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Frances Ha - camera specs and workflow?


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:59 PM

Has anyone seen Frances Ha yet?  It's getting some attention because it's black-and-white, but to my eye having watched the trailer, it looks like it was shot digitally and converted to black and white in post.  I mean, kudos for opting for monochrome, but is sorta looks blah to me.  Flat, weak contrast ratios...a mass of middle gray and lacking real dynamic range, as compared to say something lensed by Wong Howe or Toland.


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#2 Giray Izcan

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:38 PM

5d mark2
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#3 Alan Duckworth

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:51 AM

While it may not be fair to judge the technical merits of a movie simply by watching an internet trailer, I do agree that the keyword here is "blah". The flat look may well be deliberate creative intent, but surely the beauty of black and white is in the dynamic range. To me, this movie brings to mind 1966's "Georgy Girl", check out the stills on IMDb - http://www.imdb.com/...0453/?ref_=sr_1 -  and you will see much more "snap".


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#4 Giray Izcan

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:51 PM

I agree that shadow and highlight contrast looks pleasing with b&w. Cameras like 5d however lack sufficient dynamic range...
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 05:34 PM

I'm not sure if the lack of dynamic range makes it impossible to get a good b&w image -- look at something shot in b&w reversal like "Pi" for example, not much dynamic range available with those stocks and yet they have a wonderful look. The trick is to light for a higher contrast b&w look.

 

But modern b&w movies generally still aim for naturalism in lighting, and many are shot in color and try to make the lighting work both ways, for a color version and a b&w version.


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#6 Giray Izcan

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:50 PM

True... Sorry, I think I just made a nonsense comment...
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:53 PM

Not necessarily, I do think that the way bright highlights roll off in the Canon 5D in Rec.709 is a telltale sign of the electronic origination... even b&w reversal behaves a bit more gracefully in the highlights. But I do think that b&w is more attractive when it has deep blacks and whites, though there have been periods in cinema history where b&w movies were more middle-toned, less contrasty.  Some of the b&w movies in the French New Wave have soft-lit scenes without much contrast, and some of the later Bergman/Nykvist b&w movies are lower in contrast compared to the ones shot by Gunnar Fischer (personally I like the b&w ones shot by Fischer more -- they are more theatrical and Expressionistic.)


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#8 Alan Duckworth

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 07:59 PM

The print edition of this month's American Cinematographer has an article. Reader's Digest version: Canon 5D Mark II with L series lenses [35, 50 and 85 primes, 70-200 zoom], shot in colour in the camera and converted to B&W in post. On set they used 5.6 inch TV Logic LCD monitors with the chroma turned down to help judge the B&W look.


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