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Technicolour look


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#1 Amith Surendran

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 03:47 AM

Hi all,

Im a student DOP working on a script which requires a 1960's look for a few interior scenes. Can you please advice me on my options on a student budget rounding off at 6000$?

My initial thoughts were about getting most of the colors in production design, and telecine from a print made on a high saturation stock unlike other scenes which will be captured directly from the negative, to mark a difference in looks. The filmstock will be Kodak Vision 3 500T

Please drop in your suggestions and thoughts.

Cheers

Edited by Amith Surendran, 10 September 2008 - 03:49 AM.

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#2 Andrew Koch

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:05 AM

With a budget of only 6000, why would you want to go to through the added expense of printing something when you are going to telecine it anyway? Couldn't you simply increase the saturation and contrast in telecine? You can get more saturation and richer blacks if you overexpose the film about 2/3 of a stop and bring it down. You might want to consider shooting these scenes on the Fuji Vivid stock which is high contrast, high saturation, or maybe even reversal film. Are you shooting on 35mm or 16mm? If you do decide to print something on 35mm, the premier stock is very snappy, but more expensive. I'm not even sure if it is available in 16mm. A couple of years ago, when I was getting 16mm workprints as a student, the lab told me there was only one color print stock available for 16mm. I can't remember the name of that stock. Those who know this better, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Unless you have an established relationship with your lab, labs tend to print student films hot and flat, so even if you go this way, you would most likely have to tweak the contrast in telecine anyway.
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#3 Amith Surendran

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 12:32 PM

With a budget of only 6000, why would you want to go to through the added expense of printing something when you are going to telecine it anyway? Couldn't you simply increase the saturation and contrast in telecine? You can get more saturation and richer blacks if you overexpose the film about 2/3 of a stop and bring it down. You might want to consider shooting these scenes on the Fuji Vivid stock which is high contrast, high saturation, or maybe even reversal film. Are you shooting on 35mm or 16mm? If you do decide to print something on 35mm, the premier stock is very snappy, but more expensive. I'm not even sure if it is available in 16mm. A couple of years ago, when I was getting 16mm workprints as a student, the lab told me there was only one color print stock available for 16mm. I can't remember the name of that stock. Those who know this better, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Unless you have an established relationship with your lab, labs tend to print student films hot and flat, so even if you go this way, you would most likely have to tweak the contrast in telecine anyway.


Hi Andrew,

We will be shooting on super16. 6000$ is the budget available for cinematography. It will be a 10 min short with a 4:1 shooting ratio.(roughly)

Edited by Amith Surendran, 10 September 2008 - 12:33 PM.

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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 01:12 PM

Have a look at 7285 Ektachrome reversal. You can shoot tests with Kokak EK100VS 35mm still film. I shot a pocketful of rolls of EK100VS at Precious Moments in Carthage, MO a couple of years ago. The results were highly saturated and looked very much like you'd expect of Technicolor.
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#5 Amith Surendran

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 05:34 AM

Have a look at 7285 Ektachrome reversal. You can shoot tests with Kokak EK100VS 35mm still film. I shot a pocketful of rolls of EK100VS at Precious Moments in Carthage, MO a couple of years ago. The results were highly saturated and looked very much like you'd expect of Technicolor.

Thanks Hal,
Have very basic light power ( a few blondies , redheads and arri 300's) i dont think it is a wise idea to shoot such a slow speed film.
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 01:07 AM

Have very basic light power ( a few blondies , redheads and arri 300's) i dont think it is a wise idea to shoot such a slow speed film.

I'd recommend spending more of your budget on lighting then! Shooting a slower speed stock will help get you that Technicolor look much more than doing a telecine from a print. Technicolor stocks were extremely slow back in the day (like in the 5-25 ASA range, depending on the decade). Consequently, one of the characteristics of the Technicolor look is a smooth, fine-grained texture which you won't get with a 500 ASA stock, especially in Super 16.
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#7 Amith Surendran

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:57 AM

I'd recommend spending more of your budget on lighting then! Shooting a slower speed stock will help get you that Technicolor look much more than doing a telecine from a print. Technicolor stocks were extremely slow back in the day (like in the 5-25 ASA range, depending on the decade). Consequently, one of the characteristics of the Technicolor look is a smooth, fine-grained texture which you won't get with a 500 ASA stock, especially in Super 16.




