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film quality frm DV


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#1 siddharth diwan

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 05:45 AM

guys am making a film on Canon XL1 is dere any process or method by which v can achieve film quality or even get close to it plz give advice it will be of big help also let me knw if its possible in post production
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#2 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:24 PM

guys am making a film on Canon XL1 is dere any process or method by which v can achieve film quality or even get close to it plz give advice it will be of big help also let me knw if its possible in post production

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You might come close to matching Super-8 film quality. ;)

Actually, just do a search here on "film look". If you have to use video, you need to be sure your lighting does not exceed the capabilities of the video system (especially need to be careful not to "blow out" highlights). Long shots will show up the lack of really fine detail, so CU and MS look better. And of course, post production "film look" tools might help simulate some aspects of the "real thing".

Bottom line: you are better off not trying to make it look like something it is not. Cherish it for what it is, and aspire to film when that's what you really want.
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#3 Rik Andino

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:59 PM

Everyone shooting video always askes this question...

And the final answer always is:
You want a film-look---shoot with film.
There's no other way to do it.

You want great looking video that's a whole 'nother story.


Good Luck
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#4 David Cox

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 03:02 PM

hmmm. Arguably you are starting from the furthest distance from film quality because DV is the lowest quality of all the likely video formats you would shoot on.

But here are some tips to get you in the right direction.

As John mentioned, video shows itself by not handling highlights very well and DV cameras tend to be particularly bad at it. Do some tests where you slightly underexpose and bring up the brightness in post production. Your highlights will look better and any noise that is introduced from adding brightness kind of looks like film grain :-)

Make sure you spend a decent amount of time in post grading. Remember if you shot on 35mm film you would spend ages in a telecine suite grading your film for TV to make it look good. Do the same with your DV (but in software not telecine!). Start by lowering the blacks and increasing the whites (more contrast). Increase the colour saturation and then reduce the amount of red from the mid-tones. This will give you a "film look" starting point.

Another trick is to seperate off the highlights, blur them slightly and add them back on in post. This makes the highlights more flarey and organic, rather than the razor sharp whites you get from video.

Film records 24 frames per second, wheras video records 50 or 60 fields per second (interlaced). This gives a very smooth motion to your images that is different from the look of film. You can either set your camera to a 24 or 25P setting (if it can do it) or use de-interlace in post to drop every other field. Doing this in camera is the best because the latter looses some resolution.

Of course the term "film look" is a bit of a wide goal. After all black and white super 8 is film and so is Imax. The difference between them is to do with detail and artifacts. The smaller the format, the less detail and the larger the film grain, dirt bits, film weave (wobble) etc.

So if you really want to make it look like that old print in your local cinema, cover it in fake film dirt!!

David Cox
Baraka Post Production
www.baraka.co.uk
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 10:14 PM

Again, the hilarity of video folk who want their video to look like film.

The big question always is: Why not have your video look like, well, video?

R.
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#6 David Cox

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 04:31 AM

Again, the hilarity of video folk who want their video to look like film.
R.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well guess what. Not every producer has the budget for film. Perhaps you could use your experience to be more helpful than disparaging in this forum?
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#7 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 07:12 AM

Well guess what. Not every producer has the budget for film. Perhaps you could use your experience to be more helpful than disparaging in this forum?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


As I said:

Bottom line: you are better off not trying to make it look like something it is not. Cherish it (video) for what it is, and aspire to film when that's what you really want.


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#8 nchopp

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 07:44 AM

Again, the hilarity of video folk who want their video to look like film.

The big question always is: Why not have your video look like, well, video?

R.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Because video represents reality. When we see NTSC, 30i video, we think news, television, something real. We already have our mindset - we don't think story-telling. Film represents narrative; the 24 frame motion blur, the contrast ratio. We're ready to suspsend belief a little bit.

"The medium is the message." (McLuhan)

There's nothing wrong with wanting your video to look MORE like film. If such was the case, I don't think we'd be seeing the ridiculous amount of excitement about the HVX-200, or the great success Panasonic's had with the DVX-100. We're human - we want what we can't really afford - so if we can cheat and get closer, so much the better.
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 09:50 AM

Trying to make the output of an XL1 look like 35mm will give you a bastard child that will not resemble either parent.

Better to be true to your medium, if you shoot video, accept that it looks like video.

I guess every ones dream is to shoot a feature that looks identical to 35mm with a video camera that costs $795.00.

R.

PS: I'm surprised to see Canadian philosophy being quoted to me on this forum (Herbert Marshall McLuhan).
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#10 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:03 AM

Sid_d84,

Try FilmFX by BigFX. You can basically try and mimic the gamma properties of the many film stocks it comes with, and it has some pretty nice effects too. (Dirt, grain, gate wobbles e.t.c.)

Many people say if your shooting video, then stick with it and appreciate it's look. And not try and mimic film.

What it comes down to is this:

People can't afford to shoot film. If they could, don't you think they would? So they are forced to shoot video, but they much prefer the look of film to video. So they try and make video look more like film. Something you can't do completely, but, you can make it look MORE like film. Even if you?re stuck with something in the middle, most people would class that as looking better than bog standard video.

