Technicolor No. VI: Dye-transfer prints from enhanced process


In 1994, Technicolor announced the development of an enhanced dye-transfer process. This process became effective in  June 1997. There was no official denomination, so “Technicolor No. VI” is not to be confused with statements from the mid seventies when  Technicolor was switching to Eastman stock.

One of the main attributes of the enhanced process was that positive prints now were made on Estar base, while Estar matrices had been in use already since the mid-sixties. The former pin belt, keeping matrix and blank as a sandwich for the time when was effected the dye-transfer, was shortened from formerly more than 200 ft. to only 22 ft. The dye-transfer mostly took place in a transfer cabinet, matrix and blank remaining in precise registration by mere adhesion which was made possible by the relative high tension the Estar base was allowing for. Dye-transfer-time was about 45 to 50 seconds at a processing temperature of about 112° F (44° C).

Printing speed was increased to 1,200 ft. per minute or even more. While at the same time Eastman high speed printers were running at 2,000 ft. and more, Technicolor’s dye transfer process remained relatively slow.

The first film printed in the new process was Warner’s Batman and Robin (1997), followed – among others – by Godzilla (1998), Bulworth (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Family Man (2000), The Wedding Planner (2001), Bandits (2001) and Pearl Harbour (2001). The new process served also for new dye transfer reissues of well-known Technicolor titles like The Wizard of Oz (1939), Gone with the Wind (1939), Rear Window (1954), Giant (1956), Vertigo (1958), Funny Girl (1968) and Apocalypse Now Redux (2001). General information is scarce, as Technicolor never made public statements about the process or the films printed.

The process was discarded right after French-based Thomson Multimedia S.A. acquired Technicolor in 2001.

Secondary Sources

Haines, Richard W. (2000), Technicolor Revival. In: Film History, 12,4, 2000, pp. 410-416