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'shindler's list' color effect

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'shindler's list' color effect
on Aug 13, 2002 at 3:34:28 pm

What's the best way to create the effect of one thing in color in an otherwise b/w image? Like the little girl with the red coat in Shindler's List.

What's the best software option, what are the high end options and why would somebody pay tons of money to do it in a post house?

what are the pros and cons of film vs. tape in this kind of color effect, digital vs. analog, DV vs HD?

Thanks in advance.

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Jim Kanter
Re: 'shindler's list' color effect
on Aug 13, 2002 at 6:37:40 pm

This is called a "COLOR PASS" effect. This filter is built into Premiere and can be achieved through color correction effects in other apps (by totally desaturating every color except the one you want to keep).

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Bob Bonniol
Re: 'shindler's list' color effect
on Aug 13, 2002 at 11:39:22 pm


This is a sort of simplistic explanation... By using color pass you are isolating a specific hue within a color channel... It wouldn't be that easy. For instance, while the girl in Schindlers List was wearing a red jacket, there was assuredly plenty of other red in that picture (red being a pigment component of many, many colors). I'm pretty sure that Schindler's List was probably shot in color and then converted to B&W in Telecine...

So, though you could isolate a color, and then desaturate the other color channels, the remainder of the B&W image would take on a reddish palor. Doing anything like this in an app like Premiere would be long and painful.

It is far more likely that the jacket was multipoint tracked in a high end compositing and FX environment such as Inferno (or more recently platforms like Cyborg or DS) and then the color pass or an out and out colorization was performed on that tracked piece of the footage alone.

This is not to dismiss your theory however... It is a color pass effect (likely)... it's just that the pulling of the element out of the rest of the shot was likely a good deal more complicated.


Bob Bonniol

Creative Director
Mode Studios / Monarch Designs
Art of the Edit Forum Leader

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Geoffrey Dudgeon
on Aug 14, 2002 at 1:09:19 am

I recently had a project similar to this - a proof of concept spot involving someone biting into an ice cream cone. The clients liked the spot but thought the ice cream looked too white and wanted it to be pink instead.

What I did was roto the ice cream blob in commotion then apply a tint to it, whole process took about half an hour - really short despite the fact that the shot (about 450 frames) was handheld, the ice cream was waving around and dramatically changed shape during and after the bite.

Rotoing in commotion is so damn sweet and would certainly be helpful if you were trying to re-create the red coat shot. Just hunker down with commotion and a tablet (I sure wish I had a tablet for the icecream shot - but unfortunately I was using the client's tibook), dupe the layer and roto the girl (or whatever you're using) then desaturate the lower layer (magic bullet suite has an absolutely gorgeous black and white film filter) and tint the upper layer - or do whatever else floats your boat.

One more thing - rotoing goes so much smoother if you're working with nice, clean progressive footage (I bullet everything before I roto it).

Anyway - enjoy! =]


PS - The alternative, as was mentioned, would be to shoot the shot carefully (quite careful to make sure the colour of the object you want to extract isn't in anything else in the shot - green would work well) then use a secondary color corrector (like the one in FCP) to desaturate the background and to swing the hue of the jacket around 180 degrees to red. Or you could dupe the layer, key out the jacket, invert the alpha channel and change its hue to be red. Alright I'm blathering - enough of this - bye!!

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