FMP Experiments – Black and White or Colour or BOTH!?!

Having a dedicated look for your film is very important but I’ve got three choices to break down and show the pros the cons for each one.

Why am I having this issue? Why don’t I just be normal and stick with colour? These days, films are visually very similar. For this film, I want to try something new and not be boring. It is impossible to be original with the way a film looks but I want to try and add something that makes the film pop with interest.

The two simple choices are black and white, or colour. If I choose black and white, I’m paying homage to the classic detective films of the 1940s and 50s. Black and white is still being used in film today, to either have a simplistic style or in tribute to older films. But it might become too plain and boring as there are countless black and white films so it’s nothing new or original.Black and White.png

If I go with colour, I have an opportunity to play with as many colour styles as possible. I have a lot of leeway when it comes to colour as I can change the RGB’s, exposure, temperature, whites, blacks, saturation, vibrance etc. There are many choices when using colour, but with black and white, I can only change the brightness and contrast of the image.ooooooo, spiral.jpg

If I do keep it coloured, I’ll need a good enough reason to and justify why I made this decision. If I change the image colour wise, by changing the vibrance or anything that affects the image visually, I’ll also need a good reason to because if I don’t, I’ll be marked down because I have no goal.

Most likely, I’ll merge black and white with colour, giving it a ‘Sin City’ style where parts of the image will be coloured and everything else is black and white. This is a very stylised look and will be hard to pull off but with time and effort, it’ll look very clean and cool. And with films mostly being either black and white, or colour, merging the two will be original and unique as only a hand full of films have done this.Black and White and Colour.png

The upsides to this look are that it can draw the eyes of the audience to things you want them to see, something important like an object that is crucial to the story. I’ve planned I’ll be colourizing the blood at the end and the case file that is shown throughout the film, which are things that move the story forward and foreshadow something later in the film.

The downside to this effect is the time it’ll take to pull it off, as it’ll need a massive chunk of post-production time reserved to give the effort and dedication it’ll need to be convincing. This will mean I’ll have to lock my edit earlier than expected to finish the style of the shots. But if I want more time dedicated to editing, then black and white, or colour, would be better options.

The last thing I want to do is be boring. I want my film to pop and be visually interesting – I won’t be able to do that if it’s a bland-looking image. Which is why I’ll be going with black and white with colour.

FMP Experiments – Shooting in Dark Spaces – How to do it?

At the start of this FMP, I said I wouldn’t write any more night time scenes because last year they were difficult to shoot, perform in and hard to get everyone in the same place so late. While writing the script I knew I was going to break that promise so now I’m going to talk about how to shoot in the dark.

There are two main factors you need to consider when it comes to shooting in a dark place; whether you have enough light, and the ISO (International Standards Organization) your camera is at.

If you are planning to shoot in the dark, you are going to need some sort of light source for your camera, and for the audience to know what is going on. Without any light, there won’t be any detail for your camera to pick out and consequently, no image will be shown. I’m using a torch as my light source which I used to demonstrate the ISO below. I’ll be using the light to show the important things in the scene while everything else is either black or hard to see.

I need to keep in mind that it might be confusing to some people as it’ll be hard to understand what is going. However, thinking about putting the audience in my main character’s shoes, he won’t be knowing what is going on so the viewer is as confused as he is. This might go down well or it might not but as an experiment to see if it works, it’ll be cool to see everyone’s opinions about it.

Now that I have my light source sorted, I now need to pick an ISO that will give me enough brightness to see what is going on. As you can see the gif above shows all the ISO’s my Canon 600D has and as the ISO gets higher, it increases the brightness. 100, 200, 400 and 800 ISO are where you want to stay without your image becoming too grainy and ugly.

I ended up using 800 ISO as I wanted to get as much light in my image as possible without having too much grain in the image. If I went 1600 ISO and above, I’d see more but then the image becomes too grainy and when it comes to colour grading and correction, it makes it look ugly. You could use grain to your advantage by using it as a style for your film, giving it an old-time film look which is what I’m going for but I’m not the type of person who likes the look of grain so if there is any, I will be removing it.

Shooting in the dark is harder than it sounds as you must take everything I’ve talked about here into consideration when it comes to making the best-looking image you can. I’ve finished my night shoot and I’m happy with what came out of it, there was a little bit of grain but I can easily fix it in After Effects.