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B&W Negative vs. Color


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#1 Stephanie Zimmer

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 06:27 PM

With the capabilities of a colorist in a supervised transfer, is it possible to get the same look as a black and white negative stock?

I'm shooting a 16mm short which I had intended to shoot in B & W with Kodak 7231. It is mostly night interiors in a small apartment with white walls. I was planning on shooting during the day to use the window in frame and the natural light as fill, with a 1 or 2 K as the key. I'm afraid that the white walls will bounce like crazy and it will be difficult to control the light. I don't want to push the film because I do not want the added grain.

Is it plausible to shoot 64T in a small apartment or should I opt for a color neg stock, like 7218 for the ASA and fix it later? (I want to avoid 7222 because it is perhaps too grainy and it doesn't seem as if the other brands are readily available). Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am shooting in four days.

Thanks.
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:50 PM

In the Super 8 world, Pro8mm in LA has always advocated shooting in color negative and then just having the colorist make it b&w; probably because that sold more of their stock.

I've been hearing good things about the latest Tri-X and Plus-X in 16mm; I haven't tried the b&w negatives but I'm sure they will give more latitude. My gut tells me there's a difference, but you might have to really know what to look for.

Other considerations would be cost. If you're talking 100ft rolls, the Vision2 stocks are around $36 a roll while B&W neg or pos is around $18-21. Processing varies from place to place but will probably run close to the same for either.

BUT, many Telecine places that also offer processing might only process color negative and they sometimes can give major discounts on processing if you transfer there (Video Post & Transfer in Dallas charges only $.04/ft if you use their Telecine... $.17/ft if you don't).

So its always good to think of the entire chain when choosing stocks and plan ahead to save money.
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#3 Stephanie Zimmer

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:41 PM

Other considerations would be cost. If you're talking 100ft rolls, the Vision2 stocks are around $36 a roll while B&W neg or pos is around $18-21. Processing varies from place to place but will probably run close to the same for either.

BUT, many Telecine places that also offer processing might only process color negative and they sometimes can give major discounts on processing if you transfer there (Video Post & Transfer in Dallas charges only $.04/ft if you use their Telecine... $.17/ft if you don't).

So its always good to think of the entire chain when choosing stocks and plan ahead to save money.

You're right, it is cheaper to buy B&W stock and certainly better to think of the whole process in the long run. However, speaking specifically from a photographic perspective, I am wondering if it is possible to light and get a good image based on the speed of the film and the location. 64T in a small apartment with white walls shooting day for night. Does anyone have any lighting advice? And if it does not seem possible, what stock would be a better alternative? Thanks again for your help.
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#4 Sam Wells

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 10:46 AM

If you want controlled lighting you've got to control the lighting - this for any film stock you choose.

True you have a little more room to play in a color neg but if it's bouncing all over the place I think you're fundamentally off on the wrong foot as you're trying to create "night"

There's a tonal diference between the color response of B&W stock and color with the chroma removed in telecine. If you want B&W, nothing wrong with shooting B&W IMO.

The 64 speed of Plus X doesn't sound like the showstopper.

Think "where would the light be coming from & what would the source be if this was night time"

-Sam
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