Settings for Film Noir style shoots at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1

Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 30th, 2008, 01:30 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 69
Settings for Film Noir style shoots

I am looking at doing a project in Film Noir style. I will be shooting using mostly tungsten Fresnel lights. I want to shoot in black and white as opposed to shooting in color. My editor recommends shooting in color and letting him make the changes in post. As I have been reading on here many recommend shooting in B&W rather than converting it in post.

Does anyone have any recommended camera settings for my FX1to shoot B&W and get the old fashioned Film Noir look?

I am also still open to input on the subject of shooting in color vs B&W.

Thanks in advance for any input or opinions.

Bill
__________________
Bill Wilson
PK Productions ~ From Mild to Wild Las Vegas, NV
William Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2008, 03:09 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Belgium
Posts: 2,195
Your editor is right.
It's better to have all the options afterwards.

If you shoot in B&W in-camera (if you are shooting on a videocamera), the camera just converts the signal just like you would in post-production.
But you have many more options afterwards to leave it in color, leave one colour, more options in image manipulation, even BEFORE converting to B&W.

So there is almost no advantage in shooting B&W immediately, exept that you see the result immediately in B&W.
You can always put your image on a monitor that has B&W settings while shooting, but recording in colour.
If you will shoot in B&W immediately, I think you will regret it in post-production because you'll notice that you are more limited in what you can do with the image (even in B&W).
Mathieu Ghekiere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2008, 12:05 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Mathieu and your editor are both right on the money. You can always take color out, but you can't put it back in.

By the way, your FX1 should have a B&W preset (Picture Profile 6) already programmed into it, so you can see what it looks like. But "Film Noir" is more about lighting than it is about B&W exclusively. If you don't light it in the Film Noir style, making it B&W will just make it look like you have no color and will not create the mood you're after.

Years ago there was a film called The Hindenburg (1975; Universal) that did all the explosion sequences in B&W so they could match the archival footage. But it was all shot in color and then printed in B&W for release. All the promo materials, lobby cards, still photos, trailers and TV clips were in full color.

And there's another, practical reason to do this in post. On the set you will be limited for time and might be tempted to lock in settings that are "just okay" and perhaps not what you will ultimately want. In Post you can tweak forever until it's perfect. Plus, the color correction tools in most NLEs are probably better than what you can do in-camera anyways.
Adam Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pacifica, CA
Posts: 348
Coming to the party a little late... Also recommended, John Alton's (Author) "Painting with Light" A bit old but a great book on lighting by a master of film noir. You might want to google/imdb his films, rent a few and study, study, study. Keeping in mind video has less latitude than film but the book should help a lot.
Eric Lagerlof is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2008, 01:27 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Lagerlof View Post
Coming to the party a little late... Also recommended, John Alton's (Author) "Painting with Light" A bit old but a great book on lighting by a master of film noir. You might want to google/imdb his films, rent a few and study, study, study. Keeping in mind video has less latitude than film but the book should help a lot.

It was just delivered from Amazon today :-)

I also got a copy of He Walked By Night on DVD from my local library. I am excited to watch it and see Alton's work. I will start reading the book this weekend. Skimming through it looks to be very thorough with lighting diagrams and example images.

Thanks!

Bill
__________________
Bill Wilson
PK Productions ~ From Mild to Wild Las Vegas, NV
William Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2008, 01:28 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Lagerlof View Post
Coming to the party a little late... Also recommended, John Alton's (Author) "Painting with Light" A bit old but a great book on lighting by a master of film noir. You might want to google/imdb his films, rent a few and study, study, study. Keeping in mind video has less latitude than film but the book should help a lot.
Could you elaborate on your comment that video has less latitude than film. I am not sure what you mean by this.

Thanks!

Bill
__________________
Bill Wilson
PK Productions ~ From Mild to Wild Las Vegas, NV
William Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pacifica, CA
Posts: 348
Latitude is the range of light from dark to light that a camera/medium can reproduce at any given moment.

Imagine shooting at noon on a sunny day with some white puffy clouds. It's a wide shot with clouds and sky, some rolling hills with trees in the background and a hearse with its windows rolled down fifty feet away. If you expose for the clouds, how much of the color detail in the leaves on the hill and how much interior detail inside the hearse will you see. Conversely, if your exposure settings reveal the interior of the hearse, how many stops ago did you start blowing out your cloudy sky.

If you were shooting noir style, maybe lighting up a room with one light and the first thing that light hit was a martini glass close by, giving off some great rim reflection. You set your camera at 100 ire to that rreflection and study the frame as the rest of the room drifts off to shadow from that one hot spot. How much of that room still has definition, how much just becomes indistinguishable black. How many levels of light from the glare on the martini glass to an truly black shadow can your camera distinguish.

You might have to add some fill here and there, whereas the B&W film cameras Alton used wouldn't have had to. (as much)

BTW, check out "Touch of Evil". After the noir period per se, but really brilliant. Welles at top form. The opening shot is any film students wet dream and the lighting/camerawork is superb.
Eric Lagerlof is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2008, 10:48 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pacifica, CA
Posts: 348
...and if you ever do this, at least post stills!
Eric Lagerlof is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2008, 01:15 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Lagerlof View Post
Latitude is the range of light from dark to light that a camera/medium can reproduce at any given moment.
This is actually called dynamic range, and Eric is right that Video has less of it than film.

Latitude is really the amount by which you can under or over-expose a picture an still have usable detail. They're related but not the same, and Video has less of that than film does as well.
Adam Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 12th, 2008, 01:37 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pacifica, CA
Posts: 348
Adam, thank you for the correction! I was also thinking about the difficulties of lighting noir syle with the mpeg compression formats, like HDV. Shadows can get kind of ugly.
Eric Lagerlof is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:13 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network