Black-and-white as a description is also something of a misnomer, for in addition to black and white most of these media included varying shades of gray. Further, many prints, especially those produced earlier in the development of photography, were in sepia (mainly to provide archival stability), which gave a richer, more subtle shading than reproductions in plain black-and-white, although less so than color.
Today black-and-white media often has a "nostalgic", historic, or anachronistic feel to it. For example, the 1998 Woody Allen film Celebrity was shot entirely in black-and-white. Other films, such as American History X Pleasantville and The Wizard of Oz play with the concept of the black-and-white anachronism, using it to selectively portray scenes and characters who are either more outdated or dull than the characters and scenes shot in full-colour. This manipulation of colour appears in the film Sin City and the occasional television commercial. Wim Wenders' 1987 film Wings of Desire uses sepiatone 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 colour emphasising his new "real life" view of the world.
Since the late-1960s, few mainstream films have been shot entirely on black-and-white film stock, even if they are intended to be presented theatrically in black-and-white. The reasons are frequently commercial, as it is difficult to sell a film for television broadcasting if no color version exists. For example, movies such as John Boorman's The General and Joel Coen's The Man Who Wasn't There were obliged to be filmed in color by their respective distributors, despite being presented in black-and-white for artistic reasons. Clerks is one of the few well-known recent films shot in black-and-white for no artistic purpose; due to the extremely low out-of-pocket budget, the production team could not afford the added costs of shooting in color (though the difference in film stock price would be slight, the store's fluorescent lights could not be used to light for color; by shooting in black and white, the film-makers did not have to rent lighting equipment).
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. This is also true of black-and-white photography, where many photographers choose to shoot in solely black and white since the stark contrasts enhances the subject matter.
In computing terminology, black-and-white is sometimes used to refer to an image consisting solely of black pixels and 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.
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