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Colorists & DPs



On behalf of the many colorists I have known over the last 16+ years I
have been a Telecine colorist, I would like to take exception to the
letter from Mr. Jean-Clement Soret.  First of all, he includes himself
as a DP, by stating, "We DP's" in his second paragraph. Throughout the
letter he refers to the "responses" he gets as a DP in a session.
Yet, at the end of the letter, he signs off as "colorist".  Quite
frankly, he is most unclear as to what his career really is.

I believe Mr.Soret's claims are somewhat different from those I am in
touch with. One can understand Mr. Soret's partiality to the Aaton
system, however, as unproven as it is, since he is from France.   Of
course, Aaton is a French product.

His comment about there being "no use" for the TAF film is not an
accurate one.  While it is true that setup with this test film will
not necessarily provide the exact color balance of the film to be
transferred, the TAF, or other film color chart, will allow the
colorist or Engineering personnel to check out the Rank and color
corrector, besides being used by many as a starting point for color
balancing. One should not assume, as Mr. Soret implies, that all
colorists have the same "eye", for without a film color chart, this
"starting point" differs considerably from one colorist to the next.

Mr. Soret's recommendations about quality communications (as has been
stated in the past) goes without saying.  But it is not the ultimate
in arriving at our common goal.  Whether it be the Thorough Control
System from Gamma & Density Co. (Yuri Neyman), or any other system, we
need to work with these new tools both in Production and
Post-Production to reach our aim---- a picture representative of what
the DP sees behind the lens. As far as I know, the TCS system from 
Gamma & Density is the only technology existing today to service both 
ends of the equation between colorists and DP's by allowing a 
consistent color and contrast setup of every scene each time.

Mr. Soret's desire to "find the same zero setting on any machine" is
perhaps shared by all of us, but, as those in Telecine know, the
reality of electronics and film dictates and is not possible, with the
many equipment configurations that exist. Two Telecines in the same
facility will not have the same settings, let alone "every machine"
around the world.

Quite the contrary to what Mr. Soret was saying about his discussions
with French DP's and their reaction to the Gamma & Density chart,
being one of the first colorists to use the system, I have found the
number of cinematographers I have spoken with who are utilizing the
chart to be most satisfied with the results, and feel they have
discovered an effective and efficient way to transfer dailies.
Regarding Mr. Soret's comments about shooting the chart many times a
day, this is not the case at all.  Rather, it is shot like any other
color chart used today at each new scene setup to insure accurate
color balance. Whether it be Aaton's system, or Rank's new box, no
system other than the one from Gamma & Density is designed to be used
on the actual set itself with the exact lighting conditions.

Sure, we shall all continue to provide feedback about the technologies
we need to do our job, but let's be certain we do not injure those who
are making attempts to help all of us.

Howard Sisko
Colorist