Vincent Versace’s Oz to Kansas workshop using NIK’s Silver Efex Pro and co-sponsored by X-Rite was amazing.
If you’re reading this post in real time, the seminar will be repeated in an hour.
So what’s the big deal? Well for the first half an hour Versace showed us the difference between how film (which is linear) and digital (which is digital – duh!) differs when it comes to rendering a black and white image.
The explanation is way too technical for me to reproduce here (and besides I’d probably screw it up) but it comes down to this: You can’t just turn down the saturation in your editing software and expect a digital image to be capable of reproducing all the 16,000 levels of grey found in a film-based image which is using all three channels (red, green, blue) of information differently.
Now if that doesn’t confuse you I don’t know what will. Here’s what Vincent did: Using simple images he showed how digital editing software can treat different colours exactly the same when desaturating while NIK’s Silver Efex Pro recreates (I hope I’m describing this properly.) the tonal spread from real black to real with all the shades of grey not just in luminance (brightness) but in the three colour channels as well.
Remember when you (or maybe your dad) shot black and white. If he was shooting landscapes or portraits he might have used red, yellow, green or blue filters to modify the black and white image. That’s a lot like what Silver Efex Pro does in software.
If you’re serious about shooting in black and white this workshop is terrific and so is Silver Efex Pro. Versace also has a new book coming out called “Oz to Kansas” (I’ve got the DVD set.) which explains this black and white conversion a whole lot better than I just did.