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5D mII B&W Shooting

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Shooting with the Canon 5D mII on a b&w piece. The camera has an internal setting to record b&w but I'm wondering if it makes more sense to record regularly and de-saturate in post.

 

Thoughts?

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I'd like to hear what folks have to say about this. So far I've had better luck shooting in b&w, when it comes to video.

 

I'm much more experienced as a still photographer, and often shoot stills with the 5DMII in RAW, and get great results converting to grayscale. But when shooting video, I haven't had good luck getting really nice looking b&w if I shoot in color and then desaturate. That said, I'm much better at Lightroom and Photoshop than I am at color grading video.

 

I wish I could shoot RAW video with the 5D.

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I haven't looked into any technical research here, but just using my common sense my philosophy has always been to preview in B&W and desaturate it in post. I've always felt this is smartest because then you're recording more information than necessary, and therefor allowing more flexibility in post. However, if you are worried about a tight deadline for the edit or are working on an older editing system, the less work you leave for post, the better.

 

I too would like to know if anyone has done technical research into this. Maybe the gamma is worse/better in this mode?

 

I agree, shooting B&W can be very liberating sometimes!

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Before I was actually thinking that shooting in B&W was best because of the crappy color compression on h264 but now with the technicolor upgrade I think this changes things a bit...

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Before I was actually thinking that shooting in B&W was best because of the crappy color compression on h264 but now with the technicolor upgrade I think this changes things a bit...

 

What's the "technicolor upgrade"?

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The real "trick" to shooting retro-looking b+w is to light it like they used to back when b+w was the dominant medium. Kino flo and softbox looks were not around. Use fresnels and very little diffusion, and you will get a look that sells the material. Do your research and shoot tests of lighting styles.

 

As for the menu setting and post work, as always, do careful tests and judge for yourself. My money is on finding a "flat" shooting style and doing extensive work in post. It all depends on what sort of b+w look you want. It's not like there is just one "b+w look," just as there is not one "color" look.

 

PLEASANTVILLE and RUMBLEFISH used different methods but are interesting to see, as modern takes on B+W, as is SHADOWS AND FOG (woody allen) and ZENTROPA. Don't expect to get SIN CITY with a menu button on a HDSLR. RAGING BULL is a must-see exercise in B+W virtuosity. German Expressionist cinema is great - from Cabinet of Dr Calgari to M, by Fritz Lang, these films had a huge influence on Hollywood, culminating in films like SUNRISE and THE INFORMER, for example. CITIZEN KANE is of course a textbook of camera techniques. What are you trying to do?

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Jean- Thanks so much! Sounds advice that actually really help adjust my thought process.

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Shooting with the Canon 5D mII on a b&w piece. The camera has an internal setting to record b&w but I'm wondering if it makes more sense to record regularly and de-saturate in post.

 

 

I try to shoot as linear (flat) as possible, and then do the grading in post. The same for B&W. This gives me more grading options for the B&W desaturation (I tend to like crushed footage).

 

Here's a quick & dirty test example from a portrait series that I'm currently working on:

 

 

 

-- peer

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Canon HDSLRs have a "picture style editor" to create custom picture styles that can be loaded - cinestyle from Technicolor being one of them - and various early adapters and experienced users have come up with settings to supposedly emulate the look of various film stocks, including T-Max B+W. One advantage to shooting with a monochrome picture style would be that you could use red filters to darken the sky and draw out the skin tones on Caucasions and Asians, for example. Of course, you could use a red filter with a color style too, and go monochrome in post... but it makes the monitor harder to judge.

 

Again, the best answer is almost always the same; do extensive tests and judge for yourself.

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