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Dye transfer prints


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#1 Jason Debus

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 01:54 AM

After viewing Funny Girl tonight at the Egyptian I was reminded how beautiful dye transfer prints look. Deep blacks and the most vibrant colors (the reds were particularly jaw dropping).

As I understand it Technicolor has discontinued the process which is disappointing. With the present state of technology, what is the best process to make a print of the highest quality? ENR? Is there any way to get a dye transfer print presently?
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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 03:20 AM

Call Technicolor, Inc.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 11:08 AM

The closest look nowadays to a dye transfer print is to print on Kodak Vision Premier.

ENR would increase the blacks but also reduce color saturation, whereas Premier print stock has deep blacks and stronger colors. Not as good as dye transfer but closer than any other option.
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#4 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 12:33 AM

I was invited to visit the London Technicolor dye-transfer operation in the mid 70'ies before it was closed. The minimum order was 200 prints they told me. Hardly student territory.
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#5 Christian Appelt

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 04:39 PM

Jason,

films like FUNNY GIRL were shot on low speed negative, in anamorphic format and a special style of lighting (which most modern filmmakers rather dislike). IMHO stylized set design had a lot more influence on the film's color scheme than the dye transfer process, although it certainly made colors stand out. But certain 1950s/1960s Eastman color contact prints (often made on step printers from the OCN) have similar "living" colors, I remember a vintage print of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV where I would have sworn it had to be Technicolor...but Eastman Color (Metrocolor) it was, with a slight fade, of course.

But dye transfer prints were by no means always the best process in terms of image or color quality. Look at 1950s CinemaScope films, most of the Technicolor prints up to 1956 had less resolution and much less shadow detail than the Eastman contacts prints from OCN.

Of course the dye transfer colors did not fade over the years, but if you watch a movie in a print made up from both Eastman and Technicolor footage, the latter will look softer and slightly muddy in dark scenes. The best quality in Technicolor release printing could be seen when they did reductions from Vistavision or Technirama large format negatives.

I was quite impressed by the new (and last) Technicolor dye transfer process used for some prints of APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX - I wish I could have seen THE THIN RED LINE in dye transfer too.
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