Tamura's Eureka

Jason Gray loaded_films
Sun May 15 09:34:04 EDT 2005

I seem to remember hearing that every theatrical print of
Spielberg's "Schindler's List" had to have the scene with
the little girl in the red coat manually spliced in and
that it was a major undertaking. Not sure about the focal
shift, but when watching a print you could see the black
and white shift to b&w printed on colour stock as it took
on a hue. Easily corrected in video transfers. Wasn't
lucky enough to see Rumble Fish theatrically, but I assume
it was a similar case (?).

What was done for the coloured smoke signal that tips off
the cops in in Kurosawa's Tengoku to Jigoku? Was it a dye
process, or hand coloured? 


--- Mark Nornes <amnornes at umich.edu> ?????????
> I dropped by a favorite watering whole in Kabuki-cho
> last night only to 
> find Tamura Masaki sitting there, drunk and lonely.
> It had been a while 
> since we'd spoken, so we chatted about all sorts of
> things----trying 
> our best to avoid the subject of Ogawa Pro,
> something neither of us 
> seems to be able to avoid.
> I mentioned to Tamura that KineJapan had some
> discussion about the 
> color scheme of Eureka, but that I don't remember if
> it was resolved or 
> not. He was delighted to set the record straight.
> It's clearly 
> something he's supremely proud of.
> When director Aoyama told him he wanted to shoot in
> black and white, 
> yet have the last scene shift to color, Tamura told
> him it was 
> impossible. I pointed out that was hardly true, and
> cited the examples 
> from any number of films---say by Wakamatsu and
> Adachi.

> Tamura scoffed, "They didn't know what they were
> doing, and didn't 
> care. It can't be done." He explained that, first,
> you'd have to use 
> two kinds of film stock, black and white and color,
> and this would 
> necessitate splicing the two sections together. This
> wouldn't look 
> good. Perhaps you could have a unique reel just for
> the color, but it 
> was so short that it wasn't practical.
> Then he explained that the main reason had to do
> with the thickness of 
> the film stock, and having a separate reel for the
> color wouldn't take 
> care of the consequences. Black and White and Color
> are different 
> thicknesses, and thus require a focus shift during
> projection. This 
> would have to be done on the fly, and needless to
> say this shift to 
> color was at a crucial moment in the film. Even the
> best projectionist 
> would require distracting fiddling with focus.
> So Tamura suggested shooting in black and white, but
> printing in color. 
> He did many tests, and both he and Aoyama loved the
> results. Tamura 
> studied the effects, tweaking lighting and camera
> until he had a sense 
> of control. They shot, printed everything on color,
> and then found 
> something else out. The labs simply didn't have
> experience with this, 
> and so they had little control over the results.
> Tamura found that 
> every print was different. He didn't like the first
> one. They sent the 
> second one to Cannes. He thinks the third print they
> struck was the 
> best, at least that's his memory of it.
> It sounds like he hasn't been working much lately.
> What a waste of one 
> of Japan's great cinematographers.
> Markus

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