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PaulJohn

Colour film for b&w

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I’m considering the possibility of using colour film to create black and white images. Not because of processing as I rather enjoy sloshing b&w film but because it might look different. Manipulating the colour channels in pp would also add some extra creative control.

 

Has anyone done much with this?

 

 

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Chemical B&W prints from colour film are rather ho-hum in my experience. I rather doubt that digital enhancing will save the day.

But it will certainly look different. Please share your results.

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The orange mask built in to colour films makes convention B&W printing difficult. There was an orange mask on Kodak's B&W chromogenic films - they were designed to be printed onto colour paper for the 1 hr trade. 

 

For scanning, some software (e.g. SIlver Efex Pro) can emulate the effect of colour filters in B&W shooting. 

 

I don't think you will gain anything by shooting on colour film with the goal of B&W prints. You might (at least to a small extent) loose something in terms of grain and sharpness. Instead, think Ilford XP2 Super, or a conventional silver film.

Edited by Michael Hiles

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I have found that black and white images from colour film look very flat with little detail in the shadows, but then my comments are based on wet printing, digital may be different.

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I differ from those disappointed with color images made to B&W via digital means. The profound control of color-to-B&W is, to me, undeniably superior to strict monochrome. How else can one apply, for example, a blue filter and a red filter to the same image using color channels, masks and blending of layers?

 

Please experiment, reconsider, share your results or disappointments.

Best,
Pico

Edited by pico

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I’m considering the possibility of using colour film to create black and white images. Not because of processing as I rather enjoy sloshing b&w film but because it might look different. Manipulating the colour channels in pp would also add some extra creative control.

 

Has anyone done much with this?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yes, a lot.

 

Fuji Velvia 50 in medium format makes for monochrome conversions with extensive and very smooth tonal transitions that looks nothing like most traditional black and white negative film output. 

 

My advice would be not to restrict yourself to simply pushing sliders around in Channels, you'll find far more control and creative possibilities in SFX or Alien Skin.   

Edited by Ouroboros

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I’m considering the possibility of using colour film to create black and white images. Not because of processing as I rather enjoy sloshing b&w film but because it might look different. Manipulating the colour channels in pp would also add some extra creative control.

 

Has anyone done much with this?

 

 

There shouldn't be a problem scanning your colour film and converting it to B&W, I've done it a couple of times. All I would say is it can sometimes look a little bland and soft edged. The lack of grain in many colour films combined with removing the colour, which to the eye gives edge definition, means you may have to play with edge contrast to achieve some fake acutance. Also think about adding grain with Silver Efex.

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I had a play with some Portra 400 scans and there is definitely room for improvement with the LR sliders but you can only go so far before things start to look grungy. Making a blue sky black is achievable in digital but not with film. Will post examples later. 

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Here are my experiments with Ektar 100.

 

Donor photo:

 

Ektar 100 by Paul Nadin, on Flickr

 

mono conversion in LR:

 

Ektar mono by Paul Nadin, on Flickr

 

Blue luminance dropped in LR:

 

Ektar blues darkened by Paul Nadin, on Flickr

 

Red filter applied in Silver Efex:

 

Ektar red filter in silver ex by Paul Nadin, on Flickr

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And one processed to taste using 250SWB's suggestions (thank you):

 

Processed Ektar by Paul Nadin, on Flickr

 

Post processing with 100% clarity, sharpening and adding digital grain to film (isn't that heresy?)

Edited by PaulJohn

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