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Author Topic: Product Review: Color Rebalance Filter
Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4554
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 28, 2008 11:26 AM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is an expanded version of my article in issue #23 of The Reel Image. We’ve all been curious about item #5002 on the Wittner-Cinetec site (www.wittner-cinetec.com), The Color Rebalance Filter. According to the description, just placing this beauty over your projector’s lens will greatly reduce the red from faded prints and make them watchable again. Does his mean I should dig my old red/pink/magenta prints out of the closet o’ film and thread them up? Can a filter really improve the image that much?
First let’s deal with the cost. The list price is 119,83 EUR., approx. $175.00, not including shipping. I’ve heard collectors complain about the high price, but as a cameraman who’s worked in the film & TV industry for over 20 years, I know that’s in line with the cost of quality glass filters. A Tiffen 4x4 Pro Mist filter can easily cost $190.00. So the price doesn’t seem excessive…. if it works!

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Steve Osborne of The Reel Image added my filter order to one he was placing with Wittner. The filter arrived nicely wrapped and packaged in a 200 ft. film can. It is a decent quality 100 x 100mm (3.94” x 3.94”) piece of glass, basically turquoise in color.

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My first problem was how to mount the CRF in front of the projector lens. Wittner does not sell a mounting plate, suggesting a small stand or even tape will do the trick. The filter is just a touch too small for my 4x4 filter holders, so I ended up making a cardboard sleeve that I rigged to a scope lens bracket.

Does the CRF work? This filter does one thing very well. It gets the red out. Mostly noticeable in the black areas of faded prints, the red is significantly reduced. Now that you’ve removed a particular wavelength of the color spectrum, what’s left? That depends on how badly faded that print of yours is. If the color is totally faded, you’re merely replacing the red tinge with a blue/green tint. If there’s only slight fade, you might not like the effect on the flesh tones. Films that are warm but still retain other colors seem to benefit the most. Color perception and appreciation being very subjective, one might rejoice at being rid of red or be sad to see a surge in cyan. Some might prefer a vivid faded print over the subdued look this filter can give. I came across some instances where I preferred the filtered image. I found the sharpness of the image is not affected by using the CRF. Owners of projectors that use lower wattage bulbs should note: there is a light loss of a full stop.

Examples:

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My print of “The Boston Strangler” is completely faded. Wittners’ CRF removes the red, but replaces it with a blue/green tint. It’s a close call, but I’d rather watch the feature without the filter.

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Ken Films’ “Jesse James” digest has some fade but is still holding on to greens & blues. The CRF does a nice job of removing the red cast (particularly in the darker areas). The
overall color is muted but the image is quite acceptable with the filtration.

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4554
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 28, 2008 11:28 AM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
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Another scene from the same print of “Jesse James”, however there’s not much color to be found here. The filter gives the flesh tones too green a cast that makes me think these fellows should stop drinking right away.

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The filter works best on night scenes. My MGM digest of “Singin’ in the Rain” has strong colors, but the darker scenes have a decidedly reddish cast. The CRF pulls the red out to give a very pleasing picture, even with the cyan tint in the highlights.

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A very warm looking scene loses the red but keeps natural looking flesh tones.

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The color version of Universal 8’s “Dr. Cyclops” was infamous for it’s sepia tint when it was originally released. The CRF removes the fade and practically turns it into a nice black & white print! In fact, I have a few B&W films that were printed on color stock that has since faded and I can see using the CRF when screening those.

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Summary: Once that print has faded to red, there’s nothing that can bring back the color. The CRF has its uses, but in a narrow range. There have to be other colors beside red in your print for it to work properly. For the average collector, unless you cringe at the sight of red on your home screen, the Color Rebalance Filter is a nice-to-have, not a must-have.

Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 5003
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 28, 2008 12:02 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank's for that very honest and impartial review Doug. It pretty well convinced me that I can do without that filter.

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Larry Arpin
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 953
From: Sunland, CA, USA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted October 28, 2008 01:48 PM      Profile for Larry Arpin   Author's Homepage   Email Larry Arpin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not glass, these are gelatin filters, but I used to use these on the optical printer:

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Here is the website:
http://www.adorama.com/CKA709.html

You could tape this around the lens. At $22 it is a lot cheaper. They have holders for about $12.

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted October 28, 2008 02:06 PM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Doug

We had convention here, must have been at least six years ago that included a demostration by our Australian guests on the use of filters. The test film was 16mm made up of lenghts of film with varying degrees of fade, on the front of the projector was mounted a bracket so one could slide different filters in front of the lens "like a slide projector" as the test film was run filters were selected to get the right one for the degree of faded film at that point. The demostration was very impressive, the idea also that after final testing they would sell them as a range of filters bought as a pack.

As the years went by I never heard anymore about it which is a pity. I did like the idea of being able to select and slide a filter in for a particular film rather than just having just the one.

We are having a convention here in two weeks time and will try to find out a bit more about what happened and the type of filters that were used.

Graham.

