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Kodak 5222 + Color Filters for Black Skin

Silvery black skin + high con

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#1 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 12:02 AM

Shooting a moody black and white music video on 5222 very soon and have very little experience with the stock. Plan on using color filters to increase contrast (like ed lachman's use of the 81EF as a subtle yellow to consistently increase contrast) but am not sure how far to go. As always I don't have the budget to test (argh!!!!!!) so needless to say I'm a bit worried being that all three main characters skin color is black. Contrast is good but I do still need to see detail ;)

 

Anybody have any suggestions on where to start? What are the "classic" color filters and which do you feel would be best for both indoor and outdoor moody situations with black actors.

 

I have read lots about the 5222 and have come to understand it as a grainy low contrast stock. I'd like to combat the low con with these filters to achieve something more dramatic, and if possible, alter my exposures to achieve a more shimmering "silvery" image. If anybody has much experience with this stock, please let me know how you like to rate it and how I may achieve this vibe.

 

THANKYOU!!! 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:38 AM

It's not low contrast if you are used to color negative, but it looks better in higher contrast light which compensates for its softer grainier look. If this is for video transfer I wouldn't bother with color filters indoors where lighting ratios will be the best and simplest way of controlling contrast. Color filters don't really change contrast they just cut color wavelengths so a red filter outdoors cancels blue, which becomes underexposed (darker) and thus shadows get darker because they have more blue light in them. And because faces have more red in them, they get lighter. So the contrast goes up outside in sunlight using red filters. But indoors you can control the tones of faces and clothing better with lighting and costume design.
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#3 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:18 PM

It's not low contrast if you are used to color negative, but it looks better in higher contrast light which compensates for its softer grainier look. If this is for video transfer I wouldn't bother with color filters indoors where lighting ratios will be the best and simplest way of controlling contrast. Color filters don't really change contrast they just cut color wavelengths so a red filter outdoors cancels blue, which becomes underexposed (darker) and thus shadows get darker because they have more blue light in them. And because faces have more red in them, they get lighter. So the contrast goes up outside in sunlight using red filters. But indoors you can control the tones of faces and clothing better with lighting and costume design.

Thanks for your wisdom as always david. Definitely agree about the lighting/costume design approach for indoors. I also doubt I'll have the stop for color filters indoors....

 

BUT....The whole project is supposed to feel "surreal", which is why I'd like to push things a little farther with color filters than I might normally be comfortable with color neg. In this case, I'll do so outdoors.  In your opinion (and anyone elses that wants to chime in) do you think there is any particular place I should start? I'd imagine a yellow/orange would be more modest and red if I want to be really dramatic? What filter number should I be looking for? To be honest I'm kinda worried a rental house might not even have these things anymore...haha

 

Lastly... you mention that since faces have red in them they get lighter as skies get dark (when using a red filter). Do you think in this respect I'd be kicking myself in the foot using a filter since I'm shooting dark skinned actors and I want them to look.. welll.. "dark"? Maybe dark skin would look better against a "white" sky. Hmm..... (gah I wish I could test..)

 

Basically, I want really deep blacks and silvery higlights. My plan is to overexpose half a stop consistently, shoot with an 81 EF at all times, and when outdoors use an orange filter for deep dramatic skies. If anybody has any comments I would love to hear. eg. should I bleach bypass to get more silver in the neg? expose the neg differently? always shoot in backlight to get that silvery feel?

 

Thanks guys.. 


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:14 PM

You can't bleach bypass b&w film in the sense that the process is designed for color film, the bleach step is normally used to reconvert developed silver back into silver halide so that it is removed in the fix & wash steps, so skipping it leaves in the black silver with the color dyes -- there is only silver in developed b&w film, and if you want more silver, then you want more density (i.e. more exposure and/or more development time.)  The deepness of the blacks is really more of a video thing since this is for video transfer, i.e. you set the black level where you want to electronically.  What you really need to control is contrast.

 

I think you'd be better off with darker skies through orange or red filters, even with darker skin tones. It's just more interesting than washed out skies.  Just remember that the effect isn't very strong in overcast weather, you need blue skies to get the strongest effect from the filters.  You could try red filters for the wide shots and orange filters for the close-ups.

 

These are some examples of b&w Super-8 reversal shot with a red filter, from an early short film of mine:

 

gift7.JPEG

 

gift9.JPEG

 

gift10.JPEG

 

It's helpful to use reflectors and bounce cards at kick angles on skin to help them stand out once all that contrast is created from the red filter, any crushing of blacks in post, etc.


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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:32 PM

How would a linear polarizer effect the image? Would it give him the darker skies and increased contrast outdoors?


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:06 PM

A Pola does the same things in b&w as it does in color, it's just that a red filter is less dependent on the angle of the polarized light to make a blue sky look darker in b&w, all it cares about is color.  However, a Pola has less effect on making shadows darker than a red filter does when canceling blue wavelengths in the shadows.  And the Pola won't make skintones go lighter compared to a red filter (especially it won't make red lips look pale as a red filter sometimes does.)


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#7 Chris Burke

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:10 PM

The two stop light loss is good for outdoors as well.


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#8 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:27 AM

Most of my customers end up with a 100-125 ISO sensitivity for the 5222 after testing. This was also confirmed with cross-testing with Kodak Chalons where we exchanged sensitograms and processing. There are many things you have to know before you embark on a serious B&W project. Test before shooting and speak to knowledgeable people, it will save you a lot of grief.


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#9 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:09 PM

Most of my customers end up with a 100-125 ISO sensitivity for the 5222 after testing. This was also confirmed with cross-testing with Kodak Chalons where we exchanged sensitograms and processing. There are many things you have to know before you embark on a serious B&W project. Test before shooting and speak to knowledgeable people, it will save you a lot of grief.

Awesome Dirk thanks for that! I've read before the 5222 is slower than rated so thats good to know.

 

Does anybody know how the 5222 reacts to under/over exposure? I know color neg film likes a bit of over exposure, but I've heard with b+w its the opposite. And lastly, in comparison to color neg, what is roughly the dynamic range of this stock?

 

Thanks all


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