What are the colors supposed to look like?

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Thouser
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What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by Thouser » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:12 am

I'm kind of confused as to what the colors are actually supposed to look like. Why do the Dragon Boxes and Funimation releases look so different from each other? Of the many releases of the series which is the most accurate-looking colorwise?
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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by LordCrumb » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:37 am

I would think that those who own the animation cells would be able to say for sure?

I've been watching the 'Ultimate Uncut Special Editions' the past few nights, and have to say I think those look damn good.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by SaiyaJedi » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:48 am

Short [and jerk-ish] answer: the way they're supposed to.

Long answer: It's hard to say for certain. The Dragon Boxes were restored from the original film masters, but they made no effort to correct the natural color change that affects celluloid as it ages, so everything has a slightly yellowish/greenish tint. FUNimation's in-house releases instead attempt to clean up the masters they were given (often several generations removed from the original masters), and pump up the saturation and brightness (along with a significant blue shift) in order to mask film damage and age. And that's to say nothing of the anime vs. the original manga, which tended to be wildly inconsistent with itself.
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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by Gonstead » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:29 am

^ The Blu-Rays look pretty close to what was aired on TV.
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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by Fulicer » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:01 pm

Gonstead wrote:^ The Blu-Rays look pretty close to what was aired on TV.
Back in Japan? That would be hard to prove.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by theawesomepossum777 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:06 pm

Fulicer wrote:
Gonstead wrote:^ The Blu-Rays look pretty close to what was aired on TV.
Back in Japan? That would be hard to prove.
Doesn't kei17 have some tapes of the original broadcast? If so, then it wouldn't be very hard to prove if we had some screens from it.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by Pokewhiz7 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:20 pm

I actually read a review that talks about this.
What's less factual and more a matter of opinion are the accuracy of the colors. FUNimation hasn't exactly been shy in calling the "Level" Blu-ray release the original director-approved color scheme, but how did they come to that conclusion without Daisuke Nishio's involvement? The answer Franko gives us is the existance of Telecine Analysis Film, essentially celluloid test patterns that give a colorist the Kodak-approved "official" range of color that should be available on the appropriate film stock. It's not a be-all end-all point of reference like, say, a director approved Answer Print or actually having the film makers themselves on hand to look the process over since all sorts of things can go wrong between shooting and the final product, but it's a substantially better starting point than letting Franko just eyeball it and make shit up on the fly, which, by the way, is exactly what they did five years ago.
I'm not necessarily saying that that makes it more or less accurate than the Dragon Boxes, but I think it is interesting to note.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by Gonstead » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:51 pm

My screenshots are probably not the best but I did what I could.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by Fulicer » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:36 pm

I still think it's a bit hand-wavy to try to compare screenshots of low-res VHS recordings from long ago to modern formats. Especially if the colors are represented in different ways on different formats. So I wonder if VHS in general does a good job of representing the colors from the original broadcasts. A lot of this probably has to do with chroma information and how accurately it is represented by that recording. There is information regarding VHS color resolution but I haven't found a page that does a comparison of VHS/digital for color information in relation to the original film stock.

You can only get so close to the "original" colors. You can probably guess based on VHS recordings or from the blog post linked by Pokewhiz (which btw, is an "adult" blog? there was a warning before I skimmed through it), but if you really pedantic about it then it will be hard figure out what the colors really were.

Not that I am opposed to color correction.

