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mercer

Does anyone shoot in B&W?

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As anybody who reads my comments already know, I bought a 5D3 last Spring and instantly fell in love with the images I was getting. After almost two years of searching for the right camera for the stuff I was looking to shoot, I found it in the 5D3. 

But...

I am the first person to admit that the post process of ML Raw can be a little tedious and requires a massive amount of storage. Since I am a hobbyist with narrative dreams, I’ve been searching for a second camera to shoot fun little vignettes in between shooting days with my 5D3. Shooting is a form of meditation for me and instantly calms me.

After a couple of cameras, I ended buying an RX10ii on the cheap. Now I had the camera last year but struggled with getting good color from it. This time around, I’ve decided to mostly shoot in sLog2 and Cine2 with monochrome and I am pleasantly surprised by how good the images turned out on my first outing with it.

I’ve always loved B&W photos and movies, but I’ve never really shot much with it, so I look forward to learning and experimenting more with it.

Now, I have been posting around here for a few years and color science, correction and grading are all popular discussions but there is rarely mention of B&W.

Does anyone shoot in B&W anymore? Does anyone have any video or screengrabs that were captured in B&W or turned to B&W in post that they’d like to share? Or even strong opinions for or against it?

I’ll start off with a few screengrabs. The first two were shot in sLog2...

482FC33B-D72A-49CB-829B-C459EAE9372E.jpeg

064C2AB9-78DE-4264-9CA1-F4A5D0FB5B35.jpeg

And this one was shot in Cine2...

E932AC99-9DF7-416B-8338-E156E3C90E88.jpeg

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I haven't been shooting any BW video, but I'm wondering, does any of the major camera models provide a format to shoot BW without storing the colour information? Or does h264 already handle this effectively? It wouldn't surprise me if MagicLantern had implemented BW-RAW, but haven't used ML for video myself. The Leica Monochrome with a BW-video format should be capable of some amazing dynamic range if done correctly.

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B&W video can look beautiful for the right subject...especially portraits of interesting faces and documenting everyday life. Without the distraction of colour, often the viewers attention is drawn closer to the subject and can give a timeless feel.

Without the luxury of a monochrome sensor, it’s always best to monitor in B&W - since the composition often benefits from contrast in lighting and tone that is not easily noticed when viewing in colour.

@mercer MLVFS is now working with the most recent nightly builds, making post processing very painless...especially when combined with Resolve for export.

Here is an early ML video that made me upgrade to FF Raw a few years ago...something magical about it.

This music video also looks great in B&W:

 

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Hey Mercer, finally a post where I can say, "SHOOT LOG ALL THE TIME!"  The drawbacks of LOG, chroma noise, only create a nice film-grain look in BW.  All that said, I believe you'll still get a better image shooting RAW.  I compared the RX10II to the professional X70 I had at the time an couldn't see a difference.  In short, those RX10s shoot a sweet image and have a nice selection of LOG profiles.  If I was going to shoot B&W that would be of my top 10 cameras.  

Nice images!  I keep meaning to shoot BW.  Another hangup I need to fix.  Post a video when you have one!

@UncleBobsPhotography  First, you'd need to remove the Color Filter Array (like the Leica Monochrome) to shoot true B&W--in STILLS!  In the RX10, it's actually a 1080 image downsampled from 4K, so you shouldn't have much chroma problems interfering with your B&W.  In other words, not sure a b&w sensor would give you much benefit except it should be more sensitive to light (having no light-slowing micro-filter-lenses) and give you a higher effective ISO.   h264 duplicates values in 420 or 422.  Cracks me up that in some other threads people want 444 in 10bit.  Who needs that?  Give me 444 in 8bit and I'll throw a party! :)  Anyway, h.264 stinks for everything compared to RAW but stinks less for B&W

Rock on Mercer!!!!

 

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@Hans Punk first off, thanks... some of your videos, amongst others, made me explore the 5D and ML Raw. And I could not be happier.

So wait, with the new nightly builds, the camera will record as mlvfs? Or the process in post to open as mlvfs is simpler?

I think the next short film I do with the 5D3 will be in B&W. I just love the classical, dramatic look of it. 

For what I bought the RX10ii for, run and gun fun and slow motion, I am fairly happy with it for a glove box cam.

@maxotics I am glad you replied, because I love your recent posts on Log and Raw, though admittedly, and sadly, a little out of my depth. When I shot with sLog in the past, I did have some banding issues, so I was curious if the 4 luma values would help stave off the banding and I haven’t noticed any banding yet, where as with color in sLog2, as you know, it will creep up in wide sky shots.

Anyway, thanks for replying and pushing me to understanding the technical elements of an image... one day I’ll be able to grasp it and have an intelligent conversation on the matter.

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11 minutes ago, mercer said:

@Hans Punk first off, thanks... some of your videos, amongst others, made me explore the 5D and ML Raw. And I could not be happier.

So wait, with the new nightly builds, the camera will record as mlvfs? Or the process in post to open as mlvfs is simpler?

I think the next short film I do with the 5D3 will be in B&W. I just love the classical, dramatic look of it. 

For what I bought the RX10ii for, run and gun fun and slow motion, I am fairly happy with it for a glove box cam.

MLVFS is a way to mount MLV video files into a ‘virtual drive’ on your computer, so the video files can appear as CDNG’s. Basically it cuts 95% of the time spent with the traditional ML workflow. Best to read the ML forum, and/or check YouTube for installation tutorial - it makes sense once you dig through everything...it is well worth the effort.

https://youtu.be/6v4EWj0zXDs

http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=13152.0

 

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6 hours ago, mercer said:

Does anyone shoot in B&W anymore?

YES!!! what a good topic

i LOVE b&w photography, thats how i started, shooting 35mm black and white film :) ive made many b&w darkrooms in closets and bathrooms lol

frankly, dealing with color is WAY harder than shooting b&w (so many variables!) – b&w should be really freeing~! i think most ppl will find a HUGE amount of room to play in post, since you can fuck with hues and exposure like crazy to get a cool b&w image. although id love a dedicated b&w camera, having the color data to play with in post can be quite interesting

i would love to make a b&w feature! anyway heres a few shots i took the other day that i ~chose~ to treat as b&w bc the color was so meh... much better!

*i would recommend listening to the song low desert by r.e.m. while viewing these pics

tumblr_p1i6i1n2Bt1run1l1o5_1280.jpg

tumblr_p1i6i1n2Bt1run1l1o7_1280.jpg

tumblr_p1i6i1n2Bt1run1l1o3_1280.jpg

tumblr_p1lj4zrg9e1run1l1o1_1280.jpg

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@kaylee were they shot with the 5D3? I love the last one... you had some nice late afternoon sun there?

Have you read the Noam Kroll article involving manipulating color in post to end in B&W? It’s a pretty interesting read...

http://noamkroll.com/how-to-color-grade-a-perfectly-cinematic-black-and-white-look/

However, as interesting as that is, for simplicity sake, I think I will go forward shooting black and white in camera. But I’d like to experiment with some colored filters for effect.

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@mercer yeah, i shot those with my d53, and thanks!

the last ones a PERFECT example of "B&W B.S." lol

theres no people in these shots, but this does illustrate my point that you can get away with a lot in b&w

look at the exposure... its flat af! 😉

tumblr_p1ltg5lKa11szoqmjo1_1280.png

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The other thing I like to play around with is the "partial colour" picture effect which has a choice of red, green blue and yellow.         It has B&W except for the chosen colour.

 

It needs the colour to be pretty specific to work and can be a bit lame but when it works properly it can be good (it think).      I don't like the B&W it gives  as much as high contrast mono but it is growing on me.

This New Years eve I am going to TRY (if I remember and do it in time and the colours are right) to shoot a video using it and fireworks (though I expect failure, you never know).

 

Then maybe shoot a video of a band for a song with high contrast mono (again, IF I can get around to it).

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15 hours ago, Hans Punk said:

MLVFS is a way to mount MLV video files into a ‘virtual drive’ on your computer, so the video files can appear as CDNG’s. Basically it cuts 95% of the time spent with the traditional ML workflow. Best to read the ML forum, and/or check YouTube for installation tutorial - it makes sense once you dig through everything...it is well worth the effort.

https://youtu.be/6v4EWj0zXDs

http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=13152.0

 

Highly recommended. Honestly using MLVFS with 5Diii/resolve is easier than shooting/editing 6K on my GH5.

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17 hours ago, Hans Punk said:

MLVFS is a way to mount MLV video files into a ‘virtual drive’ on your computer, so the video files can appear as CDNG’s. Basically it cuts 95% of the time spent with the traditional ML workflow. Best to read the ML forum, and/or check YouTube for installation tutorial - it makes sense once you dig through everything...it is well worth the effort.

https://youtu.be/6v4EWj0zXDs

http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=13152.0

 

Oh okay, I thought you meant that the ML team figured out a new recording format that uses MLVFS instead of MLVs. When I bought my 5D3, I jumped into a test short and due to the quality of the footage I was getting, the project has grown. So, I just continued processing the Raw Magic/Resolve/ProRes route. When this project is done I intend on trying MLVFS and also the 3.5K crop mode out. Has there been any ML progression with that?

2 hours ago, tweak said:

Highly recommended. Honestly using MLVFS with 5Diii/resolve is easier than shooting/editing 6K on my GH5.

Actually I was curious how you were getting along with the GH5? 

I desperately need a new computer for editing. I’ve been working off a MacBook Air and I have had no issues with ML Raw. Like you, the 4K from the RX10ii bogs it down more than the Raw does and I’m not even using MLVFS yet.

Question though... do MLVFS need to run from the computer’s hard drive... and does it take up a lot of space? Or can I set up an external drive for MLVFS?

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I found an old screengrab from my 50D ML Raw days that I forgot about. The projects I am working on are in the horror/thriller genre, so I tend to push the image to the darker side but I may have pushed this a tad too far. But the texture of Raw video still amazes me...

ACBB0467-AFE1-4AAC-8CAD-4B9C42361E71.jpeg

So it would seem that I’ll lose the thickness of the image with sLog2 on the RX10ii but I’ll gain some dynamic range even with the significantly smaller sensor.

Either way, I want to experiment more with B&W, in the future, in both Raw on the 5D3 and in sLog2 on the RX10ii. It’s interesting not worrying about color and WB while I concentrate on exposure and composition... it should be a good lesson for me to improve my skills as an operator.

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Of course there's different styles of B&W, but be careful not too make it 'grey tones' instead of B&W. I really liked the B&W on the GH2 (mostly because you didn't have to deal with orange-ish skintones and actually the noise looked much nicer, more like a gritty grain), but have been shooting color only for the longest while now. Definitely will get back into that for stills with the Ricoh GRII, maybe that will translate in a comeback to video as well. The Olympus E-M1 used to have a B&W mode where you could make the B&W dependent on certain colors. Always found that a pretty neat trick.

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5 hours ago, mercer said:

Oh okay, I thought you meant that the ML team figured out a new recording format that uses MLVFS instead of MLVs. When I bought my 5D3, I jumped into a test short and due to the quality of the footage I was getting, the project has grown. So, I just continued processing the Raw Magic/Resolve/ProRes route. When this project is done I intend on trying MLVFS and also the 3.5K crop mode out. Has there been any ML progression with that?

Actually I was curious how you were getting along with the GH5? 

I desperately need a new computer for editing. I’ve been working off a MacBook Air and I have had no issues with ML Raw. Like you, the 4K from the RX10ii bogs it down more than the Raw does and I’m not even using MLVFS yet.

Question though... do MLVFS need to run from the computer’s hard drive... and does it take up a lot of space? Or can I set up an external drive for MLVFS?

 

GH5 is fantastic, honestly it continues to blow me away. I think 5Diii Raw is still more appealing to me but I know people really love the high res look that comes out of the GH5 and now that I can get the colours right and have de-squeeze in camera it's a great tool for me. I basically use GH5 95% of the time. I use my 5Diii for photos now.

MLVFS takes up almost no space. You can also have the files you want to edit on a hard drive, they don't have to be on your computer. 

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Black & White on the GH2 is fantastic...and I think you still have one?...you have to test between the high and lower contrast versions which you like if memory serves correctly, but shooting with the Drewnet Long GOP 9 hack I personally love the result! Andrew also posted some lovely footage from the GH2 he shot in B&W...may be in his guide on the camera.

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I just realised I can not use Rich Tone monochrome for video (only stills) with the A7s so my B&W video choices in camera are only high contrast mono via picture effects or B&W creative style and adjust settings to suit (I much prefer not chasing my tail and just using high contrast mono picture effect).

The same would likely apply with the RX10 ii.

If you have a few trillion (ok I exaggerate) years to spare, you can get the Live view grading app and I believe that has plenty of B&W options too though Ihave not had it for a couple of years but I remember it had decades (not so much an exaggeration) worth of settings to choose from for colours.

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