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extreme desaturation with high contrast


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#1 ian hassett

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 09:12 PM

hi,
i am a film student at new york university, currently reaching the end of pre-production for my final thrid year experimental film workshop project. for my film this semester i am shooting on 16mm over the first few weeks of november. the majority of my locations are exteriors, and i want an image rich in contrast, where as much color as possible has been removed. The point being to make the color film as similar to black/white as possible. sadly enough nyu hasn't given many suggestions about different film stocks/processing over the past few years, and i consider myself somewhat of a beginner on the topic . anyone have any ideas?

any help would be greatly appreciated.

thank you very much,

ian hassett
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#2 ian hassett

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 09:56 PM

i just read a post by David Mullen about desaturation in which he mentioned optical printing and Tarkovsky's last film, The Sacrifice. I would like to achieve this same aesthetic for my film. once again, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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#3 Bryan Darling

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 11:52 PM

Well if you have access to optical printing facilities at the school I'd say that would be a possibility. High contrast, low color saturation is not something that goes together naturally...at least from my experiences. If in-camera is necessary then I think a lot would go into selecting locations that lend themselves to the look you desire.

In my opinion it will be easier to finish the look in post either optically, through telecine, or in the computer. My personal preference would be to work it optically, however, practicality usually demands telecine or the computer. Any which way I'd very much like to see how this ends up. I've worked more in the realm of experimental film over the past few years.

Good luck!
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#4 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 01:56 AM

Can you just shoot on black&white? Shooting on B&W reversal will give you an image that is inherently desaturated [duh] and high contrast. Or you can shoot B&W negative, push it a stop or two, and print down by the same amount to increase the contrast.

How are you finishing? If you're finishing on video, the look you want can be achieved during transfer. If you're getting a photochemical finish, you've got to be much more careful. Getting a bleach bypass will help give you the look you want, but it tends to be very expensive. Consider how you will be controlling your production design and shooting. If you are able to get the costumes and locations to be mostly achromatic, you don't need to spend a lot of time in post desaturating them. And if your lighting style is high-contrast, again, you don't need to mess with it as much afterwards.

Personally, I tend to prefer looks that are achieved in-camera, rather than the result of grading, so try to get yourself most of the way there while shooting if you can.
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#5 Dominic Case

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 06:12 PM

Getting a bleach bypass will help give you the look you want, but it tends to be very expensive.

High contrast and low colour saturation is exactly what bleach bypass provides. A faster negaive stock would probably give you a more emphatic result as there is more silver in the emulsion - but it would be grainier, and BB does tend to bring up the graininess.

Sure it costs more than normal processing - but compared with optical printing, you would be way in front.

As other posters have said, don't just rely on the chemical effect. Bleach bypass, like other techniques, is just one tool, one part of the process of creating an image. Lighting, art direction, wardrobe, makeup, must all be considered in the context of the bleach bypass process - and in the context of each other.

The optical technique that David described relies on pin-registered 35mm optical duplication. You won't get a good result in 16mm. But if you tried, you wold be up for a b/w fine grain IP, a colour IP, and a double-pass optical dupe neg made from those two elements. Plus the wedge testing to determine the percentage of b/w and colour required for each shot. Even if you could do the printing at your school, there are processing costs.

These days you would probably forget the optical process and do it digitally.
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#6 ian hassett

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 09:45 PM

thanks everyone. the help is greatly appreciated.

'A faster negaive stock would probably give you a more emphatic result as there is more silver in the emulsion - but it would be grainier'

what about vision2 expression? 500T?
any ideas on stocks?

thanks.
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