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Post by AnimeMaakuo » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:06 pm

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by kei17 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:17 pm

AnimeMaakuo wrote:
Thouser wrote:I'm kind of confused as to what the colors are actually supposed to look like. Why do the Dragon Boxes and Funimation releases look so different from each other? Of the many releases of the series which is the most accurate-looking colorwise?
No one knows what the animators original intentions were. The closest thing we have to it are the Dragon Boxes.
The closest things are cel scans in official books I guess.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by Son Satan » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:37 pm

kei17 wrote:
AnimeMaakuo wrote:
Thouser wrote:I'm kind of confused as to what the colors are actually supposed to look like. Why do the Dragon Boxes and Funimation releases look so different from each other? Of the many releases of the series which is the most accurate-looking colorwise?
No one knows what the animators original intentions were. The closest thing we have to it are the Dragon Boxes.
The closest things are cel scans in official books I guess.
But aren't even those too bright? I thought cels were colored knowing that they'd appear darker on film.
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Post by AnimeMaakuo » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:18 pm

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Soppa Saiyjins from Dorgou Ballru Zetto is my favorite transformation everah, especially when Trounksoru did it in front of Seru and when Bejita did it when he faced Jingonigen-hachigo. But for real, I use the FUNi pronunciation. - Soppa Saia People

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by TripleRach » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:56 pm

Toriyama-sama wrote:The green sky and the pink skin arguments are frequently brought up, but the truth is only in a few episodes of the Saiyan saga do you see the green sky and the really pink skin. For example, in the first episode of Dragon Ball, the sky is flat-out blue and there's virtually no trace of the pink skin. We may certainly wonder if something out of the ordinary happened to those Saiyan saga episodes' respective film reels, however we cannot discard the possibility of at least part of the issue being simply a matter of artistic choice (seeing as how skies with exotic colours aren't that rare in Dragon Ball and actually I for one really like the green sky).
I thought the consensus for the green sky issue in the Saiyan arc was that it was an intentional choice because the Sun was setting. Those episodes also feature a lot of pink sky below the greener portions.

It might also be worth noting that FUNimation's original GT DVDs (from around 2003-2004) also had a green sky in Saiyan arc flashbacks. It's certainly possible that the masters for that GT episode used Z film that was already degraded, but how would FUNimation's Z masters end up with much bluer skies than that? After all, FUNimation first worked on Z in 1996, while GT was still airing in Japan. Would FUNimation, a low budget foreign licensor, really get better masters for the Saiyan arc than the GT staff in Japan would?

I don't doubt that the original film masters could degrade over the years, but I think the issue is more complicated than that.
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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:07 pm

Considering the age of the material and the various complications of the restoration processes, I would say at a certain point it's no longer a matter of "right" vs "wrong," and instead just a matter of preferences. Whatever you personally think looks better, basically. To be perfectly honest, I thought the orange bricks looked beautiful until I read about all the fuss behind the restoration process and saw a few select comparison pics. So I don't believe the orange bricks look beautiful anymore, but...thing is, I had to be told that...I didn't notice it on my own.

I've noticed a lot of people seem to change their opinions on this based on what they're told, rather than what they see. I can't find it, but I remember watching a YouTube video a week ago that was made before the FUNimation Dragon Boxes were released, comparing the orange brick footage and the Japanese Dragon Box footage. The video concluded with white text that said, "As you can see, the orange bricks are abysmal, whereas the Dragon Boxes are an absolutely perfect replication of the artist's original intent." Or rather, that's what it originally said. When this video got to the frame that had this text, an annotation (those brightly-colored boxes of text that you can add to a YouTube video after you've uploaded it) was over it. It read, "Turns out the colors are off on the Dragon Boxes, get the blu-rays."

I think for a while, fandom held the Dragon Boxes up to be better than they actually were. I'm not saying they're bad, they're good, but they're not necessarily the divine relic that some peopl were making it out to be. They probably looked like divine relics to us because we were comparing them to the orange bricks. With the Dragon Boxes, people disregarded the issue of the aging film, or put aside the fact that the audio quality on the Dragon Boxes is nowhere near the audio quality of the original broadcast. Now, it seems that the common consensus is that the Dragon Boxes are the best remaining release of DBZ, rather than the best release ever.

Because the information provided to someone can dramatically affect their opinions, that's why I find "blind tests" with regard to video and audio quality so interesting. No preconceived notions or information given out ahead of time, just providing somebody with "clip 1" and "clip 2," and asking which they like better and why.

