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Forget about the film look


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#1 Ckulakov

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 06:27 PM

I have found that you dont have to concertrate on making video to look like film but you have to try to set your movie appart from the standard home video, news station look and make it look proffessional and original.

I think the number one and most important factor is lighting.
LIGHTING, LIGHTING , LIGHTING, many people who are not experianced in filmmaking believe that lighting is something you have to hate and try to get away with they think of lighting as just blassting the set with a broad beam light to get rid of shadows so you can see everything. I believe that lighting is the funnest and most interesting way of telling the story of your movie. It can set the mood, time of day, characters and give you that 'LOOK'. To separate it from that news report home video feel, light using shadows and sidelights and try to concertrate the lighting onto the character.

The second thing to do to set your film appart from that news report look is giving your film a certain 'look' is using color and matching it to fit the story, it will really set it appart. You can give your film a warm 'look' using lighting, filters, or color correction if you have a good software. Warm colors can symbolize the richness of a relationship, but cool colors can resemble a broken relationship. Also shooting black and white with shadowy and contrasty lighting, stylized composition, and good camera work can really set it appart and give it that stylized proffesional 'look'.

Another way to get that original 'look' is composing and framing your shots with interesting compositionss. Using foreground and background elements and trying to create compelling compositions. Most importantly do not zoom and try to keep the camera steady unless it really helps to tell the story and is done well rehearsed. I am not saying that a well practiced slow pan and zoom will look bad.

Also softening the image a little can sometimes help set it apart from that oversharp electroninc look . Fore example you can use a 1/4 black promist on the lens.

These ideas are things I came up with from experiance, researching the internet, and reading books.

PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU AGREE WITH MY IDEA
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 06:37 PM

Sounds like a good starting point. There are limits to making rules because each story dictates its own approach.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 10:38 PM

Don't forget that, at one time, news was shot on video news film 16mm, not ENG. So just because you're shooting 16mm doesn't mean your footage doesn't look like the 10 o'clock news either. It's very hard to make VNF look like anything else. With all the talking and ranting I do touting film as the best image medium, I must confess that I've seen some very very impressive projects done on straight DV tape with consumer camcorders. Some of the stuff I've seen shot with simple DV makes some of the 16mm I've shot look like snuff in comparison. It just goes to show that the framing, lighting, composition, and acting are what will make or break your story, not the format that it is originated on. Anchorman was shot on 35mm. Collateral was shot on digital. David is right, each story requires its own look whether that be film or video or a combination thereof. Whatever you shoot on, make it look the best that you can for the amount of money and time you have. Make your movie something that is DIFFERENT in its approach to the visual problem and the problem of motion and conflict in motion. That's all that you can do.

Regards.
~Karl Borowski
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#4 Shawn Murphy

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 04:11 AM

I can't speak to the credibility of the judges at Sundance, but the fact that Nancy Schreiber won the 2004 'Excellence in Cinematography' award for 'November', using a DVX100, (and this was not in a special DV category, this was against all entries shot on film as well), speaks volumes to point that it's not as much about the medium as it is the craft of lighting and composing. I'll be seeing this "film" very soon at the Seattle Film Festival, as well as 'Lonesome Jim', which was also shot on the DVX.

Admittedly, I've seen a handful of DV productions that were blown up to 35 and many just don't appeal to me. Hal Hartley's latest, 'The Girl From Monday' was one of those that I really didn't care for the look it had (and I'm a Hal Hartley fan). What I found even more intriguing was that for that project they apparently spent a considerable amount of money in post to give it the "Cinematic Look" (see the article): http://www.dvformat....le.jsp?id=30132

*very strange that they went to such lengths in post when 'November' (according to Nancy) was not given any "filmic" treatments in post... makes me wonder if they're just not comfortable with lighting for DV?
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