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Green filter for black & white film/skin tones...
Old 06-19-2005, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Got a quick question about filters for black & white film. I'm pretty sure that yellow, orange, and red filters would lighten skin tones to varying degrees (if I'm wrong here, please let me know). Well, what exactly does a green filter do to skin tones?

Okay, here's an example scene: Chair w/deep cherry stain and reddish upholstery; light blue carpet; model's lightly tanned skin. I know the green filter will darken the red chair, and I'm thinking the filter would lighten the skin tones... is that correct? What would it do to the blue carpet?

Any help you guys could give would rock. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Sam
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Re: Green filter for black & white film/skin tones...
Old 06-19-2005, 09:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It has been a while since I've thought about filters and B&W film. I also never used anything other than red, but here are my assumptions and guesses anyway.

The green filter will lighten greens and darken reds. So, your red chair will render darker, while the light blue carpet will render lighter. Skin tones are more difficult to determine because they vary considerably. I would say most caucasians will be lightened by a green filter, Asians would be lightened even more, and olive skin and darker toned people might actually be darkened by the green filter. I'm only guessing here. But this is my logic.

The complimentay color of your filter will be darkened, so your green will darken reds and its secondary teriary colors. So your violets and oranges will also be darkened but with less effect than the red. Yellow-orange and blue-violet--well I'm not sure if those are affected by a green filter. As you get into the tertiary and secondary colors of green, you will be rendering those as lighter tones. So blue and yellow will be lightened by a green filter and green even more so. This is because the green filter allows only green light to pass and in effect overexposes pure green.

Again, I don't have much experience with green filters and I'm sure you know all of that already, but that is how I thought about the effects my red filter would have when I used it. I'm sure someone will come along and correct me soon.

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Re: Green filter for black & white film/skin tones...
Old 06-19-2005, 11:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey there Alan, thanks for the reply,

Yeah, what you're saying makes sense, and it's kinda what I was thinking too, but I wasn't for sure. Based on the colors I'll be shooting for this scene, I was wondering if a green filter would be good to use, and now I'm almost positive it would be. I really don't have much experience with filters for black & white, though (actually don't have much experience using any filters), so I guess I'll shoot a few test rolls beforehand so that I can at least act like I know what I'm doing. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Thanks much,

Sam
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Re: Green filter for black & white film/skin tones...
Old 06-20-2005, 12:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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OK, that is actually fascinating. When I do B/W conversions in photoshop I start by looking at the RGB channels individually to determine which gives the best skin tones before I use the channel mixer to convert. Now that you mention it my friends nieces are asian and they were very bright in the green channel.

Learn something every day.
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Re: Green filter for black & white film/skin tones...
Old 06-20-2005, 02:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sam check out this link it might be of some help. Click on the 'black and white' link in the navigation on the right and then on 'filters'. There's also some filters for download, the ones on toning are quite nice by the way.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Green filter for black & white film/skin tones...
Old 06-20-2005, 06:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey that's pretty cool. I liked how you could click on the buttons to see right there how the tones would be effected.

Thanks for pointing that out,

Sam
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Green filter digital?
Old 06-20-2005, 06:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i used to do a lot of actor portfolio photography... years ago. mostly, i shot this stuff in daylight, with kodak pan x 125, a 135mm prime mounted on my canon, and i almost always used a green filter.

so here's my question: i'm gonna buy a canon 20d in the near future. if and when i'm shooting in the 20d's b&w mode, should i use a green filter? or does the camera produce a file that, while in B&W, still includes all the color channels embedded so i can mess with them individually in PS? cuz if the latter is the case, then i don't think i need the green filter.
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Re: Green filter digital?
Old 06-20-2005, 07:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, I didn't actually know the answer to that 'til just two seconds ago, check this out from DPReview page 3

"Black & White mode
Also new is an in-camera black and white mode with digital color filters which work in the same way as a color filter would on black and white film. Additionally you can also apply a 'tone' to the black and white image (sepia etc.)"

It also mentioned here about shooting a RAW file and converting it with different b&w setting in the EOS Viewer Utility. So I'm guessing that when you shoot in b&w mode, it's a grayscale with no color info to play with, but you can use a digital color filter right when you shoot it, or shoot RAW and try different conversions later. At least that's the impression I got. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Either way, it looks like you shouldn't need a filter on the lens.

Hope this helps...

Sam
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Re: Green filter digital?
Old 06-20-2005, 07:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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cool! thanks. there's my answers and then some.
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Re: Green filter digital?
Old 06-20-2005, 09:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No prob. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Sam
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