Soup de Jour: Custom Processes Defined

From American Cinematographer, Soup de Jour by Christopher Probst (November 1998)

{This article is quite possibly the BEST resource and introduction to these processes, which at the time of this article's publication were relatively new and widely used throughout the industry. The following is the entire article for my personal reference in the future.}

------------------------------------------------ Soup de Jour (Nov. 98)-----------------------------------------------

Given the number of images bombarding viewers daily via feature films, television shows, commercials and music videos, the desire to create a distinguishing visual style has become a paramount concern among today's cinematographers. Aiding in this quest for diversity, motion picture laboratories now offer a variety of custom processes to enhance and modify a director of photography's work. Cinematographers have myriad methods at their disposal, from silver-retention processes to more esoteric ideas, such as stripping the anti-halation backing off an original camera negative. Readers should also be aware that Eastman Kodak is now offering two new color print films — Vision 2383 and Vision Premier 2393 (formerly code-named "Clipper I and II") — which may be used as alternatives to some of the contrast-affecting processes explained in the following pages.

What follows is a comprehensive survey of the options currently available to directors of photography. Bear in mind that we've interviewed representatives of the companies that have developed these processes, and that divergent opinions about their relative merits do exist in Hollywood's technical community. The ultimate purpose of this article is to present an overview that will hopefully make the laboratory landscape a bit less mystifying.


A forerunner of the seemingly endless image-enhancement techniques offered today are the various silver-retention processes designed to affect the contrast, color saturation, grain, and level of black density in print images. The use of silver-retention processes has gained great popularity among filmmakers worldwide over the last five years. In fact, scores of labs in both the United States and Europe have developed several competing methods to achieve the subtle — or sometimes pronounced — effect of retaining silver in the print, or, in some cases, in the intermediates or camera negative itself. However, even though each lab-s methods may differ slightly, the end results of each technique are very similar.

Technicolor's ENR

One of the most popular of the silver-retention processes is ENR, which was named for its inventor, Ernesto Novelli Rimo, a former control department operator at Technicolor Rome who designed the technique for Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC to use on Warren Beatty's 1981 film Reds. The cameraman has utilized the process on all of his subsequent films, including Ladyhawke, Tucker, Dick Tracy, The Last Emperor, Little Buddha and Bulworth. Additionally, cinematographers such as Janusz Kaminski, ASC (Amistad and Saving Private Ryan), Darius Khondji, ASC, AFC (Evita), Jack Green, ASC (The Rookie, Bird), Harris Savides (The Game), Chris Menges, BSC (Michael Collins) and Newton Thomas Sigel (Fallen) have each embraced the technique as a way of enhancing their visual palettes.

ENR is a proprietary color-positive developing technique which utilizes an additional black-and-white developing bath inserted at an appropriate stage of a print's processing in order to retain silver. After the film has been bleached, but prior to the silver being fixed out of the film, this extra bath allows for a controlled amount of silver to be redeveloped, adding density in the areas with the most exposure — primarily the blacks. Frank Ricotta, senior vice president of worldwide technical and engineering operations at Technicolor Hollywood, elaborates, "By retaining silver density in the image, you will increase the contrast by making the blacks blacker, and, since you have increased contrast in the shadows, you can see more detail. The images will appear slightly sharper because of the increased contrast and, because there is silver in the film physically, it gives you a little bit of an edge-effect around the image. Finally, by virtue of having silver in the print, it will slightly desaturate the colors, depending upon the level of ENR used."

It is a common mistake to refer to all of the various silver-retention processes as bleach-bypassing. Although bypassing the bleaching step may yield a similar result to ENR, the two processes differ radically in their approach to silver retention. "Bleach-bypass will tend to create an effect similar to that achieved with ENR," Ricotta submits, "because when you develop the print stock, you haven-t developed a lot of silver in the highlight areas where you didn-t have a lot of exposure. But as you get into the shadows, where the majority of the exposure density is on the print, you start to develop a lot of silver and dye. So whether you do a bleach-bypass or ENR, when you leave silver in the film, it is retained with less silver in the highlights than in the shadows. The two processes are not too different in that regard.

"However, we feel that ENR is much more finite a process because we can infinitely adjust the intensity of the effect by simply varying the concentration of the chemistry. Bleach-bypass means that you either bypass most or all of the bleaching function, so it's inherently less finite. This is an important factor for those films that want just a touch of ENR to make the blacks blacker. Jade is a perfect example of a film where William Friedkin and director of photography Andrzej Bartkowiak [ASC] wanted just a little bit of ENR to make the blacks nice and firm and rich, without measurably desaturating the colors.

