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Getting that "film" look


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#1 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 05:58 AM

So, I'm shooting a film in HDV 1440x1080p24 footage later this month, last month I shot something on the same camera and settings and the colors came out looking.. bland and.. well.. like video.

An example of a few stills:
http://www.leisherpr...are/dare_01.gif
http://www.leisherpr...are/dare_02.gif
http://www.leisherpr...are/dare_03.gif
http://www.leisherpr...are/dare_04.gif

(Ignore the quality of the stills, the footage is 1440x1080p and looks beautiful)

Now, I'm curious how you can get that "film look", where the skin tones look better, pretty much all the colors look better.

Like this for example:
http://www.celebrity...express_001.jpg

The skin tones look much better, but at the same time you aren't losing any quality or color in the other parts of the shot...

Is this just shooting in high contrast? A lighting issue? Or is this something that I can do in post (In FCP)? Just up the contrast, playing with the levels and whatnot...?
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#2 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 06:40 AM

Another example is this:

My Film: http://a648.ac-image...196606b0cdf.jpg

Compared to Knocked Up: http://a105.ac-image...4d7bf534f98.jpg

The colors just look so much more vibrant, while the skin tones and whatnot arent blown out...
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#3 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 07:09 AM

Don't mean to be a smartass, but Knocked Up was shot on film. If one could make video cameras look like film there'd be no point in shooting film anymore, would it?
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 07:34 AM

Here's a trailer for "Bull", which was shot on a JVC HD 100.

http://www.bullthemovie.com/

It looks nicely filmic, but it doesn't look like film. It has a look of its own.
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 08:49 AM

I always love the "why doesn't my video look like film?" questions.

If you really want to make it look like film shoot film. You won't have any problems.

If you have to utilize video for budgetary or other reasons there is a lot you can do to take the edge off video. Since your movie is already shot, I would start with some color correction. Your images look flat. You can use color correction to increase contrast, overexpose your whites a little, and you can play around with your colors. That is the first thing you can do to make your images a little more snappier. But it will not look like pure film.

Best

Tim
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 10:28 AM

Color Correction goes a loonngg way to helping out any project. Also, on HDV, keeping whites from clipping, as with any video, when you're recording is imperative.
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#7 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:14 AM

I always love the "why doesn't my video look like film?" questions.

If you really want to make it look like film shoot film. You won't have any problems.

Tim


That's what I say, but people keep on trucking about it . . .

Want real FILM look? Shoot real FILM!
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#8 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:36 AM

I guess I should've said how can I make my images look better.. its not so much that I want it to look like it was shot on film so much that I just want it to look more pleasing and less bland.

If color correction is the way to go, thats fine, I wasnt sure if it was a post production thing or something we could do during production.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:51 AM

It's both.
You have to record the best images you can day of, and then you tweak later on in color correction.
For HDV/Video i recommend shooting a flatly as you can; as you can build in contrast later on in post by choosing what to crush and setting curves. Also, keep your whites from over-exposing as once it clips, it clips for good.
Use good lighting and composition as best you can and soften things up a bit in camera (sometimes a light diffusion filter will really help; a lot!) Also, stay away from super-harsh lighting. Even if you want/need hard light, I find some light diffusion will help with that (this is just me of course).

And embrace your medium. Deep DoF is a interesting effect of smaller chip cameras, so use that, keep things interesting in the fore, middle, and back-ground. Now, most video doesn't do too well in low/no light, so when you're shooting at night, keeep contrast but stay away from gain! Use the built in ND filters for shooting bright daylight and wait till the sun renders a pleasing side-light, not so toppy look. When you can't do that, stretch some white sheets or something to diffuse the sun and use reflectors/bounce board/ white card, to key and fill in shadows.

Then, once you do all this, you'll have very nice images, one hopes, with which you can play a bit in color correction. Even just taking thoer .gifs into Photoshop and applying a "curve" helped them out considerably over here.
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 09:54 PM

Glib answers to "how do I make it look like n":

- Shoot it the same way n was shot. To wit:
- "In order to make it look green like The Matrix, shoot green objects."

