Black & White easier to give film look than Color?? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 24th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: kentucky, USA
Posts: 429
Black & White easier to give film look than Color??

I absolutely love beautiful black and white film. Would it be fair to say that aiming for a final product of black and white digital video would be easier to create a film look due to the fact you are not messing with colors. I realize that there is more to it that just the way colors look but that is one less thing to deal with. Can anyone elaborate? Thankyou.
Steve Witt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Well... you're still dealing with the DOF issues, compared to say... 35mm. And good B&W film lighting is different than color lighting... especially if you are going after that 'noir' look.

We just finished a B&W future noir piece, that is currently doing the festival circuit. Shot on 35mm, but we are distributing it on DVD. Couldn't afford the final film-out print. For a look at the trailer and some stills go to www.nu-classicfilms.com and take a look at "After Twilight"
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 11:23 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: kentucky, USA
Posts: 429
Richard, first of all I appreciate all the help that you give me in here. You have responded to several of my posts. Thanks a bunch.
I didn't realize that the stragedy for lighting was different in black & white. I need to do more research on this.
I looked at the movie website. looks great and good luck on the film festival circuit.
Steve Witt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 11:26 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Well, color responds differently than black and white to light. And since you are not dressing people or sets in black in white, you have to understand the difference in color 'values' when they are changed to black and white. A must have if you intend to do this, is a black and white monitor on the set. At the very least you have an understanding of what the black and white image will look like, as you sit there in a technicolor environment.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 11:32 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Stamford, CT United States
Posts: 212
I think it is much easier. But I grew up on Noir and still watch a lot of it.

To create realistic lighting is, in my mind, much more difficult than to create dramatic lighting...

Matt
Matthew Cherry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: kentucky, USA
Posts: 429
Noir is beautiful in my opinion.
If a person is going to make a B&W project with digital video, and the camera itself has B&W mode, would you still shoot in color and just use a B&W monitor and take the color away in post?
Steve Witt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 04:21 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Steve,

I don't know of any Mini DV cams that 'shoot in black and white'. I think they all shoot in color. The viewfinder can often be set to show in black and white only. Or, as in my case with the FU-1000, it is a black and white viewfinder.

Do a search on this forum, a long thread about just this topic has been covered before.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 05:20 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Stamford, CT United States
Posts: 212
Actually, I shot my film noir "short" (a lighting test really) in B&W with an XL2 - I did this be adjusting the color gain down to 0. In hindsight I don't know why I bothered to do this instead of just doing it in post and adjusting the color on my production monitor during shooting.

You can see it here:

http://www.birthofthecool.com/films.html
Matthew Cherry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Mathew.

Yeah, I remember the thread now. And I saw your short. Nice stuff. My point was the ccd's don't 'see' black and white the way black and white film sees 'only' black and white. They 'see' in color, and you take it out. Either in post (Which is the best place for it) Or, in camera between the ccd's and the tape.

Old school cameras of course, had color and black and white tubes.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2005, 08:06 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
I suggest you shoot in black and white, as it allows more manipulation in post. I have a webpage with pictures showing the kind of things you can do with B&W images.

Playing around with channel blending (equivalent to colored filters in front of the lens): http://www.glennchan.info/fcpugto/sh...end/shot10.htm

You can also use secondary color correction to play around with your image more:
http://www.glennchan.info/fcpugto/sh...ies/shot11.htm

You can also use secondary color correction or chroma key to isolate flesh tones, then lower the contrast on it using a color curves plug-in. This can reduce shadows/texture on actor's faces.

Before: http://www.glennchan.info/Proofs/Pro...t-pre-look.jpg
After: http://www.glennchan.info/Proofs/Pro...-post-look.jpg
Sorry no roll-over there, and the pictures are in color (and the wall is very close to flesh tone color, so it gets affected too).

Monitoring on set: Find a monitor where you can turn the color/saturation down. If not, then there can be advantage to shooting B&W just for the visualization. Of course, you can temporarily shift to B&W in camera for visualization. Many consumer cameras have a B&W effect mode, which you can engage temorarily for visualization.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 28th, 2005, 08:12 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Brighton, England
Posts: 225
I would disagree with capture in B+W.

All the camera is doing is de-saturating the image in RT and then recording to tape, which can be *exactly* mimiced in post. On film it's a different issue as B+W exhibits a much wider contrast latitude than colour neg stocks, but with video this is not the case (the CCD is still colour, remember!).

If shot in colour then it is possible to add filtration in post, which can be very handy, and you still hve the options of using colour should you change your mind (for instance, you could decide to go for a bleach-bypass look or a partial desaturation), and this comes at no cost to the original B+W image should you not change your mind. Keep your options open.

Points raised about the differences in shooting B+W vs colour are good, but for my money it's more of a headache for the Art Dept than the DoP, although use of colour filtration on lights and lens can dramatically alter your final image too...

If you are planning on shoting in B+W for the first time, my advice is to shoot a lot of tests, specifically as regards the redition of different colours of clothing, backgrounds etc (as mentioned above). A scene with a green shirt against a red wall might have tons of seperation in colour, but when desaturated you may end up with two identical shades of grey and a subject that sinks into the wall!!
Dominic Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 28th, 2005, 08:15 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Brighton, England
Posts: 225
Sorry Glenn, I just re-read your post, and I think in fact I agree with you totally - but I think you mistyped...

Surely you meant shoot in colour as it allows more options in post??!

:)
Dominic Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 28th, 2005, 10:25 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
Oh wow, I had a brainfart there. Heh...

Yes, I did mean shoot in color as it allows more options in post.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2005, 02:45 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 242
While I don't understand the aversion to making a decision and sticking with it (and don't wish to get into a debate over it), I do want to point out the advantage gained by shooting B&W in camera.

First of all CCD's are not color. Single CCD cameras require a filter mask to achieve color. And three CCD cameras use dichroic prisms that split the color to be processed by three seperate CCD's.

Second, the human eye is much more sensitive to changes in brightness than changes in color. Thus compression algorithms choose to compress color more than brightness. By eliminating color from the equation in-camera, the codec isn't stressing over color compression and can be focused on the brightness and contrast resulting in a better, cleaner image.
Jon Fordham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2005, 09:10 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Stamford, CT United States
Posts: 212
Interesting. My reasons were much more base! ;>

Really, I just wanted to get into the B&W mindset if you will, especially for a noir. Think of it as "Method Cinematography" - probably stupid to most people here, but for me, as a newcomer to all of this, I thought it was important. The scenes in my head were black and white, my inspiration was black and white. When I looked through the viewfinder or on my monitor (this was just a TV, I hadn't purchased a real production monitor yet) I wanted to see how my lighting looked in black and white.

Needed to get that B&W vibe thing going...
Matthew Cherry 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 > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:24 PM.


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