Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

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Rayon Vert
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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#76 Post by Rayon Vert » Sat May 08, 2021 11:41 am

Très bon article et extrêmement informatif!

p.s. I was just watching River of No Return the other day (or half of it until I gave up), and it's definitely one of the 50s Fox tealers, distractingly so at times. (See dvdbeaver.)

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#77 Post by tenia » Sat May 08, 2021 11:59 am

Oh, yup, definitely. I'm adding it to the list... I also added Carousel.

On the topic of those tealed Fox titles, I'm trying to understand where this might be coming from, and from what I gathered, it looks like it might be coming from Daniel DeVincent at Cineric New York.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#78 Post by tenia » Sun May 09, 2021 7:25 am

I've been going back through Twilight Time's Fox catalogue to update the FOX listing and wow, some of those are absolutely batcrap crazy trainwrecks. :shock: :shock:
Satan Never Sleeps and Pretty Poison are particularly unbelievable offenders. Some have what could be deemed a relatively light touch (like Panic in Needle Park), but some of them are just so so bad it's hard not to wonder who can have done such things thinking it's OK and who can have approved those thinking "yeah sure". I also have no idea what to do with something like Next Stop, Greenwich Village.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#79 Post by dekadetia » Sat May 15, 2021 6:55 pm

Hiventy's recent transfer of André Téchiné's Souvenirs d'en France is looking very Ritrovata-esque:

VHS:
Image

Bluray:
Image

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Matt
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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#80 Post by Matt » Sat May 15, 2021 8:29 pm

The restoration trailer doesn’t overall look inappropriately golden for a film of that era, genre, or provenance nor outside of what I’d typically expect from Téchiné and Nuytten (who supervised the restoration). I’m no authority on the film, but I think it looks rather lovely.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#81 Post by tenia » Sun May 16, 2021 4:02 am

It's Hiventy and doesn't have the Eclair nor Ritrovata signature.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#82 Post by tenia » Fri May 21, 2021 3:29 am

By the looks of them, you most likely can add Hotel des Amériques and La Baule-les-Pins to the Ritrovata color stamped list.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#83 Post by Randall Maysin » Thu May 27, 2021 1:45 pm

Does anyone have any idea of why these labs are all doing this? If there even is any ostensible rationale. Is it some sort of absurd small-scale institutional authoritarianism, like, "One day every bloody film will be orange and teal!"?

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#84 Post by tenia » Thu May 27, 2021 2:49 pm

Regarding Ritrovata, the main supposed rationale is that their philosophy is not to grade the restorations as "color corrected negatives" but to match release prints. However, the question remains in whether digital presentations should be graded in the same kind of workflow than photochemical ones, ie prints that are going to deal with the projector's color temperature (unlike digital presentations, especially home video), but their yellow shift would fit such a philosophy and that's along the lines of what they told me when I visited them.

As for Eclair, there currently is no rationale at all why they're doing things the way they do, and especially why in their case, it's not yellow but a quite modern-looking blue teal. They most likely have a reason to do so which makes sense at least for them, but if so, they haven't publicized it, nor anybody asked them about it and publicized the answer. There have been many theories about how it might make sense from an original industrial point of view, but as I explain in my article, the list of concerned movies is now so long none of those theories match it.

And of course, the larger issue is that if anyone of those labs are doing the right thing, then why are they the only ones to do so ? If they are, then exactly which one is doing THE right thing since clearly, Ritrovata and Eclair aren't doing the same thing at all ? And if they're not doing the right thing, then why nobody has stopped them long ago and we instead have to suffer a rehash of the magenta push era ?

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#85 Post by movielocke » Fri May 28, 2021 10:25 pm

tenia wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 2:49 pm
Regarding Ritrovata, the main supposed rationale is that their philosophy is not to grade the restorations as "color corrected negatives" but to match release prints.
IIRC no original negative is color corrected, other than the bath it got when it was developed.

a color corrected negative could only exist as an inter-negative.

this may be somewhat inaccurate, but I believe in photochemical grading, color adjustments are made shot by shot and or scene by scene. once final those color timings are plugged in to create a color timed interpositive.

