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[Idea] Back To The Future (1985) Theatrical Regrade?
#1
Ever since I started my own little "Back To The Future" project back in May, I began researching on the film's technical aspects, more specifically, the color grading. 

I always found the Blu-Ray, DVD and DCP versions very "pink-magenta"  looking, similar to how the Star Wars Special Editions looked, creating errors in the film itself, (Marty's skateboard wheels colors fluctuating from yellow to pink in the Blu-Ray release)  I wondered if that was always the case or was it the fault of the people who decided to DNR and "Edge Enhance" during the digital processing of the movie for home releases.

I recently came here after finding out about the "Open Matte upscale" done by PDB back in 2015 and seeing his color regrade of the film, noting about how "technicolor" it looked with pretty vivid colors and natural skin tones, so I'm not sure if thats a pretty close regrade or something more revisionist.

Since there are little to no color references to the film aside from the BBC TV broadcast, which is noted to have a green tint, I was wondering if a "theatrical regrade" of the film can be done, aside from images of 35mm film strips on eBay, but I am also not sure if that is a reliable color source.
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#2
(2020-07-04, 11:34 AM)DatSWGuy Wrote: Since there are little to no color references to the film aside from the BBC TV broadcast, which is noted to have a green tint, I was wondering if a "theatrical regrade" of the film can be done, aside from images of 35mm film strips on eBay, but I am also not sure if that is a reliable color source.

Well, I've heard mentionings of folks wanting to get prints of that trilogy scanned up, but with no one in possession of any as far as I'm aware of, no such efforts have occurred. Unfortunately to my knowledge, there is no proper source that'd be mostly accurate. The closest thing I can say off the top of my head apart from cell strips possibly are one of two possibilities.

The first theoretical possibility would be to color match the blu-ray to the extended / deleted scenes where footage in both sources sort of end up interlapping.
The problem with this however would be that not only does it seem the blu-ray splices in the actual movie footage when it's used rather than showing the workprint footage, it it lacks the color timing / grading, hence the brighter and warmer image in the example above. The upside though is that it at least captures that sort of general 35mm look better than the blu-ray in terms of contrast and whatnot, even with the lack of the aforementioned photochemical grading. So I'd suppose for this to work, only utilize footage that seems to boast the least amount of color differences between sources (or do it to several scenes with such notable color differences and hope Dr. Dre's Color Matcher learns to average out the colors?).

Option two is similar but further away from an actual proper source.
I've yet to check to see if this is on the blu-ray set, but if it includes that one teaser trailer, then in theory, supposing it got scanned the same time as the movie's master, it'd suffer similar issues to the blu-ray. However, in theory, if these masters are somewhat similar in characteristics, what if you were to color match the blu-ray version of the trailer to the 35mm print scan version to fix the colors. That way, the resulting LUT, in theory, could be applied to the blu-ray master. Of course, again, this completely hinges on the idea that the trailer shares the same characteristics as the movie itself, but it's something worth testing given it's the only 35mm scan pertinent to the movie that I am aware on.
[Image: ivwz24G.jpg]
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#3
I suppose a "good" color reference for the film is the Open Matte upscale grade, or ilovewaterslide's French VHS directly from a release print, as the home video releases have been corrected to adjust to the limited color range of CRT televisions.
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#4
Remember a UHD is to be released later this year. October, I believe. Hopefully Universal wiil do the job right as they tend to do with catalog titles, except for Jurassic Park.
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#5
After much searching, I came across this "documentary" (moreso a 40 minute promotional for Back To The Future), starring Michael J Fox that contained clips from the film prior to its theatrical release, because they have been heavily edited out to remove spoilers in the film.
(edit: I believe there is one shot in this documentary wherein you can actually see a crane on the top half of the frame)

Apparently, the colors here match a lot closer to the "Open Upscale" regrade, with vibrant "technicolor" warm colors and a slight green tint similar to that of the UK BBC TV versions.

https://youtu.be/AHVLVyG8re4
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#6
(2020-07-04, 02:26 PM)DatSWGuy Wrote: After much searching, I came across this "documentary" (moreso a 40 minute promotional for Back To The Future), starring Michael J Fox that contained clips from the film prior to its theatrical release, because they have been heavily edited out to remove spoilers in the film.
(edit: I believe there is one shot in this documentary wherein you can actually see a crane on the top half of the frame)

Apparently, the colors here match a lot closer to the "Open Upscale" regrade, with vibrant "technicolor" warm colors and a slight green tint similar to that of the UK BBC TV versions.

https://youtu.be/AHVLVyG8re4

Quite apart from everything else, thank you for posting this! I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'll definitely need to check out TIME AFTER TIME, I'd never heard of that one.
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#7
Never seen "Time After Time" but seeing as How Mary Steenburgen was in it, I wonder if that's what got her the part in BTTF 3.
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#8
Netflix had the new scan maybe regrade to the 35mm scan
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