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Old January 29th, 2007, 09:40 PM   #1
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Natural, but beautiful skin with the HD cameras

I preparing to shoot a dramatic series of shorts.

Most of the cast is women, aged 25 to 35. These are hero types and must look perfect.

It is understood I must do my own tests, but where should I start to accomplish this:
1. Fine detail in the pictures that don't look like filtering.
2. Perfect looking skin, where small coloring blemishes don't show and pores don't show.
3. Smooth, glowing skin.

We will shoot with soft lights, bounced light, and diffusion.

What else is necessary to get this look that you see in alsmos every film with Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, and many others.

What are the answers that will work with the HD series of cameras?\
1. Airbrush makup.
2. Promist filters (what grades in what distances, situations)
3. The JVC skin detail feature.
4. Soft/FX filters (what grades)
5. Tiffen's Glimmerglass filters (has anyone used these?)
6. 55mm plugin for After Effects
7. Etc.

Thank you for contributing experience you have. We don't want the naturalistic, grundge, microscope face look that is showing up too much. We will put grundge in the titles and want beauty in the faces.

Last edited by Jack Walker; January 29th, 2007 at 10:11 PM.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 11:33 PM   #2
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Well, I would try a Tiffen Warm Soft FX 1 (or maybe a 2). The Pro Mists are worth a look of course, also a Tiffen 812 can be nice. I'm sure others will chime in.

The lighting will really make or break it of course -
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Old January 29th, 2007, 11:46 PM   #3
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I'd think less about filters and camera settings, and more about what's in front of the camera.

It sounds trite, but good looking actresses start with good makeup. Get a good makeup artist. This is the most important.

Second, and it sounds like you understand the importance of this, is lighting. It helps to think of the size of your light source compared to the size of the subject. A larger source give light from more area, and therefore fills in skin imperfections.

Third, in contemporary cinematography, diffusion filters, especially used as a way to enhance the looks of leading ladies, is a bit of a dated technique. This could be a volatile subject, but it's my experience and opinion. These days, with the use of units like DaVincis for both broadcast and DI work for film, DPs and directors have the ability to smooth over skin tones without touching the rest of the frame.

You can do a lot of the same using the skin detail feature in-camera to take the edge enhancement out of skin tones. I'd start there. If you need more, then you can blur skin tones selectively using glow filters in the NLE of your choice. Be careful, it's really easy to overdo this.

If you do really feel the need for ProMists or the like, remember, less is more. I suggest having a very high res, accurate monitor available, and look at the strengths of each filter. When you think you've found the one you like, then back off one step. In other words, if you can quickly and obviously see the effects of the diffusion, chances are you've gone too far.

When I was a camera assistant, I got very familiar with the filter preferences of some very, very good DPs, some of them pretty well known names. When it came to diffusion, it was always something like ProMist 1/8th, 1/4, or maybe at most 1/2. Strengths 1 and 2 were for when you wanted to beat the viewer over the head with the diffusion for obvious effect.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 01:45 AM   #4
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Nate is right on the money. I'd always put a 1/4 black promist on a camera, even a F900 because it reduced contrast a tiny bit and took the edge off a little. image was still sharp, but a little less video-ee. that said, the HD100 is the first camera I've ever used where I didn't want to add diffusion, unless it was fairly strong or a very specific situation. A #1 or #2 is a very heavy filter.

great skin is the first step, second is great makeup. lighting can be done with hard sources if you know what you're doing with it, and are precise with placement. I work with open face lights all the time, but they are not forgiving of anything but exact placement. if not, large diffused sources will be most forgiving. finally look into the skin detail circut. I'd not crank it all the way up, but go midway with it, and in post consider of you need to do any additional work.


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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley
image was still sharp, but a little less video-ee.
I find the best way to take care of that is not with diffusion, but to decrease or turn off the detail circuit. In my opinion that's most of what you're doing anyway with a light diffusion for the sake of "taking the edge off"...I just go into the menu and take the edge (enhancement) off! :-)
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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:36 AM   #6
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Couldn't say it any better:
1) good make-up
2) uniform lighting to avoid the sharp contrast in faces
3) skin detail in-camera

I know point 3) seems to do all at once, but a combination of these three things is needed for the best results...
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Old January 30th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #7
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Not saying I'm a master at any of this (I'm most decidely not), but this stuff could be a nice tool to have in the bag for the right occasion:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old January 31st, 2007, 01:46 AM   #8
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Thank you for the comments. This makes things more clear for me.

Yes, the gels work great in the right situation. This, by the way, is why bars have amber light. Everyone looks better.

I will try the detail off, and try the skin smoothing feature and see how they look.

I need to learn more about makeup for HD. (I'm not doing the makeup by myself, but I need to know what I need so I know if the makeup person knows what she or he is talking about.)It would seem that what is needed is a base that is imperceptible to the eye but takes out the variations in color in the skin. I know airbrushing is being used more and more (and he has always been used at the Renaissance Faire), but I'm beginning to think is only for the more extensive makup work, getting the blends that won't show in HD.

I know from my own experience that with film there is often no make-up to a lot of make-up. But the results vary based on the look actors and the talent of the DP.

A few days ago I spoke to an actor who had just watched a lot footage from a film she had just been in. He comment, in somewhat amazement, was, "Watching it it was incredible how much difference the lighting made in how good I looked." She mentioned one scene where she thought she looked very bad, and she said the only difference was the lighting.

I'll save my glow filter for the scene where they walk out of the "Spielberg" backlight.

As a side note, one film this year that I thought looked awful in respect to too much detail and too much closeup was "The Dead Girl." I don't see the point of making people sit for 2 hours watching really ugly people closer than normal, especially when they aren't really really ugly.

As a case in point, it is possible to make a really, really depressing film and have the people look good, such as Breaking the Waves or Requiem for a Dream.

As far as just using good looking actors, the curious thing is that some of the best actors working now aren't that good looking... but they look great on film.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 01:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker
As a side note, one film this year that I thought looked awful in respect to too much detail and too much closeup was "The Dead Girl." I don't see the point of making people sit for 2 hours watching really ugly people closer than normal, especially when they aren't really really ugly.
Uh-huh. You should people/actors look good. That has a lot of benefits.

1) the actor will work with you again (they can be quite vein - well, they virtually always are)
2) you can say not everyone is quite so beautiful in real life as in motion pictures, but if you scare away your audience... you could've just as well not made a movie
3) Making the talent/subject on screen look good is probably the true art in DP-ing...
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Old January 31st, 2007, 11:07 AM   #10
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Old school trick - Whenever possible, have your stars face their key's. It's been the trend for a while for the reason that it's more flattering, and if they turn their heads off axis a bit, it becomes a nice rembrandt.

(or more correctly - place your lights to key the stars from front-on. They can face wherever they want, because they are the stars! Just make sure you have a key looking back at them)
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Old January 31st, 2007, 02:07 PM   #11
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kodak is making a post-prod a filter for this (google for Kodak GEM). the only drawback is you need to convert the movie to pictures and get them processed one by one by photoshop (but you can batch this easily overnight)
http://asf.com/products/plugins/airpro/pluginAIRPRO/
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Old January 31st, 2007, 10:24 PM   #12
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This looks very interesting for some situations.

I will try it.

I think it will have a great use on stills that are shot during production that one wants to use in posters, ads, webpages, etc.
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