When I edit my footage to look more like film, it doesn't look *perfectly* like film, but it looks a lot better than standard video in my opinion.

You may be stuck with something in the middle, but at least you haven?t got to worry about paying the re-mortgage on your house back.

Again, the hilarity of video folk who want their video to look like film.

The big question always is: Why not have your video look like, well, video?

The hilarity of the person who shoots an entire feature length film and wants it to look like eastenders. The simple answer to your big question is that most people don't like the look of video. They want it to look like a rich feature length cinema film. Not a news broadcast or soap opera.

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith, 06 May 2005 - 11:09 AM.

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#11 drew_town

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:21 AM

Tim should build an auto response system to where any time "video" and "film" appear in the same sentence a post like Rik's appears and the thread closes.
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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:28 AM

Well guess what. Not every producer has the budget for film. Perhaps you could use your experience to be more helpful than disparaging in this forum?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Relax.

R.
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#13 nchopp

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:58 AM

Trying to make the output of an XL1 look like 35mm will give you a bastard child that will not resemble either parent.

Better to be true to your medium, if you shoot video, accept that it looks like video.

I guess every ones dream is to shoot a feature that looks identical to 35mm with a video camera that costs $795.00.

R.

PS: I'm surprised to see Canadian philosophy being quoted to me on this forum (Herbert Marshall McLuhan).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Where can I find an XL1 for $795? That's be great.

Chopp


P.S. McLuhan's not a philosopher, but a media ecologist.
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#14 nchopp

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 12:02 PM

Sid_d84,

Try FilmFX by BigFX. You can basically try and mimic the gamma properties of the many film stocks it comes with, and it has some pretty nice effects too. (Dirt, grain, gate wobbles e.t.c.)



If you're stuck trying to make video you've already shot look like film in post, you're already too late. No software in the world is going to bring back the highlights you've blown and shadows you've lost.

Dirt, grain, and gate wobble effects are useless, unless you have a reason your film needs to look like something from the 30s. When was the last time you saw a feature film that had a gate scratch? It's not even a band-aid, it's worse than a band-aid. Putting a film effect on top of poorly shot video is like pointing a large, red arrow at it and saying: "Look, I can't afford film OR the time and experience to shoot good video!"


Chopp


P.S. CineLook is, in my opinion, a very much superior option to FilmFX. It's diffusion filters in particular are phenomonal.
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#15 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 12:48 PM

P.S. McLuhan's not a philosopher, but a media ecologist.

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It is definately an arguable point.

R.
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#16 Rik Andino

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 12:58 PM

People can't afford to shoot film. If they could, don't you think they would? So they are forced to shoot video, but they much prefer the look of film to video. So they try and make video look more like film. Something you can't do completely, but, you can make it look MORE like film. Even if you?re stuck with something in the middle, most people would class that as looking better than bog standard video.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I understand the need of making something better than what you have...
But the problem is you'll spend almost the same amount of money in post...
As you would have spent if you shoot on film

And you still don't have anywhere near the quality or resolution.

I've shot plenty of good video
& when I first started out...I tried to make it look "like film"...
But after awhile you realize that all the tricks you try still it looks like video
So then you go with a different philosophy try to shoot good video...
And try not to make it look like the Network News and/or Soaps.

And you realize alot of it has to do more with lighting and framing...
Than filters or effects--so if you concentrate on that you'll have a better video Than trying to insert grain or film gamma or etc...


Good Luck
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#17 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 01:43 PM

If you're stuck trying to make video you've already shot look like film in post, you're already too late. No software in the world is going to bring back the highlights you've blown and shadows you've lost.

Dirt, grain, and gate wobble effects are useless, unless you have a reason your film needs to look like something from the 30s. When was the last time you saw a feature film that had a gate scratch? It's not even a band-aid, it's worse than a band-aid. Putting a film effect on top of poorly shot video is like pointing a large, red arrow at it and saying: "Look, I can't afford film OR the time and experience to shoot good video!"
Chopp
P.S. CineLook is, in my opinion, a very much superior option to FilmFX. It's diffusion filters in particular are phenomonal.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Then whats the point in the program? You can't make it look perfectly like film, it's impossible right now, but that program helps.
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#18 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 02:04 PM

But the problem is you'll spend almost the same amount of money in post...

Not, exactly.. the one advantage to digital editing is that it's both cheap and easy. I mean, if your shooting low res DV, you can edit it on a fairly descent home computer. And theres always ways of getting hold of software for free, even if it's just to use and not keep.

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith, 06 May 2005 - 02:05 PM.

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#19 Charlie Seper

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 05:00 PM

First, I'm guessing that this new poster is a shill to get people to post on the board more by the site owner, or that its an alter-ego by one of the regular posters so they could pat themselves on the back and say, "Look, I told someone they couldn't make video look like film?aren't I clever?" Anyone w/ an XL1 is going to know a little bit about video and how to use it in Frames Mode and how using it in PAL at 50i will translate quite well to 25P for film work. But, that said....

