THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
January 28, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Talking Color Correction For Cinecolor “Rainbow Parade” Cartoons

Today, a look at color correction/grading on the Cinecolor Rainbow Parade cartoons.

I can’t believe at this point that there will soon be a time that I don’t have Cinecolor Rainbow Parade cartoons on my mind and in hard drive rotation! The set they are on is super-close to completion….

But still in considerations as you’ll see….

If you work doing color correction or grading, I’ve found that you end up really noticing color a lot in the time afterword. So, these few weeks have been pretty colorful, especially in starting to work out the ‘final’ versions of the first 13 Rainbow Parade cartoons for the set.

The color range is really wide and varied between all the prints, making it a real challenge to have a similar ‘look’ for all since the prints themselves just don’t have *any* similar look… and each individual film seems to have a pretty varied use of the medium — even on the actual prints from original release. From an archivist/historian standpoint, you can’t come to a conclusion that the medium was used the same or that there is one specific way they *should* look since the balance is so varied.

Gutlohn’s prints of the Rainbow Parades gave me a pretty good idea of what the differences were between printings since we had original 35mm and 16mm on some of the titles. Without beating a dead horse here, you’d like to think that Cinecolor’s Bluish and Reddish layers would lead to a similar look for each film. They just don’t. It’s really varied and clearly related to how the process was adjusted for each film. In the original prints, sometimes the process works wonderfully— other times not as much.

For this week’s post, I sat down and had a zoom session with our own Devon Baxter, who did a great job in both cleanup and color correction on a wonderful print of The Sunshine Makers for the set. On the best material for the set the results are excellent, and for others it’s a bit varied, but I’m starting to be happy with where we’re ending up (generally) at this point. Devon and I spent a little more than an hour looking at where they’re at right now- and I’ve managed to edit down our basic conversation to about 28 minutes. We’re looking at the current final timeline for the project— but I’ve still been going back and tweaking things even more, and even bringing some films entirely out of the timeline to work on them again before bringing them back into the final edit.

The new debate is what to do on The Rag Dog. It’s all cleaned up and looking really nice as a print— but the color really limited in blues and reds compared to other prints. While I think it looks acceptable (and the best I’ve ever seen the film) I’m still wanting to get more of a range of color out of it- so much so that I’ve been debating doing a color separation into two black and white layers and trying to recombine the blues in an entirely different tint to see if a complete deconstruction of the process could lead to a better results. If we go that route with good results, I know I’ll end up reconsidering *all* the 16mm prints since I’ll be too curious to have not done this extra out-of-the ordinary attempt.

So, come along with us and look at a strange in the process of finishing this set… and feel free to add some of your input as well — it’s always appreciated!

In our zoom session, the video doesn’t run so smoothly some of the time, but I think you can get a really good idea of what a lot of the films are looking like at this point. The edit is pretty long (28 minutes!) but pretty easy to scroll to a film you might the interested in seeing the process on.

Have a good week everyone!

11 Comments

  • Very interesting, Steve. I am always amazed at how much time and effort that you and your team put into making sure that each film looks the absolute best it can look. Thanks for giving us a peek inside the process.

  • I enjoyed the video (and article). I hope you do more zoom videos in the future as part of your articles.

  • If you wanted to try to fake a better PCA seal shot for A Little Bird Told Me, it’s # is 0164.

  • I have noticed the same issue in the Castle Films Cinecolor prints of the Ub Iwerks COMICOLOR cartoons. The prints were struck in the 1940’s, yet the types of two-color presentations varied! This is obviously inherent when dealing with Cinecolor.

  • I really enjoyed your video with Devon! Very interesting discussion of the color levels and problems that occur when you use five prints to make up one Rainbow Parade cartoon. I’m glad my print of “Scotty Finds A Home” was useful to you. Van Beuren, Burt Gillett, Carlo Vinci, Bill Littlejohn and many more shoulda/would be proud that their cartoons have received such sensitive video restoration. Although, I think you might be working just a little bit too hard on them. But you seem to like doing it, so that’s OK.

    • Thanks Mark. I think you’re right; at some point it’s done! Thanks always for your dedication and help!

  • Steve, I’ll echo Mark’s comment, I think you guys have got this collection wrestled down to well within what we could hope for visually and audio wise. (Actually above and beyond TBH) Glad I could help you with Bird Scouts, still have the Gutlohn cinecolor 16 print of Sunshine Makers if you still need that bit of soundtrack, haven’t heard back.

    • Hey Del!

      Let me get everything else back to you first as promised!

      I’ve deflickered where I find it hard to watch or distracting. Little variances I try to leave alone usually…

  • It’s fantastic to see these old Cinecolor cartoons treated with such care, respect and attention to detail. They are definitely worth it. Bravo, Thunderbean!

  • Please mark me down as a vote FOR de-flickering! I’ve read some people, like you Steve, who like flicker in their old film. Not me. I find it very distracting and unpleasant. I don’t know the mechanics or how much manpower it takes, but I’d love you to please take the time and de-flicker when possible!

  • I can’t wait for the Blu-ray set to be released! Also, here’s some more voiceless Van Beuren music clips (most of which are from the Technicolor era) It’s okay if you already had these clips planned for the Blu-ray release. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9oJgG9ELlggkgBooInj8No8EdSpRQMQQ

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