RED EPIC Hire — Options for Shooting in Black & WhiteMarc Ehrenbold
A RED EPIC hire might just be your best bet for shooting in black & white.
Should you wish to shoot in black & white for budgetary, logistic, or artistic reasons, the scene today is very different than it was in the days of film noir. For one thing, fewer movies are now shot on film (leading Fujifilm to recently cease production of their motion picture film stock). And, given that there is less demand for black & white film than colour, this will no doubt be the first of the two to go obsolete.
But do not fear. Digital technology can, to a large extent, fill the void. This was made perfectly clear when cinematographer Jay Hunter shot Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing recently. (Enter, the RED EPIC hire.) According to Film.com, Hunter actually used a RED EPIC camera to film, then desaturated the footage in post-production. (Aimimage, of course, offers just such a Red Epic hire, should you be interested in quote.) Hunter did feel there were a few drawbacks in switching to digital, but also some distinct advantages:
“I was shooting a lot of scenes in the movie in very low light conditions. Particularly the night interiors and exteriors. To the eye they looked too dark. Then we’d turn the camera on, set the camera, and it would pop like crazy. It’s cool for the actors because it puts them at ease, like they’re in a real environment.”
For those still lamenting the demise of film, know you are not alone, and take heart in the fact that there is also skepticism as to whether or not the average moviegoer can even tell the difference between the various methods of producing a black & white picture. To test this theory, Film.com categorised images from some notable monochrome scenes of the past decade:
Schindler’s List (Shot on B&W film)
“The goal of the film was to work in black and white, but not to film the villains in the typical villainous ways. Whatever darkness was in the characters would come from inside them.” — Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (NY Times Magazine)
The White Ribbon (shot on colour film and desaturated in post-production)
“From the start, it was goal of mine to create a modern black and white film, not a nostalgic one. It’s a new quality that’s possible now, because black and white film has not progressed since the 1980s, everything that’s in a color negative you can transform into a very fine grayscale, so it was an advantage.” — Cinematographer Christian Berger (Wall Street Journal)
Sin City (shot on colour digital and desaturated in post-production)
“This movie was going to be so different from regular movies were going to be shot…if you read [Frank Miller’s] book, you see he’s a director working with paper instead of a camera. I wanted to emulate that in the movie and make the cinematic equivalent of his book. If you want to have fun, learn your technology. Technology pushes the art form to create new ideas.” – Cinematographer Robert Rodriguez on Sin City’s “Making Of” featurette. (For more, see film.com.)
So, to RED EPIC hire, or not to RED EPIC hire?
Obviously, the choice is up to you. As always. But it’s reassuring to know that, despite the slow disappearance of film, black & white will not be pushed out along with it. Though we suspect film will never really be pushed out. Again, it’s all about options. And you have the option to make a black & white picture using film. But you also have the option to search out a Red Epic hire and get the job done that way.
Aimimage is your one stop shop for all your filming equipment hire requirements in London. Contact us today to find out more.