Janusz Kaminski: ENR, Blood, Texture & Panaflasher

From American Cinematographer, The Last Great War by Christopher Probst (August '98)

"We also wanted to shoot this picture in color because there is some blood in the film and we wanted to play with the reds, even though we did desaturate the colors through the use of ENR. I knew the movie would have more of a bluish tone to it, and with 70 percent ENR, the color of the blood on the uniforms and the ground was a primary concern. For scenes in which the characters got wounded, we wanted to know how the blood would look on the uniforms and how it would look after they wore those uniforms for a couple of days. Because we were dealing with a World War II drama, the wardrobe was already muted, and since we were shooting in England and Ireland, we had day after day of foggy, rainy climate, which automatically made the light more diffused and the colors more pastel. We therefore compared various levels of ENR, and based on those tests, the special effects department mixed a certain amount of blue into the blood to make it a bit darker than they’d normally use... I think the biggest mis-conception about ENR that everyone talks about is what the process does to the shadows to make them deeper and richer. Yes, that is one aspect of the process, but the biggest thing about ENR that no one seems to be talking about is what it does to the highlights and colors. If you shoot a test and compare a shot with ENR and without, the clothing will look much sharper and you will see the texture and pattern of the fabric in the ENR print. This was especially true on Amistad, on which we used about 40 to 50 percent ENR. As a result, all of the Africans’ clothing had much more texture. On Saving Private Ryan, the uniforms benefited as well. The edges of the shirts and the helmets were sharper, and the process also worked magic on metallic surfaces and water reflections, which become like mercury. It’s so gorgeous... Additionally, I again used a Panaflasher in conjunction with the ENR process, as I had on Amistad. Because of the contrast that you get with the ENR, I was flashing at about 15 percent so that I didn’t get totally sharp blacks. I was looking for a slightly flatter look. The Panaflasher also contributed greatly to the color being more desaturated. You gain the contrast back with the ENR, but you’ve desaturated the color already with the Panaflasher."

- Janusz Kaminski

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