World War 1 in colour

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Thordell
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Has anyone been watching this series of WW1 black and white film that has been "Colourised" it was absolutly astonishing!!!!!

Has anyone any basic knowledge how this is done, there must be someone out there that could throw some light on it, I still can't get over things like the colour of the medal ribbons Etc.

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Alan Hodkinson
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DAVE M
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I did see an item on the technology ages ago.
I think that it's a system that works using grey scale mapping to create a sort of "painting by numbers" matte around objects.
The scene still meeds to be coloured in by hand but only by telling the software which color any zone is. Sometimes a dust cloud will appear to be made up of the green of the tree next to it.

There are a surprising number of colourised movies about - 1930's detective /horror for example. They look a little pastel rather than the lurid hue of technicolor.

The Longest Day was on about a year ago but in colour. I'm sure that it was in B&W. as the film stock was so good - you couldn't tell. Very old film tends to have too few greys so the colour bleeds.

I have a mate who works for technicolor so I'll ask him unless Alan Roberts is around?

Thordell
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Thanks Dave for the reply,I guessed it must be somthing to do with "shades".

A few weeks ago I saw an advert ,can't remember what it was for, but thought I saw a shot of Buster Keaton, that looked like a colourised B/W film.

You mentioned, I think it was "The longest day"...... thats funny I was watching that the other day and thought to myself, I could have sworn this was in B/W

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Alan Hodkinson
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Unicorn
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The odd thing is, I bought 'The Longest Day' on DVD a while back dirt-cheap in a sale, and was surprised that it was in black and white: I'm sure I've only ever seen the colorised version before...

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cstv
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maybe it was originally shot in colour, only they converted it to black and white for artist effect...?

seriously though... i should imagine it does have a lot to do with grey shades, mixed in with copious amounts of very clever motion tracking so that once an area is coloured on one key frame the computer works out the rest...

mark.

[This message has been edited by cstv (edited 30 August 2003).]

Thordell
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Hi Mark

This thing has realy got me going now,I feel I must look into it more, and try and watch out for some more "colourised" films.

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Alan Hodkinson
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DAVE M
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The Longest day was shot in B&W - there's a bit where you can see a camera shadow on the beach. When you look at the colourised version - they've whipped the shadow out.

just searching for "Colourised" gives loads of films that have been done. The WW1 stuff is fairly poor original footage so it's not that good. The Longest Day was almost undetectable because the original is good.

There was a "lost" Dr Who where they had a tele-recording (16mm film shot off a screen) that was B&W. This was found in Africa where they used film rather than VT. The tele-recording technique caused the image to be a little distorted.

The BBC stuck it through a DVE and sorted out the distortion, then added the colour from a viewer's Betamax off-air recording. The Film gave the finished programme the quality it needed and the colour was secondary to the image. It looked pretty good. this was before Colourisation was so "easy".

adgroberts
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The Longest Day was shot in B&W, so was Scrooge with Alaister Sim, but there is a colourised version of the film made years ago. This was done by individually colouring the frames rather like the first "colour" films in the 20's were made. I think the first blockbuster in Technicolor (Tm) was Errol Flynn's Robin Hood (1938). The first colour film for camera was in the 20's so WW1 in Colour can only be engineered. (Kenneth Branagh reprising Lawrence Olivier's voiceover to the Great War). The quality however is in a different league to the previous colourised renditions and I suspect that an extremely sophisticated computer program which can track say a uniform's colour through a number of frames such as using a moving matte is used. But I'd love to know rather than just supposition.
Regards
Tony Roberts

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Thordell
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Thank you Dave and Tony, it certainly is facinating.......Dave you talked about colouring film frame by frame, I can remember doing this on my old 9.5mm films when I was a lad with photo tint, my Sister worked for Jeromes Photographers chain, colouring portraits and brought the tints home for me.

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Alan Hodkinson
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rez0001
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Years ago I had an idea about colorizing my favourite B&W movie from David Lynch "Eraserhead".
Few months ago bought this movie on DVD and your topic about colorizing made me think about that again!
Anyone think that anyone would be interesting to watch that legendary movie in color?

Thordell
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My head keeps going round on this subject.......and a silly thought came into my mind..Would it be more cost effective to film in colour stock, or film in B/W stock and colourise after.

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Alan Hodkinson
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Alan Roberts at work
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If you're starting a shoot, it'd be cheaper to shoot colour. Colorizing (sic) is still quite pricy.

