View Full Version : Unusual B&W filtering problem ---any suggestions?

John Kasaian
7-May-2006, 22:24
Blood on a brilliant white background. Blood is both fresh (red) and dried (brown) ---not paint.

My problem is how do I get the blood to look like blood and not chocolate syrup ( a la Wee Gee) with b&w film?

I'd like to accentuate the details of the white background
(which is statuary) while accurately recording the streaks of blood. I'll be using existing light---daylight---outdoors.

Kind of a strange subject, either the work of some prankster(s), cult, or ...? but certainly a worthy subject for an 8x10----or is this one of those "mission impossible" photographs, like making a pizza look on on b&w film?

Its a long drive (ga$) for me so I want to stack the deck in favor of a decent negative.


Frank Petronio
7-May-2006, 22:49
Isn't this like male portraiture? green to make the guy look ruddy like George Hamilton, orange/red to make him look pale like PeeWee Herman.

John Berry ( Roadkill )
7-May-2006, 23:35
Try a blue filter.

Michael Kadillak
8-May-2006, 07:20
I agree with John in the usage of the blue filter, but I would recommend seeing if you have some color transparency film with you to try. There are some powerful subjects where the descerting eye needs to be able to see the real thing in color. Just a thought.


steve simmons
8-May-2006, 08:14
IMHO showing red blood in a black and white photo and wanting it to look like blood may be a contradiction. It will only be some shade of gray. You can make it darker or lighter with filters but it is only going to be gray. If there was some context in the photo to indicate that it is bllod this would help.

steve simmons

Brian Ellis
8-May-2006, 08:44
A filter may help differentiate the red from the brown but it won't make red blood look like red with b&w film. I think you'll have to accomplish your goal some other way, e.g. by showing the blood flowing from an obvious wound (though if the blood results from a prank there may be no wound to show) or perhaps by the title of the photograph.

Doremus Scudder
8-May-2006, 10:33
I hate to give you the obvious answer, but why not try several filters? I imagine you are looking for separation between the fresh red blood and the darker dried blood. This would seem to indicate a lighter tone for the former. So... Try no filter first. Depending on the film you use, this may give a result you like. A dark green filter would probably darken the red too much, but a light green one might darken it just a bit and still retain separation. A blue filter like an 80B that is a correction filter for tungsten light passes enough red and blue (blood has a blue content as well) to maybe differentiate the values. An orange filter may give interesting results as well. A yellow filter is probably not worth trying. So shoot four sheets of film, pick the one you like best, and learn more about filtration characteristics at the same time... Sounds like a deal to me.

The subject sounds fascinating, and well worth the extra effort and film.

Good luck.

Jim Ewins
8-May-2006, 16:39
I think Brian is correct, you'll have to use context.

John Kasaian
8-May-2006, 23:03
Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll give them a try and see what happens!

domenico Foschi
9-May-2006, 13:22
Hi John,
The blood will never look dark brown, since Weegee at the times was using (like evrybody else) ortho film, which renders red a dark tone.
Blood without filter is most likely to look a shade around zone V and if I am wrong I hope somebody will correct me.

John Kasaian
10-May-2006, 21:01
Hi Domenico,

You're right of course---I didn't consider that lots of WeeGee's work was ortho. I guess I don't need to stress of chocolate syrup looking blood! Thanks!

Patrik Roseen
11-May-2006, 06:19
The topic and discussion is really interesting and maybe the approach should be very different...

...I recall a documentary about a very recent black and white movie production. I had previously seen the film (in black/white) and it was a very good one...however when they presented the same scenes in color it turned out that the red coat which the 'santa' was wearing was actually a green one...now imagine that... a green santa at christmas!

They explained that they had had real difficulties getting the colors to show up in the best and natural way and therefor simply changed the original color to what would look best in B&W. Good luck.