Once the color timed interpositive is approved, a contact print can be made to create new internegatives, and since all the color correction was baked into the color-timed interpositive, the new internegatives made from it also all have the color timing baked in.

Now those internegatives can be used to expose new positives (release prints) but rather than having to adjust settings reel by reel or scene by scene, making the print now has only one setting because all the color decisions are made at the earlier stage.

The idea being to create a product that can be replicated at high speed so thousands of release prints can be struck.
***
Matching release prints is great if the color hasn't shifted over time. (or if the negative color hasn't shifted over time).

Going to the negative is great, but you lose all the labor of the color grading to do so, and have to replicate it digitally. This is also where the house style of the colorists come from, as colorist labor is expensive, and a scarce resource to allocate so you're going to have broad tools like LUTs used to try and manage labor costs.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#86 Post by tenia » Sat May 29, 2021 2:48 am

I meant color corrected OCN from a digital workflow, since that's basically what is happening on most restorations nowadays : OCN is scanned, then all the grading is done digitally based on this scan, hence a "color corrected OCN".

I also don't think the issue is using LUTs to manage resources and labor costs. I'm quite sure many labs are using LUTs, but only a couple of them are using them in such a repetitive manner. It's a grading philosophy. For them, these movies should look like this.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#87 Post by Nw_jahrles » Sat May 29, 2021 10:09 am

There was also Robert A Harris’ remark regarding the Warner Archive release of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

“The forthcoming Blu-ray is based upon a natural color scheme, as used in the 1968-71 safety re-prints.

The original color was the warm, muted palette of GWTW, and other late 1930s productions.

The difference is extremely interesting, as it shows the palette actually captured by the Technicolor process, as opposed to that as color timed for release printing.

Both are correct. If money was no object, and obviously it is, I'd have a multiple disc set, as the appearance is quite different.

The rationale for going with the more natural palette is simple. Most modern viewers are ill-equipped to understand the earlier look, and appreciate it's beauty. I would presume complaints galore from many without the understanding of the background of color history in cinema.

For those interesting in seeing that original look, and with a huge tip of the hat to UCLA and color guru and archivist Barbara Flueckiger, go here:”

This is the “original” look he linked to

https://filmcolors.org/wp-content/uploa ... G_0443.jpg

My impression is that Ritrovata hold a similar opinion when grading things. They feel their grading is more authentic to the original film processes.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#88 Post by david hare » Mon May 31, 2021 12:31 am

The way I read your post you are making a deeply wrong headed comparison of Warner's contemporary color grading with Ritrovata's. Three strip Tech films in particular all have a history of reissue at time when things like negative stock, dyes for the IB printing and other factors come into play. HIstorians who have minutely covered the history of Technicolor like Bob Haines and indeed Harris will tell you that titles like Wizard of Oz re-issued in prints after 1939 were far more brliliant than first release prints. Among other things Elizabeth and Essex was shot in 1939 just at a point just after Eastman had introduced new, faster negative stocks which brought a historically major technical lift in fine grain, rez and quality to all 35mm filming. With the three strip process for Tech one of the benefits of this was far tighter and more accurate minute fine color detail for the three neg strips to resolve in the matrices which is how you get so much amazing celebration of the huge amount of detail from contrasting colors for sets and wardrobe with the wides and mediums in Elizabeth and Essex (and many other films on and after the period. The point is there is a documented history of reissue prints which are intimately well understood by WAC and Feltenstein and the technicians at MPI , whether or not you call them "better', sharper" or more beautiful than original print runs. When Scorsese and Schoonmaker were finishing the restoration from the BFI three strips of the Red shoes they say on various fora how much better the finished color image looked with even "neutral" printing and gradng than original release prints in 1948. Grain rez for one, perfect strip alignment another. You simply cannot compare Warner's treatment of its own thousands of archive titles over seventy years, a history which is more than archivally consistent in its fidelity to the elements than the sort of reinvented color grading bullshit produced by the titanic egos of Eclair and Bologna who think their onw "view" of how bog standard European Eastmancolor grading should look. It's chalk and cheese.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#89 Post by Nw_jahrles » Mon May 31, 2021 11:00 am

