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Chocolate filters


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#1 Allyn Laing

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 07:28 AM

I have been looking for some examples of before and after pictures of scenes shot with chocolate filters 1, 2, and 3. Can someone please attach some photos or links or some direction as to where to find it?

I have read through the tiffen website and can find no information on the following; there are three different types of chocolates 1, 2, and 3 i know usually a correction filter takes of 2/3 of a stop. Are these filters like NDs that take away light in increments of 1, 2, and 3?

thanking all.

Allyn.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 11:48 AM

The numbers don't have anything to do with the actual filter factor, just that the higher numbers have a heavier effect and therefore also cut more light. But by coincidence, I seem to recall that a #1 Chocolate loses about 1-stop of light.

The effect can be rather subtle since brown is not a primary color. Much of "Lost Highway" was shot with a Chocolate filter, except for night interiors and exteriors. Gordon Willis shot the Sicily scenes in the first Godfather with a Chocolate filter too, at least the exteriors.
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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 01:05 PM

Try the Antique Suede-filters, too - I prefer them to Chocolate. They're less smoke colored.
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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 01:25 PM

The effect can be rather subtle since brown is not a primary color. Much of "Lost Highway" was shot with a Chocolate filter, except for night interiors and exteriors. Gordon Willis shot the Sicily scenes in the first Godfather with a Chocolate filter too, at least the exteriors.

Why aren't colored gels used more often for interiors rather than filtering the camera lens? A filtered lens sees the entire scene one way but colored lighting can be controlled for foreground/background, wide/close shots, etc. I've used Rosco R99 chocolate for good effect on stages to set a "memory" look but in that arena I can light faces, etc. more neutrally which really helps to set off the overall sepia look.
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#5 Allyn Laing

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 02:03 PM

Try the Antique Suede-filters, too - I prefer them to Chocolate. They're less smoke colored.



Can you suggest where i might see an example of these filters? comparrisons? I am really after a subtle effect, without affecting the whites too harshly

Allyn
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 06:24 PM

Unfortunately, Tiffen's website is completely useless (and has been for 10 years). Formatt's website isn't much better either.

But basically Antique Suede is slightly warmer - more sepia toned and add's the feeling of watching an old photograph. Chocolate is actually closer to gray/plum than it is to warm, in my opinion. Chocolate looks exactly like looking through one of those hideous smoke coloured coffee tables everyone had in the 80's. Or through the window in some Nakatomi-style building from the same era. That whole Donald Trump-aesthetic, you know.. :P
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#7 Steve Zimmerman

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 08:52 PM

Unfortunately, Tiffen's website is completely useless (and has been for 10 years). Formatt's website isn't much better either.

But basically Antique Suede is slightly warmer - more sepia toned and add's the feeling of watching an old photograph. Chocolate is actually closer to gray/plum than it is to warm, in my opinion. Chocolate looks exactly like looking through one of those hideous smoke coloured coffee tables everyone had in the 80's. Or through the window in some Nakatomi-style building from the same era. That whole Donald Trump-aesthetic, you know.. :P


David Lynch's Lost Highway used chocolate filters --

American Cinematographer, March 1997:

Peter Deming: "We wound up shooting a lot of the film with a chocolate #1 filter. In testing I ran into a bit of a problem using the chocolate filter at night", he submits. "The filter factor was a stop and a third, and it just ate up the shadows: you couldn't see into the shadow areas at all."

For some very low light scenes they tried to recreate the look of the chocolate filter with color timing but Deming says the filtered and unfiltered and color corrected scenes didn't really match.

[cinematographer Peter] "Deming shot most of the film on Kodak"s 5293 and 5298 stocks, and employed a Fogal stocking behind his lenses...."

None of the online pics I've seen are representative of the spooky, brownish look I have seen on the VHS tape of the film, its not on dvd in the US yet.
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#8 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 09:33 PM

Can you suggest where i might see an example of these filters? comparrisons? I am really after a subtle effect, without affecting the whites too harshly

Allyn


You can see a photo of an Antique Suede #2 as used by DP Rodney Charters, CSC, ASC for exterior scenes in downtown Los Angeles for the show, "24" ASC Magazine February 2004

That season is available on DVD so you can check it out as well.

Also chocolate was used a great deal on urban-hip hop music videos [which may explain why The Hughes Brothers were down for Deming using it when he lensed the movie "In Hell" for them. ] Not so much as a filter on the lens or a gel on lighting, but the look is pushed in that direction by the colorist in telecine. As an example, please check out the photo of LL Cool J holding the girl in the video section Claudio Miranda - Cinematographer's website


Hope this helped.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 02:47 AM

I'm not sure one color is "better" than another -- it just depends on the look you want. Antique Suede is more "mustard yellow-brown" in color, Tobacco is redder than Antique Suede, Straw is more yellow than Antique Suede, etc.

I've used Chocolates a little for some desert stuff, I like the brown, desaturated feeling it creates. Trouble is the heavy filter factor of any brown filter.
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#10 Nick G Smith

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 07:17 AM

Check out Carey Duffy's South London Filters site and click on Camera filters. Lots of examples of filters on Macbeth charts and various stills. http://www.camerafilters.co.uk/
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#11 Allyn Laing

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 03:30 AM

Thankyou everyone,

I hired the godfather, and it is the look i'm after - I'm going to shoot a test role tomorrow

thanks for your suggestions

Allyn.

Edited by Allyn Laing, 04 June 2006 - 03:31 AM.

