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Old May 23rd, 2003, 05:45 AM   #1
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Making a movie, need a really nice look

Hi there people,

I'm quite new to all this and would be most grateful for any help you could offer.

I intend to make a film partly set in the Swiss alps this summer and partly in the Caribbean. I have a screenplay in the works but basically I know I want this to look as real and vivid and crystal clear as possible. I really want the bright rich colours to fill the screen, I want it to look as much like a real movie as possible.

I'm using a SONY DCR-TRV 950E camera (Mini-DV 3CCD) and have a tripod and an external microphone (ECMHS1 MIC Shoe fit).

I have Pinnacle Studio 8, Vegas 4 and Premiere 6 and can also use Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express at my college facilities.

So basically, what do I need to do to make this look as good as I can? Is it a matter of buying some filters (if so, which ones), or tips making sure I use sunlight most effectively, or getting a wide angle lens, something to do with framerate, post productin tweaking? I'm quite enw to this so please help me out in figuring out all I can do, ythis project means the world to me and to have it look great would be the best thing I can imagine! I can frame shots really nicely, now I need to learn the technical side of it all.

Thanks very mcuh for any help! :) :):)
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:02 AM   #2
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I would avoid using filters, or anything else that alters the image. All of that should be done in post. If you are using a filter for one sequence, and not the next, there will be a difference in the images that you might not be able to match.

This is also just my opinion, but I would go with using the FCP machines... I have always felt that Quicktime coloring was like film.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:27 AM   #3
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OK, I think I will use FC because I haven't learned vegas or premiere yet and the guys who work at the college can teach me and help me edit with FC.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:40 AM   #4
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I just hope Jeff Donald doesn't catch me recommending a Mac... He'll never let me live it down :)
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:42 AM   #5
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hehe, well thanks for your help anyway. I found an article at dvcreators about why you should always use a diffusion filter and the warmer examples look so much better, and I'd always be using warm colours for this caribbean film, set on beaches etc... you sure I shouldn't have a filter?
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 07:33 AM   #6
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I just read the same thing... For now, I'll stick to what I said. Unless ALL of your footage is shot with the filters, I would not use them. I was shooting a concert outdoors, using my XL1s and GL1. I had a diffusion filter on the GL1 only. When it came time to edit, I had a problem. The footage from the XL looked fine, the footage from the GL had the soft blurr from the filter, which wasn't bad looking at all. But when I tried to merge the footage from both cams, there was a noticable difference that couldn't be fixed.

So again, unless you plan on using the filter for all shots, I would go without.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 10:24 AM   #7
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Hi there.

thanks again.

Well, would be any reason to not use the filters all the time? I mean, the scenes will always be well lit apart from some indoor scenes in dark cafes, if I turned the exposure up wouldn't it be ok to still use the filter?

and that brings me to the next question, which filter would I get for this sort of film, which iwant to be as bright, vivid and colourful as possible, bearing in mind it'll be a lot of hot stuff, sun washed and beach scenes, bright dirt roads etc... how do i know whcih ones will be compatible with my sony dcr-trv950e and how do they attach? thanks very much for the help!
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 01:08 PM   #8
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I would recommend that at very least you bring a polarizer, which is indispensable for exterior shooting, especially since you indicated that you wanted saturated, rich colors. It will allow you to deepen the color of the sky and/or water, and help reduce glare in many situations. The trick is to remove it from the camera and hold it up to the eye, then rotate it to determine the desired angle, then return it to the camera with that orientation. You can literally dial in the desired amount of polarization, which isn't necessarily the maximum available. And since this always comes up, I use linear polarizers rather than circular and have never had a problem with these sorts of cameras.

As far as shooting two cameras for the same scene as Keith describes, it is certainly a good idea to match diffusion. However, there's nothing wrong with using such a filter for certain scenes and not for others. That's a standard practice. Care should be taken not to use so heavy an effect that it really stands out unless desired (a fantasy sequence, for instance). A light softening filter like a Black Promist or Black Diffusion F/X (Tiffen) can be very appealing and help with the "film look". Overall, though, for the look you describe you are probably better off not diffusing the image too much. If your budget allows, buy a few different grades of the particular filter you prefer (i.e. Black Promist in 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1--if you can only afford two, try the 1/4 and the 1/2).

More exotic filters that take some practice to work with are graduated filters aka "grads", that will darken or color parts of the frame.

In terms of the overall color cast, a warm tone can be achieved by simply cheating the white balance, or using Warm Cards (try searching through the archives here for more info). Or you can do color correction in post. There are some filters such as the Tiffen 812 which will increase saturation in certain parts of the spectrum, but you may be able to achieve at least as much in post.

Most important, though, is making sure your exposures are good. Slightly underexposing exteriors will increase saturation, reduce the "blown out" effect of highlights and generally produce richer images. I usually peg my exteriors a full stop down from what the camera "thinks" is the right exposure. You just have to make sure that the subject is properly lit or filled so that they don't get too dark in the process. More than anything else, exposure seems to be the main factor in making exteriors look too "video".
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 01:38 PM   #9
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Thanks very much for all that Charles.

I think I might get a filter or two. However, how do I know which size I need for the sony dcr trv 950, and how do they clip on?

Also, what are warm cards?

I read about big white bits of foam behidn the camera to reflect light onto the person, is that what you meant? if so, can I just get any big white amount of material, (even a wall?) as I can't carry it over, I've only got a suitcase and wouldn't be able to take all that with me....

