Eureka's look MileFilms
Sat Jan 27 20:02:08 EST 2001

In a message dated 1/27/01 4:47:34 PM, amnornes at writes:

> I remember seeing credits of Imagica and Sony PCL in films from
> Taiwan and HK for instance, that has led me to think that film processing
> and developing in Japan is trustworthy.

Junko raises a good question, to which I'll add an anecdote. The first time
I saw Brighter Summer Day was at the Japanese lab where post production was
being done. I asked Edward Yang, the director, why he was doing this in
Tokyo. I had assumed it was because so much of the budget was coming from
there; he told me that it was because they had the best labs in Asia.

There's not much I can say outside of personal experience. There's no 
quantitative analysis to provide. I have found the prints I have gotten from 
Japan to be of lesser quality, especially in the color balance, than the work 
I get done here. My timers and film-to-tape engineers have agreed about films 
from Japan. The one example where I could make my own negative and compare 
the two examples of labwork with Hana-Bi, the results were vastly different. 

As I have stated, that might partly be due to Milestone's use of archival 
labs and pay outside experts (archivists in some cases) to help time our 
prints. For example, by using Cinema Arts in Pennsylvania, you get a much, 
much better print than at DuArt in New York. 

I haven't worked with Chinese films and our only Korean film, Why Has 
Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East was printed in Europe. It could very well be 
that Japanese labs are the best in Asia. And what I'm looking for is 
certainly different and far more critical than what most people look for 
while viewing a film. The first time, I'm there to watch it. The second to 
next twenty times, is to proof the prints and video masters. That's my job. 
And some directors and cinematographers (and editors) know exactly what they 
want from the lab and are brilliant at the timing. Others allow the lab to 
choose the timings for them or make their own mistakes. It runs the gamut.

The timing of the Eureka prints were excellent on the most part, but I didn't 
really take notes (I don't want to when I first see a film) on the lab dirt 
and chemical stains that might exist on a print. And of course, the color 
balance really didn't enter into it.

Milestone Film & Video

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