London-based post house The Look recently relied on it’s SGO Mistika system to color grade and finish the epic Queen concert film Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest ’86 for Eagle Rock Entertainment and Queen Productions. Hungary was included on the tour schedule as part of the successful 1986 Magic Tour, which was Freddie Mercury‘s last. With three years to go before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the event was one of the first rock concerts from the West to take place behind the Iron Curtain.
The Look’s colorist and MD Thomas Urbye and junior colorist Jason Wallis scanned the original 35mm film negative, conformed and then graded it before handing it over to restoration artist Simon Marbrook.
“As a first-time client of The Look, I was very impressed with the creative skill that Thomas Urbye brought to the project,” Rosie Holley, manager of productions at Eagle Rock Entertainment. “As a colorist with a background in drama, he identified the drama that Queen have as live performers and enhanced it on screen.”
“Because of The Look’s bespoke approach to the project, we were able to move seamlessly between Simon and Thomas and were able to complement each other’s work beautifully,” said Holley. “All was overseen by The Look’s Dan Marbrook who has a calm and open-minded approach to production workflow, which meant we were able to get the absolute best from the individuals involved.”
Urbye explained that there were two grading issues that had to be handled carefully. “The first priority was that all of the original image detail had to be retained,” he said. “Existing material had to be carefully balanced, with luminance carefully rolled-off in order not to lose anything from the original negative. I wanted to give the audience the impression that they were actually at the live concert. Skin tones had to be very natural, and it had to look like it had been shot recently, I didn’t want the film to feel dated in any way. After the wonderful feedback, I believe we have managed to accomplish this.”
“We were delighted to read that Brian May and Roger Taylor were quoted in the press as saying that the concert looked fantastic on the cinema screen in all its digitally re-mastered glory,” said Urbye.