My "look" experiments, have finally led up to a happy set of results.. and a tutorial at DVinfo.net

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Old October 29th, 2003, 06:51 AM   #1
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My "look" experiments, have finally led up to a happy set of results.. and a tutorial

http://www.deviantart.com/view/3633495/

For those of you who havn't really been introduced to me before, my name is Kevin. I'm a Music Video Director and Graphic Designer. I usually work with film for my projects, 16mm or 35mm. I do however, own several Mini-DV cameras I like to use for B-Roll footage, and personal growth and experimentation... so I can fool around without the expensive film. I say screw all the technical mumbojumbo. If you know what you're doing, and you do it well, that's what matters... so have fun playing and experimenting. I've come here a few times before and shared some of my progress in creating a good look improvment for MiniDV (well, one I'm happy with at least.)

I finally perfected a new method I thought up (May not be the original thinker upper of it, but I thought of it on my own) and I thought I'd share a bit about it. This is for any of you who are plain ol' hands on, down and dirty, lose the math and just have fun experimenting to get your results type of people. (Gotta love the pointless run-ons)

The image I linked to may look like photo slides, but the actual images are of interest here (I just added slide borders for showoff purposes). They are simply frame stills from post-worked XL-1s footage of myself (I get bored, and needed promo stills for the web.)

I've been experimenting with Mini-DV footage for a little while now trying to find a "look" that excites me and that I'm happy with. I've found a ton of different methods of achieving various looks using After Effects, without "look" plugins such as magic bullet/cinelook/etc. Simple layers, adjustments, and various transfer modes.

Finally though, a solid method of achieving a look I'm happy with. Some of the images were done a bit differently post-method wise. The ones I'm most happy with are the first and forth column.

These were done by firstly, arranging lighting. Highest F.stop, shutter at 60. My bedroom light (2 lightbulbs in ceiling fixture) and one of those skinny, tall, tower lamps set off in the distance.. with a couple of smaller, directional lamps for placing light in the desired areas.

Now, grabbed the footage, and time for post!

I use After Effects for my adjustments, because of it's layering. To keep things simple, I'll give the basic run down on how it works. I've shared before a similar method where I adjusted the levels, duplicated the layer, and then set the transfer mode to softlight, merged comp and then adjusted levels again. Those are the second and third column images. Depending on how you adjust the levels, it can be better for achieving a more "towards 16mm" look, especially if you adjust the levels more harshly. However, after more experimenting with the images you see in the first, forth, and fifth column.. I figured out a similar, but more pleasing method to me. Here's the basic run down to get you started... mess with the process a bit, try different things and other adjustments like hue/saturation, brightness/contrast, etc to aid your desires.

-Import your footage.
-Adjust Levels
-Duplicate Layer
-Set transfer mode to screen.
-Duplicate Layer
-Set transfer mode to soft light.

Make a new comp
drag in the previous layered comp.. and adjust it's levels again or make any other desired adjustments.

Again, this is just a rough tutorial to give some of you some new ideas to play with. I always feel that experimenting and testing is better than studying diagrams and equations anyday. Have at it, have fun. After all, it's not costing you thousands if you mess up, like film.
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Old October 29th, 2003, 08:00 AM   #2
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Kevin,

the shots look pretty cool, I really like that urban look. I'm gonna try your suggestions on some skateboard footage I have and see what comes out. I've been looking for ways to do something a little different with a skateboard video and this look might really help.
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Old October 29th, 2003, 08:02 AM   #3
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Good, I've used it on some rollerblading footage I have. It works great, especially if filmed well. I'm an avid fan of dolly work , follow shots, and good .3x use in skating videos.
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Old November 1st, 2003, 04:56 PM   #4
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What is the order of the 3 layers.

I have it as from top to bottom:

1 Soft Light
2 Screen
3 Original

Is this correct?

Thanks

Tom
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Old November 1st, 2003, 05:06 PM   #5
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Correct, depending on the shot.

Sometimes it may be smarter to leave out the screen layer, or lower opacities as needed. Also, after merging the comp, depending on how warm you want the colors to be you can set an aditional duplicated layer to overlay, and then do a high feathered mask so that it's sort of viginetting the overlay area to the outside edges... this would produce a warm colored outter rim sort of like this:

http://www.kmdstudios.com/public/pics/a07.jpg
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Old November 1st, 2003, 06:29 PM   #6
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It's difficult to gauge exactly what the look does to the image at sub-SD resolutions. Can you put up some images that aren't resampled?

Where can we take a look at the Good Charlotte and Linkin Park music videos?
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Old November 1st, 2003, 09:15 PM   #7
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Good Charlotte work was filming live concert footage for a DVD. Warped Tour 03 was used for their DVD and the Bowling For Soup DVD, and the Simple Plan footage went to Much Music for their TV show.

Linkin Park's Faint video can be seen at www.markromanek.com

The video I'd be Directing hasn't been shot yet, since Numb was decided to be done first. You can see that at www.linkinpark.com and I'm still working on the treatment and play for mine.

You can see the 16mm Story of the Year video at www.storyoftheyear.net in the media section.
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Old November 6th, 2003, 12:52 AM   #8
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Actuallyl i tested it, and i kinda of like it... now... how did you obtain that blur in the screen ? is it DOF ? or it is done in the post ?
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Old November 6th, 2003, 09:44 AM   #9
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You are best off using good ol' DoF, but in some cases where a more shallow dof is desired than can be provided by video without pro35 or mini35, then duplicate the merged composition, set it with a guasian blur, and then mask out the focused areas and feather it. This will leave the blurred layer visible only where you want it to be blurred.
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Old November 6th, 2003, 10:20 AM   #10
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That sounds complicated is the subject moves a lot...
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Old November 6th, 2003, 10:25 AM   #11
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Not really once you get started on it and get "lost in it". The feathering really helps ease it by not having to mask the exact outline of everything perfectly.

Then again, good DoF knowledge would be best by doing the desired effect in production rather than having to do it in post.
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