Benefits of Shooting in Black and White

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Chances are your pre-production brainstorming and storyboarding sessions have focused on your video project’s message, script, and aesthetic. Has anyone suggested filming in black and white instead of color? Depending on your company, using color is probably still the best bet for corporate productions and product or trade show videos. If you are filming a commercial, music video, or other promotional material, however, consider how shooting in black and white could enhance your production:


Stand Out in the Crowd

This benefit is obvious, but it may carry more weight than you think. Whether your Orlando video production will be televised or posted online, something filmed in black and white will automatically stand out against the vast amounts of visual information humans take in each day. Catch your viewers’ eyes with the purposeful lack of color, and then keep their attention with a quality, compelling production.


Set the Tone

A black and white film can carry many different references or connotations. Many recent blockbusters and independent movies were filmed in black and white to set the scene for the plot and draw the viewers into content. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Schindler’s List begins in color before jumping back in time and shooting in black and white for all wartime scenes. Although also a wartime film, Ben Wheatley said that shooting his 2013 A Field in England in black and white was important so that viewers would be drawn to textures and the faces of characters rather than their clothing and background colors.


Alternatively, Josh Whedon’s 2012 version of Much Ado About Nothing was filmed sans color to reflect the lives of the people within the modest, austere story, while numerous other films shoot in black and white as a way to purposefully reflect old French directors or the previous era of film-making and traditional Hollywood glamour. A fun example of this is Tim Burton’s 2012 Frankenweenie, a stop-motion parody film of the 1931 classic horror production of Frankenstein. No matter why you choose to film in black and white, it can create a unique mood and tone for your production.


Artistic Contrast

Aim your camera phone at an object in the room and take two pictures, one in color and one in black-and-white. Whether you have just photographed a stack of books, pile of pens, or glass of water, compare the differences between the two images. The photo in color will be more vivid and may feel more real or tangible. The photo in black and white, however, probably looks more artistic and expensive, although it could also feel dated or muted. Now, imagine a slice of your video production in color and then black in white. How does the change in color affect your perception?


For example, some cell phone or other technology commercials use bright colors and loud sounds to attract attention, or they feature the company spokesperson or mascot in an unusual predicament. This type of commercial aims to gain attention by creating visual interest, but a screen too full of content can backfire. Other technology commercials, on the other hand, are much more simplistic. The product may be slowly rotating to show off its specs above a muted color palette and neutral background. This method is effective because it tells the viewers’ eyes exactly where to look, while making the product appear sleek and savvy.


Shooting your commercial in black and white can take this idea one step further by creating a specific, artistic atmosphere. The resulting production will stand out on its own and against itself due to the high levels of contrast. Viewers who are used to taking in color-related information may find themselves peering harder at the screen, to discern more details and collect additional information in other ways.


Dramatic Flair

Monochromatic images tend to feel instantly dramatic, regardless of the subject material. Because of this, black and white filmmaking can be artistic and subtle, or it can be overly dramatic on purpose. You can use the lack of color in your production to highlight the duality of good and evil, or of light and dark. Set scenes in stark contrast or include more subtle and gradual shading. Consider the intensity of shadows on the set and how the lighting affects forms, shapes, and textures. Filming without color forces you to focus on your subjects and script, and how well those carry the emotions of your production.


Add Shading

If black and white films are not your style or you feel such a production would not work for your company, simply try a different approach to the colors you do use. Consider adding one hue throughout the production, or highlighting a certain object or figure with the use of color. Alternatively, film in color but make the set monochromatic or entirely within a particular color palette. Doing so can add a surreal quality to your image, which will help it stand out.


Whether you are interested in filming with or without color, our Orlando video production company, NG Production Films, can handle all of your production needs. Call us today at 877-203-2895 for a free consultation or fill out our contact form for a prompt reply.