Overusing Color Correction?

Posted by jwsadmin on December 5, 2015

Disney artists do like to clean up the masters these days, and in many cases rightfully so. But it should be noted that ANY artist that cleans up an ancient piece of work, be it a classical Greek mosaic, a Michaelangelo ceiling, a Rembrant painting, a Shakespeare text, or a Disney feature, is doing so slightly tainted by their own times and their own vision of what the work is. In striving to make it as good as it can be, it can often end up cleaner or different even from the original they claim to be striving to achieve.

Here's one brief but well known section of Fantasia, showing the 1990 cleanup (where most of the clean-up was physically on the print - the 2000 release was a digital master of this final 1990 print) vs the 2010 cleanup for the blu-ray, where most of the work was done using software. It shows there was a definite pass made through digital color correction. In fact, if I were to color-balance the 2010 in Picasa, I actually end up getting something very close to the 1990 version.

1990 (2000) 2010 (DVD)

While software and perhaps an old-man's memory or two might hint that the yellowish tint (which is even more pronounced on the blu-ray than the DVD) is closer to the original, there are other pieces of evidence, like the cell print on Walt's wall in many a Wonderful World of Color/Disney intro, that show the blue-gray that most of us remember is "the original".

So which is it? Are either of them right? Does it matter?

Is color-correction of the classics the next "compression war", where artists don't restore the originals so much as make them palatable for the current trend in playback technology?

Certainly I'm keeping my 2000 DVD because the extras on it weren't duplicated on the Blu-Ray, nor did we get a new documentary feature like Beauty and the Beast - in fact even the old ones weren't duplicated, but only are available as BD-Live features.

blog comments powered by Disqus