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The Rugrats Movie - Color Grading Project (WIP)

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 (Edited)

There was a thread about this made way back in 2017 by myself, going under a different name while quite inexperienced in this sort of thing. Probably could’ve continued that thread, but I really wanted to start fresh.

I’ve personally never been a big fan of how the original Rugrats Movie looks. Something about the colors has always been off to me; interestingly, original trailer footage reveals a quite different color palette.

https://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/11474/

In my opinion, this looks miles better than the home video release; I’m entirely unsure how it looked in theatres, but I’d love to know; a camrip does exist, however I don’t have a copy of it. (Anyone who saw it in back in 98 have any memory?)

My goal with this project is to come as close to the original color palette as possible, and fill in the blanks for what footage isn’t available in trailers; frankly, I’m not amazingly experienced with color grading, but here’s some quick proof of concept pieces I threw together tonight in Sony Vegas. Nowhere near as good as I’d like, but a start for sure.

https://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/11473/

As I said, color grading isn’t something I’m super experienced with, but I’m happy to learn for a project that I’m passionate about. I have to ask though, does anyone know of the best software for color grading? I’ve been using Vegas for years, but I’m not opposed to other software if it yields better results.

I’m not sure yet if I’d be using a 4:3 transfer or 16:9 (hence using both in the early mockup), they have different framing and I’m not sure which I prefer. 16:9 is more likely, as I don’t think an HD 4:3 transfer exists anywhere.

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MrColeslaw said:

does anyone know of the best software for color grading?

Well, I’m just a simple feller who likes using VirtualDub for many things. 😃 It’s surely not the best there is for color correction, but fwiw here’s the result of my messing around (with a just screen grab – hence the noise and blockiness – of your “home video colors” frame on screenshotcomparison).

image

Did you notice that the trees are very different between your trailer and the home video snapshots?

LightWave = fun times with gfx for me 😃

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That looks fantastic, thank you so much for giving it a go! Are you using add-on Virtualdub filters, or just what’s built in? Been years since I’ve touched VD, so my memory is fuzzy on what’s included.

I did notice last night that a lot of backgrounds in the trailers are entirely different; was quite tired and forgot to mention it. I don’t think there’s any fixing that without just using trailer footage, but personally I’m fine with the final backgrounds; my concern lies with the palette.

I think I’ve decided on using the 16:9 version of the film for now; would’ve preferred 4:3, considering the original colors are more true to the Rugrats show, it’d probably give it a more show-esque look overall. Would’ve also given me opportunity to re-insert the TV broadcasted deleted scenes. Unfortunately, the only 4:3 master is on DVD/VHS in 480i, and what was broadcasted on TV up until 2016 or so.

If anyone has a decent source for those deleted scenes (aired on CBS in 2001 and on Nickelodeon until 2015), please let me know!! Finding those in decent quality may change my perspective on the whole 4:3/16:9 ordeal.

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MrColeslaw said:

That looks fantastic, thank you so much for giving it a go! Are you using add-on Virtualdub filters, or just what’s built in? Been years since I’ve touched VD, so my memory is fuzzy on what’s included.

Definitely a number of add-ons: Gradation curves, Color Mill, Color Balance, Multi-adjust, plus a couple of built-in ones. I’m not really saying “you should go my route!” It could well be that using all those things at once on your master will give you artifacts. I was just wanting to give a try and see what I could do for kicks, just kinda fun for me. 😃

The background art being different, I wonder why they went through the extra trouble? I don’t recall a case like this before for a number of shots (that have nothing to do with censorship).

I’m actually not remotely an authority on this show/movie, have never seen any of it. I just wanted to try the matching with VDub…so I have no sources or anything to offer, sorry. Hopefully someone chimes in offering your ideal materials.

LightWave = fun times with gfx for me 😃