This is topic Product Review: Color Rebalance Filter in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on October 28, 2008, 11:26 AM:
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 (, 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!


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.


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.



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.




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.

Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on October 28, 2008, 11:28 AM:

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.




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.




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




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.


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.

Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on October 28, 2008, 12:02 PM:
Thank's for that very honest and impartial review Doug. It pretty well convinced me that I can do without that filter.
Posted by Larry Arpin (Member # 744) on October 28, 2008, 01:48 PM:
Not glass, these are gelatin filters, but I used to use these on the optical printer:


Here is the website:

You could tape this around the lens. At $22 it is a lot cheaper. They have holders for about $12.
Posted by Graham Ritchie (Member # 559) on October 28, 2008, 02:06 PM:

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.

Posted by John Clancy (Member # 49) on October 29, 2008, 04:13 AM:
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.
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on October 29, 2008, 09:27 AM:
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.

Posted by John Whittle (Member # 22) on October 29, 2008, 09:49 AM:
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.

Posted by Martin Jones (Member # 1163) on October 29, 2008, 01:53 PM:
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....

Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on October 30, 2008, 01:14 PM:
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.
Posted by Christopher P Quinn (Member # 1294) on October 31, 2008, 09:05 AM:
I have used toffee papers myself. [Big Grin]

Great post Doug.

Posted by Keith Ashfield (Member # 741) on October 31, 2008, 10:02 AM:
Chris, your onto a "sticky" subject now. [Big Grin]
Posted by John Clancy (Member # 49) on November 01, 2008, 05:09 AM:
Don't forget all these wratten filters are available for telescopes too and probably far cheaper than photographic alternatives.
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on November 01, 2008, 07:26 AM:
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?
Posted by Mark Todd (Member # 96) on November 01, 2008, 10:44 AM:
I think they do them already Winbert, Video projectors.
Have you got one yet.
Best wishes Mark.
Posted by Graham Sinden (Member # 431) on November 01, 2008, 11:10 AM:

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
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on November 02, 2008, 03:47 AM:
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]


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