Spot colour on Black and White

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Donald Binks

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Spot colour on Black and White

PostFri Sep 19, 2014 6:50 pm

I have seen this done quite often - perhaps more famously in pictures such as "Pleasantville" and more recently "The Giver".

As I am not at all technical and being fascinated by it - I wonder if there is some expert out there who may be able to explain to this dunce how it is done? :)
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Danny Burk

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Re: Spot colour on Black and White

PostFri Sep 19, 2014 9:17 pm

Assuming that it's similar to the way it's done in Photoshop with still photos.....

Start with a color photo. Add a layer (think of an overlay on top of the original photo) that removes color, leaving only the tonality from black to white. Then "erase" part of that layer, allowing original color to show through in the area that was erased.
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Donald Binks

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Re: Spot colour on Black and White

PostFri Sep 19, 2014 9:35 pm

Danny Burk wrote:Assuming that it's similar to the way it's done in Photoshop with still photos.....

Start with a color photo. Add a layer (think of an overlay on top of the original photo) that removes color, leaving only the tonality from black to white. Then "erase" part of that layer, allowing original color to show through in the area that was erased.


Would they have to do that with every frame of the film?
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Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Spot colour on Black and White

PostFri Sep 19, 2014 9:50 pm

Yes, like animation. Computers have gotten clever about following the contours of objects, but you still need a human eye to make sure each frame comes out right.

If you want to see how you do it before computers... go to about 1:19:00 in this old PBS version of Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven. Bruce Davison's magical powers have been employed to end color prejudice... and so the cast has to be painted black and white!
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Donald Binks

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Re: Spot colour on Black and White

PostFri Sep 19, 2014 11:25 pm

Thanks guys for the explanation. I am getter better educated every day! :D Thanks also for reminding me of "The Lathe of Heaven" - I remember seeing this picture all those years ago.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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All Darc

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Re: Spot colour on Black and White

PostThu Sep 29, 2016 10:03 am

Pleasantville was mostly decolored. Most scenes was shoot in color film stock, and the portions of image (sets, characters or objects) that was intended to be look monochrome was desaturated, leaving only the few characters of objects that was suposed to be in in color.
This was easier than shoot in B&W and colorized characters what was suposed to be in color. Easier and more natural looking.

Some scenes require to recolore the characters that needed to look in color while everything else looked monochrome, when the envioronment colors was affecting the characters colors too much, in order to make the characters looks like pure colors like that wasn't being affected by other colors of the set.
Keep thinking...

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