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#1 rob spence

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 06:06 PM

Hi Everyone,
I'm in pre production with a first feature that I've written and am directing that I've been working on for two years...we're shooting on S16 with canon zooms 8-64mm zeiss primes etc so lenses are great)...what worries me is that I want to end up with a movie and not a made for tv looking feature. Any ideas on what that indefinable difference is anyone...or am I having last minute wobbles...
Cheers
Rob
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#2 Mark Allen

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 06:17 PM

I'll toss out a couple thoughts:

1. Flat and safe lighting. Television has a tendency to be timid when it comes to it's imagery and tends to want to have everything well lit in the frame - as opposed to some variation.

2. Headshot and after headshot. Most shots for TV are head and shoulders because it's a smaller screen and they want you to identify with the characters. Long shots are rarely used and that shrinks the scope of the picture.

3. Cheesy rim light. In my humble opinion, TV lighting relied heavy on rim lights to make character pop out from the background and it creates a very artificial look as it is overused and overdone.

4. Shot variety. TV schedules are rushed and they don't often get in there to grab a more unique and perhaps more appropriate shot or insert shot. Movies will often have many shots in them which are only seen once. TV will usually fall into the classic coverage mold.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 07:04 PM

Hi,

Size and design of title text. Movies frequently use smaller fonts, and may have more elaborate (or actually more restrained) title design.

Quality of score, particularly if it is an orchestral recording.

Scope, scale and other expensive things also come into it at some point!

Phil
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 07:56 PM

Phil and Mark pretty much nailed it, although I have to say that a lot of dramatic TV work these days is just as good, photographically, as the better feature work out there, just as cinematic. And a number of theatrical works are rather pedestrian, like the more mediocre TV stuff, so the differences are more muted than they used to be.
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#5 DOsborne

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 07:56 PM

I've often wondered the same thing about the made for tv look and have struggled to put my finger on it.

some additional ideas/thoughts:

1. A lot of times, for me, it has to do with what's in the frame and not necessarily how the image is being captured. I feel like there are a lot of close-ups and tight shots in the tv movies that I've seen in order to hide the crappiness of a location or the lack of relevant set decorations. It seems like theatrical movies usually have a greater richness and depth to them becuase the sets and costumes and just things in general that fill up the picture, whether they're in focus or not.

2. I agree completely with Mark Douglas on the overabundance of flat, safe lighting, and the rim light comment, that's so true.

Best of luck to you,
David
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#6 NathanCoombs

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 08:26 AM

The main absenses of televisoon production:

1) Parallel compositions - as in 90 degree side shots, symetry in composition, centering of subject

2) Wide shots - tv ofetn stays focused on the heads or in medium shot

3) Long takes - particularly in conversation tv relies on shot-reverse-shot for interviews which is rather dull.

4) Lighting - no use of imaginative lighting

5) POV - very little use or understanding of POV and the shots used to communicate which part of the story is being communicated from a character's particular POV.



Phil and Mark pretty much nailed it, although I have to say that a lot of dramatic TV work these days is just as good, photographically, as the better feature work out there, just as cinematic. And a number of theatrical works are rather pedestrian, like the more mediocre TV stuff, so the differences are more muted than they used to be.


Not in the UK. TV is stuck in the dark ages here!
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#7 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 06:12 PM

Ask your DP !
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#8 Matt Pacini

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:46 PM

Lots of good examples above.

I'd say flat lighting, and uninteresting composition are what really sticks out for me.
I call it the "after school special" look.
Also, lack of good camera movement, & too much master shot looking footage with not enough interesting cutaways.

MP
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#9 Scot McPhie

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:25 PM

All the points here are quite good - something else I find is that features often spend more time in setting up the time and place - and the chaaracters in that space - before the story line kicks in - this really makes you feel like you're being transferred to a different time and place --- I think tv shows don't do this becasue of their time limitations

Good luck - this thread has been helpful for me too!

Scot
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 08:26 PM

All the points here are quite good - something else I find is that features often spend more time in setting up the time and place - and the chaaracters in that space - before the story line kicks in - this really makes you feel like you're being transferred to a different time and place --- I think tv shows don't do this becasue of their time limitations

Good luck - this thread has been helpful for me too!

Scot

No kidding, in the ten pages or so a feature spends setting up a story, TV has already gone to two commercials. No much of a chance to establish character and mise' in two blinks, four car commercials, and three network promos.
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#11 Allyn Laing

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 02:30 PM

Go with a different zoom. The canon is not a particularly accurate lens. I have had trouble with them before. At least ask someone at a rental house. Also you are mixing lenses which give slight variance in colour, but this can be graded out in telecine.

Allyn

Edited by Allyn Laing, 01 June 2006 - 02:30 PM.

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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 01:08 PM

I agree with pretty much everything that's been said. In short, TV movies are made for TV, in terms of shot size, rhythm of editing, and pace of story. Feature films are made to play on a movie screen and are designed for that forum.

But the one thing no one has mentioned is that TV MOW's usually have a very modest budget and rushed schedule. It's a wonder they come out looking as good as they do sometimes, given that they don't have the production infrastructure of an ongoing series, or the budget and time of a full feature.
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#13 Chris Cooke

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 05:14 PM

Going back to the safe factor, a made for tv movie or dramatic series often uses very typical color correction/timing and lens filters (if any at all). CSI is an exception. When making a feature, don't be afraid to process the negative in a way that will heighten the audiences experience and tell the story in a slightly more cinematic way (remember people are going to the movies to escape from reality).
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#14 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:05 PM

another key characteristic of tv is that it's usually dialogue driven as hell... rarely more than three seconds pass without someone talking. i would assume this is due to a combination of emphasis on character & writing, and rigidly structured story segments between commercial breaks. these factors also amplify the use of close-ups, since they help emphasize the characters and allow greater manipulation of runtime.

Edited by jaan, 02 June 2006 - 06:08 PM.

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