- Hire someone who knows what they're doing, give this personsome money, and say:
- "Make it look like n!"

- Research how n was shot, and replicate the technique:
- "I need four Musco lights and a crew of 70!"

- Figure out how to approximate n's approach using alternate techniques:
- "I need to make my HDV shot with a sun flood and a lastolite look like Saving Private Ryan - I need a colorist!"

- Realise that you have sunk to "fix it in post", and return to:
- "Shoot it the same way n was shot!"

P
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#11 nick lines

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 06:12 AM

hi,

you should always do some sort of color correction. I took the liberty of doing some adjustments to your image. I have no idea what kind of style your going for, so this is just a simple grade. Depending on what your trying to achieve in this shot, you could brighten the gun mans eyes, or highlight the gun more.

I think its best to try and get what you can on the day, and then clean it up in post. Don't ever be afraid of doing "post" work, its one of the most important aspects of film making......as far as im concerned :)

http://www.flickr.co...N00/2752399937/


good luck
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#12 nick lines

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 06:58 AM

wrong link

http://www.flickr.co...N00/2753326680/
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#13 Keith Walters

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:16 AM

- Hire someone who knows what they're doing, give this personsome money, and say:
- "Make it look like n!"

Same ol' same ol'...
If you could afford a crew who can actually do that, you can probably afford film as well.
Or a nice Sony camera at the very least.

And nice men with nice big trucks full of nice big lights and nice grip stuff
And nice lenses
And a decent scriptwriter
And a nice shooting script where everything just happens when you say "action" and you don't have to come back weeks later to do pickup shots because some arsehole forgot something and the crack-whore-in-rehab continuity girl you hired cheap didn't notice either.
And a decent caterer
And a decent hairdresser
And a decent wardrobe master/mistress/whatever
And lots of nice people who build nice sets out of plywood and junk rather than blowing the budget building McMansions.
And a nice accountant who makes sure everybody gets paid
And a nice video assist operator whose experience does not turn out to be limited to working one day a week at the local blockbuster during the school holidays.
And to top it all off, a nice trio of petite blonde girls with ponytails and tight black jeans carrying clipboards (I've never found out what they actually do, but they seem to be a fixture of big-budget commercials :lol: )

Oh yes, a few people who aren't ugly, can act, and can remember their lines without resorting to profanities would be nice too.

It all falls into place.
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#14 Keith Walters

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:31 AM

Don't mean to be a smartass, but Knocked Up was shot on film. If one could make video cameras look like film there'd be no point in shooting film anymore, would it?

No, that's just a smokescreen created by all the old farts who are determined to keep young film makers from ever getting their foot in the door, because you're terrified that once important people see all these young, hip and enthusiastic video shooters, they'll overlook their complete lack of talent and experience and hire them instead of you.

But seriously, it's funny to actually hear people talking like that, (on you-know-where) despite the fact that virtually every other aspect of film and TV post-production has changed beyond recognition over the last decade, all thanks to the availability of cheap computers, but gee, for some reason you still insist on using film cameras. So what does that tell them? Something they'd rather not hear?
Of course not. It's just a little niche that nobody else has noticed :lol:
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#15 Stephen Williams

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:48 AM

It's just a little niche that nobody else has noticed :lol:


Hi Keith,

It's a little niche I noticed in the summer of 2000, at the time I was mainly shooting on DigiBeta. I was trying to cut a showreel & realized the work I did 15 years earlier on 7240VNF looked better than DigiBeta, let alone the stuff I shot on 7247/8

Stephen
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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 02:20 PM

No, that's just a smokescreen created by all the old farts who are determined to keep young film makers from ever getting their foot in the door, because you're terrified that once important people see all these young, hip and enthusiastic video shooters, they'll overlook their complete lack of talent and experience and hire them instead of you.


