Getting "film look" with EX1 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 6th, 2008, 06:55 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 62
Getting "film look" with EX1

Like many newcomers to this site, I've been reading for hours a day for a good while now, trying to learn everything I can. My EX1 will be arriving Wed or Thurs! One of the reasons I went with it, though its much more expensive, is that I've seen some amazing footage out there shot with it. I want to be able to achieve the "film look"! I've picked up several things from my reading about how to get it from the EX1, but I thought I'd ask the group what they do to achieve it. I've been reading and watching a lot on Philip Bloom's site as well, and his look is definitely what I'm after (not that I have anywhere near his talent). Here are the things I've gleaned from my reading on this and other sites:

- shoot 24p
- use custom Picuture Profiles
- Letus Extreme adapter in order to use 35mm lenses (which AFAIU only helps with DOP, not neccesarily the non-video-look)
- turn shutter on and set to 1/48th
- Magic Bullet Looks to do color grading
- shallower DOP for a more cinematic look (again, Letus Extreme is supposed to help with that)

I don't know if its interlacing vs progressive, or color grading, or shot composition, or some kind of post work, or what. Can anyone post their solution to getting the "film look", and if possible, some footage to demonstrate?

Last edited by David W Williamson; May 6th, 2008 at 07:32 PM.
David W Williamson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2008, 07:32 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 276
Images: 2
Hey David, glad you joined! Those will all help there. The other 3 biggest aspects are lighting, shot composition and sound. I know sound doesnt give you a look, but it adds to the feel and bad sound ruins anything. But definitely lighting. I did a spec shoot a week ago with 2 kinos, my LEX/EX1 and was really happy with it!

My other tips with the camera is flatten out the image as much as you can to maximize your dyn range, dont underexpose or blow out your highlights. A matte box even without an adapter.
Jeremy Hughes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2008, 07:41 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Decatur, GA
Posts: 198
Maybe its just me, but I think you can get the film look without 24P... unless you are going out to film then, why bother when you can have slightly higher frame-rate of 30p

I cant remember the links but they made a great case against 24p, claiming it was jittery on long pan shots (they used Bourne movies as examples)

Also the James Cameron article of late talks about frame rate and how 24p doesn't really cut it. He says 48 fos is the magic number...

But I think you are off to a great start with the EX1, this site and Bloom's sagely advice. Best of luck to you, no matter what frame rate you choose.
__________________
Sony EX1 v1.11, crap loads of SxS, Macs w/ Final Cut Studio
Andrew Hollister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2008, 09:28 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
Posts: 123
If you are dealing specifically with the EX1:

1080 24P allows you to overcrank to 30fps. It's not much, but it gives some movements a little more grace.

If I understand correctly (please correct me if I'm wrong), Blu-Ray doesn't allow 1080 30P without transcoding.

Do a search and you'll find dozens of threads about depth of field. DOF is a tool, not a goal. When Michael Mann remade Miami Vice, he was fascinated by the increased DOF made possible by smaller format cameras. It seems that extremes of DOF go in cycles.

Pete
Clark Peters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2008, 10:21 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by David W Williamson View Post
- shoot 24p
- use custom Picuture Profiles
- Letus Extreme adapter in order to use 35mm lenses (which AFAIU only helps with DOP, not neccesarily the non-video-look)
- turn shutter on and set to 1/48th
- Magic Bullet Looks to do color grading
- shallower DOP for a more cinematic look (again, Letus Extreme is supposed to help with that)
The above are all good ideas but the most important is how you set the camera. Don't pray that one day you will find a magic recipe to make every shot you take look good like a lot of folks here are searching for. There is no lost chord or some philosophers stone.

This camera has about ten major menus each of which can be set from -99 to +99 and if you include the matrix and cine settings there are in fact something like 240,000 discrete picture profiles! You must get to know your camera and be prepared to adjust all those menu as you see fit for every shot! Of course, in reality many of the menus can be set at default levels and forgot until a special situation occurs but there are many items like the Cine settings and the matrix and the master black levels that must be set for every shot every time. This camera is not like the Z1 that gave great HDV every shot in full auto, this camera gives great full cinealta quality true HD but it is very easy to screw up.