Telling someone to settle for making their movie look like video (i.e.?Soderberg's crappy "Full Frontal") when they could easily make it look like Boyle's "28-Days Later", is a tad goofy.

Anybody can make video look quite a bit like film, so much so that the average person couldn't tell the difference. And no, you don't need a $10,000 35mm lens like Boyle used. A pro mechanical lens sure helps though and you can likely rent one cheaper than you think.

Most programs like Magic Bullet suggest you shoot in either 50 or 60i and avoid Frame Mode when using their products. I've tested a couple of them and can safely say this to be true. But I must also say that Frame Mode will produce something that looks infinitely more film-like. The problem is when trying to transfer 60i to 24P film when used in frame mode to achieve a 30p look. Shooting in real 30p has the same problem, which is a sort of strobing effect. This is a real shame since anybody that's shot in both 24p and 30p will tell you that 30p looks better. Same goes for 60i in frame mode.

Since you don't have a camera capable of 24p (and I'm going to assume it isn't a PAL model0 then I'd say go ahead and use Frame Mode and when transferring to film use the Kinescope method. (This is basically filming a monitor of your video while its playing.) I think Kinescope has less strobing artifacts than any other process. Of course, it produces the worst film of any other process too. But if you're so poor that you need to shoot a film on DV then chances are you're going to use the Kinescope method anyway because it?s the cheapest way to do a video to film transfer.

Also, as the first response to your post said, stay away from big outdoor shots when using miniDV. In fact, stay indoors as much as you can w/ lots of light. While an outdoor epic is next to impossible w/ DV, films shot primarily indoors can look quite good when transferred to film.

Further, I'm an old audio guy, (I won't lecture you on staying away from onboard mics or from using your DV unit to record sound from at all, but I wouldn't except for sync purposes :-) but, when 24-bit audio came out I used to see idiot kids in stupid internet forums all the time blabbing about how you had to record in 24-bit and at a higher resolution than 44.1 and so forth or that you were going to get some kind of substandard "demo quality" sound. As usual, the internet is mostly a breeding grounds for incompetents with no friends and no life and no where else to be and no one to be there with. The misinformation available on the weird wide web is just astonishing. The only advantage to recording in 24-bits is a little more overhead, which is fine if you're recording a symphony orchestra. 99% of us will never need more overhead than we already had at 16-bit. And a 44.1 resolution w/ over-sampling is going to sound the EXACT SAME as any higher resolution. Now, audio people are finally wising up.

Film shot on miniDV will look a little soft on the big screen. Don't worry about it. If you've got a good story no one will think twice about how it was shot. That's what's going to set you apart. With the invention of Flash came the ability for the masses to produce their own high quality animated movies. So far its produced a multitude of crap. Audio DAW work stations, very inexpensive but great sounding condenser mics, good mixing desks, and digital effects have made it possible for anyone to produce incredible sounding music in their own homes with unlimited tracks and for next to nothing. So far its produced a multitude of...yes?crap. Now we're seeing the same digital revolution in video. Soon, anyone will be able to produce hi-def film-like images on the cheap. Any guess at what its going to produce? Ever been to a film festival? It ain't pretty. Have these idiots have never read a novel written before 1950 (as if there were more than 5 or 6 worth reading since 1950.) They wouldn't know Romanticism from Mysticism, Chesterton from Spencer, or mythology from fiction. A good story told well is all you need and will place you in front of the vast majority of people posting in video forums on the blasted internet. The rest are merely details.

I would venture to guess that most people who think they've got such golden eyeballs would have a hard time telling video (hi-def or standard) from film when shot well, regardless of their rhetoric. I just watched "Primer" the other night, a great film made for less than $7,000 by a mathematician who quit his engineering job, got a few books on film making, and went out and made a film that won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance. It was the first piece of film he ever shot. After watching it, I mention to a couple of people something about neat new film that was shot on hi-def. Turns out I was wrong. It was shot on 16mm film. Here's a case where I actually thought something shot on film was made on video. And you know what? Nobody gives a tinker's damn. It?s a great story.
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#20 drew_town

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 05:16 PM

Anybody can make video look quite a bit like film

No they can't. They can make it look like really good video. Even give it cinematic quality with high production value. But YOU CAN'T GET VIDEO TO LOOK LIKE FILM AND THAT'S THAT. 28 Days Later doesn't look like film. It's kick-ass, low-as-hell-resolution video.

And this comes from a videographer.

You do give some really good advice Charlie. And that's how you give your video "production value" not "film look."

There's nothing wrong with the way video looks. It's different, as everyone knows. But you can shell out some good video footage if you concentrate on your production values and not what silly little filters you'll use to give it a "film look."

Production Value, Production Value, Production Value!

Not film look.

If you've got a good story no one will think twice about how it was shot.

Except me. ;)

Dirt, grain, and gate wobble effects are useless

Agreed.

And you realize alot of it has to do more with lighting and framing...
Than filters or effects--so if you concentrate on that you'll have a better video Than trying to insert grain or film gamma or etc...

Yeah... like Rik said.
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