Cinematography Mailing List - CML

ENR Transfer

18th October 2005


What I wanna learn is about the transfer of ENR processed film to video. As I know, ENR is applied to positive film. Which processes does it go through while it is transferred to video? I think, ENR may be imitated in telecine, or telecine is made from positive but it would be high contrast, or you get internegative from positive and then go through telecine. For example, what has been done in Saving Private Ryan? Because I see the effect of ENR in DVD.

Film School,
Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

An ENR print would just be a very contrasty print for a telecine, too contrasty to actually replicate the way it looked projected since a telecine needs to start with something lower in contrast than the theatrical print.

Most feature films that used ENR for the release prints just use a normal IP for the video transfer and fake an ENR look in the telecine color-correction. That's what I did for "Northfork" on home video, even though the prints used a skip-bleach process (ENR, skip-bleach, CCE, ACE, etc. all just vary in terms of how much silver they leave in the film). I suspect transfers for films like "Sleepy Hollow" or "Snow Falling on Cedars", released theatrically in prints using silver retention processes, did something similar to what I did.

"Seven" used CCE for many of its release prints. For the transfer made a long time ago for the Criterion laserdisc, David Fincher used a low-con print (Kodak Teleprint film) for the transfer and had that run through some degree of silver retention. It was sort of notorious for being one of the darkest transfers out there on home video. For the transfer for "The Game" he just used a low-con print, but for some dark scenes he had to go to the I.P., which had more shadow detail. His objection back then was that I.P.'s and negs were too "slick" and clean-looking to look the way a movie should look, so he preferred using low-con prints, even for music videos and commercials.

Years later, he redid the transfer for the New Line special edition DVD release and he used the original negative and created the silver retention look in the telecine color-correction rather than deal with low-con prints and ENR, etc. So it looks much cleaner now. And now he's shooting his next movie on a Viper -- so I guess his tastes have evolved...

I heard some rumor that Janusz Kaminski apparently has been using low-con prints instead of I.P.'s for his video transfers of Spielberg's movies. I don't think he is adding any ENR to them. The low-con print is a little more contrasty, soft, and grainy compared to an I.P., so it gives him more of the texture of the release prints. It gets him more contrast than if he used an I.P., and he can then more easily then create the ENR look in the telecine (basically you are adding a lot of contrast by crushing the blacks, clipping your bright highlights faster, pulling down the chroma level.)

Bottom line is that it's not necessary to use an ENR print in the telecine transfer to create the look it had when projected. You can use a normally-processed I.P. or low-con print (if you want to start out with a little more harshness) and then add that ENR look with the telecine color-corrector. It will look less grainy, but then, it's hard to see the grain of an ENR print on most standard-def TV's anyway. But if you want a little more texture, use a low-con print instead of an I.P. If that's not enough, use ENR on it but at a lower strength than you did for the projection prints.

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles

You can emulate the ENR or bleach-bypass process on telecine to a certain extent, but not entirely, as the silver retention in the print leads to deeper maximum blacks, whereas the black level on a TV monitor cannot be exceeded.

Nevertheless that is what is usually done - transfer from neg or IP and grade in the look. No need to call it ENR (which is based on the initials of the Technicolor Rome sensitometrist Enrico Novelli Rimo who devised it) or bleach anything. It's simply the corresponding telecine technique to give a corresponding result: desaturated colours, increased contrast, blocked shadows.

In fact asking a telecine colorist for ENR could lead to a quite different result :

Electronic Noise Reduction
or then again
Excess Noise Ratio
but probably not
Engineering News Record
East Norfolk Railway
Euclidean Neighborhood Retract etc

Dominic Case
Atlab Australia

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