70's exploitation film with a dvx, FCP and AE, How? at DVinfo.net

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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:42 PM   #1
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70's exploitation film with a dvx, FCP and AE, How?

Well...

Any ideas?
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #2
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The equipment does not matter. You are the one who is supposed to know what to shoot. Do you have a script?
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:40 AM   #3
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Yup, that's a list of some decent gear, now all you need is an EXCELLENT script, great director, spirited cast, dedicated crew, awesome locations and a brother in law who's in the catering business and you're off and running!
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Old October 17th, 2007, 03:57 PM   #4
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Yeah, I know what to shoot. I know what to look for in my locations. I know where to put my camera. I have a beautiful script that is re pleat with "ya dig" and "wolf tickets" and "heavy" and the like. But I don't want to fall in the same trap as many others who have made a film that looks like watching a digitally produced movie through a dirty store window! There is a gritty wonder to "The Streetfighter" and "SuperFly" and even "Let's Do It Again," "Stir Crazy," and "Uptown Saturday Night." There is a cool look to "The Mack," "Cleopatra Jones," "Big Bad Mama," "Shaft," and "Willie Dynamite," and a cheesiness to "Dolemite," and "Petey Wheatstraw- the Devil's Son in Law" that I want to capture, ya dig?
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Old October 17th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #5
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Sure, just dial in the 'cool look' filter in post.


You're going to have to be more specific with the stylistic elements you wish to mimic. Color Palate? Depth of Field? Grain? WHAT looks 'cool' to you? IF you can define it, we cant offer a path to it.

Just some thoughts.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #6
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In film, you learn by making mistakes. If it's your own money, make it a short, not a feature.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #7
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Specifically,

I would like to mimic the color palate, grain, and "haze" of the time. The colors of these movies are washed out, not too saturated, but are still vibrant in a strange way, especially colors like purple, mauve, etc. I love the idea of shooting a short to test various looks, but yes, I'm fronting this project. Also, in only the lowest of budgets in the 70's, do you see the dirty film look with scratches and the like, but there are some that seem to just be apart of the picture. I know that some of these things are specific to the cameras and the stocks of the day, and some of the things I am asking for can more easily be duplicated using film, but I would like, no, love to attempt to approximate this look digitally if only for the challenge, the creativity, and the innovation it'll take.

One more thing,

Thanks for the help, I have asked this question elsewhere and have gotten no response. You all are great!
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Old October 18th, 2007, 08:58 AM   #8
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Now we're getting somewhere. So you want the 70s look. That would be a question for your DP. He will light it right if you can show him some examples of the look you want. Then your colorist (likely your editor) will do the rest. It's basic color correction. If it doesn't sound basic to you, get some training material and practice. Do a test shot or two before you shoot the whole film.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 09:25 AM   #9
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The best thing you can do is pick a couple of frame grabs from the films you mentioned. Blow them up to show your DP (or people here). You can experiment with your in-camera settings to get some of the color/gamma look your talking about. Stylistically, the lighting from the 70's was pretty high key... lots of backlight and rim light coming from nowhere as I recall. Again, a few framegrabs for your gaffer will help him set the look you want. Get a matte box, and drop in some ProMist series to get the light frosted look.
And remember that the 70's used a LOT of zooms in their sequences. Study some of the films and watch for them. Not so much these days, but a lot back then. Avoid the hand-held 'shaky cam' footage so popular today.

Set the camera on a tripod and LEAVE IT THERE. (This is hard to do, considering the small size and 'handiness' of modern digital cameras)

In post, there are some 'grain' effects you can add, but I'm not impressed with any of them. You can try a few and see if you get what you like.

Not much you can do about getting the shallow depth of field except shooting at the long end, wide open. Unless of course, you spring for a mini-35 or something.

Search this forum for 'film-look'. There are lots of threads about lighting and presets that emulate specific looks. That's probably the best place to start.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #10
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We have a whole forum devoted to the film look. It's the one just below: http://dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=34
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Old October 20th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #11
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Just shoot some super 8, and see how that looks
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Old October 21st, 2007, 09:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvin Harris View Post
Specifically,

I would like to mimic the color palate, grain, and "haze" of the time. The colors of these movies are washed out, not too saturated, but are still vibrant in a strange way, especially colors like purple, mauve, etc. I love the idea of shooting a short to test various looks, but yes, I'm fronting this project. Also, in only the lowest of budgets in the 70's, do you see the dirty film look with scratches and the like, but there are some that seem to just be apart of the picture. I know that some of these things are specific to the cameras and the stocks of the day, and some of the things I am asking for can more easily be duplicated using film, but I would like, no, love to attempt to approximate this look digitally if only for the challenge, the creativity, and the innovation it'll take.

