

Hello

Can anyone shine a light on the stocks etc used on Zhang Yimou's film RAISE THE RED LANTERN. I am shooting a 35mm short based in a temple in Bangkok and very much like the highly saturated look in Yimou's film. Any info would be helpful

Thanks
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 05:46 PM

Hello

Can anyone shine a light on the stocks etc used on Zhang Yimou's film RAISE THE RED LANTERN. I am shooting a 35mm short based in a temple in Bangkok and very much like the highly saturated look in Yimou's film. Any info would be helpful

Thanks


It was all production design & lighting. I believe the stock was standard 35mm Kodak color negative. There was nothing about the look of the film stock that was oversaturated, only the colors being filmed (red lanterns against blue dusk in snowy winter, for example). Perhaps you watched it on a TV set that had the colors cranked up or a video transfer where the colors were boosted.

Edited by David Mullen, 21 December 2005 - 05:47 PM.

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#3 Sam Wells

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 07:50 PM

Yeah, get a Technicolor IB print.

Oops won't work. Vision Premiere then maybe...

-Sam
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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 05:44 PM

Yeah, get a Technicolor IB print.

Oops won't work. Vision Premiere then maybe...

-Sam


Yes wasn't this filmed in 3 strip technicolor?

Strangely I suspect this isn't the chinese 3 strip technicolor film that I have seen. It doesn't sound like the same plot! In the film I am thinking of, it is all set in something like a wooden castle in the fields and inside there are many many long red sheets that hang down really low, and then someone falls into a big vat of wine and drowns or something, oh and there is some really weird plot to do with some guy who is disabled and whose wife is having an affair with another man in the same house, possibly his son. I hope I'm not confusing all my chinese films together. Is this the same film? Something by the same director? Something else?

Suddenly it's really bothering me.

love

Freya
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#5 Sam Wells

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 06:11 PM

Freya, you're thinking of "Ju Dou" also directed by Zhang Yimou (DP turned director).

The vats contain dyes for dying silk, that's what the business is there. The story seems based on "The Postman Always Rings Twice" - James M. Cain novel (filmed twice in Hwood) transposed to 1920's China.

Neither are filmed in 3 strip Technicolor, they were Technicolor dye transfer prints while the lab in China was still doing them.

Huge bolts of dyed silk + Technicolor IB = Good stuff !

-Sam
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 06:37 PM

Freya, you're thinking of "Ju Dou" also directed by Zhang Yimou (DP turned director).

The vats contain dyes for dying silk, that's what the business is there. The story seems based on "The Postman Always Rings Twice" - James M. Cain novel (filmed twice in Hwood) transposed to 1920's China.

Neither are filmed in 3 strip Technicolor, they were Technicolor dye transfer prints while the lab in China was still doing them.

Huge bolts of dyed silk + Technicolor IB = Good stuff !

-Sam


Thanks Sam! I was thinking I would never know what the film was! I was even starting to wonder if I was confusing various films and making bits up. I didn't believe my description would be enough to work out the film! :)

Ah I see so what you mean is that they filmed it with a normal camera (one strip) but that the prints were made with the technicolor proces somehow? How does that work.?

Yes those huge bolts of dyed silk really made an impact on me, they were so beautiful and soooo, well, red. :)

love

Freya
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 07:22 PM

Well, dye transfer printing is pretty much history now. Technicolor sold the machines to China in the 1970's and China used them until a few years ago. Trouble is that even though dye transfer has a low material cost, it requires an incredible amount of quality control.

If the film had been shot in 3-strip Technicolor (about 1935 to 1955), you would have ended up with three b&w negatives containing the red, green, and blue scene information. After the demise of 3-strip photography with the advent of single color negative (Eastmancolor, 1950), Technicolor would make dye transfer prints using a single color negative. Either way, from color negative or three b&w negatives, they made three b&w positive "matrices" which absorbed dye (yellow, cyan, or magenta) in equal proportion to scene density. These matrices would be run in contact, one color pass at a time, onto a "blank" (clear film with a dye mordant to retain the dye) to build up a full color image. Similar to printing color images in a book rather than the photographic process of modern print stock.

See:
http://www.widescree...or/oldcolor.htm

Edited by David Mullen, 26 December 2005 - 07:24 PM.

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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 08:34 PM

After the demise of 3-strip photography with the advent of single color negative (Eastmancolor, 1950), Technicolor would make dye transfer prints using a single color negative. Either way, from color negative or three b&w negatives, they made three b&w positive "matrices" which absorbed dye (yellow, cyan, or magenta) in equal proportion to scene density. These matrices would be run in contact, one color pass at a time, onto a "blank" (clear film with a dye mordant to retain the dye) to build up a full color image. Similar to printing color images in a book rather than the photographic process of modern print stock.

See:
http://www.widescree...or/oldcolor.htm


Thanks David! I guess it gave you the advantage of having 3 sets of archival quality film so that is great, but surely material costs were higher if they were running 3 times as much film?

Perhaps the negative used was an EXR stock? Maybe EXR50D? Whenever I see things shot with that stock I am always taken back by the beautiful colours. :)

love

Freya
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 02:21 PM

Thanks David! I guess it gave you the advantage of having 3 sets of archival quality film so that is great, but surely material costs were higher if they were running 3 times as much film?


