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Growing your eye for recognizing quality


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#1 GregBest

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 09:18 PM

I am having trouble seeing any of my work as having any quality.  I'm not saying it DOES or doesn't, what I mean is my stuff ALWAYS looks inferior to me... even compared to home movies shot on iPhones.  It is not some inferiority complex, oh no.  I think highly of myself in life, am proud and comfortable with who I am, am a retired Alpha Male type (not "retired" from job, retired from being an alpha), but VISUALS are new to me, visuals I have created.  

 

It is possibly the tool I was using - Canon T3i - which claimed to be HD but never really was, was my visual downfall and all my filmings seemed just less detailed looking.   -- I do realize there are dozens of other things that go into great looking video like lighting, set design etc, so it is not that.... it is like it is JUST the QUALITY or DETAIL that I never seen to get right.  I just got a 4k GH4 and the detail is FINALLY where I expected HD to be... never the less, I wonder if my eye will still be too self critical?  I'm not even sure if that is a valid description.  I used to mix audio, and it was very simple for me to put mixes up against commercial records and HEAR if I'd gotten it right or still work to be done.   But, in this VISUAL realm, I feel I can't really subjectively do that.  Or at least not yet.

 

Long story short:  how long does it take to develop an eye that is honest about your own work?

 

Truth told, I never wanted to be a camera guy, but it seemed to be the right direction for me to do what I wanted:  learn to write, then shoot movies, and tell entertaining stories.  I'd rather leave the cameras to those who are great with them.

Still, I am puzzled that I can not seem to SEE objectively where I am able to do so in other mediums.

 

What is your experience and/or advice on visual growth and acceptance.  I do like to strive to get better in things, but if I was filming with million dollars of gear, with a pro crew, next to Steven Spielberg, would I still think things look bad?

 

 

Additionally, I do think I can see quality over not quality.   There are various local short films I've watched that look like basic home movies and I can tell they are not that good, and that some of my stuff is a pinch above that, and I can look at big budget movies and tell which ones had an exception crew and which just phoned it in, but I'd like to be able to look at my stuff and KNOW that it is good or great or not, so that I can improve.  Is that too much to ask?  :D


Edited by GregBest, 17 October 2014 - 09:21 PM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 11:18 PM

You will spend your whole life trying to get better, that's just the life of an artist and craftsman.  You don't have to know if your stuff is good or great in order to improve, you just have to hope that over time, with enough improvement, other people will start appreciating your work.  For you, though, it's just about trying to achieve something, to create in reality what you see in your mind, to do the work.  I don't think you can quantify the amount of time that everyone needs to develop a sophisticated eye.  In some ways, once you do that, you spend part of the time trying to recover the eyes of a child, a student, a beginner, to rediscover the original wellspring of inspiration.


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#3 GregBest

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 12:23 AM

Awesome wisdom there, David, love your words.   And yes, rings true one is always learning and getting better.  What I run into is the images don't look sharp enough or colorful enough compared to peers and commercial work.  So, I suspect I will over color, over sharpen, then get used to it and over color and over sharpen again.    Even after having done so, or after being told it is TOO sharp or TOO clear (which I don't even understand how that can be possible) I think it still doesn't look sharp or colorful as the next guy.... even when I am looking at SCOPES to try to stay in line.  Do you suffer from that, and maybe have some guideline for how to keep things reeled in to sane levels?


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 12:55 AM

Oh, I see some people's high-end commercial reels and marvel at how rich the images look, how good the post is, etc. I don't shoot commercials much so haven't got that sort of super-slick material to show people. But I do get envious of the level of quality on display.

All you can do is do your best with the tools at your disposal. That's all anyone can ever do.
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#5 Rajavel Olhiveeran

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 10:05 AM

'...if u still are not convinced '.....i think u are in a great place ! as sir David says...there is no end to this learning...and its a constant thing for any artist.

as always its been ...getting great visuals is just not by the camera we use to shoot. there are too many variables to get a great visual. and a great visual does not necessarily be a great 'looking' visual in terms of sharp and slickness....its what tells the story best and makes an emotion out of! 

may be u can try exploring and experimenting beyond just the camera....and try different time periods of a day or night...locations...characters...methods of post production...etc

...there is one thing i realised...and still learning is....that as a cinematographer....i cant just be a cinematographer to get some decent visuals! 

i had to put in my nose into everything about camera and everything not related to camera, like......costumes....make up...art direction....locations....shooting call timings.....where to process....who to grade the visuals with....phew ...the list goes on! 

the more u control these things keeping in sync with whats in ur mind the better the visuals are. may be u have to get back being that 'Alpha' !


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#6 Justin Hayward

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 11:19 AM

I see some people's high-end commercial reels and marvel at how rich the images look, 

 

Every time I see this...

 


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#7 GregBest

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 01:44 PM

 experimenting beyond just the camera....and try different time periods of a day or night...locations...characters...methods of post production...etc

 

Oh, I'm all about that.  I do everything solo right now, try everything, and use my comedy sandbox to test and experiment with anything I feel like doing.  Next shoot will be all dark night time testing look, lighting, lenses, green screen etc.

 

hahahaha and I do still have the alpha lurking underneath... pushing forward and it will help whenever I do get to work with live people.  :)


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#8 John E Clark

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 03:01 PM

 

Oh, I'm all about that.  I do everything solo right now, try everything, and use my comedy sandbox to test and experiment with anything I feel like doing.  Next shoot will be all dark night time testing look, lighting, lenses, green screen etc.

 

hahahaha and I do still have the alpha lurking underneath... pushing forward and it will help whenever I do get to work with live people.   :)

 

Having done a 'Doritos' commecial with a group I've been a member of, I've reaffirmed that I don't do 'broad comedy' well...

 

I can do suspense/horror in the 'Woman in Black' sense or perhaps 'Psycho' sense... but 'slash horror' probably would not work well with my 'style' and aesthetic tastes... I think even for porn my tastes would be too highbrow for the ordinary porn viewer... although some of the porn parodies look interesting... but I've never had any success in getting people to do sex acts for free... and then there's the matter of the Wife... but I digress...

 

I do recommend anyone who is thinking about 'cinematography' to get at least some camera that shoots motion pictures and start 'shooting' anything/everything... and become one with the camera... in most cases skills 'scale up' when one has the opportunity to use more sophisticated equipment... or at least one can direct an operator of such equipment... (which is the skill a 'director of photography' is required to have... namely the management and leading a team to produce the image...).


Edited by John E Clark, 18 October 2014 - 03:01 PM.

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#9 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 10:27 PM

 

Every time I see this...

 

That's a great commercial, but there isn't really anything there that Jordan Cronenweth didn't already do 30 years ago in Blade Runner.


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#10 Justin Hayward

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 10:44 PM

Minus the smoke :)


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