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Old July 29th, 2003, 02:04 PM   #1
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achieving a jerky "private ryan" look??

I have a canon xl1s pal camera with the stock zoom lens and would like to know how to achieve the jerky look you get by decreasing the shutter angle on a movie camera. Im after the 28 days later/ private ryan look. I've tried experimenting with fast shutter speeds and movie mode, unsatisfactory so far, what is the optimum shutter speed for this type of look?
Cheers in advance:}
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Old July 29th, 2003, 08:28 PM   #2
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A trick I read somewhere before (maybe on here?)-

1) Shoot your footage with a high shutter speed.

2) Bring two copies of your clip into the After Effects timeline.

3) Use Posterize Time and bring the top copy's framerate down to about half of the framerate that you shot (PAL=25fps, so bring it down to 12 or 13fps).

4) Apply the Color Transfer Mode blending your top copy and bottom copy together.

Hope that helps.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 11:54 PM   #3
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Another suggestion which occurred to me (might be over the top) is to shoot your actors in slow-shutter mode moving really slow (complimenting it with slow camera movement)...and then time remap the footage in post to speed it up so it moves at a normal pace. It might take some experimenting but the results might be the right amount of surreal that you're looking for.

Good luck!
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Old July 30th, 2003, 05:45 AM   #4
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This very same trick was used in Band of Brothers. The look and feel of this technique looks more random then just shooting slow shutter and decreasing frame rate. It felt like what was taking place was happening in a strobe light. Individual frames would be frozen for an instant, and then be gone just like that. I think some black frames also are thrown into the mix. Color saturation seemed to have been brought way down, to give it that "combat cameraman" look. Since this technique is usually shot on film, there are probably some camera settings that are used, which we, as DV people, will not be able to faithfully reproduce.
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Old July 30th, 2003, 09:20 PM   #5
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it really comes down to the equivalent of a higher shutter speed. michael robinson has the best suggestion. follow his idea

...slower shutter speed is not going to get the effect. the effect seems surreal because of the jerky camera and the high shutter speed....which causes every single frame (if its high enough for the motion) to be without motion blur and to perhaps (to some ppl) seem like slower motion.

since you also mentioned 28 days later...
perfect example. when the main character has run away from the military building and hes in the rain, you can see the rain very clearly, and its due to high shutter speed. thats part of that 'stutter' effect.....test it with your camera on some rain or fast moving people
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Old July 30th, 2003, 10:53 PM   #6
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The reason the 28 Days Later shutter effect looked so filmic is because it was transferred to film, even though the effect was acheived in camera (XL1). It does look somewhat comparable to the Private Ryan look (motion-wise) after the transfer. You can get the same approximation by following my first suggestion though.

The second suggestion may offer a completely different look (have yet to try it...I hope to do so on the weekend) but it could add a greater psychological effect if you intercut between the two polar opposites, depending on your script. Add some extra time blurring (or echo) if you want it to look hyper-surreal.

Sorry...let me clarify the first suggestion-export/render your clip in it's native frame rate (PAL or NTSC) even though you are utilizing one copy with a lower frame rate blended into the other. You're essentially mixing the two clips together, but going out in either 25 or 29.97fps. If you have any further questions feel free to ask.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 04:06 AM   #7
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The effect in the Omaha beach scene in Private Ryan is a technique called "Open-Aperture filming," which has also been a favorite of Ridley Scott lately, as he used the same technique in both 'Gladiator' and 'Black Hawk Down.' From what I understand, in 35mm it's just a matter of cranking the aperture all the way open (probably using a heavy ND to compensate for the influx of light). I'm not too familiar with the working of 35mm motion picture cameras, so I don't know exactly how this works, but it seems as if a workaround (like the ones Michael suggested) would be needed in a DV environment.