"Conversely," Ricotta expands, "on a film like Saving Private Ryan, Janusz Kaminski and Steven Spielberg were interested in a higher contrast and a very desaturated look, so we employed one of the highest levels of ENR used to date. That especially desaturated the faces, which was something that Janusz was very interested in doing."

Another frequent misconception that occurs in discussions about ENR is the assignment of "percentage" values as a way of labeling the nearly infinite doses of ENR available to filmmakers. In an effort to quantify — not to mention establish a method to control — the levels of ENR, Technicolor utilizes an infrared (IR) densitometer to measure the level of silver retained in a print. By targeting a specific IR reading for the filmmaker-s desired effect, the laboratory can then set out to produce as many prints as required by the distributor with the exact level of ENR applied to each print.

"Many times, people are interested in knowing what "percentage- of ENR was used on a film," Ricotta relates. "When we read a number off a densitometer — say "60 IR- [a .60 density at 1000nm] — people who are less familiar with this type of measurement may refer to that as "60 percent ENR."Well, we haven-t necessarily left 60 percent of the silver in the film. It is simply a reading of optical density in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. At Technicolor, when we show a customer an ENR print we say, "This is a 40, this a 60, or this is an 80." Then based on their reaction, we can determine whether they want a little more or a little less effect. We never really talk in terms of what "percentage- of silver is retained, because it is really immaterial to their decision. When we set an ENR value with the client, we then control to that densitometer value of .40, .60, .80 or whatever.

"It's like when people talk about a percentage of flashing," he elaborates. "A client may ask for a 10 percent flash. Well, what does that mean? In the lab, a 10 percent flash is the addition of a .10 density over a simple D-min [or clear reading] in each color. For instance, if you have a D-min reading of .06, .06, .12 [R-G-B], then a "10 percent flash- would result in subsequent readings of .16, .16, .22 respectively."

It should also be noted that since ENR is applied to the positive release print, the shortest increment of film that the process can be applied to is one lab reel. Although ENR is typically utilized on an entire picture, some films have employed the effect only on selected sequences to visually distinguish them from the rest of the movie.

Deluxe's CCE/ACE

Although mainstream audiences may not be consciously aware of the use of special processes when they watch a film in a theater, they certainly felt the effect while watching David Fincher's horrific thriller Seven (AC Oct. '95), which was photographed by Darius Khondji. A number of the film's release prints were treated with Deluxe's Color Contrast Enhancement (CCE) process to heighten the film's blacks and add a palpable texture and tonality.

Designed by vice president of technical services Beverly Wood and executive vice president of engineering Colin Mossman, CCE is one of three silver-retention processes offered at Deluxe. Shortly after the release of Seven, the laboratory introduced its Adjustable Contrast Enhancement (ACE) process, which shares many of the same features of CCE, but is also scalable, like its Technicolor cousin, ENR. "I can tell you that ENR and ACE are similar processes," Wood submits. "In fact, Alien: Resurrection [AC Nov. '97] had its dailies and answer print done by Technicolor, but the release prints were done by Deluxe because of a contractual situation with the studio. The director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, compared our ACE check-print with his ENR answer print and was quite happy with the result. And with the recent advancements in both our chemical and mechanical technology, we were able to meet the film's large print demand on time.

"CCE, however, is something very different from ACE," she notes. "CCE is a proprietary process that produces a much higher contrast and adds more grain. When you have more silver, you have a more grainy look and blacker blacks. However, your blacks can also plug up more. With a bleach-bypass, the tones are much duller and more muted, and you have a lot less detail in the shadows. The blacks are very black, but the nuances in the gray are diminished. We do get some clients who want that look, but most of the time people say, 'I want the blacks to be black, but I still want some shadow detail.' This is why they are usually more interested in [silver-retention] processes such as CCE, ACE or ENR.

"These tools are nothing in hands of those who are not sure of what they're doing," she adds. "I've had a lot of people come in and consider using silver retention as an afterthought. They'll say, 'Take my negative and give me a CCE print because I want the look of Seven.' We will do the print for them of course, but when they say, "It doesn't look the same!' it is because the look of a film is truly a collaborative effort between the director, the cinematographer, the gaffer, the production designer and the costumer. The choices that are made in the art direction, the colors and the lighting really do make a difference. Now, I am by no means an expert on all of the things that the true experts do in order to create a certain look, but I know from working with cinematographers that it's important to shoot tests and actually go through the IP, IN and release-print stages to be sure about the look that they want."

