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A program on color in the movies, held Wednesday evening at AMPAS’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater, provided a loving look at some classic films — though it came with a reminder that celluloid’s future is in question.
“While we hope film is forever, it may not be,” said Pixar Animation Studios’ senior color scientist Rod Bogart, who co-hosted the program with Joshua Pines, color scientist and vp imaging research at Technicolor Digital Intermediates. “A lot of [films] are going to be difficult to locate in the future.”
Pines noted that some directors continue to choose film, citing as examples Oscar contenders The Master from Paul Thomas Anderson and The Dark Knight Rises from Christopher Nolan.
Through a series of clips, the co-hosts demonstrated how color science has been applied to the art of filmmaking. Black-and-white examples included film struck off the original negative of the 1941 classic Citizen Kane.
Examples of hand-tinted film frames dated to 1902’s iconic A Trip to the Moon from Georges Melies. Several clips from Technicolor’s recent restoration of the film were projected.
Technicolor’s two-strip and three-strip processes were among the techniques also covered before the program turned to a look at a pair of films — Pleasantville (1998) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) — credited for pioneering today’s commonly used “digital intermediate” process, through which movies are color graded in the digital realm, rather than in a lab.
Film prints were used during the event, in addition to a 4K digital cinema package (or DCP, the digital equivalent of a film print) for a clip from Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, as well as a DCP for a selection from the recent restoration of Lawrence of Arabia. A film clip from David Lean’s 1962 epic also was projected.
The Academy’s Science and Technology Council presented the program with the Society for Imaging Science and Technology.
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