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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old July 4th, 2003, 02:22 PM   #1
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suggestions please

I am working on a project that will require very inconsistant film look. In other words a filter that looks repetitive such as hair etc will not work. I do need grain, hairs, burns, color fades, etc to make it look like it was shot in the 70's however like I said i need somthing that will not look like a filter has been used. Should I use many different filters for each look? Should I combine adobe tecniques with filters etc?

Whats your suggestions?
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Old July 5th, 2003, 11:33 PM   #2
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shoot your project on FILM .. when you get the work print .. roll it out on the floor in your gargage or in a parking lot ... then get several persons to walk, dance, run on it .. .. then put it on some rewinds and wind it thru a old tee shirt (as if you are cleaning it) .. now take it to you lab and have copy made of it and transfer that to tape ... =inconsistant film look as if it were shot in 70's ...

or you could shoot some film - shoot grey card and over expose 2-3 stops .. then do the above ... now run the dirty film tape on the top of your video track ( try 30% dirty tape ..70% your good clips )
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Old July 6th, 2003, 12:42 AM   #3
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Have you considered using super-8mm positive film?

That was very very popular in the 1970's, and still the cheapest of them all to use now, wouldn't run you much at all.

Super-8mm will easily look rough enough without much done to it. If you feel you need more degradation, you can do that in post and it won't seem like a faked effect, using real film has no substitute it will look authentic.

Zac
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Old July 6th, 2003, 02:41 AM   #4
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To get away from any sort of filtered effects you've got to move away from the more automated solutions--but it takes work! I'm not sure if I read the first tip on here, but I'll repost it with some more in depth findings that I've discovered along the way.

These tips require the use of a scanner.

For hairs-

1. Draw a series of random line squiggles on sheets of white paper flip book style. Scan them in.

2. Use invert to switch the colors and then process each frame with Knoll Unmult or Xmult in After Effects (this will create alpha channels for your lines, knocking out the black background, and allow you to overlay them onto your footage). Render this out with a codec that supports alpha channels (Animation+).

3. Drop your image sequence into AE and apply SEBI Looper (it's a free plug in as well as the other 2 mentioned above). There is a random loop setting in there that will take your image/frame sequence and reshuffle it randomly ala a deck of cards. Be sure to render out with a codec that again supports alpha channels.

4. Now you have white lines, to switch them back to black reapply the invert filter again and overlay this onto your footage.

Color fades--

Use masks to localize parts of your footage and keyframe desaturation and levels. If you apply a global adjustment over your entire clip it won't look as authentic as getting down and dirty in various subsections of your frame and animating their placement and intensity over time . Using masks are also good when applying erratic blurs.

Other notes--

For other film damage effects simply scan in anything you can think of. Orange peels, burnt paper, dead leaves....magnify your scan so you get down to sheer organic texture. Stencil and mask irregular shapes out of these sources to make alpha channels. Color correct these shapes so they become monochromatic. Use looper to randomize each frame of damage that goes by. And play with your opacity and transfer mode options when overlaying the visual clutter onto your footage. When doing things digital, ask yourself...how can I acheive the most organic looking result? That answer for me is usually the difficult route--but it's rewarding when you get to where you want.

Film damage alone will not "make your video look like film". Study particular examples that you would like to imitate and make notes about camera setups and color, as well as stuff like costumes, settings, general art department knowledge like dressing your sets for the period. And only then will you acheive a basic approximation. Your footage will still retain a video quality in the end, but I think you'll be pleased with the results in taking a more hands on approach instead of letting a plug in do all the work for you.

Or go Super 8. Or go mixed medium...the sky is the limit! Good luck!
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Old July 6th, 2003, 02:57 AM   #5
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There is a very inexpensive plug-in for FCP ($34) that you might want to look into (if you're using FCP, that is). It's from CHV-Plugins.com.

It creates an aged film look, either with sepia or without, and allows you to control every aspect...jitter, white hair, black hair, spots, dust. If you play around with it, it won't look like the same pattern is repeating over and over.

For long sections of film, you could apply the filter to specified lengths, adjusting the settings a bit differently to each section...that would guarantee it wouldn't look the same.

If you wanna see something I've made with it, click here (like I said, every aspect is controllable...I intentionally loaded it with gunk).

Add a touch of the above filter to footage that you've also treated with Joe's Levels Noise filter to get that grainy washed-out 70s look.
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Old July 6th, 2003, 03:12 AM   #6
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Michael thanks so much for the help. We shot the footage already and are working in post right now. As far as it looking 70's we have acomplished that quite well. It is very strange the props and costumes you can find at goodwill. We shot it very well also, my influences are all great 70's b-filmmakers so I had no problem figuring out the style of shooting. I have already been told a scene looks just like an old john denver video and another scene looked like deliverence and thats without any filters or effects. I am only worried about two things at this point, the filmlook and the animation sequences(that may become a post in another catagory in the future).They were great suggestions and I will try them and let you know how they work for me. I know I will have to experiment but I really needed a place to start and I think you have given me a good starting point.

As far as the other suggstions go, I shot it on minidv by choice not by financail or limiting causes. I wanted to take the risk because without risk noone acomplishes greatness. I am setting forth to change views and do new things. Sure anyone can shoot a 70's film on film but dv? I sure as hell will try.If I fail at least I can say I gave it my all. If I succeed I will find yet another impossible challenge. All of us should push our limitations and work to destroy them as much as we can without killing ourselves.

Thanks again
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Old July 6th, 2003, 03:28 AM   #7
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http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ght=disco+cops

And if you look here, you can see some examples of some 70's footage i have done myself on mini dv and see if anything you like is there. I would be happy to share some of the tricks.

Zac
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Old July 6th, 2003, 06:34 AM   #8
 
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Bravo John! I did something similar for a recent short I did. The reduced size makes it near impossible to see the negative dirt (white specks) and some emulsion scratches (white scratches) in the dark scenes though. But they are there in the real version, I swear! Here is a short clip from the project:

Click Here

I wish there would be a film damage filter that lets me adjust the severity of emulsion scratches for color film... green=first layer scratched through, yellow=second layer, white= all three layers scratched through. Black scratches can either be base scratches or very light emulsion scratches. Most film damage filters don't really look like real film damage (including the one I used, though I helped a bit by doing other stuff not included in the filter). The reason for that is probably because the filter designs do not have the input of experienced avid projectionists.
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Old July 6th, 2003, 06:46 AM   #9
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Thanks, Curtis... I like yours, too! Makes me want to see the rest of it.
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Old July 6th, 2003, 02:11 PM   #10
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Wow guys i appreciate all your help and examples.

As far as fcp, I wish I had chosen it however I am working with windows based programs. Adobe mostly and possibly I will be using some video vegas.

I had an idea also. I think the close up filming of organic material will work great and the idea of that has given me the idea to film a couple of reels of super8 against a well lit white wall and then reprojectit onto the wall filmming the scratches and grain onto my dv camera. Then making transparencies over my footage for some of the scenes.

Has anyone ever tried anything like this before? If so is there anything I need to know before doing it this way?
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Old July 6th, 2003, 07:39 PM   #11
 
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If you have After Effects for Windows you can get CineLook and Film Damage. I am not sure what company makes them. I think they come together as one package... not sure. Cinelook will allow you to "mimic" certain types of film stock and the way they handle color, etc.

*EDIT* You can view the whole movie of the clip above in this thread here. Be sure to read about it before you start downloading it to make sure you actually want to download it.
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Old July 7th, 2003, 12:41 AM   #12
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Jason,

It should work fine if you run your DV-captured Super 8 footage through and then use Unmult...or you could work out the transperancy issues with a luma keyer (it's up to you). You may want to scratch the film up a bit more if you're going to work with new stock (depending on how extreme of an effect you're looking for).

Another thing: for hairs you may just want to scan in hairs from your head (obviously). What I do to automate the above described process is lay a piece of green posterboard on top of anything I plan on scanning in (bearing in mind that the object is flat or flattened). Then I run the still through a keyer and come away with an alpha channel. This might not be the correct way to do it but it gets the job done, if I'm not cropping down for a macro texture. I have some ideas on scanning in tiny broken pieces of a mirror for strange glows...but I'm not sure if this will damage the scanner (anyone know?). I'm still working out ideas on how to simulate/animate different lens scratches with physical pieces of glass, but getting transperancy data from it will be a laborious process, I think.

In general I like most of the aged film filters I've tried for quick fixes (I use Film Damage from Digieffects--also the makers of Cinelook)...but I wish there was a way to import custom shapes...that might make it a bit easier to get away from the synthetic look of most of these filters. By synthetic, I mean "sameness". Any plug in developers listening (haha)?
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Old July 7th, 2003, 09:11 PM   #13
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Great. I have much experimenting to do now.

Oh BTW i know this is better suited for another section but I am so excited.

The last dv feature I made just got a review from the man himself...... check it out on the front page..... The film is entitled Ambition Withdraw. I dont know how long he will leave it posted.... heres the link www.joebobbriggs.com
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