Black and white

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A black-and-white photo of a breadfruit, c. 1870 Breadfruit.jpg
A black-and-white photo of a breadfruit, c. 1870

Black-and-white (B/W or B&W) images combine black and white in a continuous spectrum, producing a range of shades of gray.

Continuous spectrum

In physics, a continuous spectrum usually means a set of attainable values for some physical quantity that is best described as an interval of real numbers, as opposed to a discrete spectrum, a set of attainable values that is discrete in the mathematical sense, where there is a positive gap between each value and the next one.

In digital photography, computer-generated imagery, and colorimetry, a grayscale or greyscale image is one in which the value of each pixel is a single sample representing only an amount of light, that is, it carries only intensity information. Grayscale images, a kind of black-and-white or gray monochrome, are composed exclusively of shades of gray. The contrast ranges from black at the weakest intensity to white at the strongest.

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Media

The history of various visual media has typically begun with black and white, and as technology improved, altered to color. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including black-and-white fine art photography, as well as many motion pictures and art films.

Film sequence of images that give the impression of movement

A film, also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images. This optical illusion causes the audience to perceive continuous motion between separate objects viewed in rapid succession. The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion-picture camera, by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, by means of CGI and computer animation, or by a combination of some or all of these techniques, and other visual effects.

Art film film genre

An art film is typically a serious, independent film, aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience. It is "intended to be a serious, artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal", "made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit", and contains "unconventional or highly symbolic content".

Motion pictures

Most early forms of motion pictures or film were black and white. Some color film processes, including hand coloring were experimented with, and in limited use, from the earliest days of motion pictures. The switch from most films being in black-and-white to most being in color was gradual, taking place from the 1930s to the 1960s. Even when most film studios had the capability to make color films, the technology's popularity was limited, as using the Technicolor process was expensive and cumbersome. For many years, it was not possible for films in color to render realistic hues, thus its use was restricted to historical films, musicals, and cartoons until the 1950s, while many directors preferred to use black-and-white stock. For the years 1940–1966, a separate Academy Award for Best Art Direction was given for black-and-white movies along with one for color; similarly, from 1939–1966 (excepting 1957), a separate Academy Award for Best Cinematography was given for both black-and-white and color movies.

Film studio Organization that produces films

A film studio is a major entertainment company or motion picture company that has its own privately owned studio facility or facilities that are used to make films, which is handled by the production company. The majority of firms in the entertainment industry have never owned their own studios, but have rented space from other companies.

Technicolor color motion picture process

Technicolor is a series of color motion picture processes, the first version dating to 1916, and followed by improved versions over several decades.

The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work on one particular motion picture.

Television

The earliest television broadcasts were transmitted in black-and-white, and received and displayed by black-and-white only television sets. [1] Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated the world's first color television transmission on July 3, 1928 using a mechanical process. Some color broadcasts in the U.S. began in the 1950s, with color becoming common in western industrialized nations during the late 1960s. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) settled on a color NTSC standard in 1953, and the NBC network began broadcasting a limited color television schedule in January 1954. Color television became more widespread in the U.S. between 1963 and 1967, when major networks like CBS and ABC joined NBC in broadcasting full color schedules. Some TV stations (small and medium) in the US were still broadcasting in B&W until the late 80s to early 90s, depending on network. Canada began airing color television in 1966 while the United Kingdom began to use an entirely different color system from July 1967 known as PAL. The Republic of Ireland followed in 1970. Australia experimented with color television in 1967 but continued to broadcast in black-and-white until 1975, and New Zealand experimented with color broadcasting in 1973 but didn't convert until 1975. In China, black-and-white television sets were the norm until as late as the 1990s, color TVs not outselling them until about 1989. In 1969, Japanese electronics manufacturers standardized the first format for industrial/non-broadcast videotape recorders (VTRs) called EIAJ-1, which initially offered only black-and-white video recording and playback. While seldom used professionally now, many consumer camcorders have the ability to record in black-and-white.

Television Telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.

