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How to achieve gritty, grimey look in film?


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#1 Nick Henderson

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 07:06 AM

I like the feel of this movie, it kinda feels like a comic book. I searched around and I saw the word desaturation used for it a lot. Does anyone know what steps you would take to try and get this effect? I use magic bullet and tried to play around with it but Im not liking what im getting.



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#2 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:01 PM

You are trying to achieve what a several million dollar budget, pro art/wardrobe departments, pro DP using film cameras and a professional colorist did. You can't do the same thing, or even close, with a program on your home computer.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 02:38 PM

On the other hand, the only shot he's cited that looks even slightly expensive to do is the night exterior, and even that could be nothing more than a cherry picker with a big light on it. I haven't seen the film he's referencing, but the interiors we see here are unspectacular and could be done on a shoestring.

I think the operative point is that it has to be shot in the right way and that takes skill, and despite the name, there is no magic bullet.

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#4 Joshua Reis

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:22 PM

Hi, obviously production value begins with art direction, lighting, and color timing. There are so many different ways to express gritty qualities of a particular motion picture. The narrative could be gritty. The quality and colors of light could be gritty. A hand crank camera is a gritty element. Crash zooms and frantic camera movies with camera on and offs can make a scene feel gritty. If you are speaking about adding film grain to clean digital images, there are a number of options out there that will add a "film grain" texture? One of my favorite options is the "add grain" plugging within after effects. You can experiment and add more grain to certain color channels. It is also possible to map larger and smaller grain sizes to different luminance values adding a bit of organic dimension to the artificial noise. For example, the shadows could be grainy, but the highlights could be mapped with smaller grain somewhat mimicking what you would see in a motion picture film stock. Experiment and see what you like.

Regards,

Joshua
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#5 martinsoniii

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 09:02 PM

Nick,

You could get close to this look by anyone or all of the following:

- adding grain to taste

- crushing your blacks

- desaturation

- adding green tones into your image to taste

- Bleach bypass the image (in effect higher contrast, lower saturation) with a filter, then use curves and gamma to readjust the image's exposure
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#6 Mei Lewis

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:59 AM

Another aspect of 'dirty' in this case is the mix of color temperatures in the lighting.
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#7 Yousuf Abbasi

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 02:49 PM

By the OP's definition of "gritty" from the screenshots, all you have to do is:

lower color temperature (more greens)
increase contrast and crush blacks
you CAN desaturate, although its not necessary (screenshot #2 doesnt really look too desaturated).
easiest way to get grain is underexpose the shots, and increase ISO in post
the night shot (last screenshot) relies more on on-set effects (i.e. lighting/exposure) rather than post-production color grade.

You definitely don't need a several million dollar budget to achieve "gritty."
Now, on the other hand, exposing and grading something like Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN I would say requires some skill and $$$.
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