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GH1 (Hack or not) Chroma space when shooting black & white
  • Question:

    Upcoming film using 2x GH1s, hacked using "LPowell's Peak Reliability Patch," shooting for Black & White destination (probably).

    I was intending to shoot colour for monochrome conversion, as there are advantages regarding filtering colour contrast levels in post.

    However, my question is this: Being 8-bit acquisition, is there any advantage in terms of chroma levels in shooting chromatic in the first place? In other words, if 8 bit acquisition creates 256 levels, if not shooting colour, does this merely reduce bitrate, or is there a way it can also increase chroma space for a better image?
  • 7 Replies sorted by
  • I would always shoot color, since you can in post choose the weight/curve of each color channel.
  • Yes, apparently there is no advantage in terms of luminance levels to shooting B&W, so I will shoot colour, for the post filtering level control (thanks for clarifying LPowell). Thanks @Meierhans.
  • If I was shooting in black and white, I wouldn't worry about color in the traditional sense. For instance, in Psycho when the blood is dripping down the drain after the shower murder, the "blood" is chocolate syrup because that looked better in BW than red blood. So you need to pick costumes and set design based on that, so even if your characters are wearing bright colors, in BW it will just look like shades of grey.

    The thing you really have to worry about is lighting. If you don't separate the actors from the background and light it properly, it will just look gray and drab. See "Pi" for good modern low budget black and white and for higher budget see the Coen Brothers "The man who wasn't there". Not sure about Pi, but "Man" is on Netflix watch it now. Light for BW not for color.
  • That makes sense. I read somewhere that when our TV system went from monochrome to colour, the studio lighting became less colourful because (presumably) for b&w cameras, coloured gels were being used as part of creating the right grey levels.

    Incidentally, those old 1950/60s cameras had VERY shallow depth of field, hence a lot of the studio scenes (as opposed to location, which was done on film) in those early British TV series (Z-cars / Dixon of Dock Green etc) would have people standing in straight lines, equidistant from the camera. Scenes with more than a few actors were a problem unless you threw a lot of light at them. Have a look at some of those old shows and you'll see!
  • @ Mark_the_Harp

    Hm. Sounds like my plan to shoot without a focus puller, i.e.- chalk line a radius from the camera to walk and talk. With B&W photography I used to use coloured filters on the camera itself, red and yellow for darkening the sky and dramatizing the cliffs or clouds, etc. Don't know about digital. Someone here probably does
  • You can get very similar effects by shooting in color and playing with the channels in post.
  • Looking though my old replies and despite the age of the thread I wanted to add something I just found out. Much like the GH2 shoots great B&W at the hacked high ISOs, the GH1 does as well.

    In color, ISO 3200 is virtually unusable, FPN all over the place. You can make it look a bit better by shooting at low low WB 2500K, then grade it up to a warmer color, but it's still very noisy. In B&W if you shoot iso 3200, the FPN is virtually gone and you get a much cleaner image. Over expose it a bit if you can then darken it in post and do some mild noise reduction and you'll get a lot more usable footage than you'd think.

    Running LPowells Max Latitude and using the Smooth B&W film setting gave me the cleanest image.