---When the three strip process wwas devised there were no single strip color negatives, though Kodachrome and Agfacolor reversal came out around the same time.

Other than archival negs, which wasn't much of a consideration in the 30s, the colors are purer.
The dyes in monopacks aren't perfect and will allow other colors through into the print contaminating the colors in the print.
I've shoot 16mm Kodachrome and copared the original to the print and could easily see that the print's colors were browner.
The orange masking in color negs and intermediate stock compensates for that, but to an extentent.
Old trailers usually had blah color because of the amount of duping used to get to a print.

The three strip process doesn't add color dyes until the print stage.
I was watching the Criterion DVD of 'The River' last night. It was Xfered from a new I/P printed from the original YCMs. The color is sublime.

Other disadvatages other than raw stock costs are the size and noise of the cameras.
The camera is the size of a BNC, but not silent. While I've never heard one running, one can imagine the two intermittent moves and three strips of film flapping in there make a lot of noise. The blimps were the size of a kitchen appliance.
& magazine changes must have taken forever.

The lens were made by Cooke, which contributes to the 'Technicolor look'.

---LV
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:46 PM

Yes, obviously running three times the stock in the camera was more expensive, but there really wasn't a viable single-film color process to compare it to anyway, plus what was nice about 3-strip Technicolor was that it was part of a SYSTEM to deliver color prints -- the other color reversal processes of the day did not make good color prints, even the lower-contrast Kodachrome used for Technicolor Monopack.

Technicolor was an expensive process, not to mention that it required huge light levels compared to b&w photography (effective ASA of Technicolor was something around 3 to 5 ASA when it was introduced in the early 1930's and rose in sensitivity over the years to around 10 ASA by 1938 and then maybe 16 to 20 ASA by 1950 -- which was the speed of the competing Kodak color negative when it was introduced in 1950: 5247, 16 ASA Daylight.)

By comparison, when Technicolor reached about a 10 ASA in 1938 due to improvements in the speed of b&w emulsions, regular Kodak b&w stocks released that year were 80 ASA (Plus-X) and 160 ASA (Super-XX). The main reason for Technicolor's low sensitivity was the fact that the light coming from the lens had to be split up and filtered.

Edited by David Mullen, 27 December 2005 - 06:49 PM.

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#11 Andy Sparaco SOC

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:20 PM

Technicolor was an expensive process, not to mention that it required huge light levels compared to b&w photography (effective ASA of Technicolor was something around 3 to 5 ASA when it was introduced in the early 1930's and rose in sensitivity over the years to around 10 ASA by 1938 and then maybe 16 to 20 ASA by 1950 -- which was the speed of the competing Kodak color negative when it was introduced in 1950: 5247, 16 ASA Daylight.)


Maybe a typo?
If memory serves 5254 preceeded 5247 T 100ASA . "47" was the first ECN2 (hot chemistry)process neg stock introduced in the mid seventies.
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#12 Sam Wells

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:58 PM

Maybe a typo?
If memory serves 5254 preceeded 5247 T 100ASA . "47" was the first ECN2 (hot chemistry)process neg stock introduced in the mid seventies.


I think the ECN2 "47" was Kodak recycling the number.

ps I think the Kodachrome Commercial > Technicolor IB 35mm stuff like Disney's nature series had a kinda cool look to it (or maybe that's why I'm irrationally partial to Kodachrome :)

-Sam
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:21 PM

5247 (16D) was the first Eastmancolor negative, introduced in 1950 and replaced by 5248 (25T) in 1952.

1950: 5247 (16 ASA, Daylight)
1952: 5248 (25 ASA, Tungsten)
1959: 5250 (50 ASA, Tungsten)
1962: 5251 (50 ASA, Tungsten)
1968: 5254 (100 ASA, Tungsten)
1974: 5247 (100 ASA, Tungsten -- first version, new ECN-2 process)
1976: 5247 (100 ASA, Tungsten -- version that replaced 5254)

Kodak reuses numbers -- their first high-speed stock released in 1982 was called 5293 (250T) -- which was replaced by 5294 (400T) only a year later -- not to be confused with the EXR 200T stock of the same number released in 1992.

Edited by David Mullen, 27 December 2005 - 09:22 PM.

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#14 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 01:16 PM

The Kodak website has a very comprehensive "Chronology of Kodak Motion Picture Films":

http://www.kodak.com...=0.1.6.20&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com....1.6.20.4&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com....1.6.20.6&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com....1.6.20.8&lc=en

Yes, sometimes film code numbers are "recycled". The four digit codes are shared among ALL Kodak's films, with the first two digits usually assigned as follows for motion picture films:

22xx larger format ESTAR base films, mostly camera films and intermediate film
23xx larger format ESTAR base films, including sound negative and print film
32xx smaller format ESTAR base films, mostly camera films and intermediate film
33xx smaller format ESTAR base films, including sound negative and print film
52xx larger format acetate base films
72xx smaller format acetate base films
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#15 A.Oliver

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 06:34 PM

5247 (16D) was the first Eastmancolor negative, introduced in 1950 and replaced by 5248 (25T) in 1952.