And is there anyway I can use normal light blulbs etc or normal household stuff to improve the lighting at all? I know it wont have the same effect as blondes, redheads etc, but is there anything I can do with what I have to make it any better at all?

My brother leant me some basic "kokin" filters, one of which is a very dark blue fading to ntohing, whcih I'll use whenver I can for skies etc. He gave me some others which I don't think I'll use like dark reds etc, though I have those with me just in case. For now I think I better get one tiffen filter at least, 2 if my budget warrants it! so which ones do I need please? Thanks a lot for your help :)

Should I always have my external microphone attached aswell? Thanks. :)

also:
I have fnd this website:
https://secure.xl1s.com/cgi-bin/shop/commerce.cgi?product=tiff52&cart_id=3191470.14353

which sells things in the UK... Are those ones any good to choose form? I don't know what you mean by linear instead of circular polarisers, I can't seem to find them,. What si the exact diffference? Thank you :):)
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 02:20 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Yonathan Gal : Thanks very much for all that Charles.

I think I might get a filter or two. However, how do I know which size I need for the sony dcr trv 950, and how do they clip on?

Also, what are warm cards?

I read about big white bits of foam behidn the camera to reflect light onto the person, is that what you meant? if so, can I just get any big white amount of material, (even a wall?) as I can't carry it over, I've only got a suitcase and wouldn't be able to take all that with me....

And is there anyway I can use normal light blulbs etc or normal household stuff to improve the lighting at all? I know it wont have the same effect as blondes, redheads etc, but is there anything I can do with what I have to make it any better at all?

My brother leant me some basic "kokin" filters, one of which is a very dark blue fading to ntohing, whcih I'll use whenver I can for skies etc. He gave me some others which I don't think I'll use like dark reds etc, though I have those with me just in case. For now I think I better get one tiffen filter at least, 2 if my budget warrants it! so which ones do I need please? Thanks a lot for your help :)

Should I always have my external microphone attached aswell? Thanks. :) -->>>

edit: I have fnd this website:
https://secure.xl1s.com/cgi-bin/shop...=3191470.14353

which sells things in the UK... Are those ones any good to choose form? I don't know what you mean by linear instead of circular polarisers, I can't seem to find them,. What si the exact diffference? Thank you :):)
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 02:27 PM   #11
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again, trying searching this forum under "warm cards"...

Using white foamcore bounce cards is a great idea, you can assuredly buy them overseas at an art supply store. More high tech and able to fold into a suitcase would be a Flexfill type reflector , which has a spring-loaded design and folds up small enough to fit in your bag. My choice of materials: silver/white (gold/white also nice for faces, buy one of each!), also see under the Photoflex brand for cheaper version.

Sounds like the filter your brother gave you was a blue grad. That will have a pretty intense effect; good for turning white skies into blue, but requires the camera to be pretty locked down (no tilting possible). As for the red filter, that's used for black and white photography, not much application for what you are doing.

Again, at the very least get yourself a polarizer. Tiffen's best is called the "Ultra-Pol", also look for the Schneider/B&W "True-Pol".

Don't know about mounting on the Sony camera, sorry.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 02:40 PM   #12
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Thanks Charles. I'll take a look for warm cards now.

And I'll find out which one I need and get the Ultra Pol then? That's the most essential bit of equipment, right?

Under the comptibilty list on the Tiffen site, it ahd this information for the sony dcr-trv 900, mine is the 950, so it shoulkd be ok.

what does all this mean though?

THREAD SIZE:52mm

Mounting ring:5243AD

item # 00195
2x telephoto 43 mm threads

item #: 02006 0.75x
wide angle 43mm threads
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Old May 24th, 2003, 05:59 PM   #13
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Hey there.

The thread size was 37mm and I got a srtep up to 49, and am puchaing a few filters...

as for collapsible rellectors, the one in the link only sells in the states... In the UK, however, there are ltos too...

http://www.hiltonphoto.co.uk/products/details/273.html

That one looks good, as it has lots of diffrent colours:
5-in-1 Reflector - Collapsible 32" reflector with silver, gold, white and black, and a white diffuser. Ideal for location shoots.


That's 25, thats like $41 or there abouts.... Does that seem a good deal? Thanks very much :)
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Old May 24th, 2003, 06:15 PM   #14
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That seems like an excellent deal, hopefully they are decently made. At that price, take two, or even three! It looks like you have to switch the exterior covers to go from silver/gold to white/black, so it would be helpful to have one of each set up.

Without having seen the specific items, thus guessing from the description/picture, here's how I would use the various surfaces:

Diffuser: use in front of a light or the sun to soften the quality of the light. You will lose some exposure this way, however.

White: creates a neutrally colored bounce on the subject, with softer results and easier for the talent to look into than the shiny surfaces, but with less intensity.

Black: creates "negative fill", great for modelling light on the face (takes away ambient, or can act as a flag to block stray light).

Silver: creates a slightly cool bounce on the subject, will deliver the most intensity but may have a harsh quality. Good if you can't get close to the subject (if you are shooting them from a distance, for instance).

Gold: similar to above but has a warm tone, can be nice for faces. A combination of both a silver and a gold reflector will result in a fairly neutral tone with greatest intensity.

p.s. when you get them, practice folding them up--it takes a while to get good at