Just as Technicolor controls their ENR process, Deluxe monitors the levels of silver retained by CCE and ACE at 1000nm. Wood notes that when Deluxe monitors the D-max reading on a normally processed 21-step wedge, the print yields an IR number between 58 and 60. "When you skip the bleach completely on a piece of print film and retain 100 percent of the silver in the film," she distinguishes, "that IR number goes up to 240 — effectively four times as much silver in the film than there should be.

"When you keep 100 percent of the silver in, the blacks look great in the dark parts of the room, but the faces now also have a lot of silver in them as well, so their contrast is all messed up. The fleshtones may look old and hard; therefore, you may say, "Can I back off on the amount silver in my print and still keep some of the normal nuances of the curve?' What this basically means is that you should try to make only the top part of the curve increase, while you keep the toe area the same. To do that, we back off from skip bleach and go to CCE. When we set up our proprietary set of events in terms of printing and processing, we end up with a D-max IR reading of 180 to 190. We now have about 75 percent silver in the print. What you will then see on the screen is that you now have some nice desaturation in the color; there's still a little bit of grittiness and grain to it, but you'll have more detail in the blacks than if you just skipped the bleach. For a movie like Seven, where the lighting was predominately on the upper part of the curve because the whole movie was so dark, going with CCE was one of the reasons that film looked so good.

"[Director] John Frankenheimer fell in love with the CCE process with the few prints we did for him on George Wallace," she adds. "Now, he just released Ronin with a select number of CCE show prints, while the majority of the release had normal prints. But since Robert Fraisse [AFC] did a fantastic job on the photography, providing a solid, rich negative, you may not notice the difference unless you distinctly know the look of CCE and compare the two types of prints side by side."

Finally, in the hierarchy of silver-retention techniques available at Deluxe, the lab offers its ACE process. "When we're presented with films like Alien: Resurrection or The X-Files — where the filmmakers want deep blacks, but still want the colors to look true and have a good level of chroma and texture in the mid-scale regions — we'll back off from CCE and give them ACE," Wood explains. "With ACE, we can give them 30, 40 or 60 percent, or whatever level they want. We can make those specific nuances by making chemical changes in the process. We did about 3,000 prints for both Alien: Resurrection and The X-Files, and both were released with about a 50 percent level of ACE."


On the opposite side of the Atlantic, Paris-based LTC Laboratories offers a unique twist to the black-and-white additive system of silver retention. Their process, which is called NEC — noir en couleur, the French phrase for "black in color" — allows filmmakers to perform the silver-retention function on the interpositive and have the effect match the look of a print that was processed directly. This somewhat baffling feat is, of course, of utmost interest to distributors — who would like to avoid the additional costs incurred while performing a special process on each release print — and cinematographers, who desire consistency in the presentation of their work regardless of the region or country the film is distributed.

Designed by Jean-Pierre Poggi with the aid of color-timing consultants Yvan Lucas and Georges Roch, NEC was created for Darius Khondji to use on the 1995 film The City of Lost Children. Since the highly-regarded release of that film, the Parisian laboratory has utilized its proprietary technique on such films as Mathieu Kassovitz's Assassins, Un Frére (directed by Sylvie Verheyde and photographed by Antoine Roch) and K (directed by Alexandre Arcady and photographed by Gerry Fisher, BSC).

"We do the NEC treatment on the interpositive, and yet the results will be identical as if we do the treatment directly on the positive [print]," Poggi attests. "We will have a higher density on the interpositive, but since we're using normal processing on the print, the density will be the same [D-max] that the film is capable of. However, we have already created the look on the interpositive, so we don't need a special treatment for the print. The NEC process is less about blacker blacks [than about] affecting the contrast and [tonal reproduction] in the image."


The procedure of bleach bypass entails either the partial or complete skipping of the bleaching function during the processing of a film. Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC utilized this technique to stunning effect on 1984 — which was processed at Britain's Kays Laboratory — while Denis Lenoir, AFC incorporated bleach bypass on Désordre (1986) and Monsieur Hire (1989) at France's renown Eclair Labs (see Benjamin Bergery's coverage in AC March and May '93), which also applied the technique on the 1991 release of Delicatessen for Darius Khondji.

