I believe Cal Pryluck has misunderstood Alison McKee's question about a
1948 technicolor production, that had its final reel TINTED green. As I
just emphasized, the film was tinted, not faded.
The problem of transfering films to video today is that the film's colour
scheme is left in the hands of the video colourist that performs the Flying
-spot scan of the film to videotape. The colourist, or video technician,
probably thought the green tinting was a product of bad colour timing, or
fading, and therefore "corrected" it to look "normal" (at least making
flesh tones look like proper flesh tones, blue skys look like blue skys,
As I pointed out above, this green effect was intentional, and was not
the product of color shifting or fading. In 1948, technicolor was still
using its three strip color cameras to produce three black and white
camera negatives. These black and white negatives contained one primary
color, depending on the filter that was used for each corresponding strip
(so one strip contained the red information, one strip contained the blue
information and one strip contained the green information).
These three seperate camera negatives were used to produce three matrices
for techincolor's imbition color printing process (whereby clear acetate
or nitrate filmstock was imprinted with color by the matrices, one color
at a time, similar to the way today's colour photocopiers or color
laserprinters imprint a page three times to produce an image that appears
to contain all the colours of the rainbow). Since the camera original
negatives were black and white, color shifting was not a problem. That
is why a new print, struck today from old three-strip technicolor
negatives, still look as vibrant as they did when they were originally
struck, forty-five years ago.
The point that Cal was trying to address was the problem of color shifting
present in the early Eastman monopac color filmstock. Eastman Color stock
was introduced in 1951 and used very unstable dyes. Since the negative
was an actual color negative, color shifting became a real problem. That
is why most color films from the 1950s have faded to pink and are basically
unrestorable to their original color (no black and white seperations).
That however, is not the problem that Alison is facing with her film.
Alison, were the 16mm prints of this film also "corrected" by overzealous
color timers? For your purposes, I hope not.
Just Fading to pink,
Cinema Studies, University of Toronto
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