John Logie Baird Scottish scientist, engineer, innovator and inventor of the worlds first television

John Logie BairdFRSE was a Scottish engineer, innovator, one of the inventors of the mechanical television, demonstrating the first working television system on 26 January 1926, and inventor of both the first publicly demonstrated colour television system, and the first purely electronic colour television picture tube.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Photography

McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana - Ansel Adams - Taken between 1933 and 1942 Looking across lake, "McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park," Montana., 1933 - 1942 - NARA - 519873.tif
McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana – Ansel Adams – Taken between 1933 and 1942

Throughout the 19th century, most photography was monochrome photography: images were either black-and-white or shades of sepia. Occasionally personal and commercial photographs might be hand tinted. Colour photography was originally rare and expensive and again often containing inaccurate hues. Color photography became more common from the mid-20th century.

Photography Art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation

Photography is the art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. It is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing, and business, as well as its more direct uses for art, film and video production, recreational purposes, hobby, and mass communication.

Monochrome photography photography where each position on an image can record and show a different amount of light, but not a different hue

Monochrome photography is photography where each position on an image can record and show a different amount of light, but not a different hue. It includes all forms of black-and-white photography, which produce images containing tones of neutral grey ranging from black to white. Other hues besides grey, such as sepia, cyan or brown can also be used in monochrome photography. In the contemporary world, monochrome photography is mostly used for artistic purposes and certain technical imaging applications, rather than for visually accurate reproduction of scenes.

However, black-and-white photography has continued to be a popular medium for art photography, as shown in the picture by the well-known photographer Ansel Adams. This can take the form of black-and-white film or digital conversion to grayscale, with optional digital image editing manipulation to enhance the results. For amateur use certain companies such as Kodak manufactured black-and-white disposable cameras until 2009. Also, certain films are produced today which give black-and-white images using the ubiquitous C41 color process.

Ansel Adams American photographer and environmentalist

Ansel Easton Adams was an American landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West.

Kodak American company

The Eastman Kodak Company is an American technology company that produces camera-related products with its historic basis on photography. The company is headquartered in Rochester, New York, and is incorporated in New Jersey. Kodak provides packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world. Its main business segments are Print Systems, Enterprise Inkjet Systems, Micro 3D Printing and Packaging, Software and Solutions, and Consumer and Film. It is best known for photographic film products.

Disposable camera simple box camera

A disposable or single-use camera is a simple box camera meant to be used once. Most use fixed-focus lenses. Some are equipped with an integrated flash unit, and there are even waterproof versions for underwater photography. Internally, the cameras use a 135 film or an APS cartridge.

Printing

Printing is an ancient art, and color printing has been possible in some ways from the time colored inks were produced. In the modern era, for financial and other practical reasons, black-and-white printing has been very common through the 20th century. However, with the technology of the 21st century, home color printers, which can produce color photographs, are common and relatively inexpensive, a technology relatively unimaginable in the mid-20th century.

Most American newspapers were black-and-white until the early 1980s; The New York Times and The Washington Post remained in black-and-white until the 1990s. Some claim that USA Today was the major impetus for the change to color. In the UK, color was only slowly introduced from the mid-1980s. Even today, many newspapers restrict color photographs to the front and other prominent pages since mass-producing photographs in black-and-white is considerably less expensive than color. Similarly, daily comic strips in newspapers were traditionally black-and-white with color reserved for Sunday strips.:Color printing is more expensive. Sometimes color is reserved for the cover. Magazines such as Jet magazine were either all or mostly black-and-white until the end of the 2000s when it became all-color. Manga (Japanese or Japanese-influenced comics) are typically published in black-and-white although now it is part of its image. Many school yearbooks are still entirely or mostly in black-and-white.

Films with a color/black-and-white mix

The Wizard of Oz (1939) is in color when Dorothy is in Oz, but in black-and-white when she is in Kansas, although the latter scenes were actually in sepia when the film was originally released. In a similar manner, in Stalker (1979), the zone, in which natural laws do not apply, is in colour, and the world outside the zone generally in sepia. In contrast, the British film A Matter of Life and Death (1946) depicts the other world in black-and-white (a character says "one is starved of Technicolor … up there"), and earthly events in color. Similarly, Wim Wenders's film Wings of Desire (1987) uses sepia-tone black-and-white for the scenes shot from the angels' perspective. When Damiel, the angel (the film's main character), becomes a human the film changes to color, emphasising his new "real life" view of the world.

