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NCFOM - Criterion Release Hypothetical (4 replies and 4 comments)

Al Duffield
3 months ago
Al Duffield 3 months ago

Hi Roger, a while back you kindly relied to a question about 1984 and you talked about re-timing for the criterion release to better reflect the Bleach Bypass of the original theatrical presentation.

Anyhow, it got me thinking, if (when) Criterion release NCFOM  what, if anything would you tweak compared with the currently available blu-ray?

cheers, Al

Roger Deakins
3 months ago
Roger Deakins 3 months ago

I can't think of much if anything. The thing with '1984' was that I never was given the opportunity to time the film for anything other than its theatrical release. Criterion were really great in accommodating me to time their version.

MiguelMas
3 months ago

I just read Criterion's comments on how you achieved that look... this was what caught my eye ... "By omitting the bleach-bath step of the print-making process, Deakins succeeded in giving the movie a haunting “50 percent black-and-white”—though not without first setting several projectors on fire during the testing phase. " Projectors on fire? Please... tell us more,,,
https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/6507-how-roger-deakins-conjured-the-dystopian-darkness-of-1984»

Roger Deakins
3 months ago
Roger Deakins 3 months ago

When we were testing a screening room the print caught fire. When you keep that much silver in the print (the silver is what gives the intense black and monochromatic effect) and the projector stops, the emulsion heats up  and can burst into flame. I don't know how many times this happened but it didn't happen during a screening with an audience.

Al Duffield
3 months ago

Thanks Roger, very interesting indeed! From what I understand (and I know this is off topic) you were hoping to shoot 1984 in B&W. I have to say that I think the desaturated bleach bypass is quite a bit more bleak than a fully black and white image, the feeling that the life has almost been drained from everything is much stronger, for me at least. In hindsight how do you feel about the final outcome, would you still prefer it to be B&W?

Roger Deakins
3 months ago
Roger Deakins 3 months ago

I agree with you. The bleached color is more striking and the film feels more 'contemporary being in color. Besides, everyone seems to be shooting in B&W now, which is something I don't understand.

MiguelMas
3 months ago

I am watching Le Samouraïi, the 1967 noir thriller by Jean Pierre Melville, shot by Henri Decaë. The brilliant opening is all shades of grey with small hints of color that gradually reveal themselves.. so it was not shot on B/W... it looks very much like it was shot on color stock, then bleached... but am not sure if that technique was in use at that time. The only other solution would have been to design the set - a seedy hotel room - using grey paint - color is gradually revealed in Alain Delon's face and clothing as the scene progresses... your thoughts?

Roger Deakins
3 months ago
Roger Deakins 3 months ago

Yes, Melville was quite specific with his set designs and the color in 'Le Samurai' is just one example. You might look at the color of the sets and the bluish timing of the print for 'Army of Shadows'.

MiguelMas
3 months ago

Merci

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