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Silent movie look

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Chris Morrison
Silent movie look
on Apr 19, 2012 at 10:28:10 pm

Does anyone have any tips or tricks in getting a good black and white silent movie look within Media-100 HD? All footage was shot in color and not lit for black and white.


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Michael Slowe
Re: Silent movie look
on Apr 20, 2012 at 3:17:44 pm

In the color FX I'm certain there is a Black & White setting in the 'Classic' window. There used to be anyway, I haven't checked my latest version.

Michael Slowe


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Nick Griffin
Re: Silent movie look
on Apr 22, 2012 at 5:02:18 pm

[Michael Slowe] "there is a Black & White setting"

Chris-
If you're trying for the look of a silent movie in Media 100 there's more too it than just a black and white setting. Unfortunately once you apply the setting under the classic color correction mode trying anything else undoes the black and white conversion.

Assuming your goal is to stay inside the Media 100 environment, what I would do is render out the black and white footage then re-import it so you could tweak it using the curves commands. Try using curves to "crush the blacks" -- pull the lower level, ie - the bottom 20-30% further down / darker. Then perhaps trying the opposite with the top end of the range. This will give you a more limited range of grays which was the look of much of the earliest film stocks.

The available tinting option seems fairly limited so instead you might want to use Red to create an overlay track of a solid color Vary the opacity of the layer to taste to give the footage a lower contrast and a color cast which connotes old, ie. - sepia.

Old silent movie footage also often has places where it was broken and re-spliced. Try adding a few very short jump cuts in places.

You might also want to add a track overlay of dust and scratches to help sell the idea of the video being old. There is a film artifacts collection from Artbeats that has lots of good stuff like that, but there are also many other things like it online.

Now if you REALLY want to get serious and really want to achieve the look, XML your way over to Apple's Color application or another high end color grading app where you'll have an even greater ability to tweak. You'll also have a large number of pre-sets available including the ability to "bloom" the highlights further mimicking the old film look.

Like so many things in this business there's really no one way to go about what you're trying to achieve, so try a few. If you have the time experiment with as many as you can.


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Michael Slowe
Re: Silent movie look
on Apr 22, 2012 at 5:29:54 pm

Very impressive advice Nick, all I was doing was to indicate how to get the B & W bit!

Michael Slowe


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Chris Morrison
Re: Silent movie look
on Apr 22, 2012 at 8:20:46 pm

Thanks Nick, I think you got me going in the right direction.


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Floh Peters
Re: Silent movie look
on Apr 24, 2012 at 5:13:09 pm

Another (easy) approach is to load your clip into Red (select the clip in the Timeline, CMD-Shift-E), and apply the "BCC Film Damage" filter to it. There are various presets including black&white ones which should give you a pretty good start; including scratches, dirt, Flicker, Grain and everything else you could want to destroy your image ;-)



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Nick Griffin
Re: Silent movie look
on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:50:14 pm

[Floh Peters] "apply the "BCC Film Damage" filter to it"

In the words of Homer Simpson, "Doh!!"


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