The post was not intended as a critique of Warner’s neutral colour grading of Elizabeth and Essex, but to simply point out that Robert Harris argued that the movie should have a much warmer or yellow grading (the link in my above post is the look he feels would have been authentic). His post begins from a neutral stance, where he says both gradings are correct, but then refers to anyone who would prefer the neutral grading as “Ill-equipped to understand its beauty” so I would say he prefers the warmer push and is giving a political answer.

The point is, Ritrovata are absolutely engaging in revisionism, but the reason why they are grading films the way they are may lie within an in-house logic that they exhibiting the film as it would have looked in the era it came out.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#90 Post by tenia » Mon May 31, 2021 12:55 pm

As I explained multiple times, Ritrovata absolutely isn't doing this from a random position. They have an underlying philosophy justifying doing things this way rather than another one. The questions are why this seemingly leads to their gradings being extremely similar to each other no matter the movies, and why if their philosophy is correct, it sets them so aside from pretty much every other lab in the world (meaning they can't ALL be correct).
However, this is only covering Ritrovata and fitting a logic that movies should have a warmer look than what we're used to. Eclair, on the other hand, are taking an approach which too is totally aside from everybody else, but also not fitting the "warmer look" rhetoric.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#91 Post by david hare » Mon May 31, 2021 4:14 pm

Nw_jahrles wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 11:00 am
The post was not intended as a critique of Warner’s neutral colour grading of Elizabeth and Essex, but to simply point out that Robert Harris argued that the movie should have a much warmer or yellow grading (the link in my above post is the look he feels would have been authentic). His post begins from a neutral stance, where he says both gradings are correct, but then refers to anyone who would prefer the neutral grading as “Ill-equipped to understand its beauty” so I would say he prefers the warmer push and is giving a political answer.

The point is, Ritrovata are absolutely engaging in revisionism, but the reason why they are grading films the way they are may lie within an in-house logic that they exhibiting the film as it would have looked in the era it came out.
Once again you are wrong. Bob Harris in no way suggests that the color grading on this new 4K restoration is wrong. I fear that his ironic style of humor is often not clear. When he says “ill equipped to see its beauty” I understand him, in character to mean he’s sticking it to people who might claim revisionism. When he he was referring to the recent My Fair Lady Uhd disc he was using the same kind of limp humor with things like “a little film about..”etc. It;s a bit naff I know but you’ve got to read him correctly..

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#92 Post by soundchaser » Mon May 31, 2021 4:29 pm

I may be misreading Harris in that thread as well, but maybe you could help clarify what he means when he says that the color grading is not the “original.” I know he explains that it’s based on the later safety prints, which he views as equally correct; but my understanding is that he says the yellower screenshot linked to is how the film was timed when it came out in the 30s — and what Nw_jahrles is suggesting is that it was timed with a yellow cast to offset the carbon arc lamp’s cooler temperature. Which is similar to what Ritrovata is doing, except there’s no carbon arc to offset, so everything just looks...yellow.

Again, if I’m misunderstanding any of this, feel free to correct me!

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#93 Post by david hare » Mon May 31, 2021 7:07 pm

No, you’ve got it right. A lot of first run Tech prints were somewhat amber-ish, and that’s not allowing for any particularities of color design, and/or the dictates of either Kalmus in the early days, or the producer. On that score it was Selznick on GWTWwho wanted a ‘picture book’ destaturated tone, but it was Kalmus of all people who pushed him into a much fuller color palette. Carbon lamps certainly can blow image out but this was adapted for in printing and/or timing. The greatest shock among many in Elizabeth and Essex is how much Sol Polito photographed in very low light, and often in layered lighting. This is almost certainly a result of the faster Eastman neg nitrate stock introduced in 1938, but it is a devastating, even revolutionary jump in what the crew could do with three strip photography. I think the film is one of Curtiz’ masterpieces, and the more I look at it, one of the greatest color film ever made. Have you seen it yet?

