color to black & white conversion
October 9, 2010 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Can the luminous black and white look of the film "The Man Who Wasn't There" be duplicated either in a digital camera or with Photoshop 7 or Photoshop Elements 6? The effect I am trying to duplicate is best seen in the barbershop scenes. I have come somewhat close in PSE6 by starting with a color image and manipulating the b&w conversion options.
posted by Raybun to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In short, of course it can. For the long version explanation you'll need to provide a screencap.
posted by sanka at 10:34 PM on October 9, 2010

It's all about the lighting, really. Specifically, it's all about the diffuse sidelight (as from a window) and the ~50% bounce from the other side (as from a white wall).
posted by Sys Rq at 10:41 PM on October 9, 2010

Also, remember that converting from colour results in low contrast (i.e., it looks like dreary grey shit), so you'll want to bump it up a bit.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:56 PM on October 9, 2010

For what it's worth, The Man Who Wasn't There was originally shot on color film.

Proper lighting and dressing beforehand goes a long, long, long way.

Playing with the color image, especially its separate RGB channels, before converting to b&w is another key thing. Think about how b&w photographers use colored filters on their lenses to cause all sorts of strange effects - white skies under red filters, craggy faces under green filters.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:07 PM on October 9, 2010

Best answer: I'm not sure exactly what you're going for, but this is a good tutorial (this too) on the B&W conversion process.
posted by null terminated at 11:35 PM on October 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Possible example image: here.
posted by beerbajay at 8:05 AM on October 10, 2010

That's very contrasty with a lot of side light.
posted by nevercalm at 8:21 AM on October 10, 2010

Response by poster: The photo posted by nevercalm does not do justice to the radiant feeling of the film.
posted by Raybun at 8:26 AM on October 10, 2010

I posted not a single thing.
posted by nevercalm at 12:35 PM on October 11, 2010

white skies under red filters

Black skies. White skies through a blue filter.

Here's a better depiction of what the OP's asking about.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:51 PM on October 11, 2010

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