ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors will be an official cooperation partner at this year’s Second International Conference, Colour in Film that will take place from 27-29 March, 2017 at BFI Southbank and Friends House, London.

Colour in Film is an unique international event intended to foster and stimulate the interaction between the two vibrant, but still separate, colour film restoration and colour science circles and is addressing researchers, historians, film restorers, archivists, colour scientists and everyone interested in the topic.

At this year’s edition Dr. Giorgio Trumpy, Research Scientist, ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors, will present his most recent results of his study “Spectral Analysis of Historical Film Images” which is instrumental for two of the research project’s aims, namely the scientific investigation of historical color film stocks and—based on these insights—the improvement of current scanning technologies.

In the framework of the research project ‘FilmColors’ funded by an ERC Advanced Grant, we – a team of researchers of the University of Zurich  – are investigating the color appearance of historical film stocks with the aim to connect physical measurements to a broad aesthetic investigation, and to improve the scanning procedure.

The image appearance of a photographic film is strongly affected by the manner in which the film is illuminated.

An important factor is the spectral distribution of the light source, that has a strong impact on ‘colour separation’ during the scan of subtractive 3-colour film.
The directions of the light rays hitting the film, on the other hand, play an important role on the contrast and sharpness of the image. The difference between images obtained with diffuse and direct illuminations was observed since long time for silver-based material, and it became known as ‘Callier effect’.

The scattering phenomena that determine these differences are wavelength-dependent. Therefore, the geometry of illumination (direct or diffuse) plays a role also on colour (as shown in the figure for a tinted film). This fact is very important for colourised silver-based material (e.g. stenciled or tinted), for which a consistent colour difference can be observed between the image projected on screen (direct illumination) and the image observed on a light-box (diffuse illumination), which is the illumination type generally used by film scanners.

Dr. Giorgio Trumpy

In addition, project leader Prof. Dr. Barbara Flueckiger, creator and curator of the Timeline of Historical Film Colors, will host a screening section with some first examples of our scanning case studies, among them two Scopitone 16 mm Technicolor dye transfer prints from the holdings of Lichtspiel Kinemathek in Berne.

Registration is now open.


The event is co-organised by the Colour Group GB and HTW – University of Applied Sciences Berlin, in cooperation with ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors (University of Zurich) The British Film Institute (BFI), and Eastman Revolution and British Cinema, 1955-85 (University of Bristol).

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