Film COPIES & Digital version of same movie

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  • #214855

      Hi Roger and all the masters,

      I watched a movie that was celebrating its 20th anniversary with a restored 4K version shown in theaters. During the screening, I noticed that the visuals had more depth and finer details compared to the version shown from film copies, which I watched 20 years ago.

      Could you explain the theory and chemistry behind this? Is it because the film underwent color correction with digital technology nowadays?

      Even if color correction was applied, it wasn’t done on RAW or Log footage, and the available range for adjustments shouldn’t have been extensive.

      Additionally, why couldn’t film from the past achieve the same level of colors and depth in film lab as we can achieve today?

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    • #214856

        The 4K restoration likely did a scan of the negative (often a 6K scan on an Arriscanner immediately downsampled to 4K). A film scan would naturally be in Cineon log gamma, or it would be in ACES, 16-bit linear. Either way, all resolution and dynamic range available would be captured.

        Raw refers to an image from a Bayer-filtered camera sensor before conversion to RGB. A film scanner just makes separate passes for RGB.

        20 years ago, a new print of an old color movie probably came from a dupe negative made from a color interpositive (or b&w separations) made from the negative.


          Color-wise, you have to remember that color with a digital projector is additive, not subtractive as with a film print.


            Part of what you responded to may have also been a difference in projection, if the 4k restoration was a DCP and not a film print as it would have been 20 years ago, if the screening room itself had better viewing conditions, etc.

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