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The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old April 2nd, 2005, 02:03 PM   #46
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I know Dave, you are absolutely right.
Is just my mourning for film.... That's all.
(I also do the best to preserve its glory and "flavor" as good as I possible can......) sigh.....

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Old April 2nd, 2005, 02:16 PM   #47
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The SunDowning - Shot with GL2

How's this for a good example of approximating the "film look" with video:

The SunDowning, written and directed by Jim Cole, shot with a Canon GL2.

This is just a trailer, and of course has been highly compressed for viewing on the web. So you still can't appreciate the full extent of achieving a film look. But it has won several awards, and appeared in a number of theaters.

For more info about this:
SunDowning Web Site
DVInfo Thread about SunDowning that includes comments from the director.

I don't think anyone expects, or has stated, that it is possible with today's technology to fully achieve the "film look" when shooting with video. The point is, I believe, that it may be possible to approach, or approximate, the "film look" that is very satisfactory, and at a greatly reduced cost over shooting with film.

The first step is to identify, or define, what is meant by the "film look", in as much detail as possible.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 04:06 PM   #48
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Maybe the point isn't to mimic film, as much as it is to get rid of the short comings of video. Stuff like artifacts and pixelization.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 07:27 PM   #49
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dan Diaconu :
Dominic I drink to your health. I thought I will be burned at stake alone for mho on 24p. -->>>

Lol, thanks man - at least there's two of us!!! :)
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:58 PM   #50
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Well for me the thing that annoys me the most about video is not the frame rate (being that i have an XL2) not so much the color (there are a number of color corection of procedures in post that can fix almost any problem) not so much the highlights or even the resolution, but the DOF in comparison to film.

Ive done a number of things to my videos and have gotten pretty close to the film look (especially with the XL2) and i think the depth is the only thing still screaming video to me.

I once asked a guy i worked with, in my more novice days, how to get video to look like film. He gave me what i think is some of the worst advice anyone could possibly give. He said "sex it up" which bassicly means:

1: Increase saturation
2: Put a gausian blur on it
3: Make the colors warmer

I have seen this technique used and everytime i see it i always know its video right off the bat. The truth is that film isnt necissarily more saturated than video, in fact in many cases its the exact opposite. I tend to desaturate my video to go towards the film look, and up the contrast.

I saturate my colors only in one insance, a sunny day outside and that's it, other wise i desaturate it or leave it alone and play with teh contrast.

One thing that is over looked alot, at least in examples i've seen, is that videographers and cinematic DP's tend to frame differently. Videographers tend to pay alot of attention to 'head room' and back away from their subjects often when professional DP's tend to be more free and pay more attention to the '2/3' rule.

One last thing that people tend to forget when trying to achieve this professional grade hollywood look is that the audience... is dumb. The vast majority probably wont be able to tell that the highlights are clipped, or that the gamma is slightly different from that of film, or that the lattitude is different. As long as it looks farely close, they'll never be the wiser.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 09:21 PM   #51
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There's certainly something to be said for Jon's general comment (I'm interpolating) that the 'way' something is shot can have a huge impact on whether it is percieved to be film or video.

I remember a large group of DVinfo.net readers thinking that the TV series, '24' had obviously been shot on high-def video, when in fact, this series is shot on Panavision 35mm cameras -- probably the most 'filmiest' of film cameras.

However, the show is almost exclusively handheld with a lot of fast zooms for emphasis rather than the more stable tracking/dollying. This seems to say 'video' to some folks.

However, the show also uses very short DOF and one can see the characteristic film highlights (both the purity of the color and the way they are 'approached'). No way this can be mistaken for video.

Fun discussion, but I was recently reminded that it doesn't matter much after all. Check out the widely-released (in theaters and subsequently on DVD) film, 'Pieces of April' which was shot on a PD-150.

It's obviously video. But once the story grabbed me, I stopped thinking about it. I just 'watched'. It didn't matter what it was shot on. We all worry too much about whether the things we shoot look like film -- we should spend more time getting a good story and good performances. :)
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 09:32 PM   #52
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I quite generally agree with Jon and Jonathan. Over saturated, soft images with bad highlight handling scream video to me. Something about the way video handles extreme saturation. Beats me. To me it seems like video handles the desaturated look much better than saturated (probably due to it's color space and compression). One thing in particular always says "video" and that's bad skin tones. Too yellow, too warm etc. Always a dead give away that someone was trying too hard to make video look filmish.

