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Night lighting black and white Twilight Zone


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#1 David Edward Keen

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 07:37 PM

Hey, did they use blue to light outside the window here, even though it would be b&w? Wouldn't different hues make different greys? Did they use color gels?

Happy new year all!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 07:52 PM

Different hues and colors in objects can create different shades of grey depending on their reflectance / brightness as a tone, but you don't necessarily need to use colored lighting on the objects to get that, the objects themselves will have their own tonal range.  And you can use exposure as well to change the tone, if some fence at night is too light a shade of grey, you'd underexpose it so that it was a darker shade of grey.

 

You'd only bother to use colored lighting if you were shooting an object where in b&w, there was no tonal separation between it and the background, let's say, and you couldn't change it -- again, it's like the example of Superman wearing a blue suit with a red cape and shorts, in b&w the red and blue might be the same shade of grey.  You could solve this by either creating a suit just for b&w photography that had two different tones (like light grey and darker grey, or tan as they actually did) or you could use red or blue lighting to change how bright the red or blue looked relative to each other.  But the simpler thing would be to just make a suit that already had tonal separation.

 

An old b&w movie might light a big night exterior with daylight-balanced carbon arcs, but key faces with tungsten, not because of the color, but because carbon arcs were very bright and powerful.

 

Otherwise old b&w movies didn't bother with colored gels except for certain trick shots or to fix a tonal balance that couldn't be fixed with art direction, costume, or changing the intensity of the lights.  An example of a trick was for "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931), the Mamoulian version shot by Karl Struss -- they painted the scary Dr. Hyde make-up in one color and the normal Dr. Jeckyll make-up in the opposite color (I don't know which was red and which was blue) and then cross-faded between red and blue lighting to get the make-up to magically change on-camera.  Go to 1:10 here in this clip:

 

There's no picture with your post by the way.


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 07:56 PM

Now that I've seen your picture in the duplicate post, no, they wouldn't have bothered to put blue gels on the light coming through the window.  If they wanted a different tonal value in the light hitting the window, they would have made it brighter or darker.


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