Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Shooting Color DFN For B&W For TV Finish

Published : 11th August 2003


Hello All,

I wish I could just shoot B&W negative and take advantage of the red/ green filter effects for these large Day for Night EXT shots. Alas, the project demands a lower contrast, tighter grain look, and I am looking to 5277 or 5218 with the color drained in TK.

Does anyone have experience with using the same monochrome filter techniques with color stock? Am I off the mark thinking that I could add my 23A to the color neg, either in camera or on the telecine, and enjoy the same blue sky darkening? The footage will NEVER be seen in color (although I would be curious!). Will I be stressing the color layers too severely? Perhaps it is better to do the filtering at the telecine gate.

Any other unique techniques for B&W Day for Night?

Many Thanks,
Alan Jacobsen
DP - NYC



>Does anyone have experience with using the same monochrome filter


Basically, they don't work. They either have very little effect, or completely destroy the negative (I forgot if it was a red or a blue filter which rendered a color negative unprintable on positive).

If your end format is video only, you can remove the color in post, and you will have a lot of control, since you can apply settings to different parts of the curve and/or to different colors. I would not do it at the telecine, but only at the grading stage. If the NLE doesn't make it easy to display a B&W picture, use a B&W copy of the color video master for editing (with the same TC of course).

If you need film prints, it's more complicated and the best path to take depends on many factors (among which budget is important of course).

I have recently attended a very interesting black and white workshop here in Switzerland, and could tell you more if your project is for film prints and if you tell us more about it.

>Any other unique techniques for B&W Day for Night?

Well, the oldest and best technique is probably still to "simply" not have the sky in the frame...

A polarizer will darken your sky under certain angles. Grad filters can be used sometimes. Or maybe a combination of both.

Anyway, you should probably make a few tests.

Milivoj Ivkovic
DP - Switzerland



Basically, they don't work. They either have very little effect, or completely destroy the negative (I forgot if it was a red or a blue filter which rendered a color negative unprintable on positive).

If your end format is video only, you can remove the color in post, and you will have a lot of control, since you can apply settings to different parts of the curve and/or to different colors. I would not do it at the telecine, but only at the grading stage. If the NLE doesn't make it easy to display a B&W picture, use a B&W copy of the color video master for editing (with the same TC of course).

If you need film prints, it's more complicated and the best path to take depends on many factors (among which budget is important of course).

I have recently attended a very interesting black and white workshop here in Switzerland, and could tell you more if your project is for film prints and if you tell us more about it.

>Any other unique techniques for B&W Day for Night?

Well, the oldest and best technique is probably still to "simply" not have the sky in the frame...

A polarizer will darken your sky under certain angles. Grad filters can be used sometimes. Or maybe a combination of both.

Anyway, you should probably make a few tests.

Milivoj Ivkovic
DP - Switzerland



You can do it, however, you might as well keep all of your color information until you get to the transfer because you'll be able to be more selective in the grading and tone/color selection. B&W filters only go one way, ie. you can darken the sky with a red filter but might also crush your greens (trees, etc.) in a harsh way (go black), in telecine you avoid such a compromise. You can get the best tone for each color.

Good Luck,

Anders Uhl
cinematographer
ICG, New York



Hey Alan,

You may want to look at the Monochrome day for night filter. I tested it with a video camera and it looks very reddish amber when first exposed. In post, pull the color and it looks very monochromatic. More so than just pulling the color without it.

It is very dense, must be shot in sunlight and nearly impossible to use with any lighting. As with any DFN you can use it with grads and polarisers to enhance your image.

Best Regards,

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP