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B&W with color


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#1 dancordle

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 02:20 PM

I'm filming an experimental short this summer and have been planning to shoot on Kodak 5222. I've shot a few tests with the stock and have taken storyboard photos using TMax 100 (pushed 1 stop). The problem is, I keep catching myself "seeing" parts of the film in desaturated color. No matter what I do, color pops back in. There are a couple of things in the script that would certainly benefit from being in color. For instance, twice in the story flowers play and important part. At another point a character takes a bath in chocolate syrup. It's supposed to be a funny and romanitc scene but might look rather bloody and unapetizing in B&W. All this has made me re-evaluate my choice of stock. It's also made me wonder how difficult it would be to selectively add some color to moving B&W images. If anyone has done this I would be happy to hear how challenging it is to accomplish. I'd also like to hear of any examples of recent films that added color to B&W images. I remember hearing about a recent project that did this, but haven't been able to track down the film.

Shooting the project in color is, of course, an option, and I suspect that subtracting color would be easier than adding it. However, for the time being I'm just curious about selective colorization for moving B&W images. I've done this for still photographs using Photoshop, but have no idea how it's done for moving images. Thanks in advance for any replies.

Best,
Dan Cordle
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#2 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 12:24 AM

All I can offer up is a 1959 American Cinematographer article by Franz Planer on shooting color film to look like black & white - good luck finding the article - he shot the opening of Breakfast at Tiffany's in that style - I am sure you could colorize B&W film digitally, but it might be a bit of a pain, gl)
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 12:38 AM

PLEASE - you need to say how you will finish this film - as a 35mm print, or will it be a digital/video finish?
It makes a significant difference to how you go about this colour/black & white stuff. Also, if you are going fim all the way, do you have budget/resources for a Digital Intermediate process, or just photochemical?
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#4 Michael Collier

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 01:24 AM

If you are finnishing digital, you can use after effects and a 'color' overlay. You set the layer to a color layer and the luma will be maintained, but the color and saturation will be applied from the color layer on top of it. That means you will have to rotoscope/paint everything that should have that color. It can be quite a pain to get it right, but it does look good. Keep in mind that will not apply a difference in color. that would be much harder to do realistically (if you wanted the chocolate to look as if it were to key the subject with unfiltered tungsten, and wanted the backlighting to have a warm tone to it. where the edge between the lights are would make the coloring very difficult.


It is possible> when I was younger and had no money for presents I once scanned an old 1950s photo of my grandparents, took it into photoshop and colorized it using the same technique. It came out looking like a norman rockwell, but in truth that was the look I was going for. I am sure you can make the colors more realistic, but I dont know how close you can come to perfection.

I assume shooting color neg and desaturating is out of your budget?

use photoshop and a digicamera to test this. the main thing is the rotoscoping. Chocolate would be very difficult, as there are no hard defined edges. If you are worried about it looking like blood, why not just have a few insert shots of the chocolate bottles to remind your viewers whats going on.
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#5 Nick Mulder

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 06:40 AM

I'd also like to hear of any examples of recent films that added color to B&W images. I remember hearing about a recent project that did this, but haven't been able to track down the film.



Off the top of my head - ummm, hmmm oh yeh Smallville and Schindlers List

ummm... i cant remember if full color came in or it was just toning/straight switching from monotone to cloro but have a look at Avalon also
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