While the majority of laboratories in Hollywood are capable of offering bleach-bypassing to their clients, both Fotokem and CFI have introduced some custom modifications to the technique. Fotokem offers bleach-bypassing not only on prints, but also on original camera negative as well as intermediate films. CFI's bleach-bypassing system, dubbed Silver Tint, may also be utilized at a specific stage and is offered in two different levels: Standard Silver Tint and Enhanced Silver Tint.

CFI's Silver Tint

Richard Smith, technical director at CFI, explains, "Both CFI and Fotokem have what you would call an 'alternative ENR process.' Because of the constraints of our existing processing tank setup, we are unable to put a true ENR tank inline. We would do that if we had the tank availability, but [as it stands] we'd have to reconfigure the entire processor. In normal processing, the film travels through the prebath, color developer, stop, first fix, bleach, soundtrack application, wash, second fix, wash, stabilizer and then to the dry-box. In an ENR-type resilvering process, the black-and-white developer is introduced after the sound application [or after the bleach] and before the second fix.

"To differentiate the two, with the Enhanced process, we leave 100 percent of the silver in the print, resulting in an IR reading near 240. But with Standard Silver Tint, we can remove a portion of the silver, yielding an IR value between 165 and 175. Standard Silver Tint has higher contrast, blacker blacks and desaturated colors compared to a normal print, but not to the same degree as the Enhanced Silver Tint."

CFI first utilized Enhanced Silver Tint for the Robert Altman film Kansas City (see AC Sept. '96), which was shot by Oliver Stapleton. "This process produces a very harsh, high-contrast, hard look," Smith describes. "The contrast of the print film increases dramatically and it significantly desaturates colors. Robert Altman wanted a harsh look for Kansas City. He wanted bland, muted fleshtones and heightened contrast, so he elected to use the Enhanced Silver Tint on approximately 50 of the film's show prints."

The lab incorporated Standard Silver Tint on such films as She's So Lovely (photographed by Thierry Arbogast, AFC) and Joyride (Stephen Douglas Smith), as well as more recently on the Brazilian feature Un Embruyo (Marcello Durst). "For She's So Lovely, Thierry wanted CFI to emulate the NEC process done in France by LTC. For a period of time we tried experimenting with flashing and special developing on the interpositive to achieve similar results, but ultimately we released the film with Standard Silver Tint prints."

Fotokem's Skip-Bleach

"On any developing machine that has a bleach tank, the bleach can be bypassed," suggests Mark Van Horne, manager of production services at Fotokem. "However, bypassing the bleach has a different effect at each step that you do it. Fortunately, since bleach-bypass is basically incomplete processing, it is a reversible process. If you decide at a later date that you don't like the look of your bypassed negative, you could always go back and just put it through the bleach and the fixer to turn it back into a normal negative."

Van Horne cautions that if you intend to bypass the bleach of your original camera negative, you should perform exposure tests to safeguard the photography from the possibility that it might later be processed normally. "When bypassing the bleach on your negative, we recommend that you actually underexpose, which is a scary idea because in all other instances we would never recommend that," he explains. "But when you bypass the bleach and leave that silver on the negative, the added density basically acts like added exposure, and makes the whites much whiter. [Doing the skip-bleach processes on the print, as opposed to the negative or intermediates] obviously creates a very different look. ENR or skip-bleach on the print is a more subtle look that we tend to see more in features, while the individuals who skip the bleach on the negative tend to be working on music videos or commercials where they want to create a look that gets your attention. It's a much more pronounced effect." Additionally, he reveals that Fotokem will be offering a scalable black-and-white additive bath — like ENR or ACE — by the end of this year.

Van Horne also points out that due to the additional setup costs required to incorporate silver-retention processes, when utilizing special process on a film, it may be too expensive to perform the required testing, so Fotokem has therefore created a detailed photographic demonstration which they screen every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. "We currently show footage with skip-bleach on the negative, the interpositive, the internegative and the print, as well as skip bleach on the interpositive and internegative with flashing. We tried flashing — from 5 percent to 30 percent — to get the look of the skip-bleach print, but do it on the intermediate."

The advantage of utilizing the process at the interneg stage is dramatic in terms of expense. "Ordinarily, the lab reclaims the silver from the prints and sells it, [which offsets operating costs,]" Van Horne describes. "But when you leave the silver in the prints, the lab charges a few cents per foot of film for the lost silver reclamation. If you're making 2,000 10,000' prints, that's going to be a big expense for the distributor. If you can build that look into the interpositive/internegative, then you won't have to pay anything extra for all of those prints."


