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yellow filter and/or push process 1 stop


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#1 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:01 AM

I'm trying to duplicate the look of the film "Pi", photographed by Mathew Libatique (directed by Darren Aronosfky) just for learning purposes.

Some pics below:

Pic1
Pic2
Pic3

This is what I got:

Camera: Krasnogorsk-3
Lenses: Super-Takumar's prime set, 8mm Peleng
Film stock: Kodak Tri-X 7266
Filter: Yellow filter #12
Light: two twin-head 1000W halogen work lights

Basically I have two questions:

1.) I know I'm gonna have to compensate the exposure by 1 stop because of the yellow filter but ... should I ALSO have my lab push process one stop to increase the contrast or just using the yellow filter would do it ?

So ... (yellow filter OR push process) or (yellow filter AND push process).

2.) Should I drop the work lights and rent a lighting kit or they would be enough ?

Appreciate any help.

Rodrigo Otaviano
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Cinema Internet Networks, Inc
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:28 AM

I didn't really see much reason to use a Yellow Filter for interior scenes -- it does not really increase contrast per se, it filters blue wavelengths, darkening blues but lightening yellows. This increases contrast mildy outdoors because the shadows tend to be bluer, so they go darker, plus makes caucasian faces slightly lighter.

But indoors, you can make a face look lighter just by exposing it lighter, and the shadows darker just by using less fill.

Push-processing b&w would have a bigger effect on contrast indoors than using a yellow filter.
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#3 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:57 AM

I didn't really see much reason to use a Yellow Filter for interior scenes -- it does not really increase contrast per se, it filters blue wavelengths, darkening blues but lightening yellows. This increases contrast mildy outdoors because the shadows tend to be bluer, so they go darker, plus makes caucasian faces slightly lighter.

But indoors, you can make a face look lighter just by exposing it lighter, and the shadows darker just by using less fill.

Push-processing b&w would have a bigger effect on contrast indoors than using a yellow filter.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hum, ok.

Thanks for your explanation Mr. Mullen.

I think I'd read somewhere Mathew Libatique (actually one of your posts if I'm not mistaken) had used yellow filters when he photographed this film so I incorrectly associated the grainy and contrasty look of the interior scenes with the use of this filter.

Indeed, when I shot on Plus-X last week, I used a yellow filter and noticed the image was a little bit more contrasty in comparison with the same shot I did without the filter (outdoors). I thought it would work for indoors as well.

Cheers,

Rodrigo Otaviano
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Cinema Internet Networks, Inc
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 12:04 PM

Yes, they used a Yellow Filter indoors for "Pi". I believe "The Elephant Man" was also shot this way.

You just have to understand how color filters work in b&w -- they filter out the opposite wavelengths. So a yellow filter would underexpose blues and overexpose yellows (depending on your base exposure.) That may or may not affect contrast depending on the color content of the scene. Since faces have more red in them, the warmer filters tend to lighten skintones in b&w. But skintone luminence and contrast in general is also a product of lighting and exposure.

One argument for using the same filter indoors and outdoors is that the tonal values of repeated objects (like the character's clothing) won't change if they are affected by the color filter. On the other hand, simply shooting under tungsten light instead of daylight also affects tonal values so I don't know if the filter is necessary indoors.
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#5 MiguelDelValle

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 01:29 AM

Hi

I though Pi was shot with reversal film and pushed.

Edited by MiguelDelValle, 11 July 2005 - 01:31 AM.

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 01:38 AM

Hi

I though Pi was shot with reversal film and pushed.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, and they used a Yellow Filter.
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#7 Sam Wells

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 09:58 AM

Color filters in B&W effect relative tonal values, they don't increase contrast per se (they could decrease it also).

For the most part I don't see the point of using them in scenes where you're creating the tonal values by artificial lighting !

At the time "Pi" was shot I had also been shooting a feature on B&W reversal, mostly Tri-X (but some Plus-X). I shot it before I even heard of "Pi"

But, I'd used Bono labs for a rew things where I wanted the look of a kind of fiery grain
and high contrast (the rest of my film I did at Alpa Cine and switched to Forde when Alpha dropped B&W rev processing.

When I saw "Pi" i could have pegged it as processed by Bono in about 1 minute if I hadn't known already (I think I did, I'm not sure).

Really I think the Bono look at that time was not much different than a one stop push.
(In fact I had my Bono dailies printed down a bit).

I don't know what their processing looks like now.

Anyway, you push Tri-X one stop and you're on your way. (Keep in mind you won't necessarliy get a sensivity increase in dark areas - highlights will blow out faster - so much as increased gamma).

-Sam
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#8 Ian Marks

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 02:59 PM

Using that yellow filter will help your characters achieve that "Pi"-style deathly computer-geek pallor, too.
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#9 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 03:11 PM

I'm gonna conduct some tests in two weeks and then I post the results. I won't use filters but play with the lighting. Use less fill or even no fill at all and then compare the results.

Yesterday I saw "Pi" about a billion times and made some notes on how they lit the scenes, etc (at least the way I think they lit the scenes)

Last time I shot on Tri-X though I didn't light the scene properly and also under-exposed the film by 1 stop so the results were far away from what I expected.

Well, I have a question that is probably so silly that I'm kind of afraid of asking but confess I got a little confused with the terminology so here it goes: what's the difference between underexposing your film by one stop during the shooting and pushing 1 stop during processing ? People push process only when they realized they over-exposed the film by mistake ?

Edited by ropbo, 11 July 2005 - 03:13 PM.

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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 03:43 PM

Exposure and processing are separate steps although one may done in conjunction with the other.

Pushing is extended development to increase the amount of density (silver in b&w; silver and color dye in color) formed -- as processing time or temperature is increased, more and more density is formed.

Exposure also affects density; the more you expose a camera negative, the more density will be formed in processing (with reversal film, at some point later in processing, the image is reversed into a positive where densities are reversed, mirrored, like on a print, with the darkest areas instead of the lightest being the densist.)

So if you underexpose by one stop (thus possibly getting less-than-normal density if developed normally) but push-processed by one stop (thus increasing density) the net result will be a film of normal density (more or less) -- but increased contrast and graininess.

You could underexpose by one stop and develop normally, and end up one-stop's worth of less density -- or you could expose normally but push-process by one stop and end up with one stop's worth of excess density. And so on and so on -- many variations.

Again, I'm talking about negative film. A reversal film would then go through additional steps to reverse the image and densities.

The thing with black & white is that you have to think in terms of tonal values. You may want a face, for example, to be a couple of stops lighter than medium gray so you have to expose accordingly. For example, when Janusz Kaminski shot "Schindler's List" he found that he had to let the faces be about a stop overexposed to pop out the way he wanted. This is not the same thing as overexposing the film by one stop -- it's about lighting a scene in a way that objects become certain shades of gray that you want.
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#11 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 04:13 PM

Thanks one more time for your patience in answering my questions, Mr. Mullen.

Things have become a lot clearer in my head.
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