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Color Filters for Digital Cinematography


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#1 JosephCampanella

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 06:20 AM

I'm getting ready to shoot a short movie on a Panasonic AF100 with a set of Zeiss Compact Primes.

The short will be in black and white.

I've shot digital shorts before that were intended to be finished in monochrome and this is typically done by just desaturating the image after the fact.

I shoot black and white film and as most of you know, the use of color filters is important. Is it recommemended to use color filters when shooting on video (Like a Yellow 12 for outdoor shots)?

I'd have to find ones that would fit into an OConner matte box if the answer is yes.

Is this common practice?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 11:32 AM

I'm getting ready to shoot a short movie on a Panasonic AF100 with a set of Zeiss Compact Primes.

The short will be in black and white.

I've shot digital shorts before that were intended to be finished in monochrome and this is typically done by just desaturating the image after the fact.

I shoot black and white film and as most of you know, the use of color filters is important. Is it recommemended to use color filters when shooting on video (Like a Yellow 12 for outdoor shots)?

I'd have to find ones that would fit into an OConner matte box if the answer is yes.

Is this common practice?


No, if you want to be able to control color contrast like color filters do in b&w, then you need to shoot normally and record as much color differences as you can, then color-correct the individual channels before you turn the image monochrome. So you want more color information recorded, not less. If you want to be able to turn a blue sky black, you need a good saturated blue sky, not a blue sky turned grey-green because you stuck a yellow filter on the camera. But all this requires a color-correction system that can adjust individual channels separately for gamma and gain.
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#3 JosephCampanella

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:16 PM

I suppose that makes sense! Just wanted to find out from an expert, and I think I got my answer!

So you recommend doing an actual color correction before turning it monochrome? Are there any suggestions for best practice after the conversion, or should ALL correction (contrast, exposure) be done prior to making it black and white?

Thanks!
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:24 PM

I suppose that makes sense! Just wanted to find out from an expert, and I think I got my answer!

So you recommend doing an actual color correction before turning it monochrome? Are there any suggestions for best practice after the conversion, or should ALL correction (contrast, exposure) be done prior to making it black and white?

Thanks!


Do as much as you can in color before you turn it monochrome, but after seeing it in monochrome, there may be some more adjustments, either overall, or by going back to the color version. I mean, you have to "color correct" a b&w movie anyway, right?

Now for offline dailies, you can just do a simple conversion to b&w, save all the contrast adjustments in the individual color channels to the final color-correction using the original footage.
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#5 JosephCampanella

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 04:51 AM

So helpful! Thank you Mr. Mullen!
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