How about Fuji F-125? I have some stock in hand.
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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 03:32 AM

How about Fuji F-125? I have some stock in hand.

I've never shot that stock so I couldn't say. I know that it's an older stock and thus grainier than more modern stocks of the same speed. Fuji negative stocks (except for the Vivid 160T) have a reputation for more pastel colors than their Kodak equivalents, but if that's all you have then it's better than nothing as long as it's relatively fresh stock. You might be better off with Kodak 7217 200T, which is 2/3 stop faster with good color saturation and minimal grain. 7217 has a smooth creamy texture when overexposed slightly, which I think is the look you're going for (let me know if I'm wrong!).

Anyway, I think the important thing is that you give the film a full exposure and use enough fill light so the image doesn't get too contrasty (unless that's what you want). The use of specific color combinations in the art direction will help a lot.

Lighting to a higher key can be pretty tricky if you're used to lighting for 500 ASA film. Especially if you're used to bouncing light off of ceilings or bounce boards, since you won't be getting the light levels that you need out of them. The trick is to either use more powerful lights in the same fashion or to light your subjects directly with gel diffusion, which is a much harder look than bouncing. That's also part of the technicolor look in my opinion, but it's definitely out of fashion these days.
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#9 Mike Simpson

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 01:02 PM

Maybe its just me but when I think technicolor I think low-con and pastel, but with really saturated colors, so I would probably shoot a fuji stock thats as slow as I could get away with and bump up the saturation in the transfer. But in my experience the s16 fuji stocks seem pretty grainy so you might want to test.

I agree with Satsuki that direct light is also the way to go if you really want to stay true to that look.

heres some pictures:
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

Colors seem a bit off in the last two. Check out the eyes though. You can see they were throwing alot of light. The shot of the prince has 4 (or 5?) huge eyelights!


You might also want to check out the article on The Aviator in AC. They built their whole technicolor and I thought it was sucessful.
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 07:45 PM

Well, I think in the case of "Black Narcissus" the filmmakers were consciously trying to make the early scenes with the nuns look low-con and pastel; Jack Cardiff mentioned on the DVD that they even painted the nuns' lips a pale flesh color because the Technicolor process made their natural lip color appear unnaturally red, as if they wore lipstick. Thus the shock of the nun putting on the bright red lipstick at the climax of the film would have been greatly diminished. I think it was Martin Scorsese who pointed out that British DPs like Cardiff and Ozzie Morris brought a more nuanced "European" approach to working with Technicolor than their American counterparts by not necessarily always using the format to show off how saturated colors could be but sometimes desaturating or "muddying" colors to create contrasts that reflected the psychology of the characters and the story. So films like "Black Narcissus" and "Moulin Rouge" probably aren't the best examples of the typical Technicolor look of the period, though I'd say they are among the best uses of the format.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 08:57 PM

I seem to remember that this was also the era of Technicolor when they were assigning a Technicolor Consultant who would advise the art direction and the DP on certain colors. Basically their job was to suggest dull colors so things wouldn't appear so saturated. I also recall that Cardiff used quite a bit of diffusion on the lens, and that there was a story that Technicolor reported back to him saying everything was out of focus! They hadn't realized he was intentionally softening things up.
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#12 Mike Simpson

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 06:54 AM

So films like "Black Narcissus" and "Moulin Rouge" probably aren't the best examples of the typical Technicolor look of the period, though I'd say they are among the best uses of the format.



I guess its just an issue of reference. When I think of the "technicolor look" I tend to think of my favorite films or the best films, rather than the majority. =D
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#13 Amith Surendran

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:52 PM

Thank you for all your prompt replies. It is really helping me in the planning process.
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