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Old October 14th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #1
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How to get that film look?

I searched and 17 pages in I thought it would be better to post this here.

I've got a Canon HF100 but I don't think it can come very close to it. What would it take to come close to the film/cinematic look that we all see in our favorite movies? Of course I could use film itself but that's probably too difficult. I'll probably have to buy a really top notch camera so I'm prepared to spend what it will take. If some are out there that can do it can you give some examples?
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Old October 14th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #2
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Use the "Film Look" button. It's pretty well hidden on the HF100, and you have to stick the tip of a pen or pencil in the hole to make it work. It's just forward of the tripod mount.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #3
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Hmm.. is it that simple? I was thinking that something like the HF100 couldn't accurately match something like that.

What are people using these days besides actual film to get that look?
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #4
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This has been a topic of debate on many forums for many years. You should do a search and bring yourself up to speed. There is a lot of information out there on this. It's not as simple as pushing a button on your camera. Achieving the film look is a combination of things. Shooting in 24P mode and using cinema gamma settings in camera or using software like Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks Suite in post is a start. Film look can't be talked about without mentioning depth of field. 35 mm adapters are a huge part of making video resemble film by obtaing shallow depth of field on shots. These are the topics you should be looking for.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #5
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Jared,

I have a pair of HF100's and the previous two camcorders (Panasonic PV GS500 and Canon HV20) I had shared with it a similar "cine" mode. This "cine" mode applies a different gamma curve with quite subdued contrast, brightness, color, and sharpness all to get away from the super crisp bright contrasty "video" look.

For me this "cine" mode is "flat" but it's expanded dynamic range helps avoid "blown out" highlights which I find very useful. But I have to "tweak" it a little and the custom presets help a lot here.

Press the FUNC button to get the menu.

Make sure you have CINE MODE selected.

Then using the joystick move down to the "filmstrip" icon with the "c" next to it just below the AWB.

Now you are in the custom preset menu, toggle the joystick to move the cursor all the way to the right and you highlight the "filmstrip c" icon there. Press in on the joystick and you are in where you can make a few setting choices. Toggling the joystick up or down cycles you through the items you can set, everthing should be on the default "0" setting and here are the choices I made:

Sharpness +
Contrast +
Brightn +
Col Depth 0

For my tastes this "snaps" up cine mode so it doesn't look flat, with proper exposure image tones and color record with a look and range similar to color transparency films I've used in the past. Add in good lighting control and camera technique and you get closer to your goal. I've been told a lot of my stuff looks quite bit like film would.

Remember to change these back to "0" to use other than cine mode. The settings you make here apply "across the board" to all modes.

Some will tell you the "magic" 24fps frame rate and it's flicker that some can see and some can't is what will make something have that "filmic" look. That frame rate is simply what the film industry settled on as the best compromise between film consumption economy and the slowest frame rate at which they could count on persistence of vision working. Recently I read that in theaters each frame is actually projected twice to smooth out flicker and motion so in effect what you are seeing on the screen is 48fps.

24fps may be required in some submission venues but aside from that you can select your frame rate of preference. On the HF100 I used to mostly use the default 60i, I used 30p on a few projects to see what it was like. It does avoid "interlacing artifacts" but has an annoying "lag" on the LCD and with audio if you are trying to monitor with headphones.

I've had to put up with that lag because I started using DSLR's with video to supplement the HF100 output with things a DSLR can do better (low low light and lenses with better DOF control) and their output is 30p. So the HF100 output (in cine mode) edits in and mixes well with Canon T1i and Canon 7D output.

Try the settings above and see if you like them.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 06:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Koveleskie View Post
Film look can't be talked about without mentioning depth of field. 35 mm adapters are a huge part of making video resemble film by obtaing shallow depth of field on shots.
Begging to differ on this one. Shallow depth of field can make mediocre footage look more filmic, but it is entirely possible to make filmic footage with a bare 1/3" to 2/3" camera. Framing, lighting, exposure, i.e. the basics of cinematography are equally important as depth of field control. Unfortunately, these aspects take a lot of time, study and experimentation to learn and are thus less "interesting" to those looking to push a button or apply a post filter to achieve the look they seek.
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Old October 19th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #7
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^Couldn't agree more. These area a given. My answer was strictly from an equipment standpoint. 1/3" fixed lens cams are hard to get shallow DOF in confined spaces. Having the ability of interchangeable lenses for different situations is just part of the equation. It's a package deal.
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