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Post #1253590

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Star Wars - What is wrong and what is right... Goodbye Magenta
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Date created
1-Nov-2018, 6:51 PM

yotsuya said:

RU.08 - perhaps you have missed the many articles on the conditon of the O-neg for Star Wars. It was used for the production of all the interpositives - there was no duplicate negative made. Lucas was lamenting that. They did an expensive 3 color separation master and no duplicate negative was ever struck from it. The o-neg shows considerable wear from the constant use of making the many interpositives and presentation prints needed over the years.

I don’t mean a backup struck from the separation masters, I mean a duplicate struck from the inter-positive. It may be that they struck a reduction negative (16mm) from the inter-positive in 1976 and used that as the master for all the telecine prints until the 90’s. Regardless, the foreign releases would not have been made by cutting up the o-neg, but they could have been reversal prints (although not the telecine prints).

That all the telecines before the Definitive Collection have the reel change/cigarette burn (two terms for the same circular marks) and the fresh interpositive widely reported as the source for the Definitive Collection doesn’t just means that it really is a fresh print.

“Cigarette burn” is not a term for the changeover cues. They were frictionally called that in Fight Club, no one in the industry has ever used that term. And again, they’re in the negative so it doesn’t indicate that they were using theatrical prints, just that the negative they were struck from had changeover cues in it probably because it was the same negative used to strike prints.

And the report that a separate print must be used for the telecine process just is not accurate. I found a description of one of the common high end telecine machines that can do 16 or 35 mm, prints, negatives, or intermediates (as in interpositives).

No one said you “must use” a specific print, I was simply stating what was industry standard. For some really low budget independent films and that kind of thing, they may not have had telecine master prints. For a standard Hollywood Feature though it would be very unusual if they didn’t.

And TN1 released a raw scan of their SSE project. I have it. They had to splice in the opening sequence because the better print for reel 1 was not in English.

I’m pretty sure the faded opening sequence is in fact spliced on to the Spanish LPP.

There are some other slices as well, but largely the reels are uncorrected. Reel 5 is very dark (to dark to be of much use on this topic), but the scenes I question from the Technicolor Print are in reel 2 and that reel has a very consisted yellow tone and the contrast of the original image is quite easy to make out and it is quite different form the Technicolor prints.

Which again you can’t say is the result of how the reels actually look. I have two scans done of the same reel 3 of Jungle Book by the same scanner - and the colours look like they come from completely different prints. What happened was a splice opened up when scanning, and so the reel had to be re-scanned later but that wasn’t done for a few weeks, when it was done the scanner ran the whole reel through again - so I have about 3/4 of the reel on the first scan and the whole reel on the re-scan and the colours are completely different. Looks like a separate print.

There is no doubt that the Spanish LPP scan would have some of these issues as well - if reel 5 appears much darker it doesn’t mean the reel really was darker than the rest of the print (although it might have been), it just means it scanned that way. If they re-scanned it on a different day it could look different.

The Telecines all have similar contrast to those shots that match the raw scan for TN1’s SSE. So telling me that the final product was graded to the GOUT is irrelevant to what I am pointing out because I am going off of the uncorrected raw scan. And it would be interesting to ask the question if the SSE has scene by scene color correction or a more general color correction to each reel or spliced section. Having watched it several times I feel it is the later.

But what does “uncorrected raw scan” mean? With a homebrew setup like the one TN1 used, I’m willing to bet the camera did an auto-white balance at the start of each capture. That would mean each reel would look different when scanned. A professional scanner uses a calibrated lead strip of film to do the white balance, and then scans the film - I can just about guarantee you TN1 did not do that with the Spanish LPP so what you have is 6x scans (or more) done separately with separate white balances.

The assumption is being made that the Technicolor prints are the most accurate color for the 1977 release and what I am seeing is that those prints are heavily flawed in a number of ways. They have faded the least over the last 40 years, but they are not the best source of the 1977 theatrical optical print colors.

We’re going around in circles here. I expect the dye-transfer prints to look a little different, that’s normal. But you can’t conclude they’re “wrong” because a handful of scenes don’t look right to you. The cinema screen is much more forgiving than the home viewing environment, you notice inconsistencies less in the cinema because you’re watching the film in a blacked-out environment, you no longer have a reference point other than what’s on the screen for colour.

So I see no evidence that Star Wars/A New Hope ever had duplicate negatives or special telecine prints made. And the reason a lot of the prints have black cigarette burns is that they are typically applied to the internegative. Not a duplicate negative.

The internegative is a dupe-neg. In any case we’re now on the same page, the film prints were struck from a duplicate negative. You’re mistaken though if you think they only struck theatrical prints and not telecine prints as well.

And your comment about the transfer for Song of the South was amusing. If you read the credits you will find the name Natalie Kalmus. You will also find, if you pick up a copy of Gone With the Wind (the last restoration was true to the original Technicolor timing), that the colors are similarly bright. That was a hallmark of all the early Technicolor movies. This is why we used technicolor to describe things that are brightly colored. Natalie Kalmus, wife of the inventor of the process, insisted that all movies made in Technicolor highlighted the process by using bright colors that were further brightened in the post production process. A selection of movies from DVD/Blu-ray, or from TCM that carry her name will show that the transfer for Song of the South is accurate to how she wanted the movie to look. That is why Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz had Ruby slippers instead of the original Silver. After her involvement ended, the Technicolor process was muted to more realistic colors and it was common to use a color negative and leave Technicolor to just the prints.

You can see obvious flaws in the telecine, and that’s my point.

Star Wars was the last film to have technicolor prints.

So Suspiria doesn’t count then?

Anyone here worked at a production facility that was closing down? Shoddy work is typical of that environment. The green tint to the dark areas of Star Wars isn’t news and is a known flaw. Why there can’t be other flaws if there is already one known makes no sense. The general look of the Star Wars Technicolor prints points to someone not doing their best. And I’d rather believe they goofed up making the separations in the color timing than they screwed up the printing process. And that is what it looks like. The shots I question look like they were overexposed and washed out. The green shadows could be a timing issue as well.

Your only evidence is your subjective opinion, without a known reference point, that the dye-transfer prints “look wrong”. With respect that’s just not going to cut it. I’ve seen films that look like a mess on 35mm with it having little to nothing to do with the final prints themselves.

Films I’ve seen on photochemical prints (Kodak, Fuji, etc) often have green or other colour tints in the dark areas. While you might say that’s a “flaw” there’s absolutely no evidence that it has anything to do with the printing process. You often find a handful of scenes like this in reels with other scenes that have “normal” black levels without a tint - how can that be due to a part of the final printing process? Simple - it can’t, it isn’t. It’s in the negative.