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How to film a developing photograph?
  • I am going to shoot a music video for a performer who has a love of black and white photography.

    I am contemplating shots in his darkroom with the red safety light look. While I am sure I can simulate it at any f-stop I like with GEL's and fill, I wonder if anybody has any suggestions (or is aware of new paper technology or a really high power safety light) that would enable me to shoot a CU of an actual photo developing without too much of a mismatch in image quality

    High ISO and fast lens are obvious solutions, wondering if anybody has any other suggestions


  • 15 Replies sorted by
  • Thing is that you always can do timelapse here to get long shutter speeds.

    You can make main video just with good red lighting and grading in post.

    And after this cut timelapse of developing photo.

  • Set any camcorder to infra red mode and shoot.

    Tint the B&W result in post to make it red again.

  • @goanna That's very creative!

  • @goanna

    Yep, but it is not required, as I said, you can change speed of developing. And just use simple time lapse with long shutter times. Picture will be uncomparable to IR, of you forget how photo itsefl will look if you shoor IR.

  • I can see where @goanna's coming from, though. Timelapse could work if you were talking about a fixed shot, or a piece of paper that's not moving around, but from what I remember of developing B&W prints, you sort of jiggle them around in a tray of developer liquid while you watch the image appear.

  • @Mark_the_Harp

    And you seen many video with photo that is being jiggled? You won't see a thing.

    So, it is just editing task. Show guy and moving photo, cut to his head, cut to timelapse, something like it.

  • I would probably do red light and developing photo in post.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Not that I can remember - but I have developed B&W prints in the darkroom and it's magical to see the image slowly appear. But i take your point that you would probably create something that would look good by creative shooting and cutting.

    I guess in general, when you do video you are giving an idea of the process rather than the actual process, second by second.

  • I've seen shots like that in movies, shot on film, but not digital. I'm wondering how would GH1 and GH2 sensors respond to shooting in an actual red-room (developing-room) light? I mean, aren't those red lights actually infra-red? And if yes, then is there a risk or other consequences to shooting under such red light?

  • The light in a developing room is red. If it were infra-red light, we wouldn't be able to see in the darkroom.

    To test your sensor, get a red safe gel or else s red party bulb. If everything isn't red, you''ll have discovered something we didn't know about these sensors.

    To test the sensor under infra red light, hire a medIcal one from a pharmacy.They get hot and also emit light in the visible part of the red spectrum. Any safety warnings are printed on the box.

    Again, if the GH2/1 footage isn't red, this is news.

  • From what I remember, a red safelight isn't very bright, so shooting would be a challenge under those conditions (if you were going to do it for real and not just mock up the process as @Vitaliy_Kiselev suggests)

  • in my experience, a red safelight won't suffice. i accomplished something similar with 1:15 diluted dektol, several kodak light amber safelights (you'll be surprised how bright you can get the room w/o fogging the paper) and a canon 5d2 at 25k iso (nikkor 1.2 lens wide open, shutter was 1/20th or 1/30th i think). results were ok after using neatvideo sw. would be interesting to try gh2s 40 fps feature here, but the buffer and iso might be a problem.

  • Was curious ... just did a quick test in my (i last used it about 10y ago) B&W darkroom: Something like 15 watts inactinic bulb.

    GH2 with " Apocalypse_Now_-Cluster_v7_DREWnet_12_15_GOP'444_Sharp'_matrix_setc" hack, 1/2.5 14mm pana lens.

    Camera setup: AVCHD 1080i, standard film mode... all default. (quick test) The camera get this light... very noisy footage tho. When i film near the lamp, not so bad. You will have to bring the red lamp near the revelator bath (it will not disturb the image on the paper) and, with some fiddling, it should be do-able.


  • @Soulglow

    Thanks for testing. From all of us.

  • It's an effects shot. I'd shoot paper in bath without water moving say with some plastic tongs then track an image dissolving up onto the paper. I'd then add some distorted water reflections. Shoot the reflections against black so you get a nice luma key . These can be added with an add or screen in a compositing package. But maybe that's more work than you were thinking. You can also do a CU of the image dissolving on with some very subtle ripple distortion and the reflections. Add some nice depth of field which you can do with a simple tilt shift effect. Cut into the scene this should look pretty cool. Post allows you to control the effect much more and allows you to change what gets developed. Shooting it you are limited to what you manage to do on the day.