So bottom line is first to get to know your camera. And have great fun doing it. Glad to see you here.
Mike Stevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2008, 11:09 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: New York City
Posts: 613
might i suggest turning sharpening off?

and also always exposing for highlights...
Noah Yuan-Vogel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Japan
Posts: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Peters View Post
If you are dealing specifically with the EX1:

1080 24P allows you to overcrank to 30fps. It's not much, but it gives some movements a little more grace.

If I understand correctly (please correct me if I'm wrong), Blu-Ray doesn't allow 1080 30P without transcoding.

Do a search and you'll find dozens of threads about depth of field. DOF is a tool, not a goal. When Michael Mann remade Miami Vice, he was fascinated by the increased DOF made possible by smaller format cameras. It seems that extremes of DOF go in cycles.

Pete
thats a good point about DOF Pete. I watched Collateral on DVD with Michael Manns commentary on how video DOF can actually enhance story. Highly recommended inerview!
Also, David Lynchs Inland Empire was shot on a Sony PD150. The video-esk DOF added a kind of clostrophobic atmosphere to the story that really worked for me.
I think shallow DOF is great for leading the audience to the key subject/object in a scene or story but as you said its a great tool and not paramount.
Alexander Kubalsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6th, 2008, 11:59 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 62
Wow, thanks for the comments! Great advice all around. I'm sort of getting back in to the game, having gone to film school and graduating in the late 90's, and through 2001 running my own production & fashion photography company. Computers & the web got a hold of me, and though I've kept up with things more or less, I'm ready to get back in to the pro side again.

So, I'm gathering that no one has come up with a clear technical reason for the difference in how video looks versus film. I always thought interlacing was a key factor, but until now, I never had my hands on something that could shoot progressive. My EX1 should be here tomorrow, and I am going to be shooting so much test footage! I can't wait. The Glidecam 4000 should be here soon enough as well :)

My first upcoming job is shooting an independent TV pilot in NY. The final destination (for shopping around) will be DVD. I've read that shooting 30p will convert well to 60i for DVD; truth or fiction?
David W Williamson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2008, 12:24 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: New York City
Posts: 613
well one of the biggest differences between film and video is related to light response and exposure latitude. that and budget in my opinion are the biggest factors in the difference between film and video. if you know what you are doing, you can fake DOF ok, shoot 24fps, adjust your shutter and color grade for film look. exposure latitude (with very little exception) in video is always going to look like video latitude, not film latitude. EX1 likely has under 10 stops of latitude. film stocks often have around 14 stops from what i understand. and the cost of film is also such that as much as you might want your work to look like film, if you are doing that, you probably dont have the money to shoot on film and do not have the budget to spend a lot of money on lenses, lighting, set design, hollywood-style camera movements, etc. it seems to me that when it comes down to it, the majority of the things we see shot on film are generally much higher budget than those we see shot on video, especially with cameras like the EX1. and that contributes to the disparity between film/video looks as well...

oh and yeah 30p converts very well to 60i since 30p played at 60i looks like 30p, but then 24p looks great on DVD as well considering the majority of the big feature film DVDs we see originate as 24fps.
Noah Yuan-Vogel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2008, 06:58 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Decatur, GA
Posts: 198
a decent article on the 24p thing and getting a more filmic look...
will only take a couple minutes to read

http://www.larryjordan.biz/articles/lj_range_war.html
__________________
Sony EX1 v1.11, crap loads of SxS, Macs w/ Final Cut Studio
Andrew Hollister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2008, 02:25 AM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 10
Why 24p

The reason I shoot 24p is because it is an international format. Pal DVD players in Europe will play back 24fps movies.

When we had to do a film out from 60i (shot with a Z1 pre 24fps hdv), I was told to NEVER shoot 30p because you can not convert 30p to film or to PAL and have it look natural. It's possible you might have trouble getting a film shot 30p distributed for this reason. Also going from 24 to 25fps seems to "feel" better than going 25 to 24fps.

If you don't ever plan to show your work outside of a 60 cycle country then 30p is for sure a better way to shoot, and as long as you do not have interlacing - this will not effect your film look scenario.

