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Black and White advice


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I'm shooting a black and white film at the end of the summer. I am debating to shoot with a Red monochrome or to shoot color on an Alexa and convert to black and white in post. I don't have any experience with the Red monochrome (Helium I think is the one available here).


I get that shooting color gives me much more room to adjust the contrast of the B&W image in post using the color channels, but part of me feels like I'd want to go all the way and shoot monochrome and use color filters in camera.


Any big no-nos or other advice on using one method insted of another?



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  • 2 weeks later...

Damn, I want to shoot something with that camera now. There's a monochrome Red an hour away from me and I don't think it rents out much.


"By removing the need to de-bayer the sensor data Red have managed to achieve a much higher quality black and white image than a standard Epic."
"Increased net resolution ( Removal of the debayer process, so every single individual pixel is used for luminance / image data )"
Apparently, this was shot with that camera:
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It's not bad. There is a certain clarity to it that you don't get by desaturating a colour image, although I suspect that with very high resolution modern cameras you could achieve much the same thing with a bit of downscaling. Oversampling looks nice.

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My gut instinct is to shoot color on a quality camera and convert in post. The creative advantage of custom converting each frame or scene to black and white is something that I would want to have. I think, in a movie, any extra resolution will be difficult to see from the monochrome camera anyways. I do this all the time for still photography and I could never have these options if I had shot b&w with filters.


Shooting film might be a different story though as the structure of b&w film is quite different than color negative. But, for digital capture, I shoot color always.

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Red monochrome pros:

-higher resolution (8k is literally 8k, since you don't lose resolution from debayering)

-it's easier to see what you're getting while you're shooting

-you'll look cool on set with your wallet of colored glass filters

-you don't have to worry about post messing up your image, since it's burned in


Shooting-color-and-converting-it-in-post pros:

-colored glass filters are hard to find as a rental, and not cheap to buy

-you'll have more options with the look (you can, for instance, take the red channel and 25% of the green channel)

-you can change your mind in post

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  • 2 weeks later...

Id say shoot in the native B/W. Youll have a better idea of your contrast shooting with the Monochrome than you would if you where just de-saturating in post. Although this is coming from a color grading phillestine; the less tweaking you do in post, the less data and noise you are adding to the image.

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