One more thing,

Thanks for the help, I have asked this question elsewhere and have gotten no response. You all are great!
Most of the look you are going for is film stock specific.
So you might pick a stock you are trying to emulate, like 5243, 5247, 7239, 5381, 7252, from that period.
The faster stocks back then showed more grain than film stocks do today.
As far as the "Haze" of the time, I remember shooting with a Fog filter back then. Something else to remember, the films you mentioned earlier looked much nicer back when they were released, before being time ravaged.

If it were my dollar, I would shoot video for a low budget flick.
I would shoot test footage camera flat with no fx before production ever begins. Then I would design several looks in post to emulate the look you are going after. for example, Exterior daytime look, Exterior Night, Interior Hero, Interior villain, so forth.

Just watch out for my 7 P's...
Piss Poor Prior Planning Prevents Professional Performance


Good Luck!
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Old October 21st, 2007, 08:12 PM   #13
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I'm going for a slightly simular look in a short tbc next year. A buttload of work has gone into the production design, looking for the right types of colour for the characters and the props.

Take a look at 'The Squid and the Whale' - slightly wrong era, but a modern film with the right kind of look. Don't bother too much with grain and concentrate more on light and colour.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 12:49 PM   #14
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As a matter of fact, I shot a film in the late eighties, specifically trying to do what you're talking about doing now. The film took place in 1971 and was based on a number of true events in my life. I shot in 16mm and it went to the Berlin Film Festival - it was my first feature.

To begin with, film stock in the seventies was pretty slow. There were stocks rated at 400 ASA, but they were terribly grainy. Likewise, if one was to push stock rated at 100 asa to higher levels, the result would be a radical grain increase. So generally speaking, scenes shot at night had very little shadow detail due to the fact that, on low budget films of that time, lighting was limited. Personally, I like the look of some of that work.

Now, I talk about film stocks because, of course, films were shot photographically rather than digitally. Very few dramatic features were shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, or at least, very few of these ever got into distribution. So the look that you're talking about came from films whose stock was rated at about 100 ASA, shot, for the most part, with very limited lighting - very little of which was diffused. These days, we use soft boxes and bounced light as opposed to direct lighting (lighting instruments aimed directly at the subject). Back in those days, direct lighting was pretty much the rule. In low budget films, entire scenes with two, three and four instrument set ups were common. So, this is where the look you're talking about originated. Having worked on a number of other projects at that time, mostly in post-production, the images tended to be low contrast with occasional bursts of high contrast daylight photography.

Again, back in those days, coverage was limited on low budget films. So many directors tried to come up with clever camera set ups that were sustainable for an entire scene with just a few reversal shots here and there.

So the look that you're trying to achieve was the result of circumstances and not any overall aesthetic scheme. People developed lighting techniques that were suitable for the environments they shot in, and the budgets they were given. Live sound was the order of the day and was highly compressed to push extraneous noise into the background. The sound cuts in a lot of these films, if you listen very carefully, reveal quick jumps in ambience.

What I would do if I were you is utilize camera settings mimicking the general ratings, both camera and film, of the period you're trying to recreate. i've indicated above some of the specifics. A lot of the films back then were shot on Mitchell and Arriflex cameras - both of which had adjustable shutters. But i would tend to leave the shutter on your camera on a nominal setting, say a 1/50th or 1/60th of a second and do all of your aperature adjustments accordingly. If a subject appears dim through the view finder, put more light on it rather than adjust the shutter. This way, the raw material you shoot will bear some resemblance to the raw footage of low budget seventies productions. Avoid in-camera effects and tricks like the plague. All the grain look stuff that you want to bring to your film should be saved for post.

Remember, that clothing of the time tended to be fairly colorful so make sure your actors are costumed accordingly. Long lenses were very much in use in those days; as were wides. Rather than deliberately mimicking a particular look, you should put yourself into circumstances similar to what those seventies filmmakers found themselves in and try to find inventive solutions to them that would have been achievable back then. If you do this, and save everything else for post, you'll probably do well.

Oh, and shoot it advanced 24p.

Brad Mays
http://www.bradmays.com
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