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Simulating Bleach-Bypass with HD


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#1 Dror Dayan

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 06:36 PM

Hello Everybody!

Very excited, my first posting...

I´m an aspiring DP and shooting my first short film in Februar. We have a little money from the film fund here in Berlin, but it´s still a very low- or even no-budget production. first of all, a little information, before I start with the questions:

1. the film plays entirely in a hospital, 11 night scenes, 5 day scenes. we´re shooting in winter in Berlin, which means that we would use lamps to simulate the day light. (the story plays in the middle east... another small challenge.)
2. we´re shooting with the panasonic HVX200 and the P&S 35 Adaptor.
3. I want to simulate a bleach-bypass in the post production, so basically I want to create a black and white image on top of the color image, and mix them with layers-modes. (I still don´t have a colorist, maybe he´ll have better technics) I´m aiming for a gentle BB look, not really all the way like "Saving private Ryan", maybe something like "se7en", maybe a little gentler.
4. we´re aiming for a 35mm Blow-up at the end.

and now, for the questions:
1. with BB-process in film, you usually should under-expose by about 1 stop, to create a softer negative. I did a little tests with photoshop, and I´m having a problem with the shadows, more than with the highlights. does it mean that with HD I should over-expose? (it´s actually like a positive, so it makes sense)
2. also, the lighting, even with film, should be very soft. now, that scares me a little, because HD is anyway not very tolerant for many f-stops. If I´m going for BB, does it mean that I should light my sets really really soft and without contrast? I like to light a little harder, even with video... should I really avoid it? what I´m asking is, am I going for very soft and balanced shots, or am I allowed to "let it burn"?
3. If I know now that I´m going to make a bleach bypass, and I want to go for a look that´s a little dirty with high contrast and little saturation, can I save a little money and shoot with HDV? (We can have a sony Z1 for free, or a HVX200 from rental) the production design could use the extra money, but since we want a blow-up I thought I should stick with the pure HD, progressive scan.

I thank you a lot in advance for the response, if anyone has any experience with HD and BB I would be happy to hear stories, ideas and conclusions. It´s not only my first film, I also wrote the script and it´s very important to me that it works... like for all of us.


Dror Dayan
Berlin, Germany
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#2 Drew Ott

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 12:00 AM

I think the HVX200 will be a better choice for you. Better frame rates (true 24p), and the 4:2:2 color sampling will hold up in post much better than the 4:2:0 of HDV.

Unfortunately I'm not knowledgable about how you should light a scene for bleach bypass. It really just depends on what you want with your bleach bypass. I know in Minority Report a lot of it was way overexposed, and that was the look that Spielberg wanted. It really just depends.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 12:26 AM

Since a BB look is basically throwing away information (increasing contrast and losing highlight and shadow detail, plus losing some chroma), it may be better to save the look for post color-correcting and shoot more normally, or only do a halfway look in-camera. Because once you've thrown away information before you've recorded it, you can't recover it.
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#4 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 01:04 AM

I'd say the same thing as David. People under-expose when doing a real bleach bypass because the photochemical process pushes the image a bit. But if you're shooting on video and colorizing in post, that "push" isn't happening. Do some testing if you can, but in general you're probably best off shooting and lighting pretty much like you normally would.

Definitely go with the HVX; the extra color information is going to make a big difference when you're playing with the colors.

I'm wondering, though, if you'll really be able to afford a filmout. It's really expensive to do, and if your budget is such that you're deciding between an HVX and a Z1, you would probably have difficulty fitting it in.

Consider also that those 35 adaptors tend to soften the image a lot, you lose most high-frequency detail because of all of the extra glass. I don't know how well it's all going to hold up when printed to 35mm.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 01:13 AM

It should be pretty simple in any post program. Essentially, just desaturate a bit and alter the shadows appropriately. Very basic things to do in post.
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