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Good Night and Good Luck


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#1 Carl Durrenberger

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 09:19 PM

Just saw "Good Night and Good Luck" at my local San Diego Landmark cinema and was wondering if anyone knew how the B&W look was achieved: original B&W negative, desaturation during a DI, direct transfer to B&W print stock, or some combination thereof?

The grain structure looks a bit mealy compared to my memory of the dirty, more crystaline granularity of Double-X and Plus-X, causing me to suspect that the film originated on color stock.

I've Googled a bit and poked around on the ASC and IGC sites, but to no avail. Does anyone know for sure how Elswit pulled off the B&W look on this picture?

Thanks!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 09:24 PM

Real b&w prints, but it was shot on 5218 500T color neg and turned to b&w using a DI.

Don't know if the DI was output to color IN stock or b&w fine-grain stock, but I think it was Estar color intermediate stock, though a b&w image. So the final b&w prints are either made off of a b&w fine-grain neg or a color IN, I don't know.

Edited by David Mullen, 13 November 2005 - 09:26 PM.

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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 09:40 PM

Real b&w prints, but it was shot on 5218 500T color neg and turned to b&w using a DI.

Don't know if the DI was output to color IN stock or b&w fine-grain stock, but I think it was Estar color intermediate stock, though a b&w image. So the final b&w prints are either made off of a b&w fine-grain neg or a color IN, I don't know.

David,
This question may be hopelessly näive, but why didn't/wouldn't they just shoot it in B&W?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 12:08 AM

Same reason "The Man Who Wasn't There" used 320T color stock... the Vision-2 500T color neg was faster AND less grainy than 200 ASA Double-X.

They wanted to shoot mainly with zoom lenses, and yet keep sets mainly lit with overhead practicals, so they needed the speed of 500T.
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#5 Mike Williamson

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 12:21 AM

Real b&w prints, but it was shot on 5218 500T color neg and turned to b&w using a DI.

Don't know if the DI was output to color IN stock or b&w fine-grain stock, but I think it was Estar color intermediate stock, though a b&w image. So the final b&w prints are either made off of a b&w fine-grain neg or a color IN, I don't know.


Robert Elswit just came in and showed "Good Night and Good Luck" at AFI and gave a talk afterwards, where he told us about the printing process. If I remember correctly, he said that all of the intermediate printing kept the color until the release prints stage, so David is right about it being on Estar, but still a color image.

I liked the film, I thought the cinematography had a great naturalistic feel to it, very moody. It was a real pleasure to meet Robert Elswit, he's a great speaker and very generous. He stuck around for an hour after our talks to answer questions and give us advice, really nice guy.
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#6 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 02:07 AM

I have also read in Millimeter that they felt that the b and w film made zits and other skin imperfections to noticeable. From what I understand they took out some of the red channel to make skin imperfections to go away. And the lower contrast helped smooth the faces.

Another note is that Clooney shot alot of this movie using two cameras saying he hates using one and redoing the lines for different angles.

Haven't seen it yet, looking forward to it. Looks like a good storyline and B and W is just kewl. Though I hope it is better than another actor turned dirrector movie I saw recently "Million Dollar Baby" After seeing that I am now less likely to watch movies directed by actors.

I like what Hitchcock said "I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle. "
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 02:16 AM

If I remember correctly, he said that all of the intermediate printing kept the color until the release prints stage, so David is right about it being on Estar, but still a color image.

At the screening I saw Elswit said that he removed the color in DI. So it was B&W well before the printing stage.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 10:45 AM

At the screening I saw Elswit said that he removed the color in DI. So it was B&W well before the printing stage.


Sounds like they recorded a b&w image to Estar color intermediate stock.
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#9 Joe Lotuaco

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:11 AM

Sounds like they recorded a b&w image to Estar color intermediate stock.


You're right...

From this month's issue of American Cinematographer, Elswit says "To get a black-and-white print, I had a new film-out done from the original scanned and timed material we'd already printed on color stock. Technicolor Digital Intermediates had to make a new color Estar neg because the contrast and density parameters are different for black-and-white printing. The resultant print very closely resembled the look of 5231 that we'd all liked from the beginning."

