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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old April 30th, 2007, 03:20 PM   #1
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Best way to shoot in black & white?

I need to shoot a film-noir sequence with the V1. Would it be best to shoot in colour in the camera and then convert to black & white in the edit (premiere pro 2) or set the V1 to black and white and shoot the material.

Which approach gives me the most flexibility?

Thanks

Kevin Boyd
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Old April 30th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #2
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I'll throw out an opinion.. I would record in color and desaturate it in post.

I've not tried this personally for an actual project but have played with it some just for fun. I've gotten good results with dropping the color level a bit in the camera and then taking it down as much as you like in post. That way if you ever wanted to have some flashes of color somewhere as an effect you still have some information to work with.

My opinion..

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Old April 30th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #3
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Depending on what you're shooting, you might find it beneficial to light for black and white. Not all grays are created equal.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 04:12 AM   #4
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Hi Chris,

When you say "droping the colour level a bit in the camera" I'm new to all this, can you say in the V1 how to do this?

And Adam; what tips can you give for lighting for Black & White. I will be filming outside, probably in sunshine.

Thanks to you both

Kevin
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Old May 1st, 2007, 04:21 AM   #5
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Hey, I just thought of something interesting. Does turning off the color free some of the HDV bitrate for motion tracking? For instance, will turning off the color reduce motion artifacts of long GOP compression? If this is even a tiny bit true, it give a reason for B&W to be shot that way instead of the color being removed in post.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:44 AM   #6
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Kevin,

I was on my way out and didn't mean to sound terse in the other post. When shooting in black and white one has the advantage of carefully manipulating the lighting by using either artificial light sources or camera filters. If you were to shoot in black and white you would have the ability of monitoring the effect you are attempting to achieve. That way you can add or remove filters based on what the project calls for. An example would be using a yellow filter (see attached photos, the one on the left is with no filter). There are a few more examples here.

Some editing systems have the capability of manipulating images far more than what camera filters can achieve. If you know that you can make all these changes in post, then shooting in either color or B&W will not make a difference.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 04:09 AM   #7
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How about using a monochrome camera profile to make sure you like the lighting as B&W then switching to a color profile when recording. That way, you know it looks good in monochrome yet still have the color footage if you decide to go another way later.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
Hey, I just thought of something interesting. Does turning off the color free some of the HDV bitrate for motion tracking? For instance, will turning off the color reduce motion artifacts of long GOP compression? If this is even a tiny bit true, it give a reason for B&W to be shot that way instead of the color being removed in post.
I thought about this a few months ago as well. I have not run any tests yet but in theory I think you would get better compression when dealing with mpeg2.

The way mpeg2 works is that it encodes the luma channel and the two reduced chroma channels. When a B/W image is split into luma and chroma the chroma is pretty much solid grey or a single flat color.

Mpeg2 uses blocks to predict motion which helps it get down to small sizes. If the 2 chroma channels are a flat color that would be like encoding a flat color image. Since very little to no bits are needed to create the 2 chroma channels that leaves more bits open to be used for the luma channel. The chroma channels hardly use any bits at all since the entire frame is perfectly predicted as a single color.


There is another issue when using a single channel from a RGB image. Since the HDV image is a 4:2:0 image when you want to use a RGB channel for the BW all those channels are a combination of the 4:2:0. If you use just the luma channel you may be ok, but as soon as you deal with RGB channels the 4:2:0 yuv has to be converted to RGB and none of the channels are perfect anymore. This is because each RGB channel is a combination of the chroma and luma. So your details may not end up as perfect as you would like.

By using filters on the camera or creating a BW effect in the DSP of the camera you can make sure your luma channel looks a certain way so you never have to ouch the two chroma channels.


One of these days I will get around to doing some encoding tests to see if this theory holds up. The part about the RGB channels is true however.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 09:04 AM   #9
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I'm a big fan of recording in black and white for several reasons, mostly because it's less time to render and work in post.

Also, I tend to not use black stretch or press, and really "punch up" the cinegamma settings (I'm going off of the Z1u, btw, but it translates well to the V1u). If you really crush the blacks, it can look like old school film, then just light it accordingly. Cinegamma 1 is like standard black and white film. Adding black stretch and/or press can make it look a little less noirish.

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