Blu-ray with *different* color grading

.or, the “Teal & Orange” syndrome has infected more directors than we could think of! (^^,)

(link to a couple blog entries – Into the AbyssNot on Blu-Ray)

Many are aware there are some Blu-ray titles that have altered colors in comparison to DVD (or other sources), but which ones are affected?

If you think/feel/suspect that a given BD titles has the wrong color writing, what are the options?

  1. Stick with the DVD (or other source) even if definition is worse.
  2. Wait for a new edition with the right color grading – it happens… sometimes!
  3. Watch a fan preservation project.

Well, option 1 is up to you… when option 2 is available, a reissue: note will be added, followed by the specific BD version; when option 3 is available, a fan project note will be added.


movie title – type of color grading problem, if known – options

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Ace Ventura
Ace Ventura 2
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem – too dark
Alien Resurrection
Aliens – blue cast
Army of Darkness – few differences

Batman Returns
Beauty and the Beast – fan project WIP
Big Trouble In Little China
Bram Stoker’s Dracula

A Clockwork Orange
Curse of Frankenstein

The Day After Tomorrow – few differences
The Deep
Daylight – few differences
Do the Right Thing – too “natural” look
Duck You Sucker – very green/brownish and washed out

Escape from New York – blue cast + warmed colors – fan project
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – few differences
Eyes Wide Shut
The Exorcist – various type – fan project

The Fifth Element – few differences
The Fog
The French Connection – “pastel” look – reissue: BestBuy exclusive BD

Gladiator – few differences
Godzilla – few differences
The Great Escape – Teal & Orange

Halloween – too “natural” look Vs THX DVD – fan project
Hellboy – few differences
Horror of Dracula – too cold

Jurassic Park – fan project

Léon (a.k.a. The Professional)
Lord of The Rings (extended edition) – green cast

Night of the Living Dead (1990)
A Nightmare on Elm Street

Mad Max 2 (a.k.a. The Road Warrior)
Minority Report – too “natural” look – fan project WIP
Mission: Impossible
The Mask – too saturated
The Matrix – green cast to match sequels – fan project

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – few differences

Raiders of the Lost Ark – gold

The Searchers
The Shining
The Silence of the Lambs – colder than CC DVD
Soylent Green – too green (^^,)
Stargate – few differences
Superman I
Superman II
Superman III
Superman IV
Superman V

The Ten Commandments
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines
The Thing – blue cast on whites + warmed colors – fan project
Total Recall (1990) – fan project WIP

Waterworld – few differences

modern Bond transfers (of old titles) have all wrong colors (but I need titles…)

notes: few differences = sometimes are barely noticeable, other times limited only to some scenes – it depends by the equipments used, the calibration made, and the eyes of the viewers…

warning: the fact that a Blu-ray has a *different* color grading does not necessarily means that it’s wrong! Maybe is how the director wanted it, but at least we have the knowledge of the existence of different versions (color wise) and we could make our choice.

about fan preservation projects: DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL!
If you are aware of a fan preservation project that resolved the color grading problems AND it is released in Blu-ray format in high definition, just mention the eventual version but DON’T post link or reference to web sites or other places where it could be obtained. Even if a fan preservation project could be considered “fair use”, it is still a grey area so it’s better to be safe than sorry! And remember: if you want to watch a fan preservation project, you must obtain it FOR FREE and you SHOULD OWN the commercial edition: piracy will be not tolerated!

Any correction, addition, opinion, link to screenshot comparison is welcome!
Please write the movie titles in bold, as it will be easier to find them.

*** *** ***

OK, clearly I was “a bit” leaned toward the fact the BDs in the list have *wrong* color grading… and with wrong, maybe I should have written “wrong to me (and many others)”…

It’s hard to tell – if not impossible – “which is which” right or wrong in absolute terms… I mean, let’s say that a movie states “THIS has the RIGHT color grading…” blah blah blah “… approved by DOP…”

Now, is the color grading of the BD title right, because it was the same as shown in the theaters in the days of release, or it is right because the DOP wanted it to look like it, but it was not possible to achieve that result at that time?



Halloween has been fully restored under the supervision of Lucasfilm’s THX Digital Mastering Services. The video was transferred by the award-winning colorist Adam Adams (Terminator 2, Titanic) from a new 35mm interpositive (mode from the original camera negative) and approved by the film’s cinematographer Dean Cundey (about 1999 THX DVD)


Trancas International Films, Compass International Pictures, and are proud to announce award winning cinematographer Dean Cundey is supervising the new high definition transfer of John Carpenter’s Halloween for the upcoming 35th Anniversary Blu-ray! (about 35th Anniversary BD)

Which version is right? Which is wrong? “A picture is worth a thousand words”…

top 35th Ann. BD, bottom BD with 1999 THX DVD color grading:

…to me, the right version is at bottom, as trees in fall season should have these colors; yes, the top is good, and has natural colors, but doesn’t serve the mood of the movie…

screenshot comparisons

Minority report


For Minority Report, Spielberg once again allocated the skills of Janusz Kaminski, a rather ingenious Cinematographer who knows how to put DVD’s capabilities to the test. Minority Report is not a very colorful film, and is in fact quite the opposite. The look is hard, drab and cold.

I would say that grain is a problem, but the grain visible is obviously a product of the bleach-bypass process used to achieve the film’s amazing look. (about DVD)


Kaminski’s most interesting trick, however, was to desaturate and mute the film’s colors by employing a “bleach bypass” system. Normally in negative processing, the film emulsion is bleached. By skipping this step, the film ends up looking like a simultaneous color and black-and-white image, resulting in increased grain and contrast. Kaminski said, “The process pulled about 40 percent of the color out of the image, but we worked to get that back in by adding more color to the lights. Overall, the image has a bleached-out quality with deep shadows and blown highlights.”|648300&name=Minority-Report (about DVD)


The grading process began with Levinson matching an answer print. The answer print consisted of individual reels that Steven Spielberg had selected as best representing how he wanted the movie to be seen. At that point, Janusz Kaminski came in to work with Levinson. The grading was done while viewing the 4K files rather than a lower resolution proxy.
Steven Spielberg was also closely involved in the remastering and the resulting HDCAM-SR master represents how the creative team want the movie to be seen by viewers today. (about BD)

top BD, bottom BD with DVD color grading:

C’mon, let’s face it: if the Roaring Twenties were in black&white, 2054 SHOULD be cold&blue…

screenshot comparisons

The Matrix:


The Matrix’s production designer, Owen Paterson, used methods to distinguish the “real world” and the Matrix in a pervasive way. The production design team generally placed a bias towards the Matrix code’s distinctive green color in scenes set within the simulation, whereas there is an emphasis on the color blue during scenes set in the “real world”.

top BD, bottom BD with DVD color grading:

… I don’t think Neo was supposed to be the next Twilight superstar!

screenshot comparisons

Escape from New York:

top US BD, bottom HDTV:

Should the flame have this color in the top image?

screenshot comparisons

The Thing:

top HD-DVD (same color grading as BD, but with less DNR and more grain intact, bottom HD-DVD with LD color grading:

Do you love pink snow? I do not.

screenshot comparison one two

Now, pick your poison…wink.gif

*** *** ***

Some interesting links to find out color grading differences: