Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Contrast & B&W

Any thoughts on using yellow or red lens filtration to increase contrast on 7222 shot in tungston lit interiors?

>I'm of the belief that the main reason red filters increase contrast is that they make faces (red tones) go lighter and skies (blue tones) go darker, plus shadows go darker because they have a certain amount of blue in them from the skylight. So indoors in tungsten light, the only result of a red filter would be that faces would still look lighter (depending on exposure) but there wouldn't be much change in overall contrast (unless you had a lot of blue in the set dressing.)

>I know that for "Nickelodeon", Lazlos Kovacs used red filters both inside and out - and I have heard of a number of b&w films that have used yellow filters for everyting including interiors. I'm sure that these DP's shot tests first and these led them to use filters inside, so I might be completely wrong in my belief that the filters aren't as necessary (I could understand it in that certain shades of fleshtones and wardrobe might be more consistent by using some color filtration even indoors if one had used filters outdoors in daylight.) I also tend to think that shooting under tungsten light is the same thing as shooting in daylight with an pale orange filter (like the 85) - so that using a red filter indoors is a little overkill.

>Of course, the other point is that indoors, contrast can be controlled through lighting, so if you want more contrast, just use less fill light...

>David Mullen
Cinematographer / L.A.

>Is it for telecine or print release? For telecine, you can always goose the gamma in transfer. Simple and reversible.

>Otherwise, most people seem to like the look of 7222 pushed a stop... snaps that gamma right up.

>I believe using a filter like a K2 (yellow) is mostly going to help on exteriors, but I could be wrong. The light loss from the filter factor won't help on interiors, but the push will...

>Jeff "the pusher man, at least when it comes to EIs" Kreines

Warning, warning, warning.....

>Someone is using Jeff Kreines name and giving straight answers to questions and (difficult to believe) staying on topic.

>This must come from the massive Microsoft conspiracy that he alluded to in an earlier post.

>When will it end?

>Jerry (kevlar in place, thomas?) Wolfe

>I routinely use an 85 filter for exteriors when shooting B&W. It solves a number of problems. First, Tonal (apparent color) shifts of wardrobe and props is prevented, since interiors shot under tungsten light will match the filtered daylight. There is consistency in exposure index ... If you remember to pull the filter, there is no need to alter your meter for tungsten light indoors. This consistency is helpful if one wishes to maintain a consistent depth of field between interiors and exteriors. Since the 85 filters that combine ND (e.g., 85N6) are very useful and readily available, one can use them to match iris settings between interiors and exteriors as well.

>As for contrast per say:

A red filter is very helpful for "day for night" efx outdoors (darkens sky and lightens faces) but otherwise I avoid them. They can make flesh tones rather pale and ghostlike (of course, if it's an effect you're aiming for ... Do it!)

I agree with David that the red filter is pretty much ineffective indoors, except under HMI lights, I suppose.

>I may be redundant, and be overlapping subjects if I get back to the issue of deep focus, but I thing it bears repeating:

>B&W generally demands more depth of field, because a monochromatic background will turn to "mud" if it is too soft.

>'Nuf said

>Joe Di Gennaro
Self-proclaimed "Monarch of Monochrome"
New York

For an effect maybe, but just to get contrast consider that a deep yellow like #15 or a Red is going to knock your exposure down what ? - from 1 2/3 to maybe 3 stops, and it would seem to me you might be better off using your lighting resources more efficiently to create the contrast you require.

I suspect using lighter filters may be so subtle as to have non-existent effect.

As for Jeff's remarks re pushing, my .02 is that contrast will be a bit lab-dependent with 7222, I personaly would shoot a test with the lab you intend to use - maybe normal, push 1/2, push one (roughly 0.65, 0.70, 0.75) "Normal" at one lab may NOT translate to/from another lab... my observation. The thing is 7222 will get grainy real fast in a push, so you have to find the trade off.

One lab once suggested I pull to 0.60 to reduce grain and "light it very contrasty" (kind of my tendency - sort of) - this did not work AT ALL for me, the image was really wimpy looking.

-Sam Wells

B&W films are balanced for daylight and tungsten. There is no need to use an 85 filter to match light sources. You may actually create tonal inconsistency by blindly slapping on an 85. The 85 will act like a wratten orange filters#16 or #22 and darkening the blues and brightening yellows, oranges and reds.

This is not to say that the use of B&W filters are useful in adjusting for differences in light sources. Schneider makes a light blue filter to correct for scenes lit with excessively warm sources such as household bulbs.

><<If you remember to pull the filter, there is no need to alter your meter for tungsten light indoors. >>

The kodak B&W stocks have in general an extra 1/4 stop sensitivity. An 85 filter is 2/3 of a stop compensation.

D Waterston

>>One lab once suggested I pull to 0.60 to reduce grain and "light it very contrasty" >(kind of my tendency - sort of) - this did not work AT ALL for me, the image was really >wimpy looking.

Ohh, bad lab advice! I know one lab's standard 7222 gamma is 0.68-69, I think DuArt likes 0.65... so, yes, your contrast may vary.

>For me, the speed gain is as important as the added contrast!

Jeff "do it in the soup" Kreines

>This is a genuine point. There's recently been discussion about colour processes varying lab to lab. That shouldn't (needn't?) happen much because labs can participate in Kodak's standards surveys. In any case, variations are usually fixed up with a bit of colour correction.

>But . . .

Beware of the situation with B/W. Different labs may control to different gammas and may use different chemistry, (so that even the same gamma can produce a different curve shape therefore different apparent image contrast). There's no universal standard, and work processed in different labs may be impossible to match, on TK or on print.

Dominic Case
Atlab Australia
email: cased@atlab.com.au

Yeah, but isn't this very subject dependent ?

Using an 85 - outdoors with a blonde woman wearing a yellow blouse pouring orange juice from a glass pitcher, with autumn foliage in the b.g.
- would lower contrast, no ?

-Sam Wells

>My own experience has shown me that there are subtle differences with color rendition in B&W. Case in Point:

>I was DP on a film shot in B&W. A pivotal plot device revolved around a ladies' handbag that was, in actuality, bright blue. In daylight, the handbag appeared quite a bit lighter (due to the 5600K of the light source) than when we shot some interior scenes under tungsten light.(3200K)

>Since the film's story line involved this specific bag, the Director was concerned that the tonal shifts might confuse the audience. I solved the problem by using the 85 filter outdoors, in order to match the color rendering between exteriors and interiors. I could have done the same by either gelling all tungsten lights with Lee 201 (at 1.5 stop loss on all lights) or shooting with HMIs (not in the budget), but I felt my choice was the cheapest and the most expeditious.

>I hope this clarifies my position. I know that an 85 filter is used for color film normally, I was merely using it for an "off label" purpose. I wasn't "blindly slapping on an 85 filter" I was using it in lieu of a wratten orange #16 to match EXACTLY the daylight sources to the tungsten interiors. I was going for consistency, Get it?


>Joe Di Gennaro
Director of Photography