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"technicolor color consultant"


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#1 Filip Plesha

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 07:35 PM

Every technicolor picture had one. But what exactly did they do? Advise the DP which colors look best in technicolor?


Also, I've seen some Eastmancolor titles which had "color by technicolor" feature color consultants fromt technicolor too. What ever for? If anything, shouldn't they have consultants from Kodak instead?

And one more thing, when did this thing stop? Which was the last film that used color consultants from technicolor?
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 08:06 PM

I think Nathalie Kalmus, the wife of the inventor of Technicolor, was the most despised and feared woman in Hollywood for some years. She ran every set like her own personal little esthetic element forcing her colors and looks upon every department. At leas that's how the story goes.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:17 PM

I think Nathalie Kalmus, the wife of the inventor of Technicolor, was the most despised and feared woman in Hollywood for some years. She ran every set like her own personal little esthetic element forcing her colors and looks upon every department. At leas that's how the story goes.


Actually, "ex-wife" (they divorced in the 1920's I believe) -- Kalmus gave her a job at Technicolor partly to see that she had an income, but this led to much legal problems for him later because she used his house for business and social meetings, which backed up her claim years later that she was not really divorced from him, that she was owed a bigger alimony, that he could not remarry, etc. (which he wanted to.) A really messy court case followed.

Anyway, her job was to make sure that the colors being used by the production were "safe" for Technicolor (for example, white towels were forbidden, garish colors were to be avoided, etc.) She pushed her influence too far, getting into the hair of many talented art directors and DP's - but productions had no choice but to hire her when they were doing a 3-strip Technicolor movie. Another reason why the studios were glad when Eastmancolor was invented...

Some of her color ideas were not bad -- contrary to some reports, she generally preferred a more subtle approach to color. She and Dr. Kalmus were afraid that people's eyes would get tired of strong colors for a whole feature, plus see it as a gimmick. But of course, most producers paying for Technicolor really wanted to get their money's worth and see bold colors.

Her favorite photography in a Technicolor movie was "Black Narcissus" I believe (or was it "Red Shoes") so she couldn't have been completely clueless.

I assume later 1950's credits for color consultant was either just contractual (a holdover in the contracts from the days of 3-strip when Technicolor provided the cameras, cameramen, and the consultant) or a particular production felt the need for one. Plus since dye transfer printing was still unique, plus making the matrices now from Eastmancolor negative required some re-design of the b&w matrix stock & development to get the correct gamma, I'm not surprised that some coordination between the lab and the production was required for early Eastmancolor productions releasing in Technicolor dye transfer prints.
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#4 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 01:16 PM

I assume later 1950's credits for color consultant was either just contractual (a holdover in the contracts from the days of 3-strip when Technicolor provided the cameras, cameramen, and the consultant) or a particular production felt the need for one. Plus since dye transfer printing was still unique, plus making the matrices now from Eastmancolor negative required some re-design of the b&w matrix stock & development to get the correct gamma, I'm not surprised that some coordination between the lab and the production was required for early Eastmancolor productions releasing in Technicolor dye transfer prints.


---I've seen 'color consultant' credits on DeLuxe color movies. So by the late50s it might be the lab contact.

---LV
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#5 Filip Plesha

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 08:10 PM

All this brings nostalgia (even though I wasn't alive back then) to the times when color ment a job well done. Today color is taken for granted, and it lost its magic.
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#6 Dominic Case

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 11:37 PM

Also, I've seen some Eastmancolor titles which had "color by technicolor" feature color consultants from technicolor too.

When you say "Eastmancolor titles" do you mean a film that was shot on the Technicolor system but you saw it as an Eastmancolor print? Or a film that was shot on Eastmancolor negative but printed by Technicolor using their dye transfer process? Can you mention any titles?

I had always assumed that the color consultant requirement finished when Technicolor cameras went out of use and everyone started using the Eastmancolor integral tripack system (early 1950s). As David says, the reason for the consultant was apparently (as much as anything) a personal arrangement to direct company funds to Natalie Kalmus - but it was a contractual requirement of using the Technicolor system, like a license fee. But later on, it could be that anything that Technicolor had a toehold in continued to use a consultant for a while even if it was shot on tripack.
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#7 Filip Plesha

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 01:20 AM

When you say "Eastmancolor titles" do you mean a film that was shot on the Technicolor system but you saw it as an Eastmancolor print? Or a film that was shot on Eastmancolor negative but printed by Technicolor using their dye transfer process? Can you mention any titles?


I mean films shot on color negative bur developed by technicolor and printed in dye transfer.
Well, the last two I've seen with such credits are "the searchers" and "how to marry a millionaire", but I've seem more of them.

I assume the color consultant was there to advise the DP how different things would look when printed in dye transfer (which colors look best in such prints and stuff like that).
I guess if they had a guy or a woman going around telling people what colors to use (even on eastmancolor films) , then it really was "color by technicolor"
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