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to bleach or not to bleach


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#1 jijhh

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 10:46 PM

just something i've been pining over for a project. we are currently deciding whether or not to use bleach-bypass processing on our film to create a certain look. if the footage is being telecined, edited, and output digitally, is it worth doing bleach-bypass or should we just do it in post?
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#2 Cole Webley

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 12:17 AM

I was in transferring some S16 the otherday and I asked my transfer guy if he could get me the same look w/ out doing it photochemically and he said, "just about..." He is not the best colorist so I imagine most could give you the "look" which would be more desaturated and higher contrast. However, I don't think you could ever get the same look if you aren't doing it to the negative. If you aren't ever going to a print it would probably be best if you DIDN'T do it to the negative that way you have the option of going different directions with it -- also, then you can get the "look" for different scenes etc. remembering that if you do it to the negative they process the whole roll the same way.

Best of luck, I love the "look" too, when it serves the story.

Cheers.
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 06:13 PM

A good colorist should be able to give you a good bleach-bypass look.

And they should be able to vary it a little if you want more - or less - contrast, more or less desaturation, etc. TO me, that's a good outcome!

If you go for the photochemical process, then you are stuck with what you get. Some people prefer to live dangerously like that - the "magic" or "mystery" of the chemistry! Others prefer to lock the look into the negative so the producer can't have second thoughts.
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:05 AM

A good "solid" exposure and normal processing gives the most flexibility in post. As Dominic notes, if you want the bleach bypass "look", you can usually achieve it in post with a normal negative, but may prefer to "lock it in" with the real thing. Remember, there is usually an additional setup and per foot charge for special processes.
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#5 Travis Cline

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 06:23 PM

I have skip bleached my negative several times and also attempted to recreate that look in telecine only It most definitely does not look the same. Obviously, telecine can desaturate you image to any degree so you can approximate that. Telecine can adjust your contrast as much as you like, so you can make that look like skip bleach. However, leaving all that silver on your negative gives a very organic, tangible feel to your image that no matter how good a colorist may be, they can not approximate. The grain and texture of the image are what you lose if you don't skip-bleach your negative. Skip bleaching your negative is quite exciting and a great look. That being said, I would not endorse skip bleaching your negative unless you know what you are doing. For one, you can not reverse it if you don't like it or if the producer wants to fire you. Secondly, it is very drastic from the results you will get from a normally exposed negative, especially if you have never done it and do not know what kind of image you will get in the end. So, if you can test or you are willing to experiment go for it. The other thing is that it is expensive like John says. So, take that for what it's worth and good luck.

Travis
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#6 jijhh

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 07:54 PM

thanks for the warning travis. you dont have any still from skip-bleach projects do you?
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#7 Travis Cline

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 08:35 PM

I have some at

http://www.playsaga....traviscline.mov



There are only a few shots on there that were skip-bleached. I shot a feature not too long ago where I skip bleached about a third of the shoot. Unfortunately, we have not color corrected the film yet or I would show you some of that. Showing you stills or dailies would be misleading given the nature of what we're talking about I think.

Travis
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#8 Cole Webley

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 10:38 PM

Dang Travis - That looks really nice. Its nice to see some of those shots of projects I never saw any footage from.

Happy Shooting.
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#9 Josh Silfen

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 07:07 PM

I have some at

http://www.playsaga....traviscline.mov
There are only a few shots on there that were skip-bleached. I shot a feature not too long ago where I skip bleached about a third of the shoot. Unfortunately, we have not color corrected the film yet or I would show you some of that. Showing you stills or dailies would be misleading given the nature of what we're talking about I think.

Travis



I'm assuming the skip-bleached shots were the guy falling on the grass, the poker table and I wasn't sure about the guy being taken to jail. Any others? I'm also assuming that these were fully bleach bypassed as opposed to some kind of ENR process. What kind of exposure compensation did you do?

If anyone has any stills from a film that has had a partial bleach bypass or ENR process applied to the negative I would be very interested to see those. Thanks.

-Josh Silfen
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:11 PM

Saying that one cannot remove a skip bleach is completely erroneous. Sure, the procedure may be totally inpractical, but it is a simple matter (at least for someone with the equipment to do so) of immersing the negative in bleach and then re-fixing the film. The bleach converts the black metalic silver in the film to soluble silver halide, and then the fixer removes the halides. I actually have first-hand experience with this happening in C-41. I processed some film, and I fixed it first and then bleach it because I had bleach and fixer mixed up. In order to correct the problem I had to go back and re-bleach and re-fix. What you can get a lab to do for you, I don't know, but chemically, such a procedure is reversible should you not like the look. Now this also leaves you with the question of what to do should you intentionally under- or overexpose your film stock with a bleach bypass in mind. When you pull the silver out, the negative is going to be thinner.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#11 Thomas Cousin

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:58 PM

hello,

i just saw 2 days ago the images of a short i shot.
i asked myself the very same questions about the real skip bleach or recreating the look in TK.
i always want to do the maximum in camera. so i skip bleached my negative (7218) for this project.
the film will not be blown-up, it will stay on video.
but it seemed important to me to add the organic feel right on the shooting.

i discovered the result in TK.
it seemed very ok to me. i obtained what i was looking for. the special process added grain and texture to the images. but it doesn't appear to be huge grain and "ugly" grain. it's a kind of palpable texture mostly in the midtones. it adds something and it is not distracting.( well, not for me for this particular project)
what i like the most is the way highlights are going very high very quickly. that's intensive, exciting, and it's a little odd and disturbing sometimes. right for this short. the contrast is of course higher, especially due to the way highlights reacts. but it's not so drastic. and you can play easily with it.
i shot the entire project in interior, and we manage to keep a good contrast for the shooting (to have decent images) but not to much to let the skip bleach do the rest.
and it worked. some practicals are going to high sometimes for my taste. but we learnt to dim them a little more to obtain the right value.

i just want to add something. the colors seemed of course a little desaturated but not so much. i expected to see a more pronouced effect for a bleach bypass. it IS there but i would add a little more desaturation in the final grading. and it seems to be another kind of desaturation than turning the "saturation knob". more elegant, more organic. the skintones also lose a little but not so much.
anyone here can tell their experience about the color saturation of a bleach bypased neg ?

to conclude, i think it is important to do it for "real" instead of imitating in post. you can add the two method together to enhanced everything. but it seems to be good to start with a negative with your envy in it.

bye
Thomas
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#12 Travis Cline

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 05:21 PM

Dear Mr. Filmisforever(if that is your real name)

I suppose that if you do it yourself in the bathtub at home maybe you can try, but labs won't do it. Deluxe has told me they can't bleach negative once it has been skipped. So, maybe other places do it or I was misinformed, but barring you have a lab at your house, you should plan on it being fairly permanent. The shots of the guy falling on the grass and the poker are cross-processed(another irreversible process with some cool results) The skip-bleach shots are toward the end - the guy sitting in the alley and the guys with the guns and masks. The guy singing in the blood rain is film pushed one stop and then made to look like skip-bleach in telecine. The unfair comparison of these two shots though is that the stuff actually skip-bleached was shot on 16mm and the singer on 35mm. I am color correcting some 35mm stuff that I skip-bleached at Deluxe and will try and get that on here soon. Sorry if does not help.

Travis
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#13 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 09:44 PM

A film can be rebleached and fixed to remove the silver left by a skip bleach process. However, if the film was originally underexposed to compensate for the added density of the silver, the dye-only image left after rebleaching and fixing will be effectively underexposed. Be sure the lab has a full wash after the rebleaching and fixing, as you do not want retained fixer or the wrong emulsion pH, which could affect image stability.
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#14 Dominic Case

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 10:26 PM

I processed some film, and I fixed it first and then bleach it because I had bleach and fixer mixed up.

You can be more or less confident that this won't happen in the lab. ;)

Karl is strictly correct in saying you can "remove a bleach bypass" (or more accurately, reinstate the bleach process). But it's really not a helpful answer to the cinematographer unless you point out that the lighting and exposure compenastions you have made in anticipation of the bleach bypass cannot be reversed.

anyone here can tell their experience about the color saturation of a bleach bypased neg ?


The amount of effect that the bleach bypass has depends on the emulsion used. Different emulsions have different amounts of silver, and a different range of grain sizes (among other differences). When you leave the silver in you will get different results.

Now I have a question. Can someone define "organic" or "organic feel" as it is applied to a chemically bleach-bypassed image?
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#15 jijhh

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:01 AM

Now I have a question. Can someone define "organic" or "organic feel" as it is applied to a chemically bleach-bypassed image?


I'm assuming you read that in one of the posts above, and I've got to say that I wanted to bleach bypass for almost the very opposite effect. From what I have seen, it gives a very industrial, desaturated look, the opposite of "organic", based on the coloring that pops into my head when I think "organic".
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#16 Travis Cline

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 05:58 PM

Sorry for the misinformation. I had thought that was true before, that you can rebleach a negative and I must have gotten misinformation from Deluxe or I did not understand what they said. My apologies.

Travis
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#17 tatiana canon

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 06:02 PM

well, i lived in colombia and here we dont have any near lab, so i have to process my film in miami, that means i cant make proofs, but my director wants a seven look, here the sun rays are really direct, so the light its really hard to hanndle, in this movie im working with 16 mm i have a lot of outside shoots so im planing to work with kodak 500t, the thing here its that right now bogota its very cloudy and and sunny in just one day, and the shoots must be low key, so i was thinking of doing bleach bypass but the lab girl, said it was very expensive so they can do it in the telecine(transfer), im not sure waht to do, to have this seven look with latin american sunlight? does anyone have experiece in this part of the world, or some recomendation?
thanks a alot
tatiana canon
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