The films Pleasantville (1998), and Aro Tolbukhin. En la mente del asesino (2002), play with the concept of black-and-white as an anachronism, using it to selectively portray scenes and characters who are either more or less outdated or duller than the characters and scenes shot in full-color. This manipulation of color is used in the film Sin City (2005) and the occasional television commercial. The film American History X (1998) is told in a nonlinear narrative in which the portions of the plot that take place "in the past" are shown entirely in black and white, while the "present" storyline's scenes are displayed in color. In the documentary film Night and Fog (1955) a mix of black-and-white documentary footage is contrasted with color film of the present.

In a black and white pre-credits opening sequence in the 2006 Bond film, Casino Royale , a young James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) gains his licence to kill and status as a 00 agent by assassinating the traitorous MI6 section chief Dryden at the British Embassy in Prague, as well as his terrorist contact, Fisher, in a bathroom in Lahore. The remainder of the film starting with the opening credits is shown in color.

Contemporary use

Contemporary photo of a Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) on Santa Cruz Island The Galapagos tortoise or Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) - Santa Cruz Island.jpeg
Contemporary photo of a Galápagos tortoise ( Chelonoidis nigra ) on Santa Cruz Island

Since the late 1960s, few mainstream films have been shot in black-and-white. The reasons are frequently commercial, as it is difficult to sell a film for television broadcasting if the film is not in color. 1961 was the last year in which the majority of Hollywood films were released in black and white. [2]

Some modern film directors will occasionally shoot movies in black-and-white as an artistic choice, though it is much less common for a major Hollywood production. The use of black-and-white in the mass media often connotes something "nostalgic" or historic. The film director Woody Allen has used black-and-white a number of times since Manhattan (1979), which also had a George Gershwin derived score. The makers of The Good German (2006) used camera lenses from the 1940s, and other equipment from that era, so that their black-and-white film imitated the look of early noir.

In fact, monochrome film stock is now rarely used at the time of shooting, even if the films are intended to be presented theatrically in black-and-white. Movies such as John Boorman's The General (1998) and Joel Coen's The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) were filmed in color despite being presented in black-and-white for artistic reasons. Raging Bull (1980) and Clerks (1994) are two of the few well-known modern films deliberately shot in black-and-white. In the case of Clerks, because of the extremely low budget, the production team could not afford the added costs of shooting in color. Although the difference in film stock price would have been slight, the store's fluorescent lights could not have been used to light for color. By shooting in black-and-white, the filmmakers did not have to rent lighting equipment.

The movie Pi is filmed entirely in black-and-white, with a grainy effect until the end.

In black-and-white still photography, many photographers choose to shoot in solely black-and-white since the stark contrasts enhance the subject matter.

Some formal photo portraits still use black-and-white. Many visual-art photographers use black-and-white in their work.

As a form of censorship when movies and TV series are aired on Philippine television, many gory scenes are shown in black-and-white. Sometimes the exposure of innards or other scenes too bloody or gruesome are also blurred, not just rendered in monochrome, in compliance with Philippine broadcasting standards.

Computing

Most computers had monochrome (black-and-white, black and green, or black and amber) screens until the late 1980s, although some home computers could be connected to television screens to eliminate the extra cost of a monitor. These took advantage of NTSC or PAL encoding to offer a range of colors from as low as 4 (IBM CGA) to 128 (Atari 800) to 4096 (Commodore Amiga). Early videogame consoles such as the Atari 2600 supported both black-and-white and color modes via a switch, as did some of the early home computers; this was to accommodate black-and-white TV sets, which would display a color signal poorly. (Typically a different shading scheme would be used for the display in the black-and-white mode.)

In computing terminology, black-and-white is sometimes used to refer to a binary image consisting solely of pure black pixels and pure white pixels; what would normally be called a black-and-white image, that is, an image containing shades of gray, is referred to in this context as grayscale. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cinematography art or science of motion picture photography

Cinematography is the science or art of motion-picture photography by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as film stock.

