Red lips, Black Lips

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by hoffy, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,332
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Howdy,

    Just a bit of a "how did they do it" type of question.

    I have been looking at some period (40's, 50's, 60's) glamor/pinup portraiture of late and have been wondering how I could possibly re-create certain aspects.

    The one thing that has struck me is how often the lips nearly look very dark and often nearly completely black. Considering that the skin is also quite washed out, it has my thinking how and why does this occur? Is it due to the use of Ortho film? Or is there filtration in play?

    Can anyone give me an insight?

    Cheers
     
  2. Angelo di Mango

    Angelo di Mango Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    BOURGOIN-JALLIEU, France
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What about heavy make-up?
    a light blue filter will also darken reddish hues.
     
  3. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,015
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I saw a documentary thingy where they were re-creating the filming of a silent B+W movie, not sure from what era (it was a hand-cranked cine-camera, at least).
    There, they used Blue lipstick to get the right shade on the B+W film...
     
  4. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm going to go with a blue filter as well. I did a filter test and, while I wasn't wearing lipstick (no other model handy at 3 in the morning), my lips were significantly darker than without a blue filter. Unfortunately, I have freckles so they were more noticeable, also. If you're not wanting to show up freckles or other blemishes, a decent coating of foundation is definitely required!
     
  5. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,332
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    And this is exactly why I am confused! I would have said a blue filter, but that is hardly going to be flattering for a Hollywood starlet! Often, I have noticed that the skin is really blown, but yes, I suppose a lot of that could come down to makeup (my wife hardly wears makeup, so it never comes to mind straight away).

    I suppose I am also a touch confused with the likes of Bettie Page - when ever you see her in colour, she has that candy apple red lipstick, but in B&W those lips are quite dark. I also suppose, how often would have she been involved in a shoot at the same time that was both in colour and B&W.
     
  6. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That surprises me given that, to the best of my knowledge, film has always been most sensitive to blue. Then again, throw on an orange filter and you're killing two birds with one stone with the blue lipstick - dark lips and glowing white skin. It would obviate the need for a blue filter (thus lessening the need to cake on the make up) and would avoid zombie white eyes for those of us with blue eyes.
    Okay, that works for me :smile:
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,420
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In the old days, they only had orthochromatic film, no red sensitivity.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,541
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Quite correct Rick, films were not panochromatic (sensitive to all colours)
    you just beat me to it.
     
  9. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Given that Hoffy spoke of the 40s, 50s and 60s, I discounted orthochromatic films as the cause since they were phased out of use in Holywood studios during the late thirties. I'm going purely from Roger Hicks and Christopher Nisperos' 'Holywood Portraits' book here. All of the decades mentioned are just a tad before my time :tongue:
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,998
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    yup, there was TRI-X ORTHO as well ( asa 400 )
    karsh used this film a lot, or something like it
    we used to use it in the 1980s as well ...

    you can probably recreate this look using filters

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/86838-ortho-not-pan-film.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2013
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,717
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Rick is correct.
     
  12. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Saw this online a little while back and is a good example of the use of colors on the original adams family set to get good black and white tones when shot.

    http://i.imgur.com/MIV9yAQ.jpg

    Kinda trippy to see it in color.
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,203
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    On the early Baird B&W TV models I am sure I read that the presenters had to use green lipstick to make their lips stand out. Could the same apply to still shots and could it be made even darker with red or magenta filters?

    pentaxuser
     
  14. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Bavaria, Ger
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    A #66 filter should do the trick. For a more intense effect, a #58 will work quite nicely. Freckles and blemishes may need some cover up, though, as they darken with the green also.
     
  15. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wow, that looks incredibly garish when one is used to seeing the set in black and white!
     
  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,248
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In order to get the effect of an orthochromatic film you must use a minus-red filter (cyan). A blue or green filter is not going to give the same effect. You want red light to be filtered out but not the other colors. For the color blind film used in early silent films you would use a blue filter as these films were not sensitized to other colors.

    Early experiments in television used a sensor that was also orthochromatic. To compensate makeup that was green not red was used. People looked quit ghastly in person when using it.
     
  17. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,824
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +++Ortho
     
  18. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Bavaria, Ger
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    According to AA's Basic Photo 4, Natural Light Photography, a 38, 38A, or 66 will give a good representation of ortho film. He also says a #66 will give the most satisfactory results with its high green transmission. Although a 65A might be better suited for what your trying, based on Kodak's Pub B-3, and on the old Transmission of Wratten Filters guide.

    Of course, using filters to do what you can with ortho film may seem contrary to the sensible approach, they will work in the absence of ortho film.

    Panchromatic film was introduced around 1905, although it wasn't until the 30s-40s that it gained real acceptance outside cinematic uses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2013
  19. Drifter

    Drifter Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I was once told that make-up, as well as clothing and even set colours were specifically chosen to look 'right' in B/W. The cinematographers back then had a great eye for how things looked with their particular film stock. The colour publicity shots may have been something separate.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,586
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Standard trick that I had used in the past, use ortho film to get the almost black lips.
     
  21. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

    Messages:
    1,726
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Location:
    Elko, Nevada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might be able to do something similar with paper negatives.
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,998
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    yup
    or hand coated glass plates
     
  23. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,015
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, now that I think about it, it doesn't make sense. Maybe if they'd used red lipstick on ortho film, the lips would have appeared black, which is why they used blue lipstick to get a slight shade of grey to the lips. That makes more sense...
     
  24. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

    Messages:
    1,489
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Penfield, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
  25. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,332
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format