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Getting a Film Look from A DSLR


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#1 Young Pizzy

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:24 PM

Hello Guys
I'll be shooting a short film in some weeks time somewhere in Africa, and I will be shooting wit a 5D Mk2, Pls I do I get my short to look like film? Any best way for it to look like film apart from bring down the internal picture profile to flat?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:46 PM

It has little to do with using a flat picture profile, and a lot more to do with controlling the luminance in the scene so as not to give away the very limited latitude DSLRs have. This will also extent to colors, since the color rendition in motion is nowhere near what film will see, it would be wise to test out some ways to mute the colors. Of course there is no "filmlook" per say, as every film looks different apart from sometimes showing grain, dealing well with highlights (generally) and hiving great color and tonal rendition (generally).

Another caveat is not to shoot wide open all the time on the 5D since the lack of DoF often these days gives away using a DSLR. It may be better to try to keep things at a 5.6 or so in order to carry focus more like you'd get on S35mm (as opposed to the VistaVistion sized "negative" the 5D has natively.)

 

You will also want to avoid noise in the image, so be careful with your ISO ratings and keep some light in your shadows. Later on you can add film grain if you'd like; but having too much noise in the image will look "video-like."

 

something else to keep in mind is aliasing and Morie patterns, caused by strong patterns/textures, so while you shouldn't just avoid patterns/textures, you should be careful about camera placement to make sure you don't record these problems. A slight diffusion filter, or simply moving closer or further away, zooming in or out, or changing your DoF to throw problematic areas out of focus can be very helpful.

 

Further, when shooting outside, Pola and ND grad filters on wide locked off shots will be quite helpful. I am also a fan, personally, of sticking to one ASA/ISO for the camera and then using ND filters as needed as opposed to just dropping the ASA down.

Also keeping shutter speed at 1/50th at all times, unless for specific effect (for example as in the opening of Saving Private Ryan).


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#3 Young Pizzy

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:06 PM

Thanks a lot Adrian,
I'll be shooting wit a Canon 24-105mm f4, will that work in terms of DoF, thought I'll be shooting more exterior during a sunny day.
The story I'm shooting is a romantic drama.
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#4 Young Pizzy

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:08 PM

And I'm hopping for a very colorful and blueish feel
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 06:16 PM

Bluish and colorful you can push a bit in post. I would, however, perhaps balance a little cooler on every scene in camera, and for colorful test out your colors on camera and tweak wardrobe and location as much as you can.

Your lens will be fine if you want to work with it, it's not ideal and I generally don't like zooms, but it's a good range. You'll want a good set of NDs for day exts on a 5D,and the F4 will be limiting when/if you're in low light situations.


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#6 Young Pizzy

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:52 PM

Thanks very much Adrian.
In other words U'll prefer I use Primes instead of zooms
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 11:29 PM

It's a matter of taste. Some like primes (me) and some like zooms. They all have benefits and drawbacks- you have to weight your options and your style/directors style of shooting and make the best choice you can based on the budget and many other factors.


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#8 Young Pizzy

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 05:15 AM

Oh yes!! Thanks
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#9 Sabine Bosma

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 01:40 PM

Maybe tinkering with the white balance will do the trick in muting colors?
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#10 Domenik Schuster

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 04:11 PM

I shot a short a month ago on which I used a Canon 7D with PL mount and high speed lenses. Which looked pretty neat. Additionally, and this might be of interest to you, I used the Technicolor cine style as the picture profile and a 1/8 black pro mist filter in the matte box. 

 

I tested the the filter/picture profile combination on my 5D MK II and the feel became much more organic due to the highlights being softened. Though, as always, it's a matter of taste - but one worth being checked out!


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#11 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 05:58 PM

In my experience DSLR's have severe latitude problems and are too contrasty. I've had good success by turning these things down to a minimum:
 

Sharpness

Detail

Contrast

 

On top of that I've very often added a Tiffen UltraCon (low contrast) 3 filter and I've also used soft and hard edge ND's or attenuators to brings skies and bright objects in line. Avoid any fast movement, pans or even messy handheld, or otherwise you'll end up with jello effect and leaning structures as the camera doesn't have global shutter.

 

Protect your highlights at all costs. That's what will screw the footage up, especially on exteriors. If in doubt, underexpose.

 

Shooting at a slightly narrower shutter seems to help getting away from a video and motion blurry feel. I often shoot at 90 degrees (which is a shutter setting of about 1/100th at around 24fps).

 

Here's a test film I shot on a tiny little Sony NEX 5 last summer for a director friend. I used the Zeiss T2.1's and an UltraCon 3 with the settings as I described above. You can see that the fast action car footage has some leaning due to rolling shutter, but otherwise this worked pretty well.

 

https://vimeo.com/74776832


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