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Techniscope Question


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#1 Gary Lemson

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 09:44 AM

Hello,

In ?The Making of American Graffiti?, Haskell Wexler mentions that George Lucas wanted ?strong colors? as opposed to a desaturated , or pastel look. In the following sequence, Haskell Wexler and Ron Howard independently discuss the decision to use Techniscope. Ron mentions Techniscope had the effect of 16mm grain and desaturation . This appears to conflict with the desire for a saturated look.

Could someone clarify the effect of Techniscope on saturation (and grain) ?

Thanks.
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#2 Dan Goulder

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 10:21 AM

Hello,

In ?The Making of American Graffiti?, Haskell Wexler mentions that George Lucas wanted ?strong colors? as opposed to a desaturated , or pastel look. In the following sequence, Haskell Wexler and Ron Howard independently discuss the decision to use Techniscope. Ron mentions Techniscope had the effect of 16mm grain and desaturation . This appears to conflict with the desire for a saturated look.

Could someone clarify the effect of Techniscope on saturation (and grain) ?

Thanks.

Go with the Haskell Wexler version. The closest format to Techniscope is Super 35, not 16mm.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 10:39 AM

Go with the Haskell Wexler version. The closest format to Techniscope is Super 35, not 16mm.


Well, back then, before modern Super-35, Techniscope was somewhat on the grainier side compared to the other method of getting 2.35, which was 35mm anamorphic.

Being a half-frame 35mm format, it's not unusual for someone of that period to think of it more in the same category as 16mm i.e. smaller than standard 35mm. Certainly it's smaller than 35mm anamorphic in terms of negative area. Smaller negative = more grain. Yes, obviously it's not as small as 16mm and thus not as grainy.

In terms of color saturation, since the conversion to scope and printing was done using the dye transfer process at Technicolor, there would not have been any loss of saturation. Optical printer blow-ups of 16mm have some loss of saturation from the IP/IN steps, plus you're working with a little less color information on the original. If anything, the dye transfer prints back then of "American Graffitti" were more saturated than a modern print would be.

But I don't think you can necessarily say that smaller formats = less saturation. Or that more grain means less saturation.

When you ask about the graininess of 2-perf, you have to say in comparison to what. 4-perf Super-35 cropped to scope? Not much of a difference in size, thus not much of a difference in graininess. Compared to standard 1.85? Then you have to factor in that standard 1.85 can be contact printed, but if you put them through the same number of generations, I think you'd find that 2-perf-to-anamorphic was similar in graininess to 4-perf 1.85. Compared to 4-perf 35mm anamorphic? 2-perf would be grainier, being almost half the negative area.
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#4 Gary Lemson

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 10:32 AM

"...you have to say in comparison to what. "

Good point. One might surmise that Ron was comparing "scope" to 35mm anamorphic.


"...dye transfer prints back then ...were more saturated..."

Agreed.

Well, I listened to Ron's comments again, and I'm still not sure what he meant with regard to a desaturated look of "Graffitti".


Thank you for your insights. Much appreciated.

GL
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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 01:27 PM

In terms of color saturation, since the conversion to scope and printing was done using the dye transfer process at Technicolor, there would not have been any loss of saturation. Optical printer blow-ups of 16mm have some loss of saturation from the IP/IN steps, plus you're working with a little less color information on the original. If anything, the dye transfer prints back then of "American Graffitti" were more saturated than a modern print would be.

But I don't think you can necessarily say that smaller formats = less saturation. Or that more grain means less saturation.


When 'American Graffitti' was made in the preECN-2 days, shooting in 16mm would used Ektachrome reversal. Since reversal doesn't have the orange color-masking of color negative a blow up would have been less saturated than one from masked negative.

In a Filmmaker's Newsletter interview, Lucas said he considered shooting in Super 16, but because of the large amount of night exteriors they would have had to have used Ektachrome EF.

He also said he considered Techniscope a sort of either Super Duper 16 or Super Super 16.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:06 PM

In a Filmmaker's Newsletter interview, Lucas said he considered shooting in Super 16, but because of the large amount of night exteriors they would have had to have used Ektachrome EF.

