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Dogme 95 look


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#1 Benji Crumpler

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:35 AM

Hello I am a new member to these forums.  I am a student shooting a documentary as my thesis film. We intended to shoot on film, but cost was an obstacle we could not overcome.  As such, we are resigned to shooting the film digitally.

 

However, we do not like the look of modern HD digital cameras (5D, 7D, EX1, etc).  We do however like the look of some of the 'Dogme 95' ruleset films, which were shot on very early video cameras of the mid-90s/early-2000s.

 

Examples include (among others):

 

- The Celebration (Sony DCR-PC3)

- Julien Donkey-Boy (Canon XL-1)

- The Idiots (Sony DCR-VX1000)

 

I noticed these movies looked more like film than video.  They are not as sharp, sterile.  They have a softer look that reminds me more of super 8mm or 16mm film.  Did these filmmakers do anything special with these cameras (with lens choices, post production tricks, etc) to achieve these looks?  Is this just the look those old video cameras had?

 

Thank you


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:56 AM

A number of these films were shot in PAL video (50i) and transferred to 35mm for theatrical release, and that 35mm film was transferred back to video later. They aren't sharp because they were standard definition video.

 

If you want a more film-like quality, I would stick to a modern digital camera that does 24P/25P and just use softer lenses, diffusion, and/or post software that adds film grain to the image.  

 

But it seems like you don't want a film look, you want something that looks like those PAL video to film transfers of the late 1990's that companies like Swiss Effects were doing.  Trouble is the costs of recording out to 35mm film and then the costs of doing an HD telecine back to video, so if shooting film was a cost obstacle, then doing all of that would be a similar obstacle.


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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 05:36 AM

As David suggests these movies all had filmouts which is expensive, however apart from the things David mentioned there is another big difference in that these cameras were all CCD based instead of CMOS like many modern cameras. I understand the new Digital Bolex is also CCD based so that could be worth looking at.

 

However I wondered if it might be worth your while to hunt down a second hand DVX100B as the DVX is can record natively in 24p (in the states, or 25p elsewhere in the world). The camera is still only standard definition but even has built in cinegamma to try and make the image more film like:

 

 

Also you might want to get your hands on some Tiffen Black Pro Mist filters although preferably only 1/4 or 1/2 or it will start to look like a wedding video.

 

Lastly you might want to check out Inland Empire by David Lynch which was shot on a PD150.

 

Freya


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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 05:39 AM


Lastly you might want to check out Inland Empire by David Lynch which was shot on a PD150.although the PD150 is interlaced so you would need to deinterlace and everything if you used one but I just thought it's another good example of a standard def movie.

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 30 October 2014 - 05:40 AM.

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#5 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 08:52 AM

What's very interesting is that the look of Dogme 95 is so specific to a time when digital projection was not an option.   I get that everyone probably liked the look of the transfer and all but it hardly looked like film.  Even Personal Velocity which won Sundance for its cinematography looked like someone had recorded the videotap feed of a film camera.  Ellen Kuras has a wonderful knack for handheld though so I can see why it was honored.

 

I remember reading about the intentional degredation of the image of The Celebration and how much post work they did stepping on it so it looked as textured as possible.  It sounded like a hurculean effort for very little reward.  I loved the film but I don't think I'd love it less if it was shot on 35mm.  If you watch it today the technique is pretty distracting.

 

I don't believe anyone did those films for a love of the aesthetic or even low budget necessity.  They tested 35mm on The Celebration and had a budget to shoot with it.  On that and Dancer in the Dark, it was more about using tiny cameras and working very fast and if DSLR's were available then I think they would have used them.  So the time period represents an awkward transition for everyone.  The filmout transfers were the only thing saving those films from looking like casting tapes.

 

Not sure why anyone would want to return to those dark times in cinema unless it's to make a dated reference in the story.  The same way you'd shoot Super-8. 

 

The Cigarette Girl is missing some Robert Rodriguez style scratches and gate weaving.  More dirt and grain as well.  Then you've got a Grindhouse contender.


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 30 October 2014 - 08:53 AM.

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 10:43 AM

Just think about it -- a feature is maybe 10,000 feet long in 4-perf 35mm.  So that's 10,000' of 35mm stock (negative or intermediate) and processing.  Then there is the costs of whatever film recorder technology you use to get the digital files onto that film.  Then you've got to scan the finished 10,000' reel of film back to digital for release, probably with a minimal color-correction session.


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#7 M. R. Hinchey

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 07:12 PM

I'm sure you've already shot your thesis project by now or are in the midst of it but I thought I'd throw in my two cents. As Freya mentioned, a lot of those Dogma 95 films were shot on cameras that used CCD sensors. CCDs are about 4 times as expensive as CMOS sensors, hence the switch by most camera manufacturers, but CCDs produce a distinctive look that in my opinion is closer to film. The Digital Bolex D16 also uses a CCD sensor and depending on where you're located you could potentially rent one. 

 

It's been a while since I read the Dogma "rules" but I seem to remember that shooting on whatever camera is available was part of it. If you can't find a D16 or don't want to, you could definitely find an old CCD camera for peanuts these days. The old CCD look is actually a bit of a fetish for a lot of filmmakers. I'm currently in the midst of my own personal 16mm fetish but VHS cameras from the 80's-90's are beginning to pique my interest.

 

Anyway, best of luck!


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#8 M. R. Hinchey

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 07:36 PM

Also, here is an example of some Digital Bolex footage that I shot, for your consideration. These are just some test shots I did after purchasing the camera but there's tons of footage out there now that you can check out.

 


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Glidecam

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Pro 8mm

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Zylight

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Pro 8mm

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Zylight

CineLab