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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old June 17th, 2004, 04:11 PM   #31
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Totally agree with you Martin - I wish I'd held off buying a camera until the DVX-100 came out, but I didn't! So I gotta make the best out of what I've got.

Gustavo, I'd shoot 24P.

I dunno about taking weeks/months of rendering (I know you were over exagerating!), but my 5 1/2 min short film renders in 2hrs - with MB (50i->25P, deartifacting, detail 4), Customised Basic Look, 1.85:1 Letterbox and Composite Broadcast-Safe. I think that's fair enough, I use a PC 3.06GHz HT with 1GB Ram - not too expensive.

I'll hold off re-investing in cameras until cheaper HDs come out with hard disk recording. Then we'll wonder why we were using dumb little tapes for so long.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 11:08 PM   #32
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Patience wins every time.

Why rush it?! MB is more expensive though. Time shouldn't be as important a factor as cost. Post is just as important as the pre & filming, don't rush it.

Have you tried doing your own 24p from 60i in After Effects? Check this article out, on this very site:

Depending on your footage you might be happy enough with the results you can get from this.

Otherwise have a look at RealViz Retimer too... this was quicker than MB when I tried their demo versions out (Retimer's also great for slowing down footage, so you buy this plug-in, and you kill the MB and Twixtor bird with one stone).
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Old July 25th, 2004, 07:51 AM   #33
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AE 6.5 and magic bullet 1.1 error

I get a error message (in auto config in MB) that reads "After effects error: Bad parameter passed to effect callback" How do i fix this problem? (in other words HELP).
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Old July 31st, 2004, 12:23 PM   #34
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Shooting footage for Magic Bullet Editors


Does anyone have any tips for shooting footage on DV with an aim to be treated with one of the bleech bypass variations in Magic Bullet For Editors?

A lot of my footage ends up too dark. So I adjust the pre-gamma and pre-contrast settings to get a flatter image ready for treatment. The result is often that the final contrast of the picture isn't much different to that which I started with from the raw DV footage.

What is the 'correct' (if there is such a thing) or rather a good example of a histogram for footage with the bleech bypass technique applied? Can anyone point me in the direction of any well done bleech bypass stills that have had the MB process applied and their resultant histograms?

Further, has anyone ever written a tutorial on prepping footage for such a filter to make sure that a) detail stays in the picture once the proces is applied, b) that it actually looks like bleech bypass rather than a straight desaturated image with a ton of contrast, and c) what can be done to 'problem' footage to correct it ready for the process?
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Old August 1st, 2004, 07:09 AM   #35
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XL1s shoot w/ MB post

I recently directed an 8 minute film short for the 48 Hour Film Project. I am not the tech savvy director, and can offer the basics of our shoot. My editor suggested 60i with no gain, sp, and ND filter for outdoor shots. We achieved the look I wanted with film lighting and the 16x lens. The only issue our production had was several scenes with soft focus due to the 16x lens back focus issue. My DP is a pro-ENG camera opp. He had limited exposure to the XL1s no solution for the back focus issue so we got what we got. I cannot tell, due to no side by side comparisons, if the Magic Bullet post intensified the soft focus issues.

I was satisfied with the overall look of the film and MB was a key factor.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 03:02 PM   #36
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I have just created a mini-site with examples of stills from some of my shoots demonstrating FilmFX against Magic Bullet For Editors Vegas Edition.

Any comments on this site should be directed here.

It seems that Magic Bullet really only comes into it's own when deinterlacing footage and converting it to 24p. If deinterlacing isn't needed and the original footage was shot on a Panny DVX100 or frame mode on a Canon for release onto VHS or DVD I am gradually growing the opinion that if film stock emulation is required then FilmFX may well be the best solution. There is something very filmic looking about some of FilmFX's specified film stock presets that Magic Bullet For Editors cannot obtain through quickly applying to footage.

Magic Bullet For Editors seems to be great if applying a coloured look on it's own is required. FilmFX however seems to excel when realistic grain is needed. And when I say grain, some of it, especially in the case of the low grain stocks such as Kodak Eastman 200T, is very subtle and does not degrade the picture in terms of clarity.

I am still torn between the two however.

PS, how the hell do I do embedded links in a message??
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Old August 1st, 2004, 09:33 PM   #37
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SIMON: your link is messed up, I get a 404 page. Here is the correct page from your other posting:

to insert a link, between a set of "[]" put the work URL and at the end of the link put another set of brackets with "/URL" and that will make a clickable link.

