One way B&W/Monochrome is done in the movies these days

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by JDMvW, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. A lot of modern "black and white" is color with the saturation turned down (or whatever) and it looks so sad--low contrast, muddy. OTOH, I've watched "The Magnificent Ambersons" with Mrs Ken and not had any idea what the movie was about--I was too busy reveling in the gorgeous camera work and the composition of some of the scenes. :)
    denny_rane likes this.
  2. AJG


    Since most cinematography is digital these days, I suspect that any B&W that we see in Roma originated from a color sensor. One of the more impressive things technically about Spielberg's Schindler's List was the fact that in the original theatrical run the color parts were printed on color print stock and the B&W parts were printed on B&W print stock and spliced together for the release prints. Wings of Desire on the other hand was printed on color stock even though shot on B&W film and looked much the poorer for it. It is extremely difficult to get a neutral black on color stock and that is much more evident when there isn't supposed to be any color in the image.
    ken_kuzenski likes this.
  3. Hopefully, you’ll see Roma, Ida, and Cold War, all contemporary black and white films which are both stunning to look at and tell great stories.
    Incredible movie. Orson Welles is the gold standard. Watch it again sometime, paying attention to the narrative as well. The movie is a rich and full experience on all levels. :)
    ken_kuzenski and Spearhead like this.
  4. Like revisiting 1973's Day for Night, only in modern style.
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    A lot of modern "black and white" is color with the saturation turned down (or whatever) and it looks so sad--low contrast, muddy

    Have you seen Roma? Doesn't sound like it.
    ken_kuzenski likes this.
  6. Speaking of current black & white films has anyone seen Cold War? Shot ising the so-called "Academy Forma"- 1.37:1, it has a magical quality to the visual aspects, and a rich musical soundtrack. A FAR better film that Roma in my humble opinion. Having seen both. Shot with Arri Alexa Cameras using Zeiss (and other) lenses.
    I couldn't tell from reading about it, if it was shot in color then converted to B&W but it's a very nice film and well worth watching. It's been nominated for several academy awards, and is very deserving IMO.
  7. I watched Roma today and I must admit I struggled with the visuals (especially definition, tonality, aspect ratio- which has nothing to do with bw conversion) as a lot of it seemed “vague” but maybe because I watched it on an ipad.

    (Nevertheless, I loved the film. A mixture of flatlining and cardiac arrest)
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  8. Likely an important factor.

    I got to see a 70mm print of Roma in a movie theater and had none of the reservations you did. While it was less stark visually than the more bold black and whites of Cold War, also an incredible film, I thought Roma’s more subtle black and white work was sublime and matched the tone of the story and the slower pacing of the movie.
    Ricochetrider and Ludmilla like this.
  9. Interesting indeed.
    I appreciate your expertise.....Thank You

  10. I encourage you to see IDA and Cold War. Maybe you learn to recognize a color called black and another one called white. Maybe....
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The thing that is most different from most movies about how Roma is filmed is that it avoids closeups. The scenes are more broad and that feels very different.
    Ricochetrider and Ludmilla like this.
  12. Here’s something from an interview with Alfonso Cuarón, the all-in-one director, cinematographer, writer, and editor of Roma.
  13. Can you post a link to that Alfonso Cuaron interview? I'd like to read the whole of it.
  14. There were many times when watching the film that I actually brought my ipad closer to my eyes than normal to try and get a closeup!

    I used the word “vague” before but perhaps a better word would be “disconnected” (visually not emotionally)
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  16. I haven't; I'm not a big fan of the movies, but I will see it--it's on Mrs Ken's list. :) I'm glad there's so much improvement--when I complained, I really meant the pseudo-B&W often seen in TV shows and commercials, not the renaissance of B&Was a medium. My English is, how you say, "inelegant." ;-) This has been an interesting thread--thanks to all!

Share This Page