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Help! Achieving the 70's TV look

vintage retro tv cinematography

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#1 Nicholas Lee-Shield

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 01:12 PM

Hey Guys,

 

So i've been tasked in DoP'ing a music video next month and at the directors request, he want's that 70's style look, as we shall be re-creating a 'top of the pops' style performance for the band. 

 

My references for this sort of thing are basically anything Bruno mars has put out over the past 4 years:

 

Bruno Mars - Treasure:

 

Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man:

 

and...

 

Pheonix - J Boy:

 

 

 

Ideally, due to budget restraints, it would have to be digital and as we'll be renting off a friend for a silly price, so it will most probably be an Epic. However i'm aware 16mm would of been ideal for this.

 

So my question is, setting aside camera movement etc, what would you suggest for the 'look'?

 

 

I'm quite set on hiring some Tiffen star filters for the star effects and throwing a 1/2 pro mist in the mix to bloom the highlights on an old vintage zoom, but what would you suggest for de-grading the quality of the image?

 

Thanks in advance,

Nick 

 

www.nicholasleeshield.com

 

 


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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:01 PM

You gotta get an Ikegami tube camera, ITC-730A for example. Buy some star filters for the lens and it's legit 70's feel


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#3 Michael Rodin

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:31 PM

Ideally you'd want a 1" plumbicon studio camera, but they're extremely rare. Newer hi-end 2/3" cameras like Ikegami HL79 or HL95 or Sony BVP330 would give a similar image. Many had star filters fitted to filter wheels, some even came stock with them.

 

1/2 Pro Mist is almost invisible unless you strongly overexpose large parts of the frame and it doesn't soften the image much. I'd go as dense as Pro Mist 2 or 3 on close-ups. Or a full White Frost plus Classic Soft 2.

 

Are you shooting on a soundstage? How much power is available for lighting?


Edited by Michael Rodin, 24 May 2017 - 02:33 PM.

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#4 Keith Walters

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 07:36 PM

Ideally you'd want a 1" plumbicon studio camera, but they're extremely rare. Newer hi-end 2/3" cameras like Ikegami HL79 or HL95 or Sony BVP330 would give a similar image. Many had star filters fitted to filter wheels, some even came stock with them.

 

 

Most "Studio" cameras basically needed a studio attached to run them. You will also need something that can record composite video.

There are still places that can handle Betacam tapes, but good luck finding a Betacam CamCorder with a working deck.
There were also still quite a few studio colour cameras in the US in the early 70s that used Image Orthicon tubes for the luminance and vidicons for the chrominance; they produced an extremely distinctive "look"
One other thing that needs to be kept in mind; much of the so-called  "look" of "vintage" video comes from the careless way it's been transferred from the original 2" videotape. An awful lot of really good colour video was ruined by cheap and nasty archiving onto the Betacam format.
If it was shot and lit correctly in the first place, videotaped material from 50 years ago can scrub up far better than most people seem to imagine, if it's "respectfully" transferred.


 


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#5 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 08:28 PM

Get the Blackmagic Analog to SDI converter and record the signal via Atomos. I've done multiple projects via that method. It doesn't have ALL of the tape coloration when recording via digital means, but if you know someone with a VHS tape deck you can run it through easy.


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#6 Michael Rodin

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:20 AM

Most "Studio" cameras basically needed a studio attached to run them.

A CCU, sync generator, setup unit and NTSC encoder (they usually came as output boards for a CCU, at least in later systems) should be enough. The real problems start with obtaining tubes.


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#7 Mark Dunn

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:25 AM

 NTSC encoder

OP is in the UK.


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#8 George Ebersole

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:38 AM

Get the Blackmagic Analog to SDI converter and record the signal via Atomos. I've done multiple projects via that method. It doesn't have ALL of the tape coloration when recording via digital means, but if you know someone with a VHS tape deck you can run it through easy.

 

Does that allow you to run a feed off an old Ikegami or SONY to a hard drive?


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#9 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:30 AM

It may depend on the era of camera. Which ones do you have in mind?


Edited by Macks Fiiod, 25 May 2017 - 07:30 AM.