It also mentions that Elswit considered printing on Kodak's 2302 black-and-white print stock, but decided against it because Kodak doesn't keep a lot of it in stock and would take 8 weeks to manufacturer and also because it was a more delicate stock that might not stand up to the heat of film projectors.
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#10 Dominic Case

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 06:59 PM

Good answer from AC via Joe. Printing from a B/W neg to colourprint film would (a) raise contrast issues as the b/w systems aren't matched to the colour systems, and (B) introduce colour cross-overs (e.g. pink highlights and green shadows) once again because the colour print film is balanced to see a colour negative with particular spectral characteristics.

Making a monochromatic dupe on colour stock via a DI gives perfect control over these contrast and colorimetry issues. It's the way to go.

WHy not shoot on b/w to start with? Apart from the creative issues, many studios/investors/insurers will not permit a b/w shoot because they believe ultimately that a b/w image has a bad impact on box office - or more likely on TV and DVD sales. So even if creatively it has to be b/w, they want the option of releassing in colour. No I can't support this argument (of course) but they control the money!

Why not print on b/w? Correct, the print stock may have a shorter life on projectors (the silver image absorbs more heat), and also the analogue soundtrack (still used in many cinemas) is considerably worse in quality.

Finalluy, never mind how long it would take Kodak to manufacture the stock, release printing labs have high speed colour processors, but no high speed b/w processors. You could get a few prints, but any significant release order would take for ever to complete.
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#11 Mike Williamson

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:24 PM

At the screening I saw Elswit said that he removed the color in DI. So it was B&W well before the printing stage.


Sounds like I'm remembering the comments incorrectly, apologies for the misinformation.
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#12 Chris Burke

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 02:17 PM

Same reason "The Man Who Wasn't There" used 320T color stock... the Vision-2 500T color neg was faster AND less grainy than 200 ASA Double-X.

They wanted to shoot mainly with zoom lenses, and yet keep sets mainly lit with overhead practicals, so they needed the speed of 500T.



Doesn't the Double-X have a lot of latitude? I am considering this stock for a short because of look. I don't mind the grain of true black and white negative. Here in America, people seem to be afraid of or just don't like grain. Can I achieve the same look of 7222 if I shoot 7218 and desaturate in post?
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#13 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 02:31 PM

Doesn't the Double-X have a lot of latitude? I am considering this stock for a short because of look. I don't mind the grain of true black and white negative. Here in America, people seem to be afraid of or just don't like grain. Can I achieve the same look of 7222 if I shoot 7218 and desaturate in post?


If you really want the true "gritty" (harder edged) grain of a silver image B&W negative, shoot with the 7222. Shooting on 7218 will usually have a much "smoother" grain pattern. It's a matter of the "look" you want.


It also mentions that Elswit considered printing on Kodak's 2302 black-and-white print stock, but decided against it because Kodak doesn't keep a lot of it in stock and would take 8 weeks to manufacturer and also because it was a more delicate stock that might not stand up to the heat of film projectors.


AFAIK, most of the prints were on Kodak Black-and-White Print Film 2302 (ESTAR base). Warner Bros. and Technicolor worked closely with Kodak to estimate the stock needs, so there was no issue with stock availability.

Any silver image print film (or color prints with silver left in the image) will be more prone to heat-related issues because silver absorbs much more infrared energy from the projection lamp. When intercut with color films (e.g., trailers), projector focus may need to be readjusted because the film heats up more in the projector gate:

http://www.kodak.com...1.4.8.6.6&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com...ytlak/heat1.pdf

http://www.kodak.com...ytlak/heat2.pdf
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#14 Matt Lazzarini

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 05:10 PM

I wrote/directed a short earlier this year on 7222. It was a 40s style film noir, very B-movie-ish.

Although I loved the look of it, if I had to do it again I'd probably opt to shoot color then desaturate it/boost contrast completely in post. I liked the grain of the stock most of the time, but sometimes it was just too much, and could get distracting (for me, anyway). Just a personal preference.
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#15 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 08:04 PM

Did anybody like this movie? Thinking back to old history channel docs i thought there was more story there to the murrow story. It just fell really flat for me. I think the problem was using only original footage from mccarthy, it seemed stilted and out of place. I never got that big payoff I was expecting. Nobody to tell him off or put him in his place. A bunch of aimless stuff happened with no real outcome. At least thats what I got when I saw it. The lack of story pulled me out of the cinematography, i couldnt tell you if I liked the shooting or not.
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