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Silver Retention Prints
#1
It's been a while since this has been discussed but I thought I'd start a new thread regarding the various types of silver retention processes for colour positive projection prints, obviously the most well known are the Technicolor ENR and Deluxe's CCE/ACE.

As I understand it ENR/ACE had adjustable levels of silver retention whereas CCE was a fixed process. In any case the prinicipal photography had to be such to accommodate the extra contrast, shadow level and colour shifts which the process created (ie flashing the negative, production/costume design etc), simply putting a conventionally-shot negative through a silver retention process would wreak havoc on shadows/skin tones etc. Basically the silver grains which acts as the precursor to the colour dye cloud forming remain in various levels according to density. This has the effect of blocking light, reducing saturation and adding extra edge definition due to the metallic silver having cleaner edges than dye clouds. 

I guess the most famous features which got silver release prints would be Se7en, Saving Private Ryan, Alien: Resurrection, Sleepy Hollow, Fight Club; I'm sure there are many more but those are the ones that spring to mind. In most cases the majority of prints were standard colour prints which attempted to approximate the look, very few true silver prints were struck due to the costs involved. There are of course features which used skip bleach/bypass on the o-neg which is it's own thing that introduces different characteristics, Minority Report being such an example but I believe there were ENR prints made for that film too. 

Has anyone here been fortunate enough to see a true silver retention print out in the wild? I believe a privately-owned CCE print of Se7en gets shown occasionally around the world and by all accounts it is DARK to the point that the frame literally disappears into the masking. 

It seems mad to me that digital hasn't really been able to emulate the look yet, but then again digital promised more than it could deliver in general. It's worth remembering that unless a display is capable of something approaching close to true black then no matter how good the source is the result won't be as effective, if anything it will look worse than not as the milky blacks will overpower the image. I guess the films crying out the most for a regrade would be Alien: Resurrection and Se7en, I know there's a custom of Se7en out there but that is a regrade to the Criterion master which was based off a low-con print. I think the A:R LD being taken from a silver print was debunked long ago.
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#2
I haven't had the luck of seeing one, but on a side note, why would producing them be expensive? From what I understand, you simply skip the bleach step in the normal process? Or is that a misrepresentation?
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#3
I think the process is a bit more complicate, then mormal print copying.
Iirc, Fight Club had a first batch of true Silver Retention prints, but later that process was skipped. So I think international prints of Fight Club are not silver retention.
"Never cut a deal with a dragon..."
- Old Shadowrun wisdom
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#4
Did Sporv not regrade Alien: Resurrection with that look in mind?

I've got a copy of the New Line DVD for Se7en and was thinking that could be one to try and colour match the Blu-ray to.
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#5
Tom, depending on the process extra baths have to be added to the developer line and the process is slower overall, as a result that line cannot be used for much faster conventional prints. On top of that the lab cannot recover as much silver from the print stock (obviously) so there is an added cost associated with silver prints (labs sell the recovered silver which offsets processing costs).
Alex I will have to find the post but I believe the difference between the DTS and regular Alien: Resurrection LDs was put down to a difference in saturation levels, in any case the result was more pleasing than the blu ray (which if I remember correctly was hated by the director or DP, possibly both).
Croweyes has done a regrade based off of the Criterion master, but he named it the CCE edition and fell foul of the b****y forum gatekeepers lol
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#6
There were so few prints made its a crap shoot sadly
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#7
(2022-03-29, 06:27 PM)dvdmike Wrote: There were so few prints made its a crap shoot sadly

Sadly true, most of the prints were struck from a silver retention interpositive as a compromise.
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#8
Yeah, and the look was almost never carried to home video bar a few laserdiscs
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#9
For reference sake here is spoRv's original list of CCE/ENR/etc prints that we know about:

https://fanrestore.com/thread-1252.html

Here is a good reference that I think has been mentioned before:
https://theasc.com/magazine/nov98/soupdujour/pg2.htm
https://theasc.com/magazine/nov98/soupdujour/pg3.htm
https://theasc.com/magazine/nov98/soupdujour/pg4.htm

I've always been curious about Sleepy Hollow myself. If I remember correctly there was an implication that half the prints where processed and looked very black & white which was the intention and the other half were a lot more colorful. I assume what we got on video was the more B&W looking version.
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#10
Thanks for the ASC links, incidentally I read that article earlier this week and was one of the reasons I started this new thread. Here's an article I also found about Sleepy Hollow:

https://ascmag.com/articles/flashback-sleepy-hollow
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