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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:49 AM

Top of the Pops was shot with EMI 2001 cameras. The nearest, would be a 2/3 tube camera, although they never had the look of the 2001.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMI_2001

 


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 25 May 2017 - 07:50 AM.

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#11 George Ebersole

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 10:29 AM

It may depend on the era of camera. Which ones do you have in mind?

 

 

No particular camera in mind.  I was just generally curious.


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#12 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 10:47 AM

All Betacam stuff is compatible with that method. I think pretty much anything with a "video-out" port is compatible with it. I made a small youtube video using the method earlier this year.


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#13 Phil Connolly

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 02:17 PM

Various music shows in the UK used to put lee soft 01 or 02 on the back of the lens.

 

http://www.leefilter...tegory/soft-set

 

You'd cut the filters down to small circle and stick behind the len's - gives a nice subtle diffusion. Yes I know they are supposed to go on the front of the lens - but they can be hacked to go on the back of a 2/3" studio zoom. They are thin enough not to cause problems with back focus etc...

 

Used a lot in studio multi-cam situations where matt boxes and glass filters are less really practical and not an option on the large box zoom lenses.

 

Also experiment with nets - they can go a long way towards giving you the look you need.

 

If I were going to attempt this type of look - I'd probably be looking at getting a 2/3" SD camera, DV or Digit-Beta (for stability), shooting though nets and then bouncing everything to SVHS or Hi-8 afterwards to burn in the analogue look and pick up some dropout.  


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#14 George Ebersole

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 11:12 PM

Well, one of the key issues of getting that 70's look is that chips organize light differently than tubes, so you don't get the same kind of flares.  Digital gives a lot of vertical flare lines, where tube cameras give the starlight effect.


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#15 Nicholas Lee-Shield

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 10:20 AM

Guys I want to thank you all for the incredible contributions and suggestions. Luckily the label have hiked up the budget greatly, allowing us to shoot with a GA-TV Ikegaami-3 which I believe is a 3 tube, plus we get an operator as well, who has had years of industry experience shooting the exact programs we are trying to replicate! 

 

I'll keep you all posted on the results!

Best,

Nick 


Edited by Nicholas Lee-Shield, 26 May 2017 - 10:21 AM.

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#16 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 10:36 AM

I assume these people are supplying the camera:

 

http://www.golden-ag...hp?ProducerID=5


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#17 Nicholas Lee-Shield

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 06:12 AM

I assume these people are supplying the camera:

 

http://www.golden-ag...hp?ProducerID=5

 

Correct Brian!


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#18 Nicholas Lee-Shield

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 06:29 AM

Hey guys,

 

Just thought i'd give you a little update on the project, as it seems to spark up a bit of interest! 

 

So as mentioned before, the budget was increased nicely, which allowed us to successfully hire the correct camera package needed for the job. 

 

As Brian correctly guessed above, we ended up contacting a nice chap called Dicky, who had a huge warehouse in London full of amazing gear and relics of the past. Turned out he used to Op on British TV shows back in the day, and owned the correct gear, so we really lucked out. 

 

We ended up shooting on the Ikegami -3 tube camera, as recommended by Dicky, as this was a lot lighter than some of the studio cameras, and logistically made sense for us cost wise, getting the camera to the studio we were shooting in and also for Dicky to Op on his own. 

 

I also see now why Michael asked me if we had plenty of lighting - this thing sucked up any light source i gave it! In the end, we had as follows:

 

4x 4.8K space lights above each band member

1x ARRI T12 shooting into a 12x12 1/4 Grid frame front lighting the band

1x ARRI 5K frenel bare faced, side lighting the band

2x ROBE Patts (2013's) at 750w Each

5x Par Cans back lighting the band 

​2x sun strips for aesthetics 

 

and we were still at T/2... JUST. 

 

We also tried out a Tiffen 4-star filter on the front of the lens, and whilst it did create the cool star filter we were after, we all agreed that loosing almost a stop of light wasn't worth it.

 

Here's a cool BTS shot taken by the producer. As soon as the video's been signed off and graded by the label, i'll attach it to the thread and show you guys what we got.

 

Thanks again for everyones help!

Best,

Nick  

 

 

 

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