Hope that helps,

Shawn McBee.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 09:36 AM   #8
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thanks for all the tips chaps, I found I achieved a satisfactory result at 300frames/p/s. When you do this on a movie camera you actually decrease the shutter angle which has the same effect as increasing the shutter speed on a stills camera. As the shutter speed is now effectively faster image motion blur is decreased which gives the almost stobelike effect seen in ryan and 28 days etc, which is what I was after. I am very interested in the technique described in the 1st reply, although I have combustion & not After effects and I'm unsure what posterize time is.
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Old August 4th, 2003, 06:35 PM   #9
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Shooting at a wide open aperture will achieve the same look on film as it will on video, that being reducing the depth of field. The motion characteristic will be unaffected.

The "Saving Private Ryan" look resulted from adjusting the shutter angle to 45 degrees, which is comparable to a 1/250 shutter on a video camera. Ben is right that shooting at a higher frame rate will automatically result in a shorter exposure time, same result as a skinny shutter, but you are not actually decreasing the shutter angle per se, just the length of time that the light is able to pass through the shutter.

Ben, from your first post it would seem that your efforts should have worked. Be aware that the shot requires motion to be able to "feel" the effects of the short shutter. In the case of "28 Days Later", the zombie-vision was augmented by frantic camera motion (mostly handheld, I think) and probably even a shorter shutter speed than 1/250.
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Old August 5th, 2003, 09:44 AM   #10
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Thanks Charles, I found that a shutter of 250-300 was about right for the effect, and definately a lot of tight shaky camera work. This way there is no need to bugger about in post, although dropping a frame here and there gives an even more frenetic look.
thanks again for the input- what a resource!
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Old August 5th, 2003, 09:52 AM   #11
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Magic Bullet has some excellent features. In the looks suite theres a look called Berlin which gives you that spr colour. I also ran the magic bullet to make my footage 24p and it gave it a very dreamy stuttery look (probably not meant to look like that)
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Old August 29th, 2003, 06:18 PM   #12
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For Saving Private Ryan, the production's best boy, Bob Anderson used an electric drill attached to the pan arm then chucked in a bent bolt... if you want more shake get a longer bolt or bend it more. You could also control the degree of shake by drill speed. Front to rear shake (as in POV while shooting a large caliber machine gun) can be achieved with the drill mounted perpendicular to the lens... side to side shake is achieved with parallel mounting.

For handheld shooting they used Clairmont Camera's Image Shaker... a professional horizontal/vertical/adjustable vibrating device that can mount to pretty much anything.

The third effect used is throwing the camera shutter out of sync so that you get a slight streaking of the frame.

So my advice is to get yourself either an electric drill or similar device, use a replacement bar for your pan arm... such as a dowel or pipe... (on mine it just happens to be a convenient 3/4") and GO NUTS... of course once the insanity is over you'll have to do your audio in post... either that or use a good wireless and you might not even hear the electric drill.

Oh yeah, use the high shutter speed and open aperature also. If you can isolate your subject with a little DOF then that will help to keep your viewer from getting seasick or distracted. The other plus to this approach is that you can put in your best effort to get a proper shot without having to fight truly random and unpredictable movements.

Good luck and don't ruin your camera by going over the top.
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Old February 16th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #13
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I actually just went outside and tried it on our beach. It looks just like Saving Private Ryan if you changed the color in post. I have it on 24p at 1/250. looks good. Thanks too. I might use for our movie.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 01:55 AM   #14
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All I did to get the SPR effect was (filming on a cheap Panasonic miniDV) filming it at a higher shutter speed and de-interlacing it in After Effects...and then playing with Curves or Levels to get the colour alterations and washouts that I wanted.
It seriously looked comparable.

Might even post a test clip if I can dig it up.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 03:09 AM   #15
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This has been interesting, thanks guys. Just curious, the prog-scan mode on the PD150 is designed for lifting stills out of the tape, rather than using it for motion, because it runs as 12,5fps. Now, if I set it to that and increase the shutter as suggested, would this give a better result than if I set the camera to 50i as normal and do the posterise time ?
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