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Tinting Black and White Film


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#1 Christian Blas

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 01:07 PM

I'm am making a feature that is being shot with black and white film. It is a war story and to add this crazy effect I wanted to tint or color some parts of the movie to seem that while it is black and white it is also colored, like "Schindler's List". Is this possible to do on 16mm or 35mm is needed? If possible on 16mm, how can it be done and is it expensive to do this process?

"Even complex problems have simple answers"-?
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 02:35 PM

If you are going to be scanning the film and editing and finishing it digitally, the simplest procedure would be to shoot it in color and de-saturate digitally in post. Then you could take out or leave as much color as you like, making part of the film black and white and part of it slightly colored.

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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 06:48 PM

I wanted to tint or color some parts of the movie to seem that while it is black and white it is also colored,

When you say "parts of the movie", do you mean . . .

1 - some shots or scenes are to be colour, some b/w, or
2 - some shots to be colour but very desaturated, so that there are just hints of colour, or
3 - some parts of some shots to have coloured areas (i.e. red lips on a b/w face)

There are ways of doing each of these, or a combination of them, but all are different methods. Some are very expensive, some just plain ordinary expensive. Give us more information please . Also, are you shooting 16 or 35, and is this for a print finish, or video/digital?
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#4 Christian Blas

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 07:00 PM

When you say "parts of the movie", do you mean . . .

1 - some shots or scenes are to be colour, some b/w, or
2 - some shots to be colour but very desaturated, so that there are just hints of colour, or
3 - some parts of some shots to have coloured areas (i.e. red lips on a b/w face)

There are ways of doing each of these, or a combination of them, but all are different methods. Some are very expensive, some just plain ordinary expensive. Give us more information please . Also, are you shooting 16 or 35, and is this for a print finish, or video/digital?


3 - some parts of some shots to have coloured areas (i.e. red lips on a b/w face).

I am shooting 16mm. Is it possible with this format or it has to be video? If it is possible with 16mm, how expensive is this and how is the process done?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 07:16 PM

3 - some parts of some shots to have coloured areas (i.e. red lips on a b/w face).

I am shooting 16mm. Is it possible with this format or it has to be video? If it is possible with 16mm, how expensive is this and how is the process done?


The question is: is this for print? Will you use a D.I.?

Adding those colored shots in "Schindler's List" was a major pain in the a--- because they wanted to use b&w print stock, so the color tinted shots had to be printed onto color print stock and hand-spliced into every print, and some of these splices broke in the theaters. So later prints were entirely printed on color print stock, but this didn't look as good for the b&w images.
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#6 Christian Blas

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:54 PM

The question is: is this for print? Will you use a D.I.?

Define the word/term "D.I." I understand "print" but don't know yet until I find out what "D.I." means.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 02:22 AM

"D.I." means digital intermediate, i.e. you would scan the 16mm negative into a digital format like 2K data or 24PHD, add the efx, and record the whole project out to a 35mm color internegative for making color prints (of a b&w image with colored areas.)
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#8 Christian Blas

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 02:34 PM

This depends on which is easier and least expensive.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 06:28 PM

This depends on which is easier and least expensive.


It's not much different than asking the classic "what's the best and cheapest method of... ?"

Easiest would be to color the areas of the frame digitally; in most cases, it would be easier to start out with a color image (as "Pleasantville" did) and remove color from selected areas; in a few cases, you could just roto and paint (digitally) a small selected area of a b&w image -- basically colorization.

Either way, then you'd output the image (b&w with color) to a color internegative and make color prints.

It's probably the method you're going to have to do, but it will also be the most expensive. But otherwise, to roto and paint areas of a b&w image the old-fashioned way using an animation stand, hold-out mattes, optical printers, etc. -- you'd need to hire a real expert in that method. The materials and equipment will be cheaper but the man-hours will kill you if you have to pay for that. So I guess the old-fashioned method would be harder BUT cheaper if you learn to do it yourself and have access to a free optical printer, which is unlikely. More likely it will just be expensive no matter how you do it, unless it is just for a couple of shots.

But even then, if you do it for a couple of shots and output to color neg, then but it on a B or C roll for printing into a reel of b&w neg, you're going to have to print onto color print stock and probably the b&w in the colored clips won't have the same tone as the normal b&w footage. At least a digital intermediate would allow you to get all the b&w to match, even when it has colored sections.

There are few things more complicated than sticking a few color shots into a b&w movie for a print.
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#10 Oscar Godfrey

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 06:42 PM

It's not much different than asking the classic "what's the best and cheapest method of... ?"

Easiest would be to color the areas of the frame digitally; in most cases, it would be easier to start out with a color image (as "Pleasantville" did) and remove color from selected areas; in a few cases, you could just roto and paint (digitally) a small selected area of a b&w image -- basically colorization.

Either way, then you'd output the image (b&w with color) to a color internegative and make color prints.

It's probably the method you're going to have to do, but it will also be the most expensive. But otherwise, to roto and paint areas of a b&w image the old-fashioned way using an animation stand, hold-out mattes, optical printers, etc. -- you'd need to hire a real expert in that method. The materials and equipment will be cheaper but the man-hours will kill you if you have to pay for that. So I guess the old-fashioned method would be harder BUT cheaper if you learn to do it yourself and have access to a free optical printer, which is unlikely. More likely it will just be expensive no matter how you do it, unless it is just for a couple of shots.

But even then, if you do it for a couple of shots and output to color neg, then but it on a B or C roll for printing into a reel of b&w neg, you're going to have to print onto color print stock and probably the b&w in the colored clips won't have the same tone as the normal b&w footage. At least a digital intermediate would allow you to get all the b&w to match, even when it has colored sections.

There are few things more complicated than sticking a few color shots into a b&w movie for a print.



Hi David,
Do you know how they integrated the colour parts into raging bull?
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:13 PM

Hi David,
Do you know how they integrated the colour parts into raging bull?


Like "Schindler's List", "Zelig", and "Rumblefish" those color shots were hand-spliced into every b&w release print. And realize this is not as easy as it sounds because the point on the picture where the splice happens is not the same point where the audio for that frame is.

Many theaters complained about the splices coming apart. Later prints of "Schindler's List" had to be printed onto color stock, at least for any reels with a color shot in them.

But that doesn't address how you color part of a b&w frame, only how you are going to print the final effect.
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#12 dd3stp233

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 09:50 PM

The way color tinting was done in the early silent era was to take the section of print film and treat it with a specific chemical bath for the desired color. This is much the same as in black and white still photography, of how toning and tinting is done except it is done on prints. I have not actually tried it but from what I have read, the chemicals are basically the same. Some or most of modern toners and tinting baths are specifically designed to work on RC paper so that it only effects the emulsion and/or the silver in it so that it should work on motion picture film. You would of course have to experiment to see how well it works.
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#13 Robert Hughes

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:56 PM

Note that toning and tinting are two different processes: Toning changes the color of the dark area of an image, and tinting adds color to the light areas. Toning is commonly done on paper prints for archival stability. You can try tinting an image on acetate print stock with standard food coloring. Supposedly you can tone and tint a print stock for a 2 color effect.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:46 AM

Tinting and toning a b&w print is not the same thing as having a color object inside a b&w image, ala "Schindler's List" or "Pleasantville."
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#15 dd3stp233

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 01:26 AM

There are quite a few examples from the silent era where each frame of the print was hand colored (hand tinted). It ranges from quite primative to fairly sophisticated. It is also very labor intensive but it can and has been done in the past.

Here is a link to some examples - http://www.widescree...or/handtint.htm
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