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John Clancy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1954
From: Cornwall
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 29, 2008 04:13 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've stuck the blue gelatin lens of a pair of anaglyph 3D glasses over the lens of my projector with a very red 400ft reel of 'Phantasm'. Produced the same results that Doug got as far as I can tell... and all for the cost of 10p.

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British Film Collectors Convention home page www.bfcc.biz. The site is for the whole of the film collecting hobby and not just the BFCC.

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Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4554
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 29, 2008 09:27 AM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are also two lighting gels that are very similar to the CRF.
Roscolux #92 (Turquoise) and Lee #131 (Marine Blue) are available in 20 x 24 inch sheets for $6.25 apiece from theatrical lighting supply stores.

Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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John Whittle
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 791
From: Northridge, CA USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 29, 2008 09:49 AM      Profile for John Whittle   Email John Whittle       Edit/Delete Post 
Kodak had (and maybe still do) a series of Wratten Color Correction filters in various strengths such as 10C to 60C or 10Y to 60Y in both acetate and gelatin. These were much cheaper than the Tiffen versions. You might have luck with local camera stores. They also made light correction filters such as 85B in this same manner. (In fact that's what you'd cut for the filter holder for you Bolex H-16 Rex).

The nice thing about these filters is they're available in primary and secondary color (used for color enlargers) and several sizes up to 6x6 inch.

See what you can find at local stores or camera swap meets since few if anyone still makes at home color enlargments on type C paper.

Remember that these methods are subtractive meaning that it holds back or removes light making the picture darker to make the correction. It also has the problem of filling the highlights or white areas in a picture with the filter color.

You normally would use these filters in making a new print and hopefully in time when you still had enough density in the other dye layers to make an acceptable picture. You'll notice in some of the samples that the color mutes down to look like old Cinecolor.

John

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Martin Jones
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1269
From: Thetford , Norfolk,England
Registered: May 2008


 - posted October 29, 2008 01:53 PM      Profile for Martin Jones   Email Martin Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sometime ago I rescued from the local tip a photo enlarger whose head includes a set of about 15 slide in correction filters ranging from various shades of red through yellow to blues.
Now I know what I can use it for!
I don't believe in throwing anything away....

Martin

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Retired TV Service Engineer
Ongoing interest in Telecine....

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10204
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted October 30, 2008 01:14 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
VERY interesting posts Doug!

I made my own filter by combining to different 3D style of glasses and it's works wonders, but it also cuts down o the availalbe light, of course.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Christopher P Quinn
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 210
From: Bedfordshire
Registered: Sep 2008


 - posted October 31, 2008 09:05 AM      Profile for Christopher P Quinn   Email Christopher P Quinn   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have used toffee papers myself. [Big Grin]

Great post Doug.

Chris.

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Chris Quinn Rides again.

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Keith Ashfield
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 997
From: U.K.
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted October 31, 2008 10:02 AM      Profile for Keith Ashfield     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Chris, your onto a "sticky" subject now. [Big Grin]

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"We'll find 'em in the end, I promise you. We'll find 'em. Just as sure as a turnin' of the earth".

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John Clancy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1954
From: Cornwall
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted November 01, 2008 05:09 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Don't forget all these wratten filters are available for telescopes too and probably far cheaper than photographic alternatives.

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British Film Collectors Convention home page www.bfcc.biz. The site is for the whole of the film collecting hobby and not just the BFCC.

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Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5468
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted November 01, 2008 07:26 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi all,

I am now having in my mind a wild idea that in the future (if someone will invente it) there will be a digital balance filter. What in my mind is a sort of color filter that can be adjusted either going to blueish, greenish, warmish, coolish or whatever is that by just playing buttons.

It similar to what we have on normal computer Picture Viewer nowadays.

So whatever the tone we have on films we can doo "real time" color correction...

Cool huh !! [Cool]

what do you think fellows?

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Winbert

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Mark Todd
Film God

Posts: 3846
From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted November 01, 2008 10:44 AM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think they do them already Winbert, Video projectors.
Have you got one yet.
Best wishes Mark.

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Graham Sinden
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1131
From: Kent, UK
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted November 01, 2008 11:10 AM      Profile for Graham Sinden   Email Graham Sinden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Winbert,

Seriously I also had the same idea and one that can be programmed to change with time. So you could run the film and scene by scene change the colour (for say indoor and outdoor scenes) manually. Then later when you show the film to an audience the filter automatically changes the colour at that time. The device memory could then store say 200 programmed settings, and you just select the film you want from the menu. But the downside is every film would have to be programmed in.

Personally though I think I will just settle for the basic filter.

And if you dont like pink prints, watch a DVD. [Big Grin]

Graham S

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Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5468
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted November 02, 2008 03:47 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I think they do them already Winbert, Video projectors.

Mark, Yes I do know that's available on VP. But what I was thinking is something to be placed in front of our 8mm porjectors. This is to compensate reddish or blueish prints.

Graham.. we are thinking the same... just if it is available [Wink]

cheers,

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Winbert

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