All that said, 60p may be the best of all worlds because you theoretically could turn it into anything but it would make file sizes and frame by frame efx work 2.5x larger.

Last edited by James Carl; May 11th, 2008 at 02:27 AM. Reason: type-o
James Carl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2008, 03:10 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Studio Alnitak, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 640
Images: 3
The search for "film look" involves deciding what it is. Many people are convinced that it is in "film cadence" of 24 fps and in limited DOF. In my view film at 60 fps would still possess that film look, because the look is everything to do with film and how it records images. First of all, it is analogue and tones and colours vary continuously, rather than in digital increments. Then it has an equivalent bit depth of 12 bits on projection and around 22 in camera, and it's 4:4:4 all the way. So it records subtle variations in colour, so important in rendering skin tones and we immediately recognise when those graduations are missing or coarsely recorded. Then in video we get artifacts like edge sharpening, used to make unsharp images appear sharper, inability to handle normal subject brightness (burnt out clouds), and so on.
So when you look at a "movie" do you decide that it was shot on film or on video by its DOF? If so, Citizen Kane will fool you. Do you check whether the pans are smooth? I doubt it. You check the quality of the images, which is the reason people above have emphasized lighting, dynamic range and turning off artificial sharpening.
Video cameras are getting better and that film look is within reach of anyone who understands that "the look" is not about mechanics such as 24 fps. Incidentally, the Academy recommended scenic pan speed for 24 fps at 180 deg shutter is not faster than 7 seconds for an object to cross the screen; good thing to remember.

Last edited by Serena Steuart; May 11th, 2008 at 03:13 AM. Reason: a few adjustments
Serena Steuart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2008, 07:20 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 498
I agree that film look is not clearly defined and that DOF has little to do with it (I think DOF boxes are pretty but not that important). I also question the need to achieve a "film look" on a video camera as an overriding goal, except in special circumstances (when referring to another era, for example).

But cadence is a huge part of what people perceive as the film look (I say it's 90% of it). Even with horrible digital satellite compression and a vastly limited, digitized color space, a movie still looks like a movie when broadcast and does not look like sports or the evening news. This is because of frame rate. Even when broadcast in America at 60i, the 24 frame time sampling is visible in the form of 3-2 pulldown. And 3-2 pulldown is an awful looking thing - but it's what transmits the "film look."

With the advent of telecine and modern telecine artisits, the coloration of film as broadcast has no set standard. Dynamic ranges are limited, blacks crushed, skies blown out, hues completely changed etc. and as long as the source is film (or well shot video) at 24fps, the results still "look like film" as opposed to video.

And If you have ever seen film shot and projected at 60 frames per second (as a film print without any digital intermediate or processing) as with the Showscan format, you'd be amazed at how much it looks "like video." Only the dust and dirt that fly by onscreen detract from the look. Gradation of color has little to do with it.
Eric Pascarelli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2008, 11:15 AM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 75
An amazing difference between Serena's and Eric's post demonstrates just how much fun this all is. Regardless of who has the better argument 24p on the EX1 with the rolling shutter has a lot of issues. My current project is in 24p but it will be the last. I'm 30p from now on. Zooms and pans and leaves blowing in the wind are a problem with 24p, at least to me. I think color graduation is the thing and it can be done. Look at the Yosemite clips under the climbing thread. To me, that looks exactly like film.
Mike Stevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Poland
Posts: 4,086
Mike, do you really think these beautiful scenes would loose their "filmish" appeal if they were shot in 24p?

While I am far from saying that 24p (or 25p in my case) alone is going to render my shooting film-like, I strongly tend to agree that higher framerates (50i or 50p in my case, as we don't use 30/60 in PAL) do indeed contribute to the definitely video-ish look.

Also, when avoiding fast movements, following my subject, and blurring the background I have no problems with stutter at 25p at all. Especially when displayed on a 100 Hz plasma.
__________________
Sony PXW-FS7 | DaVinci Resolve Studio; Magix Vegas Pro; i7-5960X CPU; 64 GB RAM; 2x GTX 1080 8GB GPU; Decklink 4K Extreme 12G; 4x 3TB WD Black in RAID 0; 1TB M.2 NVMe cache drive
Piotr Wozniacki is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:34 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network