Another technique that filmmakers have occasionally asked the lab to perform in order to radically alter the look of a picture is cross-processing reversal film. This method has recently been utilized by such cinematographers as Robert Richardson, ASC (on Oliver Stone's U-Turn, see AC Oct. '97), Elliot Davis (on Steven Soderbergh's The Underneath, and for portions of Spike Lee's Get on the Bus, see AC Nov. '96), Malik Sayeed (also for Lee on Clockers, see AC Sept. '95), and Newton Thomas Sigel (for the "Demon-Vision" sequences in Fallen).

The use of cross-processed film has become something of a taboo subject matter for laboratories, film manufacturers and distributors. In fact, very few labs even offer the service due to the inherent conflict of interest the technique represents. Duart in New York is one of the few labs currently servicing cross-processing clients, and dailies manager Al Pierce states, "Cross-processing in the motion picture lab is when an exposed image shot on Ektachrome reversal film is developed through a color negative process. While Ektachrome was not manufactured to be processed as a negative film, this technique will allow you to obtain a negative image on a clear-based original reversal film. The effect on the screen, either by a workprint or video transfer, is usually a higher-contrast and increased-grain image. We've found that a normal to slightly underexposed image gives the best results for lab timing and printing equipment; too much exposure will not allow for the use of an orange-based filter in the timing and printing of the negative. Use of this filter will help match the cross-processed film with the color negative film, and thus enable the lab to better time and correct the images."

The effect of cross-processing on the image varies greatly, with even the most minute changes of the nearly infinite factors affecting the exposure, handling, processing and storage of the film. "A serious problem associated with such cross-processing is the need to use formaldehyde, or a formaldehyde derivative, to stabilize the film's magenta dye," states Frank Ricotta of Technicolor. He adds that "such chemicals carry with them significant ecological and health concerns that may preclude their use. If you don't stabilize the film and just protect the image with an interpositive, the magenta dye in the camera original is going to fade fairly quickly. Since Technicolor will not use the noted stabilizers, the lab's policy is not to accept film for cross-processing since it will not have a stable image. However, if someone chooses to use cross-processing for a commercial or a music video, they're probably going take that negative and go straight to transfer, so maybe the long-term stability of the negative is not a concern for them."

Some labs have concerns about the chemicals that could be released into their processors' tanks by cross-processing reversal stocks, but this has not been a problem at Duart. "We have not had any problems in processing Ektachrome in our color negative bath while using the existing chemistry," Pierce submits. "However, there are important environmental concerns connected with some chemicals used in the stabilizing process of Ektachrome film. We have found a suitable substitute which has been shown to considerably slow down the fading problem associated with this film when cross-processed. However, there still is no total guarantee for the long-term stability of this product after it is cross-processed. Also, it is my understanding that Kodak will not guarantee the stability of Ektachrome when used in this processing procedure."

Despite all of these logistical headaches, the resulting imagery can be stunning. Depending on all of the aforementioned variables, the effect on the footage can range from a subtle increase in contrast and grain, to a truly bizarre skewing of tonality throughout the picture, particularly in the highlights and shadows, which can radically shift to magenta and cyan respectively.

Given the associated risks of cross-processing, French cinematographer Denis Lenoir, AFC has utilized a lesser-known laboratory printing technique to achieve similar results. Developed by fellow countryman Ƀric Gautier, AFC (Personne ne m'aime and Love, ect.), the technique entails printing a normally-shot camera negative onto standard print film as an interpositive. Print film is a much higher-contrast stock, and Lenoir notes that when this IP is subsequently printed onto a 5244 internegative, the resulting imagery will be much more contrasty, with amplified grain and skewed colors.

"We know effects in grain and deepened blacks can be achieved by other processes like bleach-bypass and ENR," says Lenoir, "but those techniques mute colors. This technique yields colors that are quite strong and shifted in the highlights and shadows."


An even more exotic lab technique, which is nonetheless noteworthy, is one in which the anti-halation backing is stripped off an original camera negative prior to photography. This method has only been used once in recent history on a major motion picture, for a small flashback sequence in the film Virtuosity, which was photographed by Gale Tattersall (see AC Oct. '95). Tattersall had Vancouver-based Gastown Labs remove the anti-halation backing by running the his raw stock through their processor's first bath, bypassing the rest of the developing steps, and going directly into a completely blacked-out drying box. The unexposed negative was then recanned and shipped back to the production for photography.