I tried shooting, as suggested by the manual for MB, some footage with my XL1S when I was going to have the chance to run it though MB on a client's system who owned it and honestly, the footage looked more 'filmic' straight out of the camera in 1/30 Frame mode then it did after going through MB with the suggested rate and normal mode.

I seriously doubt I will ever have anything transfered over to 35mm film so I"m not worried about the 24f stuff and if I have a project that requires it I'd probably go to a post house that specialized in it and work with them on how to shoot in advance. (shrug)
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 12:34 AM   #38
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I've corrected the link now.

Thanks for the embedded link information. Could you give me a full example though as I've tried every combination of what I think you were telling me to do and I can't get it to work. :-)

As for Magic Bullet etc, as I mention on the mini site I made, Magic Bullet For Editors at least is only designed to give high end 'looks' to footage rather than to make something look like it was shot on film.

FilmFX on the other hand simulates film stocks. I have fooled people a number of times using FilmFX, particularly if aiming to simulate a colour cine camera (along with footage that was shot in the same way as that footage would have been, ie camera stabiliser turned off)

Many moons ago I made a DV feature that I managed to get rendered with Cinelook. The movie was projected through a very good projector onto a pretty large screen for it's premiere at a film festival. Honest to God it didn't look like it was shot on video. The grain structure was subtle enough not to draw attention to itself, but just kind 'there' enough to fool the eye into discounting any thought of video. In fact I've had a few comments since from people who have seen it on video or DVD that they thought it was shot on film.

An expert would be able to tell of course, but a lot of the time with these things if people aren't told otherwise, and are not told the budget of the movie, they will often assume it was shot on film.

The full Magic Bullet would only be useful for DV to film blow up although I would still like them to release the opticals suite for Vegas etc. But the Editors version is useful for applying certain looks without going to an external application such as After Effects. Although having said that I far and away prefer the FilmFX Saving Private Ryan bleech bypass look to the quite extreme Magic Bullet preset (even though it can be adjusted).

Shooting in frame mode or on a DVX100 takes away the need for deinterlacing ability. So the comparision between filters boils down to their actual film simulation and look abilities. As a result for such a comparison programs such as DVfilm can be discounted.

Worked out the links thing now thanks!
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Old August 27th, 2004, 12:24 PM   #39
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You need Magic Bullet 1.5!
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Old August 31st, 2004, 02:59 PM   #40
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Frame mode or Magic Bullet

I have been looking through this section with extreme interest. I have an XL1s and want to shoot some short footage (60 secs) and give it the film look. What I`d like to ask is : In your opinion, is it better to shoot in Frame Mode from the camera, or shot in normal mode and convert with Magic Bullet. There seems to be conflictiong comments as to which looks best. Your comments and advice for the best settings would be much appreciated.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 11:22 PM   #41
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I've heard frame mode from the Panasonics is better than the Canons. People have said the Panny's have more perceived resolution, and the Canon's come out looking a little too soft.

While using a frame mode might seem easier at first, it's probably beter to shoot in 60i, retaining all your shooting info, and then deinterlacing your final product through software. It just gives you more options for later, and retains more quality.
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Old September 6th, 2004, 06:50 PM   #42
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How do you shoot in 60i on the XL1s?
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Old September 6th, 2004, 07:38 PM   #43
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<<<-- Originally posted by Nicholas Foster : How do you shoot in 60i on the XL1s? -->>>

Movie Mode = Normal
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Old November 17th, 2004, 10:16 AM   #44
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gs400,cinelook and magic me!!

i'm an italian boy who loves movies and, in the next week I will direct my first short, i've some questions:

1-i've ordered a gs400 from a seller here in will arrive in few days, so:I WANT TO GIVE TO MY LITTLE MOVIE A VERY VERY FILM LOOK you think it convein to me to shoot at frame mode with the panasonic (25fps) or to shoot normally and then deinterlace to 24fps with magic bullet?

2-i've also ordered a dual g5 power mac with 1 giga of you think that magic bullet renders time will be not so epic with this configuration?

3-is magic bullet the best compromise to give that film look that i'm looking for?or there is a better software??i want to give also very cold colours at the footage...

4- do you think the gs400 will be good for me to shoot some short movies??i think it's a good machine, what do you think?

thanks for your support!!!i need help to grow....
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Old November 30th, 2004, 03:59 PM   #45
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Hello Giuseppe,

I can help with some of your questions: Like yourself, I have been on the same quest to make my DV shots look more like film, or I think to narrow it down; to give my shots a more "cinematic look".