So, we may never know what's 100% correct as far as colors are concerned...so perhaps the best thing to do is just get what looks best to you personally.
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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by fps_anth » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:45 pm

I always though at the very highest quality, the animation would look identical to the shots seen in the TV Animation Daizenshuu books, or maybe the animanga.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by dbboxkaifan » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:13 pm

The FUNimation DBZ Level Blu-rays.

But to be honest, I don't really care what the colours were supposed to look like, I was fine watching the Dragon Box Z version.
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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by takarajima » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:27 am

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by kei17 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:16 am

TripleRach wrote:It might also be worth noting that FUNimation's original GT DVDs (from around 2003-2004) also had a green sky in Saiyan arc flashbacks. It's certainly possible that the masters for that GT episode used Z film that was already degraded, but how would FUNimation's Z masters end up with much bluer skies than that? After all, FUNimation first worked on Z in 1996, while GT was still airing in Japan. Would FUNimation, a low budget foreign licensor, really get better masters for the Saiyan arc than the GT staff in Japan would?
Toei Animation used to print new positive film masters every time they provided Japanese TV stations and other countries with their shows. Negative films get damaged through printing processes, so when they made GT, the original negative film masters of Saiyan arc episodes had been already damaged, which explains why FUNi's Z masters too are not that good. In addition, to reuse old footage for flashbacks, they had to copy it three times. They printed it, and copied it to negative film again. Then they once more printed it. That's what was used for the FUNi dub and the GT Dragon Box. So, in short, GT's flashbacks look worse because their footage is a copy of a copy of a copy. On the other hand, FUNi's film masters of Z were copied only once. They must have been directly printed from Toei's original masters.

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Re: What are the colors supposed to look like?

Post by TripleRach » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:51 am

kei17 wrote:Toei Animation used to print new positive films every time they provided Japanese TV stations and other countries with their shows. Negative films get damaged through printing processes, so when they made GT, the original negative film masters of Saiyan arc episodes had been already damaged, which explains why FUNi's Z masters too are not that good. In addition, to reuse old footage for flashbacks, they had to copy it three times. They printed it, and copied it to negative film again. Then they once more printed it. That's what was used for the FUNi dub and the GT Dragon Box. So, in short, GT's flashbacks look worse because their footage is a copy of a copy of a copy. On the other hand, FUNi's film masters of Z were copied only once. They must have been directly printed from Toei's original masters.
I guess that would explain it. But it's still pretty bizarre.
takarajima wrote:I don't have any direct recordings to prove this, but I do have a bunch of fansub stuff. Here are screenshots from a couple of them, one from a raw tape and one that has subtitles. The sky is turning green in the second screenshot, but you can still see lots of blue, particularly on the left side. The degredation is due to the fact that this tape is a multi-generational copy. And it's clear that the color degredation is going from blue to green, rather than the other way around. (see the big, dark line of green at the top)

http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k59 ... geta_1.png

http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k59 ... geta_2.png
Maybe you already realize this, since you didn't specifically say it was, but the subtitled one probably isn't a fansub. The font looks like the one used on Hawaiian TV in the early 90s. So rather than something recorded from Japanese TV, given subtitles on a new tape, and then copied out by fansub distributors, it used proper masters from Toei (pre-FUNimation) and was recorded from Hawaiian TV with the subtitles already applied before being passed around by fansub distributors.

We don't know exactly what kind of masters Toei gave them, other than the fact that they did include all the Japanese credits and the next episode previews (unlike FUNimation's masters, apparently). I guess it would still be subject to degradation of the original masters either way, but it's strange that it could be so different from the Japanese TV airings and FUNimation's masters when it came between them. Obviously VHS degrades too, both on its own and in multi-generational copies, so it's hard to know the exact cause in this case.
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