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Professional color correctors will point out the primitive and inaccurate means that I use to 'correct' pink films after transfer, but hey... I use Vegas and I never listed colorist in my resume. So just enjoy the films - they are free!
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By Fran

16 thoughts on “From pink to color sort of”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Dan Beach says:

    I recently took on a project of digitizing a large number of 8 & 16mm films, 35mm slides, and 35mm negative. The original film stock has a lot to do with the "success" of bringing back a semblance of the color. But what astounded me was that the old Kodachrome stock from 70 years ago was almost always still reverberating and brilliant. George Eastman and Co. knew what they were doing.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Geoffrey Waldo says:

    This is the best explanation of the color correction challenges in restorative transfer of old film that I’ve seen! I do stereoscopic photography and also correct old images for color loss. Many in my hobby face the same challenges with old Ektachrome that was processed so as to result in magenta shift. Great job here Fran!

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars sclogse1 says:

    You have other things to do besides color correct these forever. However, it does make me want to film my screen for a minute and mess with a section of it just for an exercise. You can duplicate the film in a separate layer, reduce that layer to black and white and create a contrast mask with it. Or with static skies, with no moving objects in front of them, grab those areas and pop in other skies. (I have a collection of skies and they do come in handy) just using Photoshop extended CS 4 or 5, and hopefully 32 megs of ram. Anyway, a long weekend to play with.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars SecondLifeDesigner says:

    Just for fun to took a color corrected still image from this film and brought into Photoshop. I duplicated the layer and desaturated the top layer and set it to Hard Light. It looked much much better. I then sharpened the image of the desaturated top layer and it brought out details you couldn't other wise see. I am not sure if Fran's video editing software will let her layer two videos on each other and has a filter like Hard Light but really wouldn't add much time editing if it does for a much better end result.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Felix Heidenreich says:

    I found when using a camera to capture photographic negatives I needed to add a blueish gel to my light table because the film backing gave it such an extreme tint that I couldn't expose all the color channels reasonably at the same time and even after correction there simply wasnt enough data in some of the channels to look any good.
    It seems you are running into a similar problem with how extreme of a color grade you have to do.
    maybe a similar setup with a colored gel somewhere in your projection setup could help to get rid of most of the tint before you go into the digital domain and end up running out of headroom to do real fine tweaks

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Joseph Cope says:

    My late dad left me quite a few Carousel trays of High Speed Ektachrome slide pictures, mostly taken on vacation trips when I was a kid. That film tends to fade to magenta over decades but using a graphics app I managed to restore scans of them to reasonably good approximations of their original colors. Quite nostalgic. Incidentally, when I was on a trip of my own through the West I stopped at a drug store in Denver to buy some rolls of Kodachrome. They were displayed on a shelf behind the front checkout counter and when I asked for Kodachrome the young woman asked if I had a prescription. I said no and she asked me what kind of medicine Kodachrome is. I didn't want to hurt her feelings so I explained it was picture film and pointed out the display behind her.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Herb Craven says:

    Like others, I had no idea there was so much work involved for you, and I applaud you for it, Fran! The color may not be perfect in the modern sense, but as someone who watched dozens of educational films at school between the mid seventies and late eighties, I think they look every bit as good as they ever looked at that time. The somewhat washed out look adds to the nostalgia factor for me and, likely, my GenX bretheren.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Bob Pegram says:

    If you don't already, please put out the black and white versions too. I grew up with B&W. If I find your color versions not to my taste, I can use my imagination with the B&W. There are also talented "colorizers" who might find the B&W to be a better starting point for what they do.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Todd Metzger says:

    Whew it is very difficult to shift something out of that pink base. Maybe someone has access to an AI that could color shift and white balance the ones that are so shifted out of the normal spectrum. I don't know if doing a B&W base then recombining RGB separate corrections would do any better. Thanks for what you are doing Fran, I remember some of these from when I was in school or that were on early morning TV.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Grotsoft's Adventures in Electronics says:

    I'm really enjoying these transfers and well done on minimising the effect of colour fade.

    I too have a large collection of 16mm prints (approx 30 features, 200 cartoons and 100 documentaries) so I feel your pain in trying to conserve them. You have a much better collection of technical subjects than I do, whereas I seem to have bought a lot of art documentaries.

    You've encouraged me to start looking for a decent telecine option!

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars UpLateGeek says:

    Interesting. The monochrome version does look better, but I feel like it's missing something compared to the colour corrected version.

    Anyway, perhaps it would help reduce those comments if you included a snippet of the uncorrected film at the end?

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Chris Long says:

    You seem to have done the best job possible, but there's obviously a lot still missing. The film doesn't seem to have any blue left at all; I wonder if the blue dye/pigment might decompose in a way that would still leave some record of what the blue level should be at each point in the frame. Could it be restored chemically? I suppose there are very few people left in the world who know the chemistry involved.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Marcel Huguenin says:

    I think you’re doing an awesome job in preparing these videos for Us, the public. First digitizing them in a professional way and then doing color corrections in a thoughtful way taking content into consideration. Thank you for taking on this task and making this valuable material available to the public.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars roy Yung says:

    I worked in the largest plat production facility on the east coast. My company invented the pan/scan mechanism so panavision films can be transferred to 2" quad video tape, then sent to our videocassette duplication facility where we could make 400 copies (with our own copy protect mechanism) with each pass of the quad tape.
    We had a dept that did frame by frame color correction too. This information was fed into a computer so that at the proper time code, the colors would be correct. The most important thing was to have a perfectly calibrated monitor. We used to xfer ALL of Home Box office films to tape

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Randy Carter says:

    Also the pigments don't age equally. It gets exaggerated when the film gets to be as old as these are. They were expecting the films to be used maybe 5 years or so then replaced with a new version. Not converted to video 50 years later by an enterprising YouTuber. Keep up the good work.

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars 100SteveB says:

    You really should be applauded for digitising these old films, before they degrade to a point where they are no longer savable. Even more so when you take into account the hard work you put in trying to correct the issues that time has already given the old films. It is always interesting to look back upon different era's like this.

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