Color photography that uses media capable of representing colors


Color photography is photography that uses media capable of reproducing colors. By contrast, black-and-white (monochrome) photography records only a single channel of luminance (brightness) and uses media capable only of showing shades of gray.

Photographic filter filter ND

In photography and cinematography, a filter is a camera accessory consisting of an optical filter that can be inserted into the optical path. The filter can be of a square or oblong shape and mounted in a holder accessory, or, more commonly, a glass or plastic disk in a metal or plastic ring frame, which can be screwed into the front of or clipped onto the camera lens.

<i>Grisaille</i> painting technique

A grisaille is a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral greyish colour. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles include a slightly wider colour range, like the Andrea del Sarto fresco illustrated. Paintings executed in brown are referred to as brunaille, and paintings executed in green are called verdaille.

Film colorization

Film colorization is any process that adds color to black-and-white, sepia, or other monochrome moving-picture images. It may be done as a special effect, to "modernize" black-and-white films, or to restore color films. The first examples date from the early 20th century, but colorization has become common with the advent of digital image processing.

Color printing or colour printing is the reproduction of an image or text in color. Any natural scene or color photograph can be optically and physiologically dissected into three primary colors, red, green and blue, roughly equal amounts of which give rise to the perception of white, and different proportions of which give rise to the visual sensations of all other colors. The additive combination of any two primary colors in roughly equal proportion gives rise to the perception of a secondary color. For example, red and green yields yellow, red and blue yields magenta, and green and blue yield cyan. Only yellow is counter-intuitive. Yellow, cyan and magenta are merely the "basic" secondary colors: unequal mixtures of the primaries give rise to perception of many other colors all of which may be considered "tertiary."

Indian-head test pattern

The Indian-head test pattern is a black-and-white television test pattern which was introduced in 1939 by RCA of Harrison, New Jersey as a part of the RCA TK-1 monoscope. Its name comes from the original art of a Native American featured on the card. It was widely used by television stations worldwide during the black-and-white TV broadcasting era.

Photographic print toning method of changing the color of black-and-white photographs

In photography, toning is a method of changing the color of black-and-white photographs. In analog photography, it is a chemical process carried out on silver-based photographic prints. This darkroom process cannot be performed with a color photograph. The effects of this process can be emulated with software in digital photography. There is debate whether a toned black-and-white photograph should be considered to still be black-and-white, as simply being monochromatic is not a sufficient condition for an image to count as black-and-white.

Carbon print

A carbon print is a photographic print with an image consisting of pigmented gelatin, rather than of silver or other metallic particles suspended in a uniform layer of gelatin, as in typical black-and-white prints, or of chromogenic dyes, as in typical photographic color prints.

Film tinting is the process of adding color to black-and-white film, usually by means of soaking the film in dye and staining the film emulsion. The effect is that all of the light shining through is filtered, so that what would be white light becomes light of some color.

Color motion picture film

Color motion picture film refers both to unexposed color photographic film in a format suitable for use in a motion picture camera, and to finished motion picture film, ready for use in a projector, which bears images in color.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to photography:

Dufaycolor

Dufaycolor is an early British additive colour photographic film process, introduced for motion picture use in 1932 and for still photography in 1935. It was derived from Louis Dufay's Dioptichrome plates, a glass-based product for colour still photography introduced in France in 1909. Both Dioptichrome and Dufaycolor worked on the same principles as the Autochrome process, but achieved their results using a layer of tiny colour filter elements arrayed in a regular geometric pattern, unlike the Autochrome's random array of coloured starch grains. The manufacture of Dufaycolor film ended in the late 1950s.

Photographic film sheet of plastic coated with light-sensitive chemicals

Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent plastic film base coated on one side with a gelatin emulsion containing microscopically small light-sensitive silver halide crystals. The sizes and other characteristics of the crystals determine the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film.

References

  1. For the effect this caused for team uniforms in televised sports, see: Away colours.
  2. Robertson, Patrick. Film Facts, Billboard Books, 2001, pg. 167.
  3. Renner, Honey (2011). Fifty Shades of Greyscale: A History of Greyscale Cinema, p. 13. Knob Publishers, Nice.