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2-Strip Technicolor: Set/Costume Colors (1 reply and 1 comment)

Winstoncely
3 months ago
Winstoncely 3 months ago

I'm planning on creating a short film using a post-process to emulate digitally the 2-strip Technicolor process. I know I need to plan on helping this process along by planning my costumes and set decoration colors in specific ways to help enhance and support the post-effect. I have been researching the actual photographic process, and there are many references stating something to the effect of, "this was helped by careful consideration of colors" but nothing more than that.

I have run a few small tests and have had surprisingly good results, however, when comparing what I'm getting to something like "Mystery of the Wax Museum" (which I just watched last night) there's a somewhat more "natural" look to the old film than what I'm getting.
I know I'll never achieve that natural look in the time, money, and equipment I have access to, but I would like to do what I can within my means.

Would anyone have some insight or reference material I can go to get more specific details on costuming and set design for 2-strip Technicolor?
Thank you in advance!

dmullenasc
3 months ago
dmullenasc 3 months ago

2-color (not 2-strip, there was only one strip of film and the two color records were exposed above/below each other) Technicolor did not record blue separately from green so that information was dyed cyan in the prints to get a bit of both.  And since the prints did not use cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes, only two dyes and one of them was cyan, skin tones had to be created by having a dye that was somewhat orange-pink -- and the priority was always getting acceptable flesh tones. So given these restrictions everything had to be tested and then adjusted to create some range of colors. But as you can imagine, the result was somewhat teal-orange most of the time.  You could start by experimenting by throwing out the blue channel out of the three (RGB) and working only with two channels to generate the look, shifting the green channel to cyan, and the red channel to orange-magenta. And then test everything, make-up, wardrobe, etc. to get it to work within that range. You might also consider that the process being used in the late 1920's to early 1930's meant that the lighting and photography followed the stylistic conventions of b&w cinematography of that time, except working with much slower film stocks and thus more light (the stocks weren't slower but the filtering made them that way.)

Winstoncely
3 months ago

Thanks for the information and tips! There is a great little video on the Eastman.org website about the process. Fascinating!

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