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Old January 21st, 2007, 04:17 PM   #1
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Film-like settings on XL1s

What kind of settings do you guys use to get the most 'filmlike' look on the xL1s? I've been experimenting, just trying to get the look I want... are there any settings out there that look really good?

I use:
30 fps
Frame mode
6db gain
4:3 mode

IN POST:
24fps
16:9 aspect ratio
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Old January 21st, 2007, 08:46 PM   #2
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Here's a basic rundown of several techniques:

1. Shoot 60i and convert to 24p in post via DVFilmmaker software or Magic Bullet Suite or the Natress plug-ins. Most, if not all, of these will also require Adobe After Effects. This is the best option for a film out should you want one.

2. Shoot in Frame Mode, but realize that unless you have a PAL XL1S (which uses 25p instead of 30p), your options for a film output are shot unless you can find a theater that has digital projectors installed. DVD's, TV, and anything else is cool though.

3. Get a 35mm adapter such as the Brevis35, Redrockmicro M2, Letus35, SGPro35, or P+S Technik adapter and use still or cinema lenses.

4. Light your scenes professionally and learn all you can about proper exposure, iris control, shutter speeds, and filters, particularly Neutral Density filters (ND).

5. Color balance. (Yeah, that's it) =)

6. Compose your scenes for the 16:9 widescreen format and also safeguard for 4:3. Don't use your camera's internal 16:9 widescreen option, it's better to crop it in post as far as a film out goes. Plus, the 16:9 option decreases resolution too by removing the top and bottom information of the image and, most importantly, if there's a microphone dangling down and you don't notice it on the viewfinder, then you're stuck with it in the image and have nothing to pan down to in post without messing up your widescreen bars.

7. Don't use GAIN at all unless you really need it. It may not be noticeable on the viewfinder but on the big screen it shows up.

8. Take a look around in the Film Look forum on the website, I know it's a bit jumbled, but there's a lot of information buried in there about many things related to film look. Also, I'm sure various settings have been mentioned in the XL1S forum alone, probably in the back or archives.

I've got a GL1 and from what I understand, the XL1S doesn't offer up much more options than what that has. So your in-camera tweaking options are limited compared to newer cameras such as a DVX100, XL2, V1U, HVX200, and so forth.

One or all of these will help but there's a whole lot more to a movie than a pretty picture. Sound, lighting, post, lenses, support (ie. tripod, crane, dolly, ect.) and all that's up to you and your preference.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 11:12 PM   #3
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Lighting is more important than anything you do in-camera. That being said, I:
1) turn the sharpness down

2) avoid pure whites and reds in your frame

3) slightly desaturate if you're shooting reds.

4) use only the daylight and interior light settings on my WB dial (This forces you to think about lighting as you would if you were shooting film - this is my latest bit to get my head wrapped around the difference) or WB anally...way too often to make your crew happy (once an hour outdoors, and at beginning of first take of every camera position indoors - unless light is coming in from outside, then back to every hour).

5) gain to -3...video grain added by turning gain higher looks nothing like film grain...if you really need to make the artistic choice to kill your pristine image and go against 100 years of film chemistry advancement, do so in post.

6) shoot 4x3 and crop in post to 16x9...or use an anamorphic adaptor...a pita on set, but does a really nice job of getting higher resolution 16x9.

7) use an external monitor to frame (I've been using iMovie on a laptop).

8) use a circular polarizer

9) underexpose slightly...don't allow whites to blow out...light the foreground if you have to, but protect your whites at all costs! I run with my zebras at 90 and use them to dial back once from them on my subject...lighting them higher if the background is zebra'd...unless I'm specifically going for the blown out background/silhouetted look.

10) Spend time and/or money on set dressings and costuming/makeup.

11) Shoot lots of test footage, play it back on both your editing system and a TV...remember what looks good and how they look in relation to one another...and in relation to other stuff you watch on that same tv. Aim for the look of professionally made DVD's viewed on those two systems, note the differences and account for them when color correcting.

12) try not to show off the failings of DV (bad compression of reds and small lattitude). frame carefully for colors and light in a way that you won't hit both ends of the black <> white spectrum at the same time.

13) Stop trying to look like film (unless you have a specific reason to) and try to hit the same goals film DP's do...good looking footage no matter what the film/tape stock is.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald
Lighting is more important than anything you do in-camera. That being said, I:
7) use an external monitor to frame (I've been using iMovie on a laptop).
Hey Cole, how do you use Imovie as a monitor?
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Old January 30th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #5
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firewire to laptop, start imovie, switch the toggle to the camera and watch the results.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 12:45 AM   #6
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...nevermind (can't figure out how to delete post)
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Old March 8th, 2007, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djee Smit View Post
Hey Cole, how do you use Imovie as a monitor?
Firewire. Open a new iMovie project. Switch to camera/import view. Done. I do this all the time with my G3 laptop. Firewire to external firewire HD. Loop to Laptop via firewire. Click on IMPORT, and start camera. Click on IMPORT to stop take before stopping camera.
There is a significant time lag on the G3 display, so I don't rely on it as a larger monitor for action footage. G4 and Intel Macs should refresh display much faster.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #8
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Keep in mind that if you capture via iMovie, but edit in Final Cut, you'll more than likely have to reencode all of your footage as the audio from iMovie doesn't match the expected settings of Final Cut. I learned this the hard way...on a feature :( 47 hours of footage and not enough drive space to reencode it all...lots of render time while editing.
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