Color timed by Dale E. Grahn



I was given the honor to time Saving Private Ryan because of my work on Amistad. The creators vision' for the film, at first, was something like an old newsreel war footage look. A distressed look, not a warm and cozy look. Also, it had to be a clean look, not muddy.

When you are working on a very high profile film project like Saving Private Ryan, you cannot afford to waste prints due to sloppy or timid corrections

- Dale E. Grahn -

Not only was it completed all on film but, it was the first of its kind to use a "Bleach By Pass Negative” and the ENR Developing process at 100% IR rating on Eastman Premier Stock. These three steps created the Saving Private Ryan color space that allowed me to shape the film's look. This format was used on every print of the entire film which was 9 full reels long. Every sequence has its own look by design.

The biggest challenge was developing the print that I would be showing Steven, Janusz, and Michael. To get the ENR 100%, IR rating took time to set up and once done the entire print was developed at the same time. This took a production developer off line for many hours and was costly to the lab. This was a hard thing to set up at peak production times. Also, I was working on “Six Days and Seven Rights” for Ivan while timing Save Private Ryan. Two very different looking films.


Color timing

As far as color timing tools are concerned, I had the standard Global RGB + or - and Global Density + or - and that is it. Only 4 buttons to work with. The bad news is that the 4 buttons don’t change the image as you’re watching it like it would if you were making a digital color correction.

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Wonderful article!

I am nowhere in your league, but I guess I am a modified screen timer, as I make corrections on a Steenbeck and use my fingers to simulate printer points of density to add on trial prints (only B&W).  It usually only takes one print, but really tricky jobs can take two and even three prints, but B&W prints are not as expensive as color!

I find that if I time to lock in the highlights and mid tones, I can selectively "back fill" the shadows with a few points here and there, depending on how the print reacts to the negative.  Nitrate and Safety react differently to points density added;  it can bite you if you get too complacent...

We have a comparator but it is hardly ever used.


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