1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Color ..... in black and white!

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Thomas T, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    4,393
    Likes Received:
    4,064
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Bong Joon Ho's Oscar nominated Parasite is having a limited run in theaters this week ..... in B&W!

    Shooting films in color and releasing them in a different hue is nothing new. John Huston shot Reflections In A Golden Eye in color but it was always his wish to release it in a sepia "gold" tint which it was ..... for about a week. Audiences didn't like it and Warners recalled those prints and provided full color prints to theaters. John Badham wanted the color drained from his 1979 Dracula but he was overruled by Universal who sent out full color prints. Badham got his way when the film was released on home video (much to the displeasure of the film's fans).

    More recently, Frank Darabont's The Mist and George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road (to name just two) have seen B&W transfers

    So my question is ..... what do you think of the trend? Do you bother to watch the director approved B&W prints or do you prefer to stay with what you originally saw in the theater?

    Personally, I like it. After seeing Mad Max: Fury Road in B&W, I don't think I'll ever watch it in color again. But hey, I prefer the desaturated 1979 Dracula too!
     
  2. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    9,550
    Likes Received:
    3,314
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    As long as it's the director's idea, I think it's an interesting alternative way to view a movie.

    But I don't think I'd call it a "trend". A handful of movies over more than a decade doesn't seem like a "trend"! :)
     
    Tino, TravisR and Thomas T like this.
  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    18,086
    Likes Received:
    22,146
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg
    I’m not opposed but I’ve yet to find an example of one that I’m dying to see. For the Mad Max example, I think that film has great 3D so my preference is to stick with the 3D version rather than going to 2D for B&W.

    The disc for “Logan” came with a B&W version that I haven’t watched yet. From what I understand that was always meant to be a color film but when they were working on either postproduction or the video transfer for home release they played around to see what it would be like in B&W and liked the results. I guess it would be fair to say I’m curious but not curious enough to make it a top priority. If they had actually said “we wanted to do it this way and they wouldn’t let us” instead of “this looks cool too” I might have felt more urgency.

    CBS All Access did this with their new Twilight Zone show. They premiered in color and then when the season was over they added black and white versions. I didn’t like the writing on the show enough to watch it again, which is more of the reason I haven’t seen it. I believe AMC sometimes does black and white marathons of Walking Dead - not a show I enjoy but one that would probably work well that way.

    What I think is great is any time you can give artists more tools to have in their toolbox, and that some outlets have been more flexible about not being full color all the time is in general a plus.
     
    Tino and Thomas T like this.
  4. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    9,550
    Likes Received:
    3,314
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    With "Logan" and "MM:FR", my biggest problem with the B&W versions is that the movies were still clearly shot for color. Stripping the color makes them B&W in a clumsy way, as the shots weren't intended to be B&W so they don't look "right" in the way something intended to be B&W would.

    I didn't see the B&W "Mist" - I rented that one and was unable to access the B&W disc - so I don't know if it suffers from those same limitations. IIRC, Darabont always wanted the movie to be B&W, so it's possible he filmed it with that in mind...
     
    Tino likes this.
  5. MartinP.

    MartinP. Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    1,380
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Real Name:
    Martin
    If I like a film, I don't mind viewing them in a different way at all. I have on occasion, watched some favorite films in b&w on TV, just for a different perspective. When there was a Bogdanovich retrospective at the Egyptian around a decade ago, he had a screening of Nickelodeon in b&w, the way he'd intended it. It wasn't any better. There's a version of Nebraska in color that was circulating around at one time, I'd like to try that if the occasion presents itself.

    In a similar vein, films that I'm extremely familiar with, I've watched them with a different language track.
     
    David_B_K likes this.
  6. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    840
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    one thing I like about the B&W of the Mist is that it makes the obvious CGI work go down a little easier.
     
    Colin Jacobson likes this.
  7. Message #7 of 17 Feb 1, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2020
    JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    12,577
    Likes Received:
    2,131
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    A Mile High
    Real Name:
    John
    My understanding is Darabont always intended The Mist to be B&W, but the studio refused to release it in theaters that way. In fact, the first time I saw it, I just couldn't shake the impression that something was wrong with the image, though I couldn't put my finger on it, other than the lighting was awful. Some of you might know that my education and professional background is in photography, so it's something I've spent a lifetime paying attention to that. I first saw it on DVD, which was available only in color. It just looked awful to me. Then, when the BR was released (which includes the B&W version) I realized it was shot with rather flat lighting for tones, with no attention to color, probably with the intention of the blue levels being dropped significantly, which is why it looked so bad in color. Seeing it in B&W demonstrates perfectly how it was intended to be seen. It looks worlds better.