Here's what I've found so far:

1. Manage your light carefully. This has been gone over a million times in every forum already, but just in case you don't know, DV camcorders have a very limited dynamic range compared to film. The highlights blow out very quickly (which is a very bad thing. It's much like digital audio distortion, and it can't really be fixed in post).

Also the shadows or dark areas act differently in DV. The darks tend to drop off in kind of a brick wall fashion very quickly, concealing the details. Many times, this can be fixed pretty well in post.

I never shoot in bright daylight, EVER, without an ND filter. These bring down the level of light evenly, going into the camera lens, minimizing the chance of blowouts. The color response of your camera will improve dramatically. You will also find you have better contrast range, and less stairstepping, or zipper effects on the edges of straight contrasting objects, (such as rooftops) with an ND filter. They are cheap, and may be one of the first, best things you can do for your camera.

Try a Polarizing filter. These cause the light coming through the lens to only pass in one direction. It looks great, reduces glare, and causes colors to really pop on shiny surfaces like cars or water. Also cuts the glare in the sky, making it look deep blue, instead of white, and makes clouds stand out dramatically.

2. Add some kind of diffusion. Almost every film you see now days has some kind (usually a lot!) of diffusion added to it to give it a slightly dreamy story telling look, as opposed to the hard news footage "DV" look. It's one of the things we expect to see in film without thinking about it. Now days it's a toss up whether to diffuse later in post, or add a Diffusion filter to your lens first. There are ton's of different filters out there. Each one works in a slightly different way. Some add more of a slight misty haze to everything which causes highlights to bloom and flare nicely into darker areas, and some add more of a softening effect to edges while still leaving detail, without much highlight flaring. You can add diffusion with many editors in post, but it takes ton's of CPU resources, and time to render. It also doesn't really cancel the effects of camcorder CCD oversharpening BEFORE it happens to your footage.

I've just added a Tiffen SoftFX/3 to my collection. It's pretty much the best all-around diffusion filter I've found. It's amazing what it's done for my Optura Xi. Shots instantly look much more like an expensive film production, and much less like video. It allows the detail to come through, but minimizes the electronic "enhancement" that video cams kick in on contrasting edges. I've seen this used on alot of BBC productions that were shot on video, to make them look more like expensive film, such as "The Chronicles Of Narnia" from the 1990's. I liked the look so much on that one, it is what I thought I could realistically match with pro-sumer gear. I've got it now!

3. Shift the gamma and color correct in post. I don't believe you see anything nowdays that hasn't been dramatically altered in post (whether film or video) to give it a certain "looK". Most editors allow you to lift the blacks and soften that brick wall effect before all the shadows go dark. Done carefully, you will be surprised at how much detail you can bring back, and how much closer this looks to film.

4. Buy "Magic Bullet" OK, I'm doing a sales pitch here....I just bought it this week, and it blew my mind. I've tried a lot of different software that promises to make your video look like film, most were very disapointing, but this is the real thing :) Besides just taking good clean video, if this was all you had to get closer to an expensive film look, it might be all you need.

You can get close to it's effect by hand, given lots of tweaking time in an editor, but this nails it easily on it's own, and is actually very simple and intuitive to use. When used properly, the effect it has is actually kind of shocking. I don't think I ever want to see my footage without it again...seriously.

They make several different versions of it now. The Magic Bullet plug-in I just bought for Vegas Video was very affordable. I don't want to sound like a dork here, but it really makes it look like I spent thousands of dollars more on my gear. I won't be working without it.

Be aware though - it takes forever to render - especially if you crank up the diffusion settings. that's why I'm using a real filter in front of the lens now.

5. Use a TV monitor to check your shots whenever possible when shooting or editing. The LCD on your cam is nice for framing things, but you never see what your shots really look like untill you see them on a TV monitor. This could save you alot of ruined footage.

Also, very important here: computer monitors use a completely different approach to color than TV's do, NEVER try to color correct or gamma shift without watching the results on a TV monitor live! You will not like the results, and you will waste all your efforts if you don't do this. It's like throwing darts in the dark- why bother.

Well those are my main tips. Yes, my stuff actually comes off ( I think so anyway... :) impressivly much closer to film, or at least an "expensive cinematic" look than video now. I have not talked about lighting here, which is a book in itself. If you are trying to attempt a better look for your shots, I'm sure you are studying all your favorite movies closely. That's the best place to start. Also, one more quick tip: frame your shots and focus FIRST before pulling the trigger. It sounds dumb to say it, but it can be the biggest difference between amature and pro shots. Have fun!
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