1950: 5247 (16 ASA, Daylight)
1952: 5248 (25 ASA, Tungsten)
1959: 5250 (50 ASA, Tungsten)
1962: 5251 (50 ASA, Tungsten)
1968: 5254 (100 ASA, Tungsten)
1974: 5247 (100 ASA, Tungsten -- first version, new ECN-2 process)
1976: 5247 (100 ASA, Tungsten -- version that replaced 5254)

Kodak reuses numbers -- their first high-speed stock released in 1982 was called 5293 (250T) -- which was replaced by 5294 (400T) only a year later -- not to be confused with the EXR 200T stock of the same number released in 1992.

Please can someone explain why all those films were tungsten, why was there no daylight based filmstocks in the above list except 5247. I dont understand why even today people shoot tungsten films in daylight when JP always says match the stock to the light source.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 07:12 PM

Because the filter that corrects daylight for a tungsten stock loses 2/3's of a stop but the filter that corrects tungsten for a daylight stock loses nearly 2-stops, and you're more likely to need the speed when shooting interiors under tungsten light than exteriors under daylight. So if you're only going to make one film stock, it makes sense to make it tungsten-balanced.

Still photographers, on the other hand, tend to use daylight-balanced flashes in low-light, so it made sense to keep the film stocks daylight-balanced.

If you use the correct filter on a tungsten stock in daylight, the results are just as balanced as if you used a daylight-balanced stock with no filter.

Even 3-strip Technicolor, which started out being a daylight-balanced system using carbon arcs for lighting, switched to being a faster tungsten-balanced system in the last few years of its existence (late 40's to mid 50's), to facilitate shooting on soundstages with quieter tungsten lamps.

Jack Cardiff tells this story about talking to Ingrid Bergman on "Under Capricorn" -- she was glas he was using tungsten lamps on that film because she said that the noise from carbon arcs on her previous 3-strip Technicolor movies forced her to loop everything, which she hated doing. But once they started using the tungsten lamps for "Under Capricorn", they found that they could now hear the camera noise, even though the camera was blimped, and they ended up looping a lot of the movie anyway.
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#17 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 10:01 PM

Please can someone explain why all those films were tungsten, why was there no daylight based filmstocks in the above list except 5247. I dont understand why even today people shoot tungsten films in daylight when JP always says match the stock to the light source.


Most Movies are shot in a studio. Until they invented the HMI lights all studio lights were tungsten. You can shoot tungsten film with an 85 Filter in daylight with minimal loss of speed. Shooting daylight film under tungsten light needs a blue filter which looses at least a stop.

When they only were making one film, it makes sense to make it tunsten balanced, hence Kodachrome 40 . and in negative films 50T 100t , later 250T and now 500T

NOW the HMI and other lights in the studios are daylight balanced, so more folks use daylight balance film.

At least I THINK that is the reason?

The related question I have of course is how the folks see anything in the reflex viewfinder if they shoot even 250 speed film in the noonday sun. The cameras MUST have to have a Lot of ND filters. I just ventured out on a dull day with some 250D film and my stop was f11, bright sunlight would have put me off the scale.

Edited by Charles, 29 December 2005 - 10:06 PM.

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#18 Sam Wells

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 11:35 AM

The related question I have of course is how the folks see anything in the reflex viewfinder if they shoot even 250 speed film in the noonday sun. The cameras MUST have to have a Lot of ND filters.


Answer: We are either Mad Dogs, Englishmen, or both.

-Sam
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#19 A.Oliver

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 12:33 PM

When they only were making one film, it makes sense to make it tunsten balanced, hence Kodachrome 40 . and in negative films 50T 100t , later 250T and now 500T

Thanks for the replies, it does make sense. Since daylite k25 got the bullit, i have been shooting k40, have also used 7240, now both of these films dont look as good as a daylight filmstock in a daylight shoot. Therefore are tungsten films a trade off in terms of contrast and colour saturation. The 16mm 100d from kodak looks great in daylite ( would use it a lot more if the colours were not so OTT, it also lacks the kodachrome bite, imo ). A few years back i put together a 6 minute newreel, this included 7245 and 7248 (100T i think), the filtered 48 stock looks awfull compared to the 7245 in daylite.
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 12:52 PM

Well, 7245 was unique in its saturation, but there is no inherent reason for a daylight-balanced negative stock to be more staurated or higher in contrast than its tungsten-balanced counterpart unless deliberately designed that way.

Since in the slide world, tungsten-balanced stocks are considered to be used more by professionals in interior lighting situations, they weren't made to be as contrasty as the daylight-balanced slide stocks, where the look of hyper-saturated day exteriors is more popular, especially with consumers (not that there are many consumers shooting slides anymore).

If you compare modern Vision-2 daylight films -- 5201 and 5205 -- to the tungsten Vision-2 line, you'll see that they match fairly well in terms of color saturation and contrast. Or compare Fuji F-250D to F-250T, which also are very close. The only real difference is just in the speed of the individual color layers -- daylight films have a much slower blue layer, hence that color tends to be less grainy.
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