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Jall Cowasji

How To: Low-Con Pastel Colors in Bright Day Exteriors?

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Hi all. Excited to ask my very first question on this forum!

 

For an upcoming short, I'm trying to achieve a pastel, somewhat low-contrast color palette in a bright daytime exterior, very much like the attached reference image from Vertigo. Being a micro budget project, I don't have the opportunity to pre test a bunch of filters or lenses. Any recommendations on filtration for this reduced contrast, slightly blooming look?

For the project, I'm using the Ikonoskop A-Cam DII. I own this camera, and the colors from its Super16 Kodak CCD sensor feel inherently pure and dare I say film-like. I'm pairing it with oldish glass, the Cooke 9-50 Varokinetal (T2.5). I've rented this lens before and it is not only affordable but renders a very creamy three dimensional image. I've attached a sample I shot with this configuration, no filters. Just need to turn that into something less contrasty, more talcumy, more "vintage" for lack of a better word.

 

Thank you!

Jall

post-75026-0-14082800-1529588755_thumb.jpg

post-75026-0-83713200-1529588763_thumb.jpg

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If you don't have money for filters, using stockings over the front or the back of the lens can help:

http://coltondavie.com/tests/testing-net-diffusion/

 

Thanks so much Akos! This is a great resource! I do have access to a few filters through NYU (though no opportunity to test prior to checkout!), since I'm a student there. They mostly have a range of black and white promist, along with ultra cons and glimmer glass. Any thoughts on these vs. stockings, or pairing multiple filters together?

Edited by Jall Cowasji

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There's a touch of softness about your image anyway. Until I read your post carefully (always a sound idea) I assumed there was mild diffusion on it. So don't overdo it.

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Vertigo used fog filters for those scenes so a ProMist would work or other misty filters like GlimmerGlass.

First off, thanks so much for weighing in on this David. Your generosity on this online community is astounding.

I was coincidentally just looking into Glimmer Glass today. Do you notice a marked difference in the results from promists vs. glimmer glass?

Edited by Jall Cowasji

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There's a touch of softness about your image anyway. Until I read your post carefully (always a sound idea) I assumed there was mild diffusion on it. So don't overdo it.

Great point Mark! Rather than going too heavy on that soft, bloomy quality, I’m really looking to lower contrast. Another element of the Vertigo screen grab that I love is the subdued nature of the colors, and I feel like I see a tint of brown in all the colors. I’m really after that. Some of the tests I’ve seen with stockings do render a similar color palette, but are often too heavy on the glowy effect.

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You can get all kinds of diffusing filters for not much money. I think my first 4x4 fog filter was about £20. It was crap - it was basically a bit of acrylic with hairspray on it - but it worked for a while. In fact, try acrylic with hairspray on it.

 

Also, look up Mr. Mullen's work on a film called Northfork, which used literally every trick in the book to desaturate things. Some of it won't apply to you since it was shot on film, but you might find some of the tricks useful - particularly just production design. If you want it to look pastel-coloured, shoot pastel-coloured objects!

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This might be stating the obvious, but if you have the luxury of waiting till you've got an overcast day (or at least, cloudy, and only shooting when the sun's behind a cloud), that's killer low-con!

 

If not, maybe you can find a way to stage everything in the shade?

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Also, just remembered that a stocking behind the lens will lift the blacks a bit, white probably being best to both lift and wash out the colors. Worth a try.

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