He also said he considered Techniscope a sort of either Super Duper 16 or Super Super 16.


That would've been an extremely early proposed use of Super 16, Rune Ericson must have just about come up with the idea of Super 16 around that time.
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#7 Dominic Case

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 07:06 PM

That would've been an extremely early proposed use of Super 16, Rune Ericson must have just about come up with the idea of Super 16 around that time.

Rune Erikson started the super 16 idea in 1969: he shot the first feature (in Sweden) in 1970.

16mm was introduced in 1923 as an amateur format, and it never overcame that approach in the US. So when ECN1 colour negative was introduced, it was used more widely in Europe & the UK (eg by the BBC) than in the USA where the more amateur-friendly reverssal stocks were favoured.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the 6mm ECN1 stock was 7254. ECN2 was introduced in 1974, and 7247 became available.

American Graffiti was made in 1973. So it predated ECN2. Although super 16 was well established by that time, 2-perf Techniscope was familiar as a 35mm format, having been used most famously in the mid 1960s for the Fistful of Dollars films of Sergio Leone.
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 04:16 AM

Rune Erikson started the super 16 idea in 1969: he shot the first feature (in Sweden) in 1970.

16mm was introduced in 1923 as an amateur format, and it never overcame that approach in the US. So when ECN1 colour negative was introduced, it was used more widely in Europe & the UK (eg by the BBC) than in the USA where the more amateur-friendly reverssal stocks were favoured.


Having a quick check I could only find early 1970s for Super 16.

The BBC used reversal for the many programmes, especially news, lower budget and regional programmes. They had in house processing labs that could process the reversal film. This was also handy for local film makers - the head of our local BBC lab would process their film for the cost of the odd bottle of whiskey. He did more for the local indies than his bosses at the time.
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 11:38 AM

Having a quick check I could only find early 1970s for Super 16.

The BBC used reversal for the many programmes, especially news, lower budget and regional programmes. They had in house processing labs that could process the reversal film. This was also handy for local film makers - the head of our local BBC lab would process their film for the cost of the odd bottle of whiskey. He did more for the local indies than his bosses at the time.


There was an early 1970 cover story in American Cinematographer about Super16.
Erikson was shooting 'Lyckliga Skitar' on 7254 with mostly Canon vidicon lenses including a 16-95mm zoom plus a 9mm Kinoptik and 18mm Schneider.

EF had a published resolution of 80 l/mm compared to '54's 64 l/mm.
EF had projection contrast, so it yielded some nasty looking prints.
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#10 John Holland

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 11:47 AM

My first job for a doco/ medical /motor racing ,company at the tender age of 18 was shooting using EC0 25asa , and EF 125 t and EF 160 daylight , this stuff was intercut and printed onto a Kodachrome print stock , the EF stuff looked awful . Hate reversal . :)
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:29 PM

16mm was introduced in 1923 as an amateur format, and it never overcame that approach in the US. So when ECN1 colour negative was introduced, it was used more widely in Europe & the UK (eg by the BBC) than in the USA where the more amateur-friendly reverssal stocks were favoured.


During WWII, 16mm was drafted into being a professional format.
Only the German's had monopack color negative then.

Until the ECN-@ process, reversal stocks had the edge in sharpness over color neg. Maybe grain on the slower color reversals. Kodachrome was the fine grain champ. Well maybe not ER and EF.

ECO 7252 had a published resolution of 90 l/mm & it's replacement 7252 was 125 l/mm.
While 5/7247 ECN II was 100 l/mm. Anscocolor neg from the 50s was 50 l/mm.


My first job for a doco/ medical /motor racing ,company


medical/ motor racing!?! Ambulance races while the doctors are doing appendectomies in the back?
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#12 Michael Most

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 02:56 PM

Rune Erikson started the super 16 idea in 1969: he shot the first feature (in Sweden) in 1970.


He also introduced 3 perf 35mm a number of years later. Quite the innovator, and a character to boot.
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