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From Film to Delivery.
#1
Hello Fan Resers.

I've started this thread as a reference to those (who like me) would like a break down of the entire process of shooting and delivering a movie on film (35mm primarily) as simple as possible so everybody without a career in the film production industry can understand.

This is more based on the era before digital mastering / delivery, but will cross over a little.
I've also kept it super simple as to try and demystify the process. This does not mean it can not get complicated as we go on, but wanted to start on an even keel

I will use this original post to create a step by step guide and update accordingly.

All points have a ? at the end

I will also add photos and illustrations ect like the chart PDB shared




Celluloid film has been shot, and is ready to be prepared for Post-Production. The first thing is to get the film developed in a lab. This is much the same as developing a photo still and is a chemical process. This will be done in a dark room and will lock the negative so that no more light can be captured on the film grain. Your negative is now safe to handle outside of a dark room if needed.

This will give you your OCN - Original Colour Master.

The negative will look like a 4:3 image and depending on the aspect ratio decided during shooting, may look stretched vertically if Anamorphic Lenses have been used to capture the image. If not there may be alot of what looks like wasted screen estate, often containing production equipment and unwanted image ect. This will be cropped / matted out later (in most cases by the projectionist on the final release print) This is what is known as Open Matte and we will get back to this a few times later in the chain.
For the Anamorphic variant it will remain Streched through the process and be projected using an Anamorphic Lense that will stretch the image out Horizontal giving you the desired aspect ratio (2:35:1 or Scope).


OCN - Original Colour Master


Depending on your work process (or what year your in!) Your negative will then be either scanned into a computer or turned into a ‘positive’ print for Editing. In Celluloid Film this will be called a Workprint.


Workprint/s


These will now be files on a Hard Drive or strips of 35mm film in reels, both having corresponding information to your OCN (e,g reel number and timecode) This is because after editing is finalised or ‘picture locked’ you return to your OCN and cut it to your Workprint.


OCN - Original Colour Master EDITED / CUT


This is where things split off depending on your desired workflow. Before the advent of Computer post-production, the process continued as follows.

You now have a fully cut OCN corresponding to your Workprint, with no more editing to be performed. It’s time to Colour Correct or Colour Time your film. This is a chemical process and a Answer Print is created for approval.


Answer Print/s


A number of answer prints can be created until you get the Final Look or Colour Time you are after. Then using the charts that got you to your desired Answer Print a Interpositive is created,


Colour Master Positive (Inter-positive)
Red Separation Positive
Green Separation Positive
Blue Separation Positive



It should be noted that along with your Colour Master Positive (Inter-positive), separate Red, Green and Blue Separation Positive prints are also created. These are color "backups" of the film. It is inevitable that both the OCN and IP will fade over time, even when kept in the best conditions. What doesn't fade is black and white film. So someone had the idea to adapt the old 3 strip technicolor process and create 3 B&W pieces of film, One with a red filter in front of it, a separate print with blue and another with green. That way if the original fades, you can combine the 3 films together and recover the colors of the print.

This is also where we see the first set of 'unwanted' side effects show up, due to the fact we are in the analog world here and everytime you print (Copy) to film it changes the look. No matter how neutral the film stock being used to print to is, there will be changes to grain (added!), contrast, highlights and colour.
This is the first one in the chain as the earlier steps all returned to the OCN, but this process will happen atleast 2x more before the film crowd get to see it.    

The Inter-positive could now be considered your 'Master' for delivery, where Colour Duplicate Negative (inter-negative) Prints can be struck / created or a Telecine / Scan can be performed (This will avoid further degradation for the Home video crowd).



Colour Duplicate Negative
65mm for 75mm release prints
35mm for 35mm release prints
16mm for 16mm release prints



From the Colour Duplicate print the Final Release prints are struck.

