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Matthew J. Walker

My brain hurts trying to figure this out

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So I'm in the music mood, watching the music videos to some of my favorite songs, I decide to watch Streets of Philadelphia by bruce Springsteen since I had never watched it. I'm sure like many of us on here I sometimes do want to simply be a viewer, however at the same time I'm always keeping an eye out for thing that catch my eye. I'm sure many of you can relate. In any event, I'm watching the video and I notice this and I'm thinking "That looks beautiful" then it turns into "How the hell?' then I gave up thinking. Well, fast forward months later and It's still bugging the hell out of me. Now on to my question...

How on earth was this effect achieved? The only thing I could think is,

A) Putting a blue filter in front of the lens while shooting on daylight film stock at dusk with a tungsten/orange key light.

B) Using tungsten film at dusk when the sky is already  naturally extremely blue which would amplify it, however in such situation, the city lights wouldn't be as orange as displayed, and an orange or 85 filter would remove the blue from the sky.

C) What I'm leaning towards, and that is with manual colorization of the negative, an example being the music video for Basket Case by Green Day.

I'd love to know some experienced people's opinions, maybe even someone who has worked in the big budget music video scene back in the 90s when Im sure effects like this were used quite often.

tumblr_oo0q8ii9mP1uu00mjo2_500.gif

giphy.gif

 

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Posted (edited)

My guess:

Tungsten film, CTO gelled key light, shot at blue hour. The color of the city lights would still a slightly warmer even in tungsten because not every light in a city would be perfectly 3200k.

Edited by AJ Young
typo
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, AJ Young said:

My guess:

Tungsten film, CTO gelled key light, shot at blue hour. The color of the city lights would still a slightly warmer even in tungsten because not every light in a city would be perfectly 3200k.

Well the music video was filmed in 1994. Back in '94 most skyline shots of big cities had for the most part all matching lights because more than 90% of bulbs were incandescent which have a 100% CRI, unlike the skylines of today with a mix of daylight, fluorescent, and LED bulbs with a mixed CRI. So that explains all of the lights matching in color. However, the then dominant "soft white" (2700K) incandescent bulbs as they call them in the light bulb world wouldn't be that orange with a 3200K balanced film stock to the point that they would match the color of a CTO gelled tungsten key light using the same stock would it? Another thing that catches my attention is at the end of the sequence when Bruce Springsteen leaves the frame to reveal the burn barrel and the skyline, I notice there are no other colors in the entire composition other than what looks to be indigo and orange. Even the highlights of the cloud are pretty much vibrant purple. Here's the video, the sequence begins at 2:18

EDIT: Also there looks like some weird outline around the people standing next to the burn barrel at 2:40

Edited by Matthew J. Walker

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1. Most city and industrial lights in 1994 were sodium vapor, not tungsten, tungsten was more of a household interior thing.  Tungsten streetlamps started to be phased out in the late 60's with mercury vapor and then in the 80's with sodium vapor.

2. Film is color-corrected in post, always.

3. The light levels alone point to 500 ASA tungsten balanced stock being used with no correction filter.

4. Overexposed points of tungsten and sodium light would look similar.

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First thing that jumps into mind is La La land colour pull. 

Not sure if this was applicable back then. If you gel your key +Green or 1/2 Green or (however not in this instance) 1/2 CTO or Full CTO you can pull it to get the desired background colour.

I'll add an example I shot recently on a beach. I was camping and I saw I had a 'locations' gel pack in the car. I took a camping light wrapped it in +CTO and +Green and shot some video with a DSLR. Pulled it in post, no LUT, no fancy grade. Just pulled magenta.

So this is blue hour + magenta pull.

I believe this is your desired effect.

RZq6OcZ.png

 

o0XORJB.png

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17 hours ago, Gabriel Devereux said:

First thing that jumps into mind is La La land colour pull. 

Not sure if this was applicable back then. If you gel your key +Green or 1/2 Green or (however not in this instance) 1/2 CTO or Full CTO you can pull it to get the desired background colour.

I'll add an example I shot recently on a beach. I was camping and I saw I had a 'locations' gel pack in the car. I took a camping light wrapped it in +CTO and +Green and shot some video with a DSLR. Pulled it in post, no LUT, no fancy grade. Just pulled magenta.

So this is blue hour + magenta pull.

I believe this is your desired effect.

RZq6OcZ.png

 

o0XORJB.png

This definitely looks similar. After your input and @AJ Young's input, combined with the wisdom of  @David Mullen ASC, I believe majority rules. I think you are all correct. You all said tungsten balanced stock, you and @AJ Young both said CTO gelled key at blue hour, and @David Mullen ASC hit the nail on the head with the 500T stock. Definitely some color correction as well to single out and ramp up the blues, magentas, and oranges. Now it's time to play film chess and put this to the test...

 

That is when I actually have some income!

 

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