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Getting a bleach by-pass look from the XL1


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#1 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 07:38 AM

Hi,

I'm currently DPing on a project and we would like to get a washed out look to our film - I'm thinking something along the lines of "The Shawshank Redemption" I know we can manipulate the image in post to a certain degree, but is there anything else I can do with the camera to achieve this look? Any filters that might help?

There is also the slim chance that we may get a Sony FX1? The smaller version of the Sony Z1P. I remember that this camera has some cinematic functions in it. Likewise any suggestions.

Thank you.
Jacqueline

PS. Recently worked with the HVX-200, man was that a steep learning curve and we still haven't seen the footage yet! I'll post our experiences and how we managed our workflow from camera to PC on the site soon as I found there was almost no information on this site about workflow to PC/premier Pro mostly on the Mac workflow, I am saving for a Mac though - so I hope next time it will be an proccess.
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#2 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 11:06 AM

Hi,

I'm currently DPing on a project and we would like to get a washed out look to our film - I'm thinking something along the lines of "The Shawshank Redemption" I know we can manipulate the image in post to a certain degree, but is there anything else I can do with the camera to achieve this look? Any filters that might help?

There is also the slim chance that we may get a Sony FX1? The smaller version of the Sony Z1P. I remember that this camera has some cinematic functions in it. Likewise any suggestions.

Thank you.
Jacqueline

PS. Recently worked with the HVX-200, man was that a steep learning curve and we still haven't seen the footage yet! I'll post our experiences and how we managed our workflow from camera to PC on the site soon as I found there was almost no information on this site about workflow to PC/premier Pro mostly on the Mac workflow, I am saving for a Mac though - so I hope next time it will be an proccess.



I used to own an xl1 and got some really nice looking footage from it. You are on the right path by looking to achieve your desired look on the set rather than in post. You can get much better results this way rather than just "fixing it in post". However you are married to that look if you do the following, so you should if nothing else, test test test.

Firstly, when you say washed out and bleach bypass, I am assuming you mean desaturated colors and higher than normal contrast. With that assumtion in mind I suggest the following.


color correction starts with production design. Have your designer desaturated the palette. Of course this will vary as to what and how much according to your taste and needs. Take out all the bolder colors from set and costumes. Avoid using white in costumes as well, it tends to blow out, which you might want, but similar off whites or softer grays are better for said bleach bypass.

Light your shots with the desired amount of constrast. YOu can crush or expand the shadows in post, but at the risk of loosing detail. You are shooting miniDV or possiblely HDV both of which have a limited range of exposer, the later less so, so nailing the exposer on set is critical to getting your look. This camera likes to be under exposed a third to a half stop and loves to be shooting at a ?5.6 to ?4 range. So light and aim for that ? stop.

Lastly, many many plugins are out there designed to give you a bleach bypass. I have never been too keen on any of them. They don't do anything that you can do yourself. They just make adjustment in saturation and constrast for you. When you do your final color grade you are basically looking to pull out some color, pump the mid tones a bit and deepen the blacks. All of these suggestions are generalizations of the basic process. You will have to test to get the one you want. If by chance you are able to shoot on an XL2 or the hdv camera you mentioned, they offer a great deal more in-camera control of the image than the xl1, so perhaps you might really try to use one of those. Best of luck.


Chris
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#3 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 07:29 AM

Thanks Chris,

the info was spot on what I was looking for - we are going ahead and shooting with the Sony.


Jacqueline
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#4 Dror Dayan

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:38 AM

I agree totally with Chris about the production design. we just shot a short film last week with just that look in mind, and the set looked wonderfull. almost no reds, lots of greens and grey. I found it very important to light a little soft, because you´re going to get a lot of contrast in the post-production. a good trick that I know is to simulate the chemical process - in BB they use a B/W developer, that makes another B/W image on top of the color one. you can make it with any NLE editing system, simply by adding another layer of the same image, desaturating it to full B/W, and then mixing the two layers with different layer modes. then you can play around with the transperence of the B/W layer and with the contrast and brightness of both layers, and you achieve a very interessting look that looks (to my taste) much like BB, with pretty much control.

some food for thought for the forum: of course HDV will be better than miniDV, but there´s also a lot of talk that DV seprates colors better als HDV. for such a look, is it maybe better to shot miniDV? I shot the film last week with the HVX-200, DVCPRO HD, which was very satisfactory as color seperation. I also don´t know. I really like the FX1, and I also find the lens is better then the XL1, so that is also a consideration, if you´re not shooting with an adaptor.

hope that helps!

regards,
dror
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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:01 PM

I agree totally with Chris about the production design. we just shot a short film last week with just that look in mind, and the set looked wonderfull. almost no reds, lots of greens and grey. I found it very important to light a little soft, because you´re going to get a lot of contrast in the post-production. a good trick that I know is to simulate the chemical process - in BB they use a B/W developer, that makes another B/W image on top of the color one. you can make it with any NLE editing system, simply by adding another layer of the same image, desaturating it to full B/W, and then mixing the two layers with different layer modes. then you can play around with the transperence of the B/W layer and with the contrast and brightness of both layers, and you achieve a very interessting look that looks (to my taste) much like BB, with pretty much control.

some food for thought for the forum: of course HDV will be better than miniDV, but there´s also a lot of talk that DV seprates colors better als HDV. for such a look, is it maybe better to shot miniDV? I shot the film last week with the HVX-200, DVCPRO HD, which was very satisfactory as color seperation. I also don´t know. I really like the FX1, and I also find the lens is better then the XL1, so that is also a consideration, if you´re not shooting with an adaptor.

hope that helps!

regards,
dror


The XL1 lens is a lens for standard def, the FX1 is a HDV camera so it has to have a lens that will resolve a higher resolution for the HDV format. In regards to miniDV having better color than HDV, I dunno, but I wouldn't be surprised. I am not a big fan of HD anyway. The panasonic HVX-200 in HD mode shoots 4:2:2 color which is better IMHO than the sony cameras you have mentioned. The bleach bypass method you mentioned refers to a a computer plugin, right? Cause it is not how an actual bleach bypass is done. There are several chemical methods that achieve pretty much the same result, but this subject has been covered a great deal by more informed folks than I.


chris
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:10 PM

HDV is more compressed than MiniDV, so the more you manipulate colors and contrast in post, the more you're going to create visible compression artifacts. Mini DV is 4:1:1; HDV is 4:2:0. HDV uses a 15-frame "Long GOP" compression scheme, 19 or 25Mbps

DVCPRO HD is an intra-frame compression, 4:2:2 color at 100Mbps. Needless to say, you have much more "wiggle room" in post with DVCPRO HD compared to HDV.

The more you create the look in camera, the less compression artifacts you'll have. But then you're also limiting the range you can correct or polish that look in post.

You'll generally get better results taking color out in post than putting it back in. You can get the look in camera, but if you try to "re-saturate" colors in post it's not going to look good!

You'll generally get cleaner results adding contrast in camera, rather than after compression. Extreme contrast manipulation after compression will reveal banding and noise in the gradients. But again, crushed shadows and blown highlights in camera are gone forever.

As always, test different combinations and methods to find the one that works best for you. Often times it's a balance between in-camera and post techniques.

BTW, "bleach-bypass" on film means that the film doesn't go through the bleach bath, leaving silver particles in the film. This makes the whole image darker, more contrasty (black shadows on a print; blown highlights on a neg), and less color saturated. "ENR" uses a second black and white developer to put silver back in, for similar result. Neither one of these creates a "black and white image" on the film. However, in video, layering a black and white image over a color one is an effective way to control color saturation.
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