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To shoot color or b&w?


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#1 James Begert

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:16 PM

I plan on shooting 16mm for the first time. It will for a black and white short film. My question is, if I shoot with color film and then post correct with software to black and white what are the pro/cons of doing so?

The major reason I would like to do this would be for flexibility because I may wish to have a very few of the scenes in color and to leave more options.

Just wondering if this is commonplace or if people think that the software might degrade the film quality.

Thanks.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:28 PM

I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, really good b/W photography looks, well, really good on b/w film. However, there are limitations in the speeds of current stocks on the market. Also there is the grain. Sometimes it's fantastic, other times, I can be a hinderence.
One of the main pros of shooting color (especially for you if you're planning on having some stuff in color anyway) is that you can manipulate the individual color channels at the time of your color correction, which obviously you cannot do in b/w. You also have the benefit of the newest emulsions, like the V3 from kodak with all their benefits, or the Vivids from Fuji, in terms of image rendition as well as available speeds of stock.
However, it may be more expensive to do it this way, depending on how much you're spending for color correction, development, and stock itself.

On a more personal note. I feel that originating in b/w has a specific "feeling," to it. Now, whether or not you want that feeling is up to you. If you do, if it's necessary, well then go for b/w, if it's not, color will give you a lot of flexibility and the newest stocks on the market (for a higher price).

my 2 cent.
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#3 Chris Burke

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:41 PM

I completely agree with everything Adrian has said and only add that this being your first foray into film, why not make it true black and white. It does seem to be a rite of passage. My advice is to get 100 foot daylight spools of 7222 and shoot a test roll. Also get some of the Orwo stocks. Kodak has great student prices especially for b&w. Loads of people say that they cannot afford a test shoot, but both Kodak and many labs will donate time and materials for a test, especially for a student newbee.

Edited by Chris Burke, 03 May 2012 - 04:45 PM.

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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:10 PM

I completely agree with everything Adrian has said and only add that this being your first foray into film, why not make it true black and white. It does seem to be a rite of passage. My advice is to get 100 foot daylight spools of 7222 and shoot a test roll. Also get some of the Orwo stocks. Kodak has great student prices especially for b&w. Loads of people say that they cannot afford a test shoot, but both Kodak and many labs will donate time and materials for a test, especially for a student newbee.


Exactly. Learn what true black & white film looks like. You will never want to shoot color and correct in post for B&W once you see it...
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#5 Simon Wyss

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 12:49 AM

It will for a black and white short film.

You need to learn to write and draw. Black and white is drawing, colours are painting.
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#6 steve waschka

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 04:14 PM

proper filming is discipline. black and white images requires a little more attention to composition to overcome lack of color separation. but if your shooting for say a bleach bypass look. you would also have to preplan for imagery that isnt visible to the naked eye. otherwise its all art. if you were going to paint this picture. would it be black and white? then thats your medium.
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#7 Gautam Valluri

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 04:12 AM

You need to learn to write and draw. Black and white is drawing, colours are painting.


This is a very fine piece of advice. Bravo Mr. Wyss!
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#8 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 10:07 PM

Shoot b/w and developed it yourself.. "get inside the film" as Tom Green would say. I used a "rewind-tank" with standard Kodak D-76 and decades-old Plus-X with fantastic results. It was super cheap (like.015 cents a foot) and just hung it up in my dorm hallway with thumb tacks to dry!

The key is getting a tank cheap, here's one..
http://www.ebay.com/...=item564c339ca9
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#9 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:46 AM

I wanted to also point out that once you get a few roles of Black and White under your belt (should you choose to go in that direction), there are really nice and unique looks that you can achieve with a Red, Orange, or Yellow filter and Black and White stock.
I always found the grain in double-x to be a little much for my taste, but you may like it. Orwo may have a version of Plus-x (my fav B&W).
Tom
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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 02:54 PM

I remember seeing Casino Royal in the theatre and thought, "That looks like Double-X" and it turned out it was. Of course it is printed to a color stock for distribution but I was really happy to see REAL B&W stock actually being used in modern cinema.

Of course the grain is a little intense in 16mm, but you should definitely do a test with Double-X and Vision 3 200T desaturated and see what you like better.
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#11 Kip Kubin

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 04:10 PM

http://www.orwona.com/

Try some ORWO if you need a higher ASA

400ASA B/W stock available..... this example was just a run and gun thing outside


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#12 Will Montgomery

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:04 AM

Try some ORWO if you need a higher ASA

Great look, reminds me of Double-X in 16mm.
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#13 dino vian

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:38 PM

most schools up and until the late 90s and beyond (Like NYU) always had you start on Black and White Reversal like Plus X. Its almost gone now, some stock remains if you can find it. Not only is it the best film to learn on but its also in my opinion far superior to the neg stuff. I always wished I could shoot it in 35mm. If you can expose reversal you will be laughing once you shoot neg. Check with Spectra Film and Video or Pro 8mm.
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