FORUMS: list search recent posts

Re: Black Clothing is blowing out the blacks.

COW Forums : Cinematography

Respond to this post   •   Return to posts index   •   Read entire thread

Todd Terry
Re: Black Clothing is blowing out the blacks.
on Jul 21, 2018 at 4:11:48 am
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Jul 21, 2018 at 4:14:24 am

You have indeed given yourself a photographically tough situation there...

You're not alone, nor doing anything wrong on the technical side though, it's just a difficult situation that many of us deal with all the time. Whenever we have to have actors provide any of their own wardrobe, our usual speech (right after "Bring several options") is "No pure blacks, pure whites, or busy patterns." I more or less forbid pure blacks as major costume pieces. Something small (a man's tie) is ok... something big (an entire suit or dress) is not.

Even then with the lecturing, we still run into it. Many people (especially women) think they absolutely look best in black, and show up in it anyway... despite the fact that they might indeed look their best in black in person, they probably don't on camera. And on the other end of the luminence spectrum, if you have lots of healthcare clients like we do, you learn to dread white lab coats (which is why if you ever go on the set of a medical TV show, say, Grey's Anatomy, you'll find all the doctor's coats are actually gray, not white).

But I digress...

There are a few things you can do...

Yes, a higher-end camera can have a wider exposure lattitude, and that might keep the blacks from being crushed (especially a high-end and high-lattitude camera, Arri Alexa, etc.). That being said though, the 5D does have a pretty wide range, so I'd expect only limited improvement.

I'm not a DSLR guy (don't let me get on my soapbox about using still cameras for motion work when you should be using a cine camera), so I'm not sure what profile settings are available on the 5D... but there may be some tweaks you can make to the picture profile to improve the situation. If you were using a cine camera, I'd say "Adjust the pedestal setting." Is there something comparable in your camera?

Lighting... your lighting plot doesn't look bad at all, but it might not be the right design for this scene. Try more backlighting. And I dont' mean a little... but a lot. Really pour it on... at least as bright as your key light, if not substantially brighter. Maybe even some sidelighting instead of (or in addition to) lots of backlighting.

But I think you will get by far the best results with what is by far the very easiest tweak: DON'T PUT THEM IN BLACK. Is there any reason that your talent has to have a black wardrobe? Maybe there is, but if not simply put them in something else. If you are wanting a monochromatic look, even a fairly dark gray will probably give the impression of a black wardrobe, but still allowing some details to read... and definitely not crush like the real pure black does.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

Posts IndexRead Thread 

Current Message Thread:

© 2019 All Rights Reserved