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#12 Rick Shepardson

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:41 PM

Thankyou everyone,

I hired the godfather, and it is the look i'm after - I'm going to shoot a test role tomorrow

thanks for your suggestions

Allyn.


I'm considering using the chocolate filter for an upcomming short film. The piece takes place during a drought. However, we'll be shooting in Savannah Georgia during the fall. This time of the year is usually pretty green. I've looked at some photographs of foilage through the filter. Though green is still apparent, it creates a kind of sickly warmth to the image.
Have any of you seen the filter used to this capacity?
Thanks,
Rick
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#13 Rick Shepardson

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:31 PM

I'm considering using the chocolate filter for an upcomming short film. The piece takes place during a drought. However, we'll be shooting in Savannah Georgia during the fall. This time of the year is usually pretty green. I've looked at some photographs of foilage through the filter. Though green is still apparent, it creates a kind of sickly warmth to the image.
Have any of you seen the filter used to this capacity?
Thanks,
Rick


I forgot to add this important information: It's actually the big problem with using a filter and I am wondering if anyone could offer suggestions.
Part of the film will also require separating people from their enviroment by dressing them in bright primary colors. Of course, these colors will be muted if I use a filter on the lens. I was wondering if it is possible to compensate for this loss through wardrobe. For example, After I do camera tests with the macbeth chart and find out which direction colors shift, is it possible to ask wardrobe to use more extreame colors that will still be vibrant when captured through the chocolate filter?
I think this might be a very silly question, but please be kind as I am a begginer.

I will be shooting super 16 Kodak vision 2 250D
Thanks,
Rick Shepardson
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#14 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 03:57 PM

After I do camera tests with the macbeth chart and find out which direction colors shift, is it possible to ask wardrobe to use more extreame colors that will still be vibrant when captured through the chocolate filter?
I think this might be a very silly question, but please be kind as I am a begginer.


No, it's not silly, and as a beginner you're asking all the right questions.

This sort of thing has been done since the early days of film, when actors wore white makeup to keep their reddish skintones from coming out too dark on orthochromatic film. These days, horror films that use a bleach-bypass technique will use intensely bright red blood on set so that it will appear with the appropriate saturation on screen.

Keep in mind that skin tones are just as important (if not more so) than wardrobe, so make sure to test that your "sickly warm" background still separates from warm fleshtones.
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#15 Rick Shepardson

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 04:10 PM

No, it's not silly, and as a beginner you're asking all the right questions.

This sort of thing has been done since the early days of film, when actors wore white makeup to keep their reddish skintones from coming out too dark on orthochromatic film. These days, horror films that use a bleach-bypass technique will use intensely bright red blood on set so that it will appear with the appropriate saturation on screen.

Keep in mind that skin tones are just as important (if not more so) than wardrobe, so make sure to test that your "sickly warm" background still separates from warm fleshtones.


Thank you.
Actually, I forgot to mention the skin tones. Looking back to the old days of hollywood is exactly what I'm trying to do. Because remedies in post such as the D.I. are not an option, I'm trying to find out how all the Haskell Wexlers and Conrad Halls accomplished their feats.
I am lucky in that I will be developing an early relationship with the Colorist I hope to use for this film. Could you give me a hint of what specific questions I should keep ask him and what I should make him aware of before I shoot?
Thanks,
Rick
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#16 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 04:33 PM

Looking back to the old days of hollywood is exactly what I'm trying to do. Because remedies in post such as the D.I. are not an option...

...I am lucky in that I will be developing an early relationship with the Colorist I hope to use for this film.


How are you finishing this film? On film or video? Because telecine color correction essentially IS a DI. Or did you mean the lab color timer for your film print?
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#17 Rick Shepardson

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 05:04 PM

How are you finishing this film? On film or video? Because telecine color correction essentially IS a DI. Or did you mean the lab color timer for your film print?


That is actually a point of confusion that I'm running into.
We will be transfering from film to HD digital without printing to film. Of course, that means that we are going through a DI. In all truth, I feel that since O Brother Where Art Thou, people throw that term around without really knowing what it is.
I am not totally sure yet what system they are using and what it's capabilities are. Also, I imagine that much of the cost of color correcting in ala O Brother Where Art Thou comes from spending so much time making very specific adjustments.
I'm going to be supervising a transfer for a different film in about a week with the same colorist. I am hoping to utilize this time to become more acquainted with the process before shooting my thesis film. I've supervised telecini transfers before, but not to this capacity. I've tried researching the telecini process, but most of the writings I've found are extremely technical.
Honestly, the decision as to whether I'm going to try and create the ashtetic in camera or rely primarily on post depends on money. My sensibility is to shoot straight for information then make stylistic adjustments in post. I really am concerned with the idea of shooting with a filter because there's no going back.
Thanks again,
Rick Shepardson
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#18 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 05:31 PM

In the strictest sense, "Digital Intermediate" simply means that the original footage is manipulated digitally, as opposed to photochemically, before being output to its release format. It might be fair to say that color-correction done during the telecine transfer isn't exactly a DI, but the process and controls are very similar. You're transferring the film into digital information and manipulating it digitally.

Most telecine suites have pretty good control over colors, but of course it depends on the equipment they have (and the skill of the colorist). Ask your colorist what kind of color-correction hardware he has, and how well that allows him to isolate independent colors.

There's no right or wrong way to go about color correction as far using filters or post. The more you do optically the more you bias the information that's on the negative, which can be harder to cancel out later without digital artifacts. The more neutral you keep the negative, the more digital artifacts you might create if you have to push the look too far in post. So it's a balancing act, and you have to test each process all the way through post to determine which method gives you the best results within your means.
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