Did you know that Jacques Tati shot Jour de Fete in B&W and had some prints hand coloured? he only did the fairy lights round the village square though. I've seen both versions and the original still looks miles better to me, the colouring just looks twee.

cstv
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jsut thought; the girl in the red dress in Schindler's list, was that a digital colour pass (only 1993) or was it desaturated and then re-coloured manually?

mark.

Thordell
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Hello Alan

I guessed that would be the answer, it was just a thought that was spinning around in my mind, I think the early days of colour, the expence of special lighting Etc, I am thinking back quite a few decades to the 30's and 40's,colour was very very costly then.

Its an interesting subject nevertheless.

I don't recall seeing that Jacques Tati film, I think there was a fair bit of colouring by hand in the early days.

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Alan Hodkinson
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[This message has been edited by Thordell (edited 04 September 2003).]

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DAVE M
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I don't think that you should add colour to a film that's been made in B&W by the choice of the director. (ie when colour was available with little extra cost)

"whistle down the wind" was on the other day and it wouldn't look half as good in colour.

"If" would look very different - as would the Wizard of OZ

It's a bit like photos - B&W can look far better than colour.

Thordell
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Hi Dave
I never know if the first part of "The Wizard Of Oz" was shot in B/W to make the Wizards kingdom more fantastic, or whether it was done cost wise, I remember seeing it as a kid when it first came out, it was incredible, you didn't see colour then.

Now I'm giving my age away!!!!!!!

"The Wizard Of Oz" to me today, is the nickname of an Australian Speedway Rider.

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Alan Hodkinson
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ChrisG
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I believe the Longest day was shot in b/w to be able to merge actual wartime footage. Likewise the Battle of Britain was in 70mm and couldn't utilise standatd b/w footage so they had to "acquire" the airforce to film it, jolly good job too.

Incidently in the Billion Dollar Brain they filmed an arctic crossing sequence at night with lighting to give the impression of day time whilst losing the background (which was actually an old airfield) if that makes sense (b/w 1965?)

Wizard of Oz had reasons other than artistic for the the b/w colour change, can't remember the exact reason now.

Three was a phase of colorizing (v.sic) old laurel and hardy films a while back, don't go for it my self. As someone said you are altering the directors perspective.

Chris

Thordell
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I must admit to enjoying a good old B/W film, James Cagney, Humty Go-cart, Clark Gable, Larry "Buster" Crabb as Flash Gordon, I was brought up with these guys.
There was 11 Cinema's in Northampton in the 30's & 40's, I used to do first house at one and cycle to another for Second house, and just abandon my bike outside (unlocked of course), I would get in as many as I could afford in a week, prices Ranged from 7d (3p) to a Shilling (5p).

Some may call it a misspent youth, I thought it was an Education!!!!!

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Alan Hodkinson
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adgroberts
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The Wizard of Oz was shot in B&W for the reality sequences and colour for the fantasy, I think in 1939, so you could argue done for effect or done for cost- either way it works. One slightly aberrant use of this technique was in the Powell and Pressberger- David Niven film "A Matter of Life and Death" 1946 (US "A Stairway to Heaven") recently shown on Sky Cimema where the terrestrial scenes are in colour and the celestrial scenes are in B&W. Again cost and effect but in the opposite direction.
Regards
Tony Roberts

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DAVE M
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There was a story about the producers running out of money in the making of "If". That's suposed to account for the mixture of B&W and colour which doesn't seem to have any real significance.

they wanted to use my old school to film it but one look at the script and they were told where they could go.

DAVE M
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I spoke to a mate who's in the film post industry and he said that Derby Uni might have links to information.

The Longest Day was done for free or a much reduced rate as a showcase. They worked so long on it that he thought that nobody could afford to have that good a job done now. but maybe mavchine time's come down.

Thordell
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Dave
Having recently seen "The Longest Day" its certainly stands up on its own as a colour film, unless you had seen the B/W version you would never guess!!!!!!!

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Alan Hodkinson
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hig
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didn't Woody Allen appear before a congressional committee some years ago to argue against the colourising of films (even those made before the advent of colour film) on artistic grounds?

Paul

Paul

Thordell
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quote:Originally posted by hig:
didn't Woody Allen appear before a congressional committee some years ago to argue against the colourising of films (even those made before the advent of colour film) on artistic grounds?

Paul

I can understand a person being upset if they filmed in B/W today as they would be doing it for artistic effect,I can't make up my mind if it is right or wrong to colourise old B/W, perhaps those producers would have used colour if it was available or could have afforded it, I believe Chaplin used colour, even sound eventualy.

For me, B/W somehow makes you think / concentrate more.

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Alan Hodkinson
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