KB: Scanning, in and of itself, doesn't solve many of the issues you might encounter.
: Correct. On the scanner, you are limited. On the telecine, you are limited. But with photo-chemical processing, you at least have a fighting chance. When people say, "oh, we only need to go and scan the whole negative at 6k and everything will be beautiful," that's all a bunch of baloney. It's very nice and, yes, scanning the negative is absolutely wonderful, but simply scanning the negative doesn't necessarily help you. The best way to do it is to make a completely new answer print that exhibits the proper color-processing. If, for instance, you have a Deluxe picture, the Deluxe colors should already be on the positive; it should be on an IP level so that you don't have an overly contrasted picture. To time it exactly right takes a long time and is awfully expensive. However, once you have that material, and scan that material, you have far less problems with color registration, sharpness and more. If it's all timed properly, it should run smoothly, like a charm. You also have exactly what you need for theatrical projection and continual preservation. It gives you everything. But if something on the positive doesn't register perfectly while it does on the negative scan, then you can select the negative scan, use the color registration from the positive, and adjust on the negative. It may not be perfect on the negative, or hit the nail on its head as it were, but you will get something like 95, 96% correct and that's much better than using the negative the entire time. It may be the digital domain, but it has limits. The color space is limited. It isn't on the photo-chemical side; you can do things you wouldn't dream of in the digital domain. The Dark Knight Blu-ray transfer has certainly raised a lot of questions and debate. Have you been involved in those discussions?
KB: Some. I certainly have my opinions on the transfer, and many of them are negative.
: On the web, a lot of people have been saying, "oh, it's way too contrast-y" and so on and so forth. And that is correct. Others have said there is a lot of edge enhancement present. And, yes, it is, mainly because of the changes in contrast; specifically changes made to whites and in the lower grayscale. Many of the edge halos or pixel breakups, as they are being called, that appear are present due to contrast changes, not necessarily by way of what people call edge enhancement. On The Dark Knight Blu-ray transfer, the biggest error – by far the biggest error – its producers committed was the complete change of the film's original color timing. The Dark Knight was not copied with an optical printer. The original material – I held it in my hands – it was gorgeous. It was absolutely gorgeous. It was… I fell flat off my chair. (Laughs) The colors are so different compared to those that appear in the Blu-ray transfer. I've seen the Blu-ray once, and I've never looked at it again. It's very unfortunate too because it makes the Blu-ray image exactly what it is. And this is something that is hugely important. It also unfortunately happened, albeit in a different way, to North By Northwest. When I saw North by Northwest, I talked to Robert Harris about it – specifically about the opening being de-grained to a level that you begin to see line twitter. It's a side effect from a de-graining tool which causes the layers to wobble a little. It's a weird thing that should have never made it past the quality control stage. They should have known exactly what caused it and should have changed it.