Converting Technicolor to Eastmancolor.

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
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antoniod

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Converting Technicolor to Eastmancolor.

PostFri May 28, 2010 10:55 am

I'm curious. Just what process was used to convert 3-Strip Technicolor to Eastmancolor in the days of TV/16mm rental prints?(50s to 70s).I used to assume that it was optical printing, but I was probably wrong.
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Christopher Jacobs

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PostFri May 28, 2010 12:14 pm

During the 1950s-70s, a lot of 16mm prints were actually printed in Technicolor and looked just as vibrant (if grainier) than 35mm prints. I believe that for whatever reason, certain titles were even printed dye-transfer in 16mm that had only Eastmancolor prints in 35mm. It was in the 70s and later that they were usually reprinted in Eastmancolor, but I'm not sure if they simply made a color dupe negative from a Technicolor print, or if they prepared it from the 3-strip B&W separations. By the mid-50s quite a few films were shot on color negative but separations were made to print Technicolor release prints, so Eastmancolor prints would simply be made directly from the original (or a duplicate) color negative. I remember our college running THE CAINE MUTINY in the early 70s and again in the late 70s, and the second time the print was a pale shadow of the rich color on the older print.

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Jack Theakston

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PostFri May 28, 2010 1:34 pm

That is correct. 16mm prints are almost always one of the three:

- Dye Transfer prints. Generally well printed, but can look soft. Great color that holds up, of course.

- Kodachrome reductions made from 35mm IB prints. Good color, but always contrasty, usually too dark.

- Monopack color stock prints (such as Eastman) made from a composite negative from the three-strips.

Three strip negs always have to be optically printed, since the Blue record is oriented emulsion-in. The key to Technicolor's vivid color was the optical printing of the matrices because optical printing increases contrast, and therefore chroma.
Last edited by Jack Theakston on Fri May 28, 2010 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
J. Theakston
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Richard P. May

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PostFri May 28, 2010 6:03 pm

Jack,
Let's elaborate a bit on the printing of Technicolor originated pictures on 16mm Eastman:
The general practice would be to make a 35mm interpositive from the 3-strip negatives. From that IP, an optically reduced 16m negative is made on color negative stock, along with a 16mm sound track negative.
These elements are used for conventional contact printing and color processing.
Another system, now obsolete, was called 35/32. This consisted of two 16mm negatives to be made on a strip of 35mm film, and printed on 35mm equipment. The print stock was also perforated for 16mm. After processing, the print was slit in two, and the excess 3mm were trimmed off. This allowed two prints to be made in one pass.
This was used extensively at MetroColor during the days when 16mm was heavily used for non-theatrical and TV.
Dick May
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Jack Theakston

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PostFri May 28, 2010 6:47 pm

A friend of mine once had a 35/32 high-speed quality control projector sitting in his garage, and I saw it in operation all of once. It always amazed me that even with Geneva movement, the thing didn't tear the small perfs to shreds!!

I believe this was also a popular system for 8mm as well, in a 16mm-type format.
J. Theakston
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Richard P. May

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PostSat May 29, 2010 10:21 am

What I found amazing is the examiners watching the screen all day.
Two rows of image, high speed, and wondering how many hours of the day they couldn't keep attention on the screen.
MetroColor turned out very high quality prints.
Dick May
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moviepas

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Technicolor

PostMon Jul 05, 2010 3:49 pm

I can agree with Richard's remarks about Metrocolor turning out good quality prints. I bought a legitimate 16mm print of Alan Freed's Rock, Rock, Rock. This had proper text Metrocolor on the leaders and was a perfect print. Black & white yes but it gave me a good idea of their work. I guess they had a good negative to work with as well.
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Richard P. May

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PostTue Jul 06, 2010 8:55 am

Re-reading Jack's note about high speed projectors reminds me, again, of the Metrocolor Lab.
They had a high speed 35mm machine in one of their screening rooms, with speed control handled from the auditorium. The projector went up to about 300 feet per minute. It could be heard in the auditorium when running fast, and was almost scary. At its hightest speed the image became unsteady.
I first used it with the 1924 silent GREED (not in 1924, this was in 1986), and got thru the 110 minute film in about 45 minutes. Wheee!
Dick May

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