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Turning faded color movies into glorious black and white.

faded movie

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#1 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 04:45 PM

I decided to see what sort of BW could be made from a faded color movie. I downloaded a sample of a faded movie I found online of a 16mm film that was projected on a wall. Seems that a faded color movie can be turned into a decent BW film.

 

https://danieldteoli...lack-and-white/


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#2 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 11:53 PM

I'm all for it! In fact I've been thinking of converting a certain movie into b&w... ;-) But I need a good version of it. I think the free version of DaVinci Resolve should be able to handle that kind of project? I have never used it, BTW.

 

I am surprised that nobody has made a TV show - of any budget - in b&w. Why not? It's a medium begging for a production to use it. Of course some works truly need to be shot in colour. The Wizard of Oz is the obvious example. Blue Velvet is another.

The only criticism I have of your example is that there is not enough contrast. Contrast, contrast, contrast! I don't like looking at grey mush, if you get what I mean. B&w has to be crisp.

 

Edit: Maybe the problem with your example is softness as well as contrast.


Edited by Karim D. Ghantous, 28 August 2017 - 11:55 PM.

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#3 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 11:53 AM

Agreed, BW should be BW.

There is only so much that can be done with a low res, faded color file like this. Maybe the BW sample could be perfected a little more. I didn't spend a lot of time on it.But even as-is, I like it better than the faded color.

Other thing is; if you turn up the contrast you can lose highlights and when you increase the blacks you can lose shadow detail. And whatever you do to one frame is generally applied to the whole movie or at least sections of the movie. (Unless you want to PP tens of thousand of frames separately.)

Normally with still photography you can dodge and burn and develop blacks and highlights selectively. But that is not practical with movies. (At least not by me, maybe the commercial guys can do better.)

If you only have one photo to work on, here is an example of what 2 1/2 hours of postwork could do. The only lighting for the shot was the window.

nsfw

https://danielteolij...jpg?w=996&h=581
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#4 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 02:19 AM

That print would not have been easy to produce. In fact I wouldn't want to try! But you got me thinking: do we grade shots or scenes? IMO, if I'm converting a movie to b&w, I'd do it a scene at a time, then do a second run to reduce any stark differences from scene to scene, if needed. Doing each shot separately would not be smart.

 

I'm happy to lose some shadow detail, but I certainly would not want to clip important highlights, such as on an actor's face.

 

I wonder if a DVD rip would give me a file that I can work on properly. I guess there's only one way to find out. ;-)


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