Hope everyone’s staying safe these days. Stay inside if you can and be sure to wash those hands often! I’m quarantined at home and while I was home I thought I’d take a break from cleaning up the scan of 1985 and do a fun little project with one of my ultimate guilty pleasures, the 1976 version of King Kong.
I was watching the Blu-ray and noticed it looked very… clean. Too clean, in fact. DNR everywhere, unnatural grain, decent but artificial colors. I thought what better way to improve my own (and maybe even yours!) viewing experience by doing what I did for the 2014 Godzilla by “film-ifying” the BD to make it more 35mm-y.
But I knew that wasn’t enough. The film was shot on 35mm, so it would look unncessarily dirty and grainy, with no real benefit over the Blu-Ray master, so I had to go even bigger. Then, I realized the perfect fit for this project:
Recreate what it would have looked like to watch a 35mm I.B. Technicolor dye transfer print of King Kong.
Now, before anyone gets confused, let me clarify, there were most certainly NOT I.B. Technicolor dye-transfer prints made of the 1976 King Kong. The dye transfer process was last used in the 70s in the film “Suspiria,” and wasn’t revived again until the 90s (coincidentally, the 1998 Godzilla apparently went out in the new dye transfer process). So no, I did not have a 35mm Technicolor print to reference, as they did not exist. What my aim for this project is is to recreate what it [i]would have looked like[/i] in the color and texture and aesthetic of what it would have looked like if the dye transfer process had survived long enough for Kong to be given the I.B. treatment. I used my knowledge of technicolor prints, from seeing a few screenings and seeing scans and having a decent idea of what that color looks like on a film. Because I couldn’t find any resource for where the reel changes were in the film, I decided to stay safe and not make any assumptions and omit reel cues. If I ever find a resource for where those were, I will definitely add those to the list of things to change for v2.0.
Also, because I was able to grade the film for technicolor with a single, overall pass, I was able to produce a LUT for it, as well, which I will include for you all to use on any project you want to “Dye-Transfer-ify.” I can’t promise it will work every time, and it might take some tinkering, and for some sources, it might simply not work at all for certain sources. But, it should be interesting to see.
I plan to release a 1080p version, which should fit pretty nicely on a Blu-Ray disc if you so desire. Be on the lookout!