[b]Release Print


Telecined / Scanned for Home Video / TV Releases.[/b]
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Thanks given by: zoidberg , Jetrell Fo , whatchitfoool
#2
I have a chart from the ASC manual that might help. Let me see if I can dig it up when I get home:

You are right on the order, here is a little more detail:

Pre-2000's (give or take a few years)

Original Color Negative (OCN) is shot, developed and cut
Color timing is performed and an Answer print is created for approval
Interpositive is created from the OCN using the charts from the Answer print. For a big film you will have a few IPs
Internegatives are created from IPs (Obviously a negative image)
Release prints are created from INs

Workprints can be created at a few stage towards the beginning

Post-2000s

Original Color Negative (OCN) is shot, developed and cut
OCN is scanned (2K or lower, now 4K sometimes) and then color corrected. This is the Digital Intermediate.
Corrected image burned out on a film recorder creating release prints

And then you get into the DCI/DCP world.

In the old days home video prints could come from release prints but more then likely came from low contrast prints at or about the IP level and then the levels are adjusted for old school video (NTSC/PAL)
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Thanks given by: zoidberg , CSchmidlapp
#3
Found it. Hope this helps. It's from the 1999 ASC manual so before the true DI era.

[Image: I9Zbb2W.jpg]
New, low or non-posting members: Please do not post or PM me asking where to get something. Stick around and become a participating member first.

Looking For:
Alien 1999 Master Japanese BSHI Broadcast 1080i mid 2000s
Blade Runner DC US HDTV Broadcast 1080i 2005 (blade.runner.1080i.dd5.1.oar)
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Thanks given by: CSchmidlapp , Jetrell Fo
#4
Interesting thread!

Don't get the point of the second 16mm "path" with "reverse" frames...
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#5
Nor do I, what kind of print is that?
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#6
Much thanks PDB; that is awesome!

So is the Colour Master interpositive to Colour Duplicate Neqative where the film gets it's Theatrical Colours?

With Mad Max 2 as an example -
Is the BR struck from the OCN but without taking into account the work done on colour timing via answer prints?
Or is the BR struck from the Colour Master Interpositive?
Is there is an extra colour correction process intoduced for the release prints dependent on release film stock? (the process that gave it the 'Red Desert' look absent from the Blu).

On a side note where would you apply the bleach process for something like Three Kings or Minority Report?

EDIT: Ive changed this post a few time mainly because im looking after a 10 month year old while typing Smile
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#7
I think that's a way of printing 16mm in higher volume.

Also this pic has been posted here before but is worth posting again:

[Image: z70dSy1.jpg]

(It highlights the orange base of the OCN and IP)

(2017-04-13, 11:24 AM)CSchmidlapp Wrote: Much thanks PDB; that is awesome!

So is the Colour Master interpositive to Colour Duplicate Neqative where the film gets it's Theatrical Colours?

With Mad Max 2 as an example -
Is the BR struck from the OCN but without taking into account the work done on colour timing via answer prints?
Or is the BR struck from the Colour Master Interpositive?
Is there is an extra colour correction process intoduced for the release prints dependent on release film stock? (the process that gave it the 'Red Desert' look absent from the Blu).

On a side note where would you apply the bleach process for something like Three Kings or Minority Report?

EDIT: Ive changed this post a few time mainly because im looking after a 10 month year old while typing Smile

I'm not going to claim to be the expert (that would be poita) but I do know a few things:

(Sorry this turned into a long ramble and I edited out a lot of info to shorten it)

Well the ultimate color for a film is suppose to be the IP. It is what the Director and/or the DOP want the film to look like color-wise. So all the color correction (for a larger budget film) takes place between the OCN, Answer print(s) and the IP(s). That's why the color separations (ie your film backups) are done at this level. But there is a good debate to be had that the release print is just as important.

Everytime you print a film it changes the look. The big changes are in grain, contrast and highlights. But as we have seen that contrast and grain have been used by artists to create shadows, mood, etc. But in the particular its been used to hide SFX. Anytime you see a bad matte on a DVD or BD there is a strong possibility that that was much less obvious in theaters. One only has to look at those 35m scans to see how much different SFX look on them. Spaceships, dinosaurs and ghosts blend much better into the image. So good artists factored in the generation loss into the images they created.

The other part is color changes when printing. No matter how neutral (and neutral is difficult to define given different standards) your film stock is, there are going to be changes in the look of the film everytime it is printed. A film is going to have one type of stock for the OCN and a different stock for the release print. Some release stocks are going to look green, some blue, some warmer and some colder. Also I think its fair to say that Kodak and Fuji stock look very different (years of 35mm still photography have taught me that). So color will change as you print the film.

