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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old December 26th, 2005, 11:06 PM   #1
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A few words from a beginner on "that film look

First of all - this forum is great. I have learned lots by reading some of the posts. I would like to share and perhaps receive comments on my experiences with the XL2.

I should provide a little background about my ideography experience first:

I come from the "point & shoot" world of ideography. Until this past August, when I purchased my XL2, I used a Sony hi-8 video camera. Life was simple then... point, shoot, & edit. It was not until I started poking around these forums that I learned that the quality of my hi-8 was deplorable. After a few downloadable sample videos taken with the AXLE, Sony PD150, etc... I was in love with the 3 chip cameras. I decided on the XL2 for many reasons. The biggest reasons were the interchangeability of lenses and the 24P mode.

I quickly learned that I was no longer in the "point & shoot" world. Although the camera was producing some incredible color video, I was still not satisfied with the end product. My first instinct was to shoot everything in 24P - yaw's know, to get the so called "film" look. I realized one very important thing. It was not the "film" look that I was after. Every thing that I was shooting kind looked like dad's old super-8 movies. I realized that the film look that I was after was really more like a cinematic look! I wanted my video to look like a real movie or that really cool color film used on the old Bonanza episodes. Oh yes... and I thought I was just going "point & shoot" to get it.

It's been a long haul since August. I have spent tons of time in various forums trying to learn this wonderful craft. I have been experimenting with 30P using the Blue Barn pre-sets manager program. The biggest lesson so far has been lighting, lighting, and lighting.... what a difference it makes.

After experimenting with the presets, shutter speed, and iris variations things are starting to look better. I'm learning something new everyday. The XL2 is an incredible camera. As for that "film" look... if anyone has some a suggestion on that "Bonanza look" I'm listening.

Timmy B.

Last edited by Tim Bickford; December 27th, 2005 at 11:59 AM.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 02:44 AM   #2
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Bonanza look? Want to be more specific? Maybe post a grab? Old TV shows were fairly flat, with whites going more to yellow and colors less saturated leaning more towards browns and greens....



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Old December 27th, 2005, 06:01 AM   #3
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that film look

Anyone that says "I want that film look" from a DV camera might as well just go use film. Digital video can do alot to "Mimic" the way film looks and feels, but you will never get that "film look" simply because.....its....not....film. 24p is simply a progressive frame rate. Lots of people see 24 frames and go OMG! FILM! but i'ts still digital. There are lots of things you can do to make your stuff look filmish.....but you will never achieve a film look unless you go use film.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 09:12 AM   #4
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That film look

Here are a couple photos from Bonanza. The best I could come up with.

http://bonanza1.com/gallery/album04/Untitled9833a
http://bonanza1.com/gallery/Ben/ben1

Yes- I agree, If you want that film look you should shoot with film. Again, I confused the "film look" with the "cinematic look".

The "Bonanza Look", as I like to call it, really brings out the skin tone. Actually, it kinda exagerates it. I think this look resembles, in some respects, the cartoon look. Almost looks like the frames have been painted. This is especially true in the second clip. Look at the dark grain wood in the background.

I hope that explains it better.

Thanks..

Timmyb
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Old December 27th, 2005, 09:54 AM   #5
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Tim,

Many of the tweaks that are done to give video a 'filmic' quality are accomplished by altering the color curves of the image. This can be done in camera, and in post.

Film has a decidedly different gamma curve than video. You will also hear how film has 'more lattitude' than video. This means you can 'see' more details in the blacks and whites before they dissapear or blow out.

TO sum up. THere are a number of elements that help to mimic the film look. People argue over which are more important, but they all play a part.

PRODUCTION VALUES is number one in my book. This means the very best script/actors/direction/lighting/set/costumes/fx/stunts that you can get. While many of us talk about how much film costs, making it too 'expensive' for low budget indies. The truth is that in terms of Hollywood budgets, film is cheap. The most expensive elements are the talent, crew and locations. In short - the money that makes a feature film great, is mostly in the production values, NOT film stock.

24 fps - Yeah, it sort of looks like film.

Shallow Depth of Field - While not all DP's utilize this a lot, it is an element of film that is very difficult to get on video without larger sensors and/or one of the 35mm adapters. Again, if you have it, it tends to lend a filmic feel to the video.

COLOR CORRECTION- And by correction, I mean tweaking it to look more like film. But even there, different films have different color qualities. Much of your beloved Bonanza footage looked washed out to me. In fact, I daresay the prints have faded quite a bit. An understanding of different filmstocks, and how you want to emulate them would be necessary for color corrections.

GRAIN - A subtle and shifting quality of film, that is really a submliminal element that seperates film from video. Without the subtle shifting of grain that we come to expect with film, the hard sharp clearness of video seems somehow 'different'.

All of this has been discussed at great length on this board. DO a search for 'film look' and see what comes up.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 10:08 AM   #6
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That film look

Richard.

Thanks for the info. I will print it out and soak it in.

The Bonanza pictures really do not express (entirely) the images I had in mind. I have posted some images that I took from the old Hogan's Heros show.

http://www.chinaadoptionwebsites.com/OUTPUT_000051.bmp
http://www.chinaadoptionwebsites.com/OUTPUT_000047.bmp
http://www.chinaadoptionwebsites.com/OUTPUT_000005.bmp
http://www.chinaadoptionwebsites.com/OUTPUT_000962.bmp
http://www.chinaadoptionwebsites.com/OUTPUT_000034.bmp





Thanks...

Last edited by Tim Bickford; December 27th, 2005 at 10:46 AM.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 03:05 PM   #7
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Those old shows used lots of make-up and flat lighting... I would try the cine settings with the KNEE set to LOW and the BLACKS set to STRETCH. Also might want to desaturate by lowering the color gain a notch or two... and maybe try shifting the phase a notch toward green... I would try a warm white balance and if that makes the reds pop too much, turn the red gain down a little... I wouldnt touch the setup level but you might want to tweak the master pedestal up or down... depending on the light....


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Old December 27th, 2005, 04:16 PM   #8
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Ash-

Thanks..

I will give that a try. Nothing like the Hogan's Hero look.

Thanks again. I'll let you know how I make out.

Timmyb
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