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Old September 4th, 2004, 07:42 AM   #1
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does switching from colour to BW benefit image quality?

Does switching from colour to BW benefit image quality?

I know it doesn't increase resolution or alter the field in many ways...

Just wondering what thoughts you all have on whether the human nervous system might PERCEIVE something more defined, smooth etc.
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Old September 4th, 2004, 07:43 AM   #2
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I am speaking in the context of video
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Old September 5th, 2004, 12:38 AM   #3
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Monochrome video displayed on a monochrome monitor might look better since the image is not made from RGB tripletts. Same could be said for a monochrome camera.

Whether the difference is perceptible or not is a good questions. For an old B&W 4x5 photographer, compared to a good B&W print, most monochrome video is pretty pathetic.

HD monochrome might be a different animal though.
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Old September 5th, 2004, 02:14 AM   #4
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It really depends on what you mean by "image quality" Graham. From a strictly technical perspective, as you've noted in your question, the answer is no. Resolution remains the same. Focus remains the same.

But beyond those properties we now get into translation of chrominance to luminance. As with b&w photography (which is -really- what we're discussing) you need to have a good understanding of, and feel for, how this translation will work as you stage, light and shoot your material. A color image might look very good but its b&w version might look bland and low-contrast or of too high of a contrast. Of course in video you have the opportunity to monitor your shooting in monochrome through a desaturated production monitor or a professional b&w viewfinder.

Beyond all the above considerations is the issue of whether or not the material makes any aesthetic sense in b&w.

All of these considerations constitute the factors involved in such a subjective question.
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Old September 5th, 2004, 04:09 AM   #5
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That's correct Ken - this is not a technical question.

Yes, I'd obviously monitor the image in black and white - if not be converting it in-camera as works to disarmingly good effect on my PD1.

No, this is a completely aethetic question.

Quality of different DV cameras and methods of using them is a major talking point on these forums and I'm just curious what aesthetic thoughts people have about the the human nervous system PERCEIVING something more defined, smooth etc when it's CREATED in monochrome.

Colours aren't auditioning, it seems to me - and you can go to a whole other level of 'quality' in the mind's eye.

Needless to say (I hope) this is only if your project should be in monochrome anyway...
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Old September 5th, 2004, 04:14 AM   #6
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Graham,
I remeber some years back having shot a drama in colour and watching a B&W cutting copy in the preview theatre. It took on a different dimension.
I think however, that we are conditioned to seeing so-called classic films in B&W and that if we use it ourselves, there is a sub-conscious superimposing of the same inherent classicism.
In other word, it makes our stuff look more worthy than it really is... ;-)

Robin.
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Old September 5th, 2004, 04:52 AM   #7
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That's interesting, yeah.
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Old September 5th, 2004, 11:20 AM   #8
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It sure seems like you should get fewer compression artifacts by shooting in black and white, rather than making the switch in post. After all, you're recording two thirds less information, aren't you? Probably wishful thinking on my part, but anybody know?
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Old September 5th, 2004, 11:48 AM   #9
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No Marco, you're not. You camera has no idea how to record in "black and white". It records in DV format.
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Old September 5th, 2004, 12:19 PM   #10
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Black and white looks great on film and usually pretty flat on video. Most video cameras do not capture enough of a dynamic range to produce rich black and white images. 3CCD color reproduction is the reason that all video doesn't look so flat (and sometimes it does anyway). So, if anything without a strong dynamic range, watching B&W DV for me is less rich and worse than color.
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