Definitions

Internegative

Internegative

[in-ter-neg-uh-tiv]

An internegative is motion picture film stock used to make release prints for distribution to movie theatres. After a film is shot, the original negatives - taken directly from the camera equipment - are edited into correct sequence and printed onto fresh stock as a cohesive film, creating an interpositive print used for color timing. From the interpositive, answer prints, which include the color-corrected imagery and a properly synced sound track are made. Once approved by the studio, the final answer print is made into an internegative used for striking copies that will be delivered to theaters for viewing.

Overview

The internegatives are the workhorses of the film industry.

Internegatives are made on the exact same stock as interpositives. The film processes usually go from one polarity to another, that is:

  1. the camera operator shoots a positive image and the film ends up as a negative;
  2. the original negative is printed onto stock that comes out as an interpositive;
  3. the interpositive is colour timed (to balance the scenes) into the internegative, and finally
  4. the internegative makes the positive release print.

When an internegative wears out during printing, a new internegative is made from the interpositive and release printing resumes. There are some films (reversal films) that can go from positive to positive or negative to negative but are not used very often so are not included in this discussion.

The question comes up as to why the original camera negative are not used to make the release prints. Each time the camera negative is run through the printing machine there is a hazard that the film could be damaged. Since the camera negative is the only zero-generation source, that risk would be unacceptable.

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