Keith, you've completely opened up my eyes! There's a real "revolution" taking place that will allow everyone to make livings in filmmaking!

Come on, give film a little more credit than that.

Stephen, I honestly miss 7240 a little bit. It's predecessor, the ME-4 stuff in "When We Left the Earth" looks pretty damned good almost 40 yrs. later.

Too bad Kodak doesn't offer all of its current E-6 stocks in 16mm. Reversal has a very nice look, very different from negative, snappier, punchier.
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#17 Keith Walters

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 09:27 PM

Keith, you've completely opened up my eyes! There's a real "revolution" taking place that will allow everyone to make livings in filmmaking!

Come on, give film a little more credit than that.

What? :blink:
I give film an enormous amount of credit.
Making an electronic camera that can equal the dynamic capture range of film is simply far beyond our present technological capabilites.

The alleged "few" stops difference between present day film stocks and what electronic cameras are capable of, represents the tail end of over 40 years intensive research and development into silicon image sensors. Every extra stop in performance gained represents a disproportionally higher amount of R&D money, until a point is reached where any further investment is likely to cost far more than any likely return, and so the technology reaches a "plateau".

The only thing that could change that is some radically new technology, and as far as I am aware, none exists. (Anybody is free to prove me wrong, but only by producing the actual hardware, not more hot air and zealotry).

You could perhaps compare this with "rocket science". In 1961 the US managed to launch Alan Shepherd into a sub-orbital hop, (similar to what Burt Rutan's SpaceShip One achieved decades later). Eight years later there were Americans on the moon. Nearly 40 years after that, where are the moon bases, orbiting hotels etc? Now NASA is even talking about retiring the Space Shuttles and reverting to the 1960s "disposable" rocket technologies.

Film gives a better and more predictable picture than electronic cameras. Some people badly need to get over this. Others badly need to define what constitutes a "good" picture, which is not in general by definition something they shot (or feel they could have shot) :lol:

None of this means you can't shoot a successful project on video, just that it can never reach its full image potential.

My opinion? Of course. Also the opinion of most of the people who hold the purse strings...
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#18 Keith Walters

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 09:29 PM

Hi Keith,

It's a little niche I noticed in the summer of 2000, at the time I was mainly shooting on DigiBeta. I was trying to cut a showreel & realized the work I did 15 years earlier on 7240VNF looked better than DigiBeta, let alone the stuff I shot on 7247/8

Stephen


You, and quite a few other people I know :lol:
Most of them started out as video camera operators for TV stations, who took a punt of a second-hand SRII or IIC and never looked back.

Edited by Keith Walters, 16 August 2008 - 09:32 PM.

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#19 Richard Kelly

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 07:16 PM

Hi Tyler,

I see the film - digital battle is still raging and you are probably finished with your project but I did want to throw in a few thoughts. There is a concensus that flat lighting video gives you more options in post and I'm sure it does but I like to light video with the best HD monitor I can find hooked up to the camera and then light the picture until you see what you want. Make sure not to actually clip bright areas that you may want to seem blown out in the finished picture or crush blacks to the point that there is no detail left. I also like to use a 35mm adapter and 35mm SLR primes to get the shallow depth of field that helps acheive the "film look". This frame is out of the camera before color correction.

Posted Image

I am currently testing the new Convergent Design Flash HD Recorder. It accepts an incoming HD-SDI video signal with optional audio and timecode, compresses the video/audio to MPEG-2 (using a Sony codec) at up to 160Mbps 4:2:2, and stores to Compact Flash (or outputs over FireWire or ASI). I'm hoping the extra bit rate (less compression) will allow for more color space and a little more "film look". (Not used on this frame.)

If I had the money I'd use film but I don't so I try to make my picture look as much like film as I can so I can still make the movies that I wouldn't be able to make if I had to use film. :blink:
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#20 Benson Marks

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 09:00 PM

If you want your movie to look like film, shoot on film. Film looks like film. Digital videotape, no matter how much you try, looks like digital videotape. Need I say more?
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