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#94 Post by soundchaser » Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:32 pm

I haven't! Lots of Warner Archive catching up to do here. (Although I'm still not sure exactly what Harris is arguing - that the Blu-ray should have been timed to look like those amber prints? I would be surprised if Kalmus allowed such a cast when projected.)

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#95 Post by movielocke » Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:38 pm

soundchaser wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 4:29 pm
I may be misreading Harris in that thread as well, but maybe you could help clarify what he means when he says that the color grading is not the “original.” I know he explains that it’s based on the later safety prints, which he views as equally correct; but my understanding is that he says the yellower screenshot linked to is how the film was timed when it came out in the 30s — and what Nw_jahrles is suggesting is that it was timed with a yellow cast to offset the carbon arc lamp’s cooler temperature. Which is similar to what Ritrovata is doing, except there’s no carbon arc to offset, so everything just looks...yellow.

Again, if I’m misunderstanding any of this, feel free to correct me!
At one point I had the numbers to hand, but carbon arc light is around 5400K. reflectors could alter that a few hundred K but it's not enough to account for a ritrovita look nor explain why all ritrovita graded films look the same.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#96 Post by david hare » Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:06 pm

And Remy has explained over and over exactly what it is and why it's like that. Nothing to do with carbon arcs or anything in the real world. Just ego.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#97 Post by Fred Holywell » Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:56 pm

soundchaser wrote:
Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:32 pm
(Although I'm still not sure exactly what Harris is arguing - that the Blu-ray should have been timed to look like those amber prints? I would be surprised if Kalmus allowed such a cast when projected.)
Kalmus (or one of his associates) said essentially as much at a meeting of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers on October 28, 1938, in Detroit:

"Most theaters are equipped with high intensity arcs which produce a screen image that is slightly bluish. Technicolor prints are balanced to yield a neutral image on such a screen."

Though there was a caveat:

"Small projection units equipped with Mazda light produce a screen image that is slightly orange. When a print balanced for a high-intensity arc is projected by a Mazda light the screen result will be orange."

Don't know how many theaters used projection units with Mazda lamps, but apparently they were in the minority. It seems when Elizabeth and Essex was released a "neutral image" was the most prevalent one seen, and that seems to be (at least to my eye) what the Warners Blu-ray beautifully provides.

You can read more at Technicolor Adventures in Cinemaland, courtesy of THE AMERICAN WIDESCREEN MUSEUM.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#98 Post by tenia » Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:43 am

As I wrote, there are basically 3 issues here :
- trying to do things balanced for carbon lamps is non sense for digital work, especially for video.
- if that's the right thing to do, why is there nobody else doing so ? And how are they doing it instead without raising questions ?
- even if it's the right thing to do, it should probably shift colors but not in a uniformised way from movie to movie as if Serpico, the Olympic Games movies and A Touch of Zen had the same DoP.

As you can see, while real life projections conditions are a way to look at Ritrovata's philosophy, this hypothesis doesn't match the results well enough to put the question to rest.

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#99 Post by jsteffe » Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:17 am

The community of archives and film restoration labs is small and they frequently collaborate on projects. My sense of things is that people are deeply reluctant to criticize each others' work, especially in a public manner. To be honest, I don't see anything changing in the foreseeable future with these grading practices. It's worthwhile at least raising these questions here, even if nothing concrete comes of it ultimately.

Remy's work maintaining the list of affected films is truly valuable. For me, if nothing else, it helps to decide in advance what restorations not to watch or purchase. There are so many restorations out there and so many different films to rediscover that, thankfully, we have choices. It is a little sad that I am never going to watch most of Agnès Varda's color films in their new restorations, but there are different pleasures and discoveries to be had with THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX. (Thanks, David!)

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Re: Ritrovata and Eclair Cinematic Universes

#100 Post by tenia » Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:45 am

Ritrovata'd : Duccio Tessari's L'uomo senza memoria (as released by VCI).

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