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The 'look' and how to keep it: cinematography, postproduction and digital colour

Misek, Richard (2010) The 'look' and how to keep it: cinematography, postproduction and digital colour. Screen, 51 (4). pp. 404-409. ISSN 0036-9543. (doi:10.1093/screen/hjq045) (KAR id:35716)

Language: English
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Jacques Aumont has noted that, throughout screen history, filmmakers have tended to regard colour as something to be controlled.1 Between the rise of Technicolor in the mid 1930s and the emergence of digital cinema in the late 1990s, this typically involved controlling the colours that appeared in front of a film camera through techniques including production design, costume design, lens filtration and coloured lighting. Since the spread of Digital Intermediate (DI) in the early to mid 2000s, screen colour has owed at least as much to computer-based postproduction processes as it has to camera-based production processes.2 In this essay I explore colour as the focal point of a renegotiation of the historical roles of what are anachronistically still called the ‘production’ and ‘postproduction’ sectors of the film industry. I do so by means of a case study of the recent activities of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). Though the Society's membership numbers barely three hundred, it has for many decades been a prominent advocate of the ‘art of cinematography’ and of the interests of the cinematography profession as a whole.3 Using articles from its widely read trade journal, American Cinematographer, I explore some of the strategies used by the ASC over the last decade to preserve the privileged creative status of the Director of Photography (DoP) in the context of rapid technological and industrial change.4 These strategies have typically focused on colour. By exploring the various interactions between the ASC and the postproduction sector reported in American Cinematographer, as well as the rhetoric used to report them, I address the following question: if colour is something to be controlled, who controls it?

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/screen/hjq045
Subjects: T Technology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Engineering and Digital Arts
Depositing User: Tina Thompson
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 14:52 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:48 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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