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filters for b/w


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#1 Alex Aust

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 02:53 PM

hey folks. my first post here! :)

i'm planning to shoot a b/w music video on the RED ONE, and i was wondering which filter to use to enhance the look of caucasian skin. to make it a bit more soft and even. a friend of mine has shot a short on b/w film once, and he told me that after testing, he liked a simple yellow filter best and he used it for the whole project. so what do you guys think about that? any comments or experiences in that direction?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 02:57 PM

Color-contrast b&w filters (red through blue) are really meant to work on panchromatic b&w film, not color film or digital cameras, in terms of how they affect shades and contrast.

If you really want to lighten skintones more (which the warmer colored filters do in b&w because skin has red in it) then on a color camera, that's more of a make-up and lighting issue.

You may want to look into diffusion filters.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 04:42 PM

In the digital world, you can convert to B&W in such a way that the RGB channels can be opacity mixed to create the final B&W image. It will get you to the same place but in a more nuanced way than on-camera filtration.

For example, to get the skintone smoothing you're talking about, you would use more of the red channel to make up the image and less of the blue and green channels. This would lighten the skin blemishes, helping them to blend in with the base skintone. It also has the effect of darkening the sky and foliage.
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#4 Alex Aust

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 04:12 PM

thanks for your input so far. i've been thinking about the whole issue and played with tons of photos in photoshop and i must say i think i will use some cooling filter. 82 or plum or something like that. cause i actually want the skin to appear pretty dark and the eyes and teeth to become white and shiny. i will let make up deal with skin issues, in case there are any. and yes, i will use some diffusion. can you recommend any? i just want skin and whatever other textures to get a bit softer, to counter the RED's incredible sharpness. but i still need fleshy contrast e.g. skin/hair etc. guess you always have to compromise contrast for smoothness, right?
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