The removal of the anti-halation backing allows light passing through the negative during photography to bounce off the rear pressure plate — which Tattersall replaced in his camera with a custom mirror-surfaced plate — and cause halation on the film around the highlights. Tattersall likened the effect to the look of old turn-of-the-century photographs. Interestingly, David Watkin, BSC wanted to use this process on the period film Yentl, but it was deemed too risky.


Another potentially exciting development in printing technology is the attempted resurrection of Technicolor's dye-transfer printing technique. First utilized with three-strip black-and-white camera negatives, and later adopted for single-strip color negative films, the process hasn't been used in Hollywood since the 1974 release of The Godfather Part II.

With all of the recent advancements in film technology, Technicolor's new focus on the dye-transfer process is intended to improve the revered old system. Some industry experts have adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude toward the firm's goal, but Technicolor's experts remain optimistic. "What we point out to our customers is that dye transfer will give you blacker blacks than standard color positive print film, with more detail and higher color saturation," explains Frank Ricotta. "Additionally, one of the major advantages of dye-transfer printing is that we can alter the contrast of the printing elements that we make. From the original negative, we manufacture printing elements called matrices, which are the complimentary [Y-C-M] records of the blue, red and green imagery recorded on the original negative. If you have an original negative that was shot normally, but want a bit more or less contrast, you can now adjust those levels in the print by utilizing dye-transfer printing."

One boon to Technicolor's efforts is the staggering progress made by Kodak in emulsion technology. "Kodak has essentially made four new stocks for us," Ricotta says. "There are the three different black-and-white matrix stocks for the red, green and blue separations, and then what we call a receiver stock. In the dye-transfer process, we start with the original color negative and then, on an optical printer, separate the red, green and blue information onto these first three stocks, which make up your complimentary color matrices. Then, by virtue of the way you print and develop these matrices, in addition to having a silver image, they have a relief image on them.

"Dye transfer is very much like an offset printing process that has a drum with raised and lowered lettering on it," he continues. "In offset printing, you flood that drum with ink and then print that ink onto a piece of paper. By doing four passes — with cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink — you create a color image. Dye-transfer printing isn't all that different. When the matrices come off the developing machine, they also have a relief image like a printing plate. When these matrices are then loaded on the dye-transfer machine, the three separate records are, in turn, saturated with the appropriate dyes and then sequentially put into contact with a receiver film, onto which the dyes are transferred. Of course, the three dye images must be transferred in perfect registration with one another to avoid color fringing in the print."

An added benefit from printing each color layer separately is the ability to individually select the quality of each dye used. "The dyes in a standard color print film are actually manufactured in the positive film as a result of chemical reactions," Ricotta details. "Those dyes are very good, but they restrict your freedom in terms of what dyes you are going to use because they are formed by the chemicals that are already in the film. With the dye-transfer process, you select the dyes that you want based on their actual color rendition.

"Color positive prints will never look exactly like dye-transfer prints," notes Ricotta. "While we believe the overall quality of dye-transfer prints to be superior, we recognize that the "dye-transfer look' may not be proper for every picture. In that regard, it may considered yet another option in the arsenal of the creative community."


All of the special processes detailed here also come with additional charges to the filmmakers, so it should be noted that there still are some inexpensive alternatives, several of which can be performed in-camera.

A less extreme way to manipulate contrast may be achieved not only through lighting and exposure, but also by means of pushing and pulling the film (usually up to two stops with no deleterious effects on grain), which can subtly change the film's contrast response and color saturation. Pulling the film — overexposing (by underrating the film's ASA) and then underdeveloping the negative — will slightly decrease the contrast and color saturation. Pushing the film — underexposing (rating the film faster) and then increasing the developing time — produces the opposite effect, yielding a slightly more contrasty image with a subtle increase in color saturation.

The process of flashing the camera negative — through the use of devices like the Panaflasher or Varicon (see AC July '90), or by flashing in the lab — can be used to both decrease contrast and desaturate colors. However, it should also be noted that both pulling and flashing are often used in tandem with the utilization of a silver-retention process to further control the behavior of the effect; usually to soften the contrast of the mid-scale fleshtones.

And finally, there is also the long-used color desaturation technique which involves striking both color and black-and-white interpositives of the color footage. These are then A/B-printed onto the same print in varying degrees to mute the colors.

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