As for format: quite right the format isn't nearly as important as the story. Still, once you have a good story, shooting on a good format is next in line. You can't get really good results with only one.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 09:58 PM   #53
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<<<--
Ive done a number of things to my videos and have gotten pretty close to the film look (especially with the XL2) and i think the depth is the only thing still screaming video to me.
-->>>

Hello Jon,

I don't get it ??

I use XL1s/XL2s, and I find that the DOF is workable. I can use selective focus quite effectively, and rack focus with room to spare, so what am I missing?

Thanks!
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 10:05 PM   #54
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jonathon Wilson :
However, the show is almost exclusively handheld with a lot of fast zooms for emphasis rather than the more stable tracking/dollying. This seems to say 'video' to some folks.
-->>>

Hello Jonathon,

I don't agree about the hand held shots at all. I have been watching with a fair degree of scrutiny, and unless you know something that I don't, a lot of those "handheld shots" are actually mounted and moved to look Handheld Like.

This is my guess anyway. I couldn't move that accurately handheld (nor any of my DPs, or any of the DPs that I know of).

Do you have any inside info??

Thanks :-)
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 10:59 PM   #55
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Quite a bit of production information ("24") in this article in ASC:

http://www.theasc.com/magazine/feb04/cover/page2.html

(I can't seem to get back to the first page but there's lots of info on the 2nd and 3rd).
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 11:06 PM   #56
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... and yes -- you're right on the handheld... looks like most of those 'shaky' shots are simulated on a lockdown... although the article does hint at some handholding in the series.

My comment was really more aimed at the fast zooms... seems like only 4-5 years ago, I was reading multiple articles suggesting that you "shouldn't use zooms... it will make your film look amateurish" Nowadays, the fast zoom has certainly come back into vogue.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 11:35 PM   #57
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Any comments on The SunDowning?
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 12:43 AM   #58
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to zoom? or not to zoom! That!.... is the question...
fashion comes and goes. good pictures are worth watching again and again..... why?
ANYTHING that will CRY for attention like ZOOM, unnecessary/rough camera move, bad framing, editing or SOUND,... (list is long) will DISTRACT from the story and break the "spell":
" oh.. nice crane there" "uhh that was a long take, poor steadicam guy".... Zoom (during a take) is distractive no matter what.
Film (as a medium) is less and less used. The rules of a "quality production" should not go with it only because "tape is cheap" and we can we-we on the screen all we like for $8/1h of "footage".

on a general note here:
It looks like the more attention (and respect) one pays to a picture (framing, camera moves (should I say smooth unless required by action), color settings, etc) the more attention one's picture gets. Leave aside story (which should grab one's interest to begin with) but if it is not nicely told is going to loose audience.
When I see handheld going "dutch" on TV while someone talks I turn off the TV. Not worth watching. If "they" do not respect the host, why should I?
The more are making the less are watching. over 1000 channels? Overwhelming worthless offer. But if it is out there, someone will stumble across that channel for a minute.......
Realism or pessimism? Does not realism lead the way to pessimism?
Oh well.... just my 2c on the issue.
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 06:14 PM   #59
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<<--I use XL1s/XL2s, and I find that the DOF is workable. I can use selective focus quite effectively, and rack focus with room to spare, so what am I missing?

I do alot of photography with 35mm slr's hence im used to a lot of depth that even with the longest lense and the aperature open all the way, the XL2 still wont match. I've done alot of rack focusing and selective focusing as well, but it just doesnt compare with what you can do with 35mm, which is what we're trying to replicate.

So when i look at a shot on one of my videos and notice that the background is still reasonably in focus despite my use of longer lenses and wide aperature.

This is what i was getting at.

And i agree entirely with Jonathan about the story being more important than the format. It's still nice when you tell people you shot it on video and they flip out.
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 07:57 PM   #60
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jonathon Wilson : ... and yes -- you're right on the handheld... looks like most of those 'shaky' shots are simulated on a lockdown... although the article does hint at some handholding in the series.

My comment was really more aimed at the fast zooms... seems like only 4-5 years ago, I was reading multiple articles suggesting that you "shouldn't use zooms... it will make your film look amateurish" Nowadays, the fast zoom has certainly come back into vogue. -->>>

Hello, and thanks for the link!

I like zooms, but my favorite technique is a very, very slow zoom, so that it is nearly undetectable, but psychologically effective.

Fast zooms and camera movement can be a character, or be the critical ingredient to make the scenes point.

I am fascinated by the work going on today !!!

You guys are great !
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