Resotring and Remasting Films: Interview with Colorist Marc Weilage

Color Restoration from the Hollywood Angle: An Interview With Marc Wielage

January 10, 2018

Film restoration and remastering is a very unique specialty in the craft of digital color correction. Learn how a Hollywood colorist handles the unique challenges. Get some insights into his workflow and 'insider' stories.


Day 10: 24 Insights in 24 Days 2018 New Year Marathon

Color Restoration & Remastering (using Camera Negatives)

In ML0706 colorist Jim Wicks shares his experience color restoring films from the Golden Era of Mexican Cinema. One of his biggest challenges (and one of his biggest advantages) is how he only restores from the final, color-timed print of a film. There are no film archives preserving those works of art. Camera negatives, interpositives – none of those elements survive and the final prints Jim color grades are often neglected and severely faded. In this Insight, our interview with Marc Wielage looks at color restoration & remastering Hollywood Style.

Marc has been remastering and color restoring Hollywood feature films and television episodics since the 1980s. His clients are often creating new film negative from meticulously restored camera negative. Marc is working from camera negatives, where Jim is working from final prints. And that’s a difference with a big distinction.

I decided to release my interview with Marc immediately after Jim’s Insight on Color Restoration precisely because of the contrast of approaches and challenges. It shows how even in its sub-niches, the craft of digital color grading is rich and varied. And it helps explain why so many are attracted to the craft.

In this audio Insight, Marc and I discuss:

  • Marc’s early career
  • A timeline of the development of the craft from low-paid telecine operator to highly compensating DI colorist
  • Implications of color restoration from camera-original negatives
  • What’s the colorist’s roll in approving the final color for projects printing out to film?
  • Advice Marc gives to up-and-coming colorists
  • Film projection vs. Digital projection
  • The usefulness of film emulation LUTs
  • How color timers increased or decreased saturation in film
  • Nitrate film stock and its dangers
  • Can restoration and preservation go too far?
  • Marc’s work on the ‘restoration’ of Star Wars Episodes IV and VI
  • How does Marc and his clients handle grain reduction?
  • Adding film grain to digital acquisitions
  • Does the particular film stock provide Marc useful information about his restoration & preservation work?
  • Which does Marc prefer color grading: Well lit films from the 70s, 80s and 90s or modern films from digital cameras?
  • The challenge of film color timers as the industry moved to digital workflows on computers

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below!

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