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Wally Pfister photochemical grade


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#1 Ben Brahem Ziryab

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 09:07 AM

Hello all,
 
Looking at the HD trailer of "Transcendence" and Wally Pfister's work on “The Dark Knight Rises” I noticed that the colors and contrast really pop (click link below). I wonder how this was done knowing that those films were graded traditionally and the HD transfer was done from an IP. Sure you can overexpose by 2/3 stop and print at higher printer lights, use the lighting and art direction etc, but judging from the trailer and blu-ray, it looks more like a DI.
 
How do you think they pushed the saturation and contrast?
 
darkknight1.png

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 12:18 PM

Prints have better blacks than digital projection (other than laser projection).  I had a lot of contrast and deep blacks in my prints of "The Love Witch" too, just from overexposing the negative and printing at higher numbers. 

 

There's no secret tricks involved.

 

But you posted a frame from a digital source, so obviously black level, contrast, and saturation are set digitally even if transferred from a timed IP.  I could easily make this image washed-out if I wanted to in Photoshop and so could have the person doing the home video transfer.

 

Black level in a print is the function of the printer lights combined with the design of the print stock.  Processing is standardized though development can tweak the contrast a little.  Forget lighting for a moment -- imagine sending an unexposed roll of film to the lab and having it processed and printed.  Then imagine making prints using lights in the 10's, 20's, 30's, and 40's.  The print made at the higher numbers will have deeper blacks.  Deeper blacks would give an image more contrast and saturation.


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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:43 PM

Unfortunately, the only way to see photochemical color is to watch a movie projected on film in the theater.

The digital versions of these movies all pass through a conventional color correction suite. Yes the DP usually approves the grade, but it has to conform to REC709 which has a narrower dynamic range then a film print can deliver.
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