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Old April 5th, 2013, 11:42 PM   #1
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How to add cinematic touch to ordinary situations

Today 02:08 PM
Hello all,

I have a documentary project next month with at least one or two scenes that involves cooking local cuisine, and I wanted to get some tips from the pros on how to make it more cinematic. In particular, I really liked Philip blooms piece "Sugared Art." We will have the kitchens to our selves and the chefs will be under our command, so things can be staged, but we are not sure what the local venues will look like when we get there. My question is, what techniques do you guys apply to get cinematic motion on the spot in venues you have never been before? We will have a jib, slider, and tripod. The way I was thinking to do it was to set up the job and tripod and just eye the location for nice shots, focusing on wides first, then mediums, and then soon close ups.

I have decent experience in narrative film, but this will be my first documentary, and coming from a narrative background, I was just wondering what strategies some of you guys use o add a cinematic touch to ordinary situations.

All help greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Old April 6th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #2
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Re: How to add cinematic touch to ordinary situations

I recently saw a cooking show that was shot with shallow depth of field. Big mistake. The audience wants to see as much as possible in the frame, not as little as possible. In this case, the depth of field was a big distraction to the content. Most irritating was when the operator constantly kept "hunting" for focus.

Making a great video is very much like cooking. Just because you have all the spices available in the kitchen doesn't mean that you have to use all of them to make a tasty dish. Use only what is necessary or what applies to your content. Personally, I would focus on and showcase the chef's talents and unique techniques rather than trying to think up of "beauty" shots beforehand....unless you're using the cinematics as part of a montage or flashback.

In your case, you don't know what the venue looks like, so you can't plan ahead. Since you have a jib arm though, I would plan on using it for overhead, straight down shots, again focusing on the chef's technique and talent.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 08:01 AM   #3
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Re: How to add cinematic touch to ordinary situations

To be honest cinematic shots don't have to always be depth of field stuff.

Why not create a nice smooth motion of some kind .. left to right, right to left, back to forward. Something to give the impression the camera is being moved in a controlled way.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 08:32 AM   #4
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Re: How to add cinematic touch to ordinary situations

A simple variety of shots helps a lot. Combining a straight forward shot with over the shoulder of what the chef is working on, and close up of their hands and face, go a long way. Like anything, just don't go crazy.
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