    Getting an effective image isn't as simple as "making it B&W". The entire lighting approach is different. In the case of The Mist, it looks terrible in color. Movies that were shot for color are unlikely to be very effective in B&W.
     
  8. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    4,393
    Likes Received:
    4,064
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    I stand to be corrected but I believe The Lighthouse is that rarity. It was actually shot on B&W film stock.
     
  9. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    2,585
    Likes Received:
    1,608
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Kent "The Garden of England", UK
    Real Name:
    Keith Cobby
    One of my favourite films is Slightly Scarlet (1956). I often watch it in black and white.
     
  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    21,551
    Likes Received:
    11,089
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    For a while, the TV transfer for Movie Movie was presenting the first part "Dynamite Hands" in color instead of the intended black and white. The Blu-ray has the proper presentation.
     
    Thomas T likes this.
  11. MartinP.

    MartinP. Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    1,380
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Real Name:
    Martin
    So when people at home bought b&w or color film to take pictures they needed to do what before they took them?

    So no one thought much of the color films, or color tv programs for that matter, shown on b&w televisions all those years?
     
  12. Message #12 of 17 Feb 2, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
    JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    12,577
    Likes Received:
    2,131
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    A Mile High
    Real Name:
    John
    Sure, you can simply remove the color and end up with B&W. It doesn't mean the result will look good. The Mist was shot on film and finished digitally with the express purpose of being viewed in B&W. The lighting was approached with the intention of being viewed in B&W. The color palate of the original cinematography was created with the intention of it being viewed in B&W. A particular individual's inability to comprehend the difference in the fundamental approach of highly skilled and experienced cinematographers and filmmakers ability to craft those two different resulting films doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I'm sure I'm not the only experienced photographer who looked at the color version of The Mist and thought something is wrong, because something is wrong.

    The fact that B&W TVs simply stripped the color channel has absolutely zero bearing on what is being discussed. Both B&W and Color films exist and have always been used by people who understand them, and by far more who don't. Again, that has zero bearing on the topic. The fact is, cutting (a special type of color) filters have always been used by photographers (completely different from color correction filters, thought they can look the same to the eye) who know what they're doing when they shoot B&W. Most people have no idea such things exists, but they do and are common practice with photographers who know what they're doing and know how to manipulate B&W images to produce the result they desire. Ignorance of these practices doesn't mean they don't exist.

    BTW, Here's a full list of Wratten filter numbers and their general influence on images. Some are color correction for color images, and some are cutting (longpass) filters for B&W images. Just to demonstrate how extensive the options and results are.
     
    bujaki and Thomas T like this.
  13. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 1999
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    242
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    Stockholm, SWEDEN
    Real Name:
    Mikael Söderholm
    Pleasantville was BW, intially, and got more colors along the way. Worked great. (but was a big hassle to manage in those pre-digtal days, when it came to prints).
    Rocky Horror Picture Show was shot with the intention of a BW beginning, transitioning during the Time Warp, and I occasionally watch it like that, since it is an option of the BR, works great.
    So, as always, whatever the director/DP intended works for me.
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    12,577
    Likes Received:
    2,131
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    A Mile High
    Real Name:
    John
    Pleasantville is an excellent example of the difference in filming for color and B&W, especially since it not only often had both in the same shot, but transitioned from one to the other during shots. There's a very good feature on the disc that goes into how difficult the process was, using opaque green makeup to create transitions, and most important to this discussion, how it's virtually impossible to properly shoot both for color and B&W. I'm glad you mentioned it. That feature is definitely worth a watch.
     
  15. Message #15 of 17 Feb 2, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
    Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 1999
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    242
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    Stockholm, SWEDEN
    Real Name:
    Mikael Söderholm
    Agreed, as is the movie, a true gem, both leads are great, and it is an underappreciated movie well worth a rewatch.
    "Grill the bun, flip the meat, melt the cheese. Never changes. It never gets any better or worse."
    But then it does ...
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    12,577
    Likes Received:
    2,131
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    A Mile High
    Real Name:
    John
    I love that movie. They pushed technology to the limit, and it would look better if it was made today, but it’s still worth appreciating. The theme is still valid and worthwhile.
     
    Mikael Soderholm likes this.
  17. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 1999
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    242
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    Stockholm, SWEDEN
    Real Name:
    Mikael Söderholm
    It looks great, no need for our tech here, it does the job, seamlessly, as I recall. Guess the DVD was actually easier than the many theater prints they needed.
    Need to see this again soon.
     
    JohnRice likes this.

Share This Page