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Old April 17th, 2007, 09:22 AM   #1
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Film Noir

I am making a film noir for a film festival. I am shooting on an XL-2 and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to do a few things. 1) My lead actor will be smoking a cig. the whole film and the film will obviously be in b&w. I want the amber of his cig to be color and red though. Any suggestions? 2) Any additional lighting techniques or effects that might be great for film noir, let me know! If you have any other tips of tricks that may help to sell the look, Thanks in advance
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Old April 17th, 2007, 01:32 PM   #2
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You mean like this. A short i made a while ago with the same effect (I think)
I posted it a while ago here on dvinfo
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 08:00 AM   #3
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your lighting is extremely important when doing a film noir look. you just can't turn it to black and white and be okay with it. try crushing the blacks in post... which means you will really need to overlight some things if you go this way. making the amber on the ciggarette glow red can be achieved with a mask. if i remember correctly, you put your black and white footage on the second layer, and on the first layer should be the original color video, and draw a mask on the original video, just around the amber... then Color grade it or whatever.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 07:53 PM   #4
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You need to use the Color Pass filter, aka, the "Schindler's List Effect"
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Old May 10th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #5
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Hi Cody,

I was just wondering how you "crush the black in post"? I am a new user of Final cut pro and a very new user of After effects. I'm also interested in film noir look and any tips on how to make the black more black would be really helpful. Thanks

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Old May 10th, 2007, 12:21 PM   #6
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To crush the blacks, you'll want to adjust the levels so the gray point is lower than normal. This will make the transition from black to 50% gray faster, and stretch out the transition from gray to white.
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Cole McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 28th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #7
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Just thought I'd add that in Dominic's case at least, since he's using an XL2, the crushed-blacks look can be easily achieved in the camera. I would argue that if you definitely want a particular effect and can get it in the camera, it's usually better to do so at that point than in post, because you know what you're getting when you're shooting it. To my mind, shooting with a neutral contrast ratio and saying "I'll crush the blacks in post" is a bit like recording audio without using headphones--you have no real idea what the end product will actually look like, because you're aiming at something that you can't yet see (yes, I realize that shooters working with film have for over 100 years managed to produce beautiful images without seeing them directly as laid to film while shooting, but video cameras allow us to see exactly what is going to tape, and I see no reason not to use this capability to one's advantage).

Some will counter by saying you'll have more flexibility in post if you wait until that point, but you can have the same degree of flexibility when shooting if you're using a cam like the XL2--it's just a matter of deciding at which point you'd like to have this flexibility. If you already know that you want crushed blacks, why not shoot the scene that way and not only save yourself a lot of time later, but also compose your images to be the way that you want them to be at the time of production. If you don't know how far you'd like to go with things as you're shooting, then maybe a little more planning and thought at the preproduction level is in order.

I'm all for putting as much of the image-making in the hands of the shooter as possible for all kinds of reasons--and I'm probably a little better at editing and post than I am at shooting, so I'm not inherently biased toward the cinematographer's view of things due to professional specialization or anything. I personally think that far too many people go into a shoot with the wishy-washy attitude that they can shoot unexciting video and then hope to "gussy it up" in post. Things rarely work out that way, in my experience. I think the footage from the camera should be as close as possible to the finished product, because (among other things) working this way forces you to think ahead and decide exactly what you want as early as possible. Then, when you go to edit, you can focus more effectively on putting your footage together in a compelling way instead of spending most of your time toying with the image's visual characteristics.

That's just my two pennies.
-->jarrod whaley.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #8
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As a "Shoot it well, then affect it in post" type of shooter...I agree with doing the job in camera. You may still need to tweak it a bit in post, but pushing yourself to shoot corrected fooatge in camera is a great habit. It breaks the rut that we "Vanilla Footage" advocates tend to force ourselves into. When I shot "Stream, Cave, Jim & Dave"...I was going to shoot color and B/W it in post, but I wanted to commit to it fully and not wimp out at the last second and keep it in color. I loved not having to correct any of my footage for color or levels and it saved so much time on post not having to worry about it.

One of the reasons in Hollywood that film is shot with the filtration and coloring "In camera" is that post costs tons of money...and since you're spending the money on the shooting anyway, you may as well do it there if you can.
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Cole McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29th, 2007, 01:05 AM   #9
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I agree completely with Cole and Jarrod.
Also the color correction and post work in general is somewhat destructive (if you dont beleive put a levels in the bottom to see the histogram, start to work and look for gaps in it). The closer the image to the final product the more the room you have to make final adjustements. You can enhance but you cant create what is not there.
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