Eduardo Serra: Bleach-Bypass

From American Cinematographer, True Luminaries by Stephanie Argy (June 1998)

In postproduction, Serra took steps to further enhance the differences between the two cities, such as treating sequences involving Venice with a bleach-bypass process. "There are many kinds of [silver-rentention processes] with many different names," he says, explaining that he used the technique for two main reasons. First, when shooting wide open, as in the carnival sequences, he wanted to ensure that he would have very good blacks. But he also wanted to maintain the warmth of the scenes. "I used the bleach-bypass process to keep it a little more close to earth," he adds.

A beach-bypass process is one of the most personalized services a lab can provide, with as many variations as there are cinematographers. Like many Europeans, Serra prefers to do the process on an interpositive. "I don't like to do it on the prints, as Technicolor does," he says. When the bleach-bypass process is done on the print, it means the whole movie has to be processed that way. Doing the process on the interpositive, on the other hand, allows the cinematographer to use it just on selected sequences. "It's very common, very easy, and allows you to choose which scenes you want to have," Serra says.

He says that not only is the process not appropriate for every scene, but the expense of doing it on an entire film makes it so costly that producers are often unwilling to pay the price for each print. Serra believes that it's better for the process to appear in only a few selected scenes, rather than to have it in every scene but on only a few release prints.

- Quotes within text, by Eduardo Serra, AFC

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