(Side Note: Modern stocks like the Kodak Vision series are suppose to be very neutral and impart as little color changes as possible because they are design to be scanned and color corrected in a computer. Although you can still do the whole IP/IN thing with them as Nolan does)

So the bottom line is what your IP looks like and your release print looks like may not be the exact thing and technicial both are the right image. They can look very close or fairly different. And after all of that, the film is still going to look a little different projected, since projection adds a little color bias and helps actually minimize the color differences shot to shot.

Bleach bypass, ENRs, silver prints, etc are their own long subject and can take place at the IP level, IN level or the release print depending on the process used. (I trimmed this out)

Most modern BD are made from the OCN or IP scans. You really don't want to use lower print then that because of the contrast, grain and resolution. People like a sharp image with a lot of detail that release prints aren't going to give. The OCN is going to give you the best detail but the IP is going to give you better color in theory. If you scan the OCN you have to color correct each shot or scene to the color of the IP/Answer print/color charts. But here is the problem, sometimes directors want to change things, sometimes people/studios want to make a film look modern or sometimes the color techs don't have the right information (look at any old movie with a screwed up day-for-night shots).

So scan the the IP then. Well you lose the resolution of the OCN and the IP might still need correction to bend in SFX and other problems. When you hear people complain about the SFX not holding up today, that might be because you weren't suppose to see it at that level. Look at the blending of the computer dinosaur in JP vs other sources. So IPs are going to require some work also.

MM2 is a bit of a mystery to me. In theory what could've happen is they scanned the OCN, did a simple grade and left it there. What would happen is the IP had a red grading and the OCN scan left that out. That's one possibility. The other is the LD/DVD was from a telecined (correct colored) print and the tech thought the desert looked too cold, so that person just made those adjustments to make it red. At this point I have evidence pointing to both. For the DVD I saw a release print that had reddish deserts, the problem is that might be in part because the print had started red fading. I've also seen 35mm pics that lean red but again that could be fading. Also, in the commentary, they talk a lot about color correction that doesn't look like what is going on in the film. There is also the fact that Fury Road look more like the RW DVD which maybe is the look Miller likes.

On the other hand all the trailers look like the BD, cold and with greens. But those could of been before color correction or been color corrected themselves. I've seen plenty of trailers that are corrected after the fact. I've also seen pics from a 16mm LPP print that looks like the BD expect the beginning which looks like the DVD. Also Valeyard saw a print of MM:BT and said the BD of that look pretty accurate. So if they did that right, maybe MM2 is right.

That's why I now call my project a regrade to the DVD/LD only. I just have too much conflicting information.

I've got an 11 Month old crawling around too...
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Thanks given by: CSchmidlapp , Jetrell Fo
#8
I should also add a lot of this info is for mid to higher budget films. Mostly studio fare. For lower budgets (or older films) your release prints might be made directly from the IP or for truly low budget, directly from the OCN and no color correction at all.
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#9
Thanks for your time and sharing your knowlege on this subject PDB.
It's nice to get all this information in one place for future reference and as an education tool for anybody interested.
I for one have learnt a thing or two. Ive been working in Post Production since 2001 but all computer based and all video.

Ive updated the original post and have decided to write it like an essay.
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#10
Looks good so far.

I will add one more thing concerning one of your ?. The separation masters (red, green and blue) are your color "backup" of the film. Since films fades, especially in the old days, it is inevitable that your IP and OCN will fade. That's just the technology. But what doesn't fade is black and white film. So someone had a great idea to hijack the old 3 strip technicolor process and create 3 B&W pieces of film. One with a red filter in front of it, a separate print with blue and another with green. That way if the original fades, you can combine the 3 films together and recover the colors of the print.

There are some downsides.

1. It might not cover the complete range of colors depending on the work done.
2. The prints may not fade but still are susceptible to VS in any non poly based film (pre-97ish)
3. Aligning the prints after a long time can be difficult due to errors, shrinkage or VS. (although now this is much easier with computers)
4. Its going to up the grain a lot, since you now have the grain of the original neg, IP and the 3 seps.
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Thanks given by: CSchmidlapp


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