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Old October 8th, 2002, 06:13 PM   #1
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Minority Report Look

In minority report I noticed that in many shots the whiteness of light and skin tone was rather high giving a lot of things an almost angel like effect and look. How was this done and can it be done on dv?
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Old October 8th, 2002, 07:37 PM   #2
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I have only a vague recollection of this film but I believe the "look" you're referring to is produced by a combination of production and post-production effects. In DV you would probably use a rather harsh directional light amidst a relatively dark field. A diffusion filter would give the highlights a bit of glow. In post you might slightly de-saturate your color to further make the scene seem ethereal.
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Old October 9th, 2002, 03:49 AM   #3
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I've tried to emulate this in Vegas Video (you'll be able to do it regardless of what non-linear editor you use, if it's of a semi-professional quality. . .something like Premiere, Vegas Video, Final Cut Pro, etc.)

In addition to desaturation, try fooling with contrast/brightness, as well as the color balance. Add and subtract colors until you get a greenish, or bluish (or whatever color you want) cast to the footage. As for contrast, maybe allow some blown out highlights. . .not too many though.
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Old October 9th, 2002, 09:56 AM   #4
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The process used is called "bleach bypass", which refers to how the film negative is processed...the technique is known for high contrast, and low saturation...especially in the reds (they actually had to add some red to the light so Tom wouldn't look totally dead.)

How I would approach this in DV would be as follows. Light your scenes in a relatively High Key manor (lighter, without large areas of shadows), and slightly flatter than normal. Shift the color blue, through filtration or white balance.

In your NLE. Place your clip in the timeline, and duplicate it, on top of itself. Use overlay or soft light as your composite mode (these are in FCP and quicktime...don't know if VV3 has this)...and adjust the opacity to taste. You will also need to adjust the saturation of the top, or both clips. You can also try applying a guassian blur to the top clip. Finish it off with a trace of noise or grain.

I've used this technique alot in Photoshop and FCP for a few years, and it works great.

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Old October 9th, 2002, 12:51 PM   #5
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Very fancy. VV does have those compositing options (lighten, darken, burn. . .all that stuff).

So you're saying when Minority Report was shot, they had their post look already in mind, and lit accordingly?
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Old October 9th, 2002, 01:15 PM   #6
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josh, most features have their post look already planned out in pre-production.
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Old October 9th, 2002, 01:52 PM   #7
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If you can get ahold of the American Cinematographer that spotlighted Minority Report, there is a very detailed set of articles about how the film was lit, as well as the production design, and the "look" that spielberg was after.

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Old October 9th, 2002, 02:38 PM   #8
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I guess I still think in terms of the way I produce things. . .making decisions on the go. For all I know they decided to give it that post look in post. I just see some guy with an AVID going "hmmm. . .I think I'll make this movie contrasty and bleak. Yeah, that's the ticket."

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Old October 9th, 2002, 04:05 PM   #9
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Most cinematographers working in "features" have come up learning how to get the look they want on the film stock, as extensive post work is not always in the budget...and for many older DP's, for most of their careers this kind of digital adjustment was simply not available.

In the DV world, I think we would all benefit from their discipline. The color bandwidth of the minidv format is so limited that virtually any significant color correction causes noticeable degradation. And certainly the method I described above is possible without the first steps (lighting and in-camera color)...But I've found if I know what approach I'm going to take in post, that it makes my job easier, and the results better when I see my "look" as a combination of in-camera and post production techniques.

I'm in the process of testing some day-for-night stuff for an upcoming project...Initially I started by making most of the adjustments in post. Now I'm getting almost the same results in-camera...which leaves me alot more room to tweak when the time comes.

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Old October 9th, 2002, 07:57 PM   #10
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Would you tell me how the day for night stuff goes? I had a project I wanted to produce during the day, but my actor is so busy I might have do the opposite of what you said, and shoot night for day. Is this possible without crap results? I remember the TV movie adaption of Stephen King's "The Stand," and though it had some beautiful stuff, all the scenes in that cornfield around the old lady's house was laughable. It was quite clearly not shot outdoors.
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Old October 9th, 2002, 10:10 PM   #11
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I'm not sure what night-for-day would really mean in terms of a technique. I've seen some still photography shot at night that looks vaguely, and surreally like daytime...but film...I don't know how you'd begin.

Day for Night...shooting footage in sunlight that appears to be shot at night...is an old technique that really isn't that difficult, except that it almost never looks like night. Typically the technique involves a blueish color balance combined with shadowy, backlit subjects. The overall content of the frame on the dark side, with the subjects illuminated by strongly off-axis sunlight. The biggest trick is to keep the sky out of the picture, as the lightness of the sky is a dead giveaway...if you can do this the effect is pretty believable. I'm experimenting with a neutral density grad plus a polarizer to allow me to get some sky in the shots. Check out Hitchcock's North by Northwest for some great Dusk-for-night footage, it doesn't look real, but it sure looks cool.

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Old October 10th, 2002, 03:52 AM   #12
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Thank you sir. In regards to your comment about "any color correction causes noticable degradation," is this a quality loss I can see immediately on any monitor, say a crappy Magnavox TV, or does it only show up on larger, better monitors?
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Old October 10th, 2002, 09:36 AM   #13
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It's been my experience that most "significant" changes in color, contrast, gamma etc. (ie the kind necessary to do the minority report thing) cause a certain amount of degradation of image quality. (Minor tweaking is less likely to cause this). Whether it is noticeable depends on a lot of factors, including the set...I have an inexpensive zenith 27" set, and I can see problems showing up on it.

I've worked with photoshop for many years, and one of the best lessons I learned early on was this. "Every correction, filter, enhancement etc results in a net loss of image data". In other words...every time you do anything you are essentially throwing data away. The more you do, the more you lose.

In photoshop you are working with high quality uncompressed images, often acquired with 12 or 16bit devices. With DV, you are starting with a small image that has a lot of sharpening and compression applied to it...and this causes artifacts that are just below the threshold of being visible on a standard monitor...ie your base image is just barely passable. When you make adjustments and then recompress this footage, you are more likely to see posterization and other artifacts, and thus are wise to get as much of your final look on the original tape as is possible.

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Old October 10th, 2002, 11:38 AM   #14
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My main problem with that is: how do you know that whatever look you're going for before you start shooting is going to work when the piece is done? What if you've shot with the minority report look and decided it doesn't work with the piece? I realize this should be figured out in pre-production, but sometimes ideas come to you later.
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Old October 10th, 2002, 02:16 PM   #15
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Most dp's do tests to dial in the look a director is after.

Good dp's are able to make decisions (based on experience and knowlegde) on film stocks, lighting styles, exposures to get a look across. this is why it is an art. ;)

My advice is to experiment with looks before you go for your full blown production. I do it before anything I do, since it's so easy with digital photography. (i.e. no film scanning needed).

As for post processing, I do it regular, but use a package like digital fusion (or inferno for film) to do cgi compsiting and colour timing. These packages have a fatter colour space and are able to tweak the output with less artifacting that a NLE package can. Also have more controls, splines, masking, premultiplied layering, colour surpression and rotoscoping etc, and many more advanced effects and tools.
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