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


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Old July 22nd, 2003, 03:14 PM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Chen : By sloping the colour curves, that's almost the same as adjusting the contrast from what I see.

Why not just adjust the contrast then? -->>>

because it is not the same as contrast, contrast increases the difference between the brights and the darks. thats not what im doing. as the brights reach the high end you are reducing the contrast and values in the mid range you usually leave alone (depending on the scene and the mood wanted) and only the darks do you really increase contrast on, and its only the lower part, near the lower third you actually lower the contrast a little to bring out shadow detail.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 09:38 PM   #17
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Nice examples Joe - out of the four you posted the one in the top left looked the nicest I thought - it had the presence of the redone one form the tutorial but seemed more natural than that one.

I'm very much looking foreward to your tutorial - I'm going to be shooting a feature later in the year and am facing the film vs video question at the moment -- it's a period piece so definitely more suited to the film look - but we've only got a small budget -- it's 16mm vs HD really.

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Old July 24th, 2003, 07:23 AM   #18
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scott, your in luck, ive made another break through!
...and now i can complete my tutorial and explain (i think) in clearly enough that it would be useful to others.

now all i need is a good range of example shots (from different cameras if possible) to use for my tutorial. i have a few but if any1 could send me screen grabs from stuff theyve shot with their camera (decently setup shots please) itd be a great help to completing this tutorial with proper examples. the more variations in cameras i have the better to demonstrate this technique.

if any1 can send me shots please email me (jpruss2001@hotmail.com) or post them here.

thanks. tutorial will be up by the end of the weekend...promise =]
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Old July 24th, 2003, 02:31 PM   #19
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Joe, you might be interested in checking out a little article I did a while ago with Vegas 4.0.

http://www.freewebs.com/vegas4/vegas4.htm

I've refined it very much now, and might do a new version. :D
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Old July 24th, 2003, 06:09 PM   #20
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Hi Joe

I shot a short on 16mm while a go and because it was the first time we had used that camera (a Beaulieau R16) we also re did every shot with my JVC one-chip miniDV camcorder - so we'd at least have something if the R16 didn't work.

Anyway the R16 worked fine but I have all that video shots of well set up and lit scenes. Some of which are on the web page for the film, though most there are just digital stills I also took with that miniDV camera. I haven't updated the page for a while and haven't even posted any of the telecined 16mm shots there yet - but will soon!

Feel free to use any of these shots for experimentation - if it makes any difference over whether they're digital stills or stills grabbed from the miniDV tape I think the last two are stills that were grabbed (and I'm pretty sure I de-interlaced them), all the rest are the digital stills taken onto a flash card.

If you need more off the tape I can send them to you.

The web site is:
http://www.mango-a-gogo.com/couch/couch.htm


Alex,

great tutorial - thanks for going to all that trouble - I'm still working throught it :-)

Scot
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Old July 24th, 2003, 06:26 PM   #21
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"An edge between a solid black and solid white area may be sharper than film because the digital camera can't record all the light between the two ranges. But that is also what causes stairstepping."

Actually, the edge will also be blurred in digital cameras. While it's easy to *assign* a fully black pixel value next to a fully white value, it's usually not possible to aquire such values from CCDs or A/Ds or to display them.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 03:36 PM   #22
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I think you are on to something

I went and tried it in Vegas and man did it look good. The blacks are real smooth and more pronounced also the transitions between colors seems to be smoother. I posted some video grabs from Vegas one thing I love about vegas is that you can do split scene comparisons with the effects even play them back with before and after near real time to see how it looks with the changes you made.

Here is a link to what I did with a curve filter that I applied to all of these this is just one custom filter I did not adjust this filter for each scene it just seemed to make everything way cleaner!

The filter is applied on the left the original footage is on the right.
ftp://totalsolutions.bz/pub/curves.jpg
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Old September 8th, 2003, 10:10 PM   #23
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Dv Mag Article

My article, Make Video Look Like Film has several examples of curves -- but also goes into the other aspects that are important. The "look" is really a complex soup of subtle details, not just one thing.

The article is online at:

http://www.dv.com/features/features_...02/jackman1202
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Old September 14th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #24
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Sure, you cannot modify gamma, but you can shift AE

Ok. I am reading this thread trying to get some more insight on the 'film look' thing. I am using a Sony PDX10 for it's native 16:9 capability. One thing that comes to mind is this: whatever I will be doing to the footage in FCP or some other tool, it seems that video overexposure is very 'unfilmlike', so the first thing I will do is shift the AE point down two or three points and try to never reach 100% if possible. Since the PDX10 is quite a low noise camera (the CCDs are oversampled and processing is 14 bit) I guess it is a much better bet going dark than going bright, right? Thus I should later be able to play around with levels or curves and get a more pleasing image. Is this a good idea or am I missing something? Also, I am setting the camera to less 'sharpness' and more 'color' than default. My preliminarry results shooting with theese settings and adjusting levels in FCP seem quite satisfactory indeed.

BTW, has anybody tried Stib's effects? It is a set of plug-ins for FCP, and one of them "imitates film's response curve". It is a free download from http://www.scriptgeek.netfirms.com/
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Old September 14th, 2003, 10:50 PM   #25
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Underexposure is absolutely better than overexposure with video. You may pick up a touch of noise by having to boost the levels back up in post, but the tradeoff is easily worth it.
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Old September 14th, 2003, 11:35 PM   #26
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Hi Charles. Can you explain this "Expose for highlights" thing? Specifically, I would have thought that whether you expose for highlights or shadow aren't you going to lose details either way (Assuming your contrast range is too high). Is it more a psychological thing, in that we can accept crushed blacks easier than blownout whites so it's best to expose so the highlights are not blown? Or is there some other magic at work there ;)

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Old September 15th, 2003, 12:19 AM   #27
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I am not the authority; but in OIL PAINTING (which has tons of information on the 'use of light') a highlight can be as bright as the SUN or as simple as a wood panel on a roof. The highlights are the lightest point in the painting. IF you take an all black canvas and splash a little grey dot (does not have to be white), that grey dot will visually look brighter than it really is.

I would think 'Exposing for Highlights' would mean adjusting to the point where you lightest light is just visible? What am I saying here? I feel like I get it, but can explain it.

Maybe we do need Charles. CHARLES!
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Old September 15th, 2003, 01:18 AM   #28
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Boy, there are so many ways to explain it, using reference scales from all different facets of image capture: IRE from video, stops from film, zones from still photography...I'll just try to keep it simple.

If you take a typical high contrast image with a digital video camera such as a sidelit sun situation, what I am suggesting is that you dial the exposure down to the point where the sun side is as hot as possible without losing detail and color, i.e. the dreaded white blowout that we are all familiar with. This is probably a good 1.5 stops down from what the AE of the camera calls "proper" exposure. At that point, the shadow side may well be looking pretty dark, but unless it is absolutely black, i.e. no detail at all which is fairly unlikely, you will still have enough information on tape to work with. Chances are that you'll still have a full 100% of video somewhere in the frame, so the contrast will still exist in the image, and if in post you deem that you need more snap, it's a matter of lifting up the midtones a little bit.

Now, my preference working in uncontrolled situations such as sunlight is to shoot either with the sun behind me or in front of me, that is, frontlit or backlit. Shooting backlit is very pretty but does generally require some fill for faces, which can be as simple as a bounce card. The trick again is to underexpose so that the backlight is not blown out (watch it on blond heads of hair!). Frontlit late afternoon sun can be gorgeous also, just keep that exposure down and the colors will saturate beautifully.

Aaron, in terms of shifting the range by underexposing: digital video has significantly more latitude in underexposure, meaning that one can underexpose by as much as four stops and still retain some shadow detail, whereas you have maybe 1.5 to 2 stops of overexposure before you hit pure white. Different cameras perform differently, without doubt, but this is generally true. It is also possible through the use of filtration to elevate the blacks somewhat (I like the Tiffen Ultracons for this) which keeps them from crushing also. You just have to be prepared to lower the blacks in the color correction phase, and don't fret about your raw video looking "milky".

I talked a bit about controlling contrast in this thread, which references a short that I shot on the XL1 a few years ago. The short is still viewable at iFilm, the link is listed at the top of the thread, but the level of compression is a bit high at that site so it's not all that easy to see what I describe in the posts, yet it may be helpful.

For the PSA I shot yesterday that was all daylight exterior, I pulled out every trick I can think of and then some to deal with heavy contrast all day long. When that spot comes online, I'll break that one down also.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 03:06 PM   #29
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I have printed this topic out and filed it.
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Old October 5th, 2003, 10:25 AM   #30
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I think this is similar to the approach I used for my Lady X
episode. I've also written down how I did this in this thread

(the post about visuals is near the bottom)
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