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Adding colour using a filter or in post


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#1 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 05:21 AM

Hi there,

I'm shooting a short on either Mini-DV or HD (not likely) soon and I'm having conflicts with the director about when to add the colour - we want to have very strong colours throughout the film and these colours will change during the performance, the director wants to film in clean white light and then add the colours in post where as I would like to light using a system of coloured gels and gobo projections, I want to light it the way it's going to look in the final film and I think it's also important to help the actors understand the environment and atmoshpere and use that experience in their performance I'm also worried that as we're only using Premier Pro to edit that the post colour available to us is not only limited but when I've used it in post before it taints the shadow areas with a wash of colour that look cheap and nasty.

Does anyone have any advice on which way is better? Is it better to get a clean image to start with rather than getting stuck with a colour you can not then completely remove or change??

Thanks

Jac
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 11:14 AM

Post color-correction, especially a simple color-corrector software, can only add an overall tint or wash of color, so you can't replicate the look of mixed colored lighting in post.

But in terms of whether an overall color is better added in post or in camera, generally with the more compressed video formats, a strong color is better done with a camera filter or lighting because you can only push a compressed recording so far in one direction before you get artifacts. A minor tint, however, is easy to add in post or in camera. Of course, the problem with adding a strong color cast in camera is that you will also get artifacts trying to remove it in post... so know what you want when you shoot and don't change your mind.

I tend to follow the rule of "half-n-half" or "50/50" with digital photography -- get half the effect in camera and tweak the final amount in post. The classic example would be a blue-ish day-for-night shot where I will underexpose a little and give the image some blueness in camera, but make it even darker in post and add more blue if necessary in post.

The simplest thing would be to shoot a test to see which approach gets you the best results, color-wise. Shoot a scene with colored lights, then one neutral and try and time it in post to match the colored shot, then look at the results on a decent, large monitor to see if you picked up any compression artifacts.
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#3 JA Tadena

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 10:19 PM

The classic example would be a blue-ish day-for-night shot where I will underexpose a little and give the image some blueness in camera, but make it even darker in post and add more blue if necessary in post.


Hi im not sure if I should be posting this here but since you've also mentioned day-for-night, could anyone of you help recommend a good bluish filter that could be interesting to use for a day for night scene . From where I live, the only blue filter available is the 80A/B filter (which is normally used to correct daylight balanced films to tungsten as you all know). What are recommended blue filters that maybe good for day for night? It would be great if you could site samples of films where it was used. Im planning to buy one for my personal collection because its nowhere available where I live in. Thanks very much for the help.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 11:43 PM

Well, since I'm usually using either a tungsten-balanced film stock or a video camera, it's usually a half-orange filter I'm using for day-for-night, not a light blue one. On the Sony video cameras, there is a halfway correction orange filter, similar to an 81EF, labelled "C" usually ("B" is clear for tungsten and "D" is an orange filter for daylight) -- so I use the "C" filter for day-for-night shots. On a film camera, probably an 81EF -- although it's less of a problem to just drop all the color-correction filters and shoot for a full blue look on tungsten stock and then adjust it in post, whereas with video, if your recording is too blue, there isn't enough red information buried in there.

There are many blue filters out there that are lighter than the 80A, like the 82 series:

http://www.tiffen.co...&itemnum=13882B
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#5 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 05:17 AM

Thanks David,

I will do some tests, and try out your 50/50 method!

Jacqueline
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