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6.4 What is timing/color timing, and how does it affect the look of filmed images? (Film Laboratories)




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This article is from the rec.arts.movies.tech FAQ, by Scott E. Norwood snorwood@nyx.nyx.net with numerous contributions by others.

6.4 What is timing/color timing, and how does it affect the look of filmed images? (Film Laboratories)

Color timing has a great effect on filmed images, as it controls the
`look' of the film, with respect to exposure and color balance, as
well as scene-to-scene continuity. The color timer uses a machine
known as a `Hazeltine' (tm) which reverses images on the original
negatives and displays them on a television-like screen, and then
turns dials to assign the image `printer's points' for each of the
three primary colors (red, green, blue). These `points' range from 0
to 50, with about 25 being `normal,' with higher numbers making the
image darker, and lower numbers making the image lighter. In practice,
the `normal' values vary depending upon the camera stocks used and the
cinematographer's personal preferences for exposure.

When working with black-and-white films, only one set of points is
used, as there is no color balance to worry about. In this case, the
`timer' simply manipulates the exposure of the image. Incidentally,
the term `timer' comes from the days before automated printers when
the `timer' actually had to determine how long certain portions of the
print should be allowed to sit in the developer. Of course, this is no
longer necessary, and all print films are processed in the same
manner.

Each scene is timed, and the printer's points for each scene are
encoded onto a punched paper tape (or, in older arrangements, as
notches in the edges of the negatives to indicate the changes, which
would be manually set by the printer operator, just like
fades/dissolves). The printer then reads these cues and electronically
adjusts its lights and filtration to match the cues. Other methods for
cuing the timing changes have been employed, although the paper tape
appears to be the most common at this time.

 

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