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Will Krupp

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Ron was an extraordinary vault rat. He was with me at the Todd-AO vaults in 1989, helping to search for Spartacus audio, and helped me move a group of 70mm shipping cases from Tech London.

Inside - a pristine early 70mm test print of a Ridley Scott sci-fi film, which we turned over to WB.

When I was a teenager I wanted to BE Ron Haver when I grew up (and I still do.)
 

octobercountry

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Now this is interesting.... I just read this article written by Anthony L'Abbate, who works at Eastman House and is familiar with the source material for the Kino blu-ray. I had been thinking the print was from 1937, but in fact L'Abbate says:

"I work in film preservation at the George Eastman Museum, where David O. Selznick’s print is held. Selznick’s print was not an original 1937 print, it was made for him in 1946. And it is on British Kodak stock, so it was probably made for duplicate negatives at Technicolor’s London laboratory. This print is darker and bluer than the original release prints. Kino lightened up the image for the video master....

I don’t know what the Warner Brother colorists used for a color reference (Technicolor negatives are black and white with latent color records), but the 1937 Technicolor print in the George Eastman Museum’s collection looks very different from the Blu ray. I also must point out the the quality and color of vintage Technicolor prints varied, so the 1937 print I inspected is very different from Selznick’s print from 1946. And it could be very different from what was used as reference at Warner Brothers.​


The article contains some discussion of differences between the 1937 print, the 1946 print used for Kino's blu-ray, and the new transfer from the negatives. I thought it was quite interesting---this information is near the end of the article, after the discussion of the set design--here's the link:
Driving for Deco: A Star is Born at Eighty-five
 

Robert Harris

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Now this is interesting.... I just read this article written by Anthony L'Abbate, who works at Eastman House and is familiar with the source material for the Kino blu-ray. I had been thinking the print was from 1937, but in fact L'Abbate says:

"I work in film preservation at the George Eastman Museum, where David O. Selznick’s print is held. Selznick’s print was not an original 1937 print, it was made for him in 1946. And it is on British Kodak stock, so it was probably made for duplicate negatives at Technicolor’s London laboratory. This print is darker and bluer than the original release prints. Kino lightened up the image for the video master....

I don’t know what the Warner Brother colorists used for a color reference (Technicolor negatives are black and white with latent color records), but the 1937 Technicolor print in the George Eastman Museum’s collection looks very different from the Blu ray. I also must point out the the quality and color of vintage Technicolor prints varied, so the 1937 print I inspected is very different from Selznick’s print from 1946. And it could be very different from what was used as reference at Warner Brothers.​


The article contains some discussion of differences between the 1937 print, the 1946 print used for Kino's blu-ray, and the new transfer from the negatives. I thought it was quite interesting---this information is near the end of the article, after the discussion of the set design--here's the link:
Driving for Deco: A Star is Born at Eighty-five
Anything Mr. L’Abbate says should be seriously considered, This wonderful article is new to me.

But the fact that the UK dyes transfer prints were struck from dupe negs, places the entire situation with a 1946 print into a totally different realm of technical history. And the important phrase used here is “probably.”

Unlike some of the other films re-issued in Cinecolor, ASiB’s negatives were unaffected.

As the OCNs would have existed intact c. 1946, I’m considering the possibility of one of two alternate events occurring:

1. A new set of matrices was shipped to the London plant for printing, or;

2. The original set was shipped, albeit in a possibly worn state.

Black & white dupe stock in that era - be it 1937 or 1946 - was notoriously problematic, and could yield matrices of far lesser quality in terms of resolution as well as contrast.

I’m aware that certain matrices for the London plant were produced from CRIs in the 1960s for U.S. based productions, but have been unaware of dupe three-strip negs being used as the source of printing matrices.

All very interesting and odd.
 
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Will Krupp

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I’m aware that certain matrices for the London plant were produced from CRIs in the 1960s for U.S. based productions, but have been unaware of dupe three-strip negs being used as the source of printing matrices.

All very interesting and odd.

I'm no expert but it also seems odd to me that dupe negatives would be used to make British prints rather than a set of printing matrices. It doesn't feel logical.

I will say that Mr. L'abbate is incorrect when he says that Technicolor negatives contain "latent" color records. The latency period for "images" on celluloid is the time AFTER the negative is exposed and BEFORE it's fully developed. There's no latent anything in a fully developed negative.
 

kpjwest

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Perhaps what Mr. L'abbate meant by saying "latent" is that Technicolor negatives are black and white records of the color information, but exhibit no color in and of themselves. When used to make a print in light or color, the color is revealed but no color is visible looking at the black and white records themselves.
 

Robert Harris

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Perhaps what Mr. L'abbate meant by saying "latent" is that Technicolor negatives are black and white records of the color information, but exhibit no color in and of themselves. When used to make a print in light or color, the color is revealed but no color is visible looking at the black and white records themselves.
I'm certain he is aware of this. In a way, since the original b/w negs are an element holding the image for later use, that might be considered as latent.
 

Dennis Gallagher

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When I was a teenager I wanted to BE Ron Haver when I grew up (and I still do.)
When I was a teenager, I wish I knew such jobs existed (and i suspect at the time - late 1960s - they probably didn't. All I can do now is to continue to donate money to the National Film Preservation Foundation, Film Foundation and attend - and support- events like the Nitrate Picture Show at the Eastman Museum. Sorry to sidetrack the discussion (and I suspect the information's available elsewhere) but I'd be curious to know how those involved in film preservation got into "the business".
 

Will Krupp

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I'm certain he is aware of this. In a way, since the original b/w negs are an element holding the image for later use, that might be considered as latent.

Not to belabor the point, but I have to respectfully disagree. There's nothing hidden or undeveloped about the image, it's just a black & white tool used to get color to the release print. I mean, if we use that logic, we'd have to consider ALL fully developed black and white negatives as containing "latent" images since they're all holding the image (with reversed light values) for later use, aren't they? We don't do that.
 

Robert Harris

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Not to belabor the point, but I have to respectfully disagree. There's nothing hidden or undeveloped about the image, it's just a black & white tool used to get color to the release print. I mean, if we use that logic, we'd have to consider ALL fully developed black and white negatives as containing "latent" images since they're all holding the image (with reversed light values) for later use, aren't they? We don't do that.
Point taken, but I also want to give him the ability to broaden the concept a bit. Having exposed, processed and printed my own work since I was a kid - both b/w as well as color - I’m fully versed in latency of silver halide crystals.
 

RobertMG

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That’s why I created the video. :)

I imagine the creators of the film would be delighted that it can be seen looking better than was technically possible at the time.
Wonder what the stars would have thought ==== check out this great chat with Gaynor's and Adrian's son
 

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