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

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Old January 16th, 2004, 07:05 PM   #1
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shooting for Black & White DV

hi. i have been for a while now reading most of the threads in this forum. I never made a post because you guys seem like the serious stuff!

i'm not even a filmmaker. I'm actually a student stopmotion animator who wants to do a live-action short for my coming project

i have decided to make the short film black and white because of asethetic reasons, and also because i love b/w. But i have to shoot it in miniDV for reasons all of you can identify with. I personally own a MX8 (852) although my animations have been done on a PD100A

SO i seek the advice of so many excellent filmmakers here on how to achieve a great b/w result on DV. my body of work is surrealism so this short film wouldnt be different. If you ask me for a reference film, it will be 'Stalker'. not that i wanna emulate the look but just a casual ref. i hope you guys can give me some pointers
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Old January 16th, 2004, 10:26 PM   #2
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Stalker would have to be one of the greatest films known to me, so you have my attention, FWIW :-] .

I too have a love for black and white, although I haven't shot in it extensively. The advice, more often than not, is to shoot in colour, then, in post, adjust colour levels according to what looks best as a grey scale, desaturating for good once you've got the look you want.
There is something to be said, however, for shooting straight to b/w, and I'm sure you could get something pleasing with in-cam desat. and the right screw-on filters.
Either way, this means extensive testing, of course, not to mention special attention to lighting, as always.
Does the 852 have a B/W VF?
I bet the PD100a does.
This might be very useful as a reference, if you decide to do it in post, if nothing else, to help get you in the mood....

The look of Stalker on DV sounds like a challenge. Good luck!
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Old January 17th, 2004, 08:04 AM   #3
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There is some information in this thread.

Basically you have two (perhaps three if there are B&W filters)
ways to go:

1) do it in camera if your camera has controls for saturation or color controls

2) do it in post

With option two you can also decide to leave one color and make
everything B&W or almost make the picture B&W, but not 100%.

Some people also use a filter (yellow filter if I remember correctly)
on the camera and then do the B&W in post to increase the look.

With post work you can do B&W in a lot of different ways (simply
by desaturating, using only one color channel as a monochrome
channel etc. etc.). It will introduce (long) rendering times, though.

Rob Lohman,
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Old February 15th, 2004, 03:14 AM   #4
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in film, yellow filters are used on camera lens, usually when shooting outdoors. from what i understand, it does something nice to how the sky looks in b&w.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 09:22 PM   #5
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Yellow filters for film are usually daylight converters for indoor balanced film.

If you are shooting color video or film and plan on converting to Black & White afterwards, you can bring out skin tones of people by shooting with a Green filter over your camera. Remember that in color this will look stupid, but in post once your apply a Black and White filter it will not look green anymore obviously, just the skin tones will appear somewhat lighter.

Something to note about filters is that if you are taking a picture of a red rose that will be a black and white picture, using a RED filter will actually make the rose appear very light or white in your final Black & White print. If you didn't use a red filter, the rose would actually look dark gray in the Black and White print. What this means is that if you use the same color filter as is the subject, the subject will be lighter and more towards white. This can be used to create contrast in a scene if the right filter is used.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 09:40 PM   #6
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On Panchromatic films (most modern B & W films), filters lighten their own color and darken the rest. The degree of darkening depends on the color's position on a color wheel. For example green is opposite magenta. By adding a green filter you will lighten green shades (leaves for example) and darken the other colors. Magenta will be darkened the most. Green will not lighten most normal skin tones because it lacks a green component.

The effects of colored filters on video is reduced because video is equally sensitive to most of the visible spectrum of light. B & W film is not equally sensitive, hence the greater degree of effectiveness of colored filters.
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Old February 18th, 2004, 07:21 AM   #7
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Yeah I relaize I somewhat contradicted myself. Green is actually better suited for foilage or scenic images.

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