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Old September 24th, 2003, 06:39 PM   #1
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Shooting Black and White with DV

I'm very interested in hearing about people's suggestions or experiences with shooting DV in Black and White. Is it better to do the B&W in camera? Or is it better to do it in post? How about filters? I have heard that the Tiffen monochrome day for night filter is good for creating B&W footage in conjunction with some light post-work. Has anyone else heard this? Thanks.
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Old September 24th, 2003, 07:14 PM   #2
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If you shoot in B/W then you can get instant feedback. If you fix it in post (very easy to do) then you get a lot more control over your image since you can control how much of each channel contributes to the B/W image. This would mean that you don't need to mess around with filters as you shoot.

If you have an external monitor that can do black and white (turn the sautration knob all the way down???) then I would shoot in color. The monitor would give instant feedback of course.
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Old September 24th, 2003, 08:51 PM   #3
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Hey Guys
Iím actually in pre-production right now on an indie flick that I will be shooting on DV in B/W. Iíve already done some tests with various DV cameras capturing in B/W and in colour (then desaturating the image). I find both solutions work well. However Iím partial to capturing in black and white for a couple reasons: first Iíd rather have my footage already in black and white so I have a better idea of what the final output will be like during editing. Second, I find the and no word of a lie, the image put to tape is a little bit more detailed, just a tad, but enough to make you go ďhmmmĒ. It may have something to do with how all 3-CCDs put to tape the same colour space rather than red-green-blue. Iíve checked it on multiple NLEs and even some linear tape systems and it always seems to come out with the original B/W as the highest quality source. The tests I conducted took place in controlled environments, using focus charts, colour charts, multiple F-stops, multiple foot-candles and all with 3CCCD miniDV/DVcam cameras. All cameras looked great by the way. My favourites were the XL1s, PD150, PDX10 and the AG-DVX100. But it's a personal choice. Next week Iím testing the new JVC miniDV HighDef cam. Iíll let you know how it goes.

With respect to filters a great source of info is B/W still photography information, books, Internet. B/W cinematography has been gone for quite some time so this is where I did my research on B/W filters.

Good Luck and Iíd like to hear your resultsÖ

MikeC
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Old September 24th, 2003, 10:17 PM   #4
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Black and white filters (red, green, blue, yellow, orange etc.) were designed for panchromatic and orthochromatic films. These films were not equally sensitive to all wave lengths (colors) of light. The filters were used to offset this lack of sensitivity in those wave lengths. They will effect your scenes, but are not 100% necessary for video as they are for film. In low light situations you may want to forgo the filter to avoid gain up situations, for example.
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Old September 25th, 2003, 03:29 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for popping in, Mike. How are you able to shoot the PDX10 in camera b/w? As far I can tell, it's color dial doesn't go all the way out. Or did I read you wrong?
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Old September 25th, 2003, 07:38 AM   #6
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You're right Shawn. You caught my mistake before I did. That actually was a typo on my part - "PDX10" is suppose to read "PD100". However just like most Sony handholds, I assume there would be a picture effect to switch the PDX10 to B/W. I haven't had the chance to get one in my hands yet.

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Old September 25th, 2003, 09:02 AM   #7
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Mike, did you test on Canopus DV storm. Because they process in YUV (not RGB) they don't affect the Y component wirh processing tasks like "desaturate".
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Old September 25th, 2003, 10:22 AM   #8
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Nope, not on Storm, but recently on Premiere Pro which now works in YUV colour space. And a non-linear tape based configuration too.

Another thing I like about working in B/W, whether your capturing or desaturating in post, is the ability to adjust the levels to bring out some interesting qualities in the footage. A while back we had a client who brought in an Ansel Adams photograph (http://www.masters-of-photography.com/A/adams/adams.html), and he wanted us to mock the look of it for a very small sequence within the project we were working for him. The footage was already captured and to go back on location and capture it in B/W was just too cost prohibitive. So we took out all the colour in the shot and started to mess around with the video levels. Iíve never tried it before as an effect, only to correct, and never on B/W footage. The footage started to mimic B/W reversal film, where the levels in between black and white sort of get compressed. What you end up with is a reduced ďpaletteĒ of contrast. Iíve had several people remark that ďit doesnít look like film but it definitely doesnít look like videoĒ, especially with progressive footage. One thing that I found is that you really have to be careful with your exposure. The main focal point in your framing should be perfectly exposed. Over expose and youíll lose details in the whites and under expose and it will just turn grey/black and youíll lose your detail there too. Get out your spot/light meter. Thats when I decided to look at this not as an effect but as a "look" for my own personal project.

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Old September 30th, 2003, 02:09 PM   #9
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B.T.W. did somebody ever tried to desaturate a color bar picture? One should get a stepped grayscale when the saturation is fully down, just like on a TV set...It ain't so.. My conclusion is that appart from the resolution issue, the colors aren't rendered into the right gray values.
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Old September 30th, 2003, 02:37 PM   #10
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Could it be related to the 4-1-1 sampling structure ?
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Old September 30th, 2003, 03:02 PM   #11
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Mike,
Interestingly, the PDX10 does not feature that usual host of effects (negative, sepiatone, b/w). No black and white! I guess this helps distinguish it from consumer cams. Does the 950 have these? Why isn't the color adjustment made to be able to completely desaturate? Would that be just too bad ass for a measley $2000 cam :-) ? Instead, I experiment with in-cam b/w with my cute and cuddly trv19 (my deck). Turns a mediocre one chip color reproducer into a marvelous little camera. Lickety split! I've particularly been enjoying turning on the hideous green Night Shot feature, then switching to b/w. Produces ghostly noise free black and white footage in low light. Great effect, yet to be harnessed. Wooops, here I am giving out all my esoteric knowledge. [;-}][>+:]
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Old October 1st, 2003, 05:15 AM   #12
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No Norm, there is no obvious reason why it should relate to 4:1:1 which results in spatial limits, not in grayscale. I forgot to mention that the desaturation experiment relates to post processing of standard color bar image. It does not relate to camera pictures or camera performance,
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