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"Se7en" color timing

36 Replies, 24844 Views

Hey, guys.

This past July, I attended to 5 screenings of Se7en in 35 mm in Paris, France. During 3 of them, I've made about 1200 pictures in total with my iPhone 4S to document the look of the film and cover pretty much the whole movie. I will attend to another screening on sunday October 22nd in another theater, a better one, in which I won't take pictures though. I'm aware that Se7en, because of Darius Khondji particular photography had to be printed in a particular way, and the guys at the theater could not tell me the specifics of the print, except that it was from back then (1995) and was made for the French release (it had subtitles). Now, Khondji being French-Iranian and France being the mother country of cinema, I guess what I saw 5 times now and soon 6 times is the actual intended look of the film. Khondji, before that, worked with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and I know the Jeunet movies were properly printed in France to render Khondji's cinematography. And from what I've seen on video (PAL VHS from Metropolitan, TV broadcasts, DVD from Metropolitan, DVD collector from Metropolitan which is the twin of the NewLine Platinum, Dutch Blu-ray, also a twin of NewLine Platinum except HD, and Metropolitan/Warner Blu-ray) over the years is very much different though close enough here and there, depending on the release and on the scenes. Here are some examples :

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Here, you can see the Warner Blu-ray (picture 4) is the better match for low brightness but would need more warmth in the browns. Combining the Blu-ray with the colors from the 1st French Metropolitan DVD (picture 2) should do the trick.

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Same here: Metropolitan DVD colors are the better match, but the DVD has blown out whites as we can see in the sky, where the electric lines should be seen.

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This all scene (as most of the precinct scenes except for the one near the beginning when Somerset wants to drop the case) is supposed to be very cold, like bleached. The closer match is the NewLine Platinum and its twins like the Dutch Blu-ray. The Metropolitan, although too warm and too bright, has got somehing in its color that looks quite right.

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Here, all video releases are way too bright and reveal the practical effect of the third arm along his body. The scene in 35 mm is so dark that the whole shot is actually conceived for the audience to look at what the flashlight is showing: the missing hand. In 35 mm, you can't see the real arm, you can barely perceive it and you'd have to know it's there to notice it. On video, well it's obvious! It reminds me of the mood also using a flashlight from this scene in Face-off , also ruined on video by being way too bright (courtesy of THXita from OT.com):

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And finally, 'cause it's starting to be a long post:

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In this scene, the NewLine Platinum is almost dead on! The darkness and the golden hue is what it's supposed to look. The Metropolitan DVD is too bright, and the Blu-ray is a complete revision that now sets the scene way later in the night all the way to the final shot with the Hemingway quote...

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So all this to say what? That if one of you color-timing-video-editing-software wizzards is willing to work on Se7en, then I can be of quite a valuable assistance in providing video sources, as much as 1200 (!) pictures along with my memory of 5 recent screenings that I went to in a 2-week time, plus a future 6th one on October 22nd.
Damn, 1200 pictures? That's some serious dedication. Smile I'm sure they will be very valuable is someone decided to fix official releases.
1200? That's awesome. I admire you dedication to getting it right.

Edit: LOL Feallan beat me to the response with almost the exact same wording.
Yeah, I'm that insane. It's my second favorite movie, right after The Usual Suspects, both having Kevin Spacey, who became my favorite actor since that mid-90s period.
(This post was last modified: 2017-08-24, 07:56 PM by Beber.)
Beber, that's serious dedication - or madness? Still have to decide... Wink

Probably, the best way to get the CCE look (which is the way I'd follow) is to use the first flipped DVD as color reference, and one of the various BD as main source (I'd go with the open matte version, with YAO to get the optional black bars).

More info here: http://notonbluray.com/blog/the-case-of-se7en/
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
Great resource here. Thanks for taking the shots Beber! How does the IT BD look in comparison (screenshots in the link below)?

Impressive! That's one heck of a slideshow
(2017-08-24, 07:51 PM)PDB Wrote: 1200? That's awesome. I admire you dedication to getting it right.

Edit: LOL Feallan beat me to the response with almost the exact same wording.

What if I was actually you all along?
Is that why I'm sleeping less?
I don't have the Italian release. Maybe an Italian member here has it and wants to share. From what I see in the link you provided, the David and Tracy scene in bed in the beginning is too bright, but the brownish look is better than the others it's compared with.

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The shot of Somerset sitting at his desk talking to the captain might be better in the Italian release because it's the coolest. For this one, my picture doesn't actually give justice to what my eyes actually saw projected. It wasn't that green. But the whole scene is definitely cold.

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Tracy meeting Somerset is totally wrong in the Italian release. The whole shot looks very pale. The better match would be the NewLine/Criterion.

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And finally, the ending at dusk is completely off in the Italian release because it's not at all color timed to look like it's dusk, 7:00 PM. Sadly, my iPhone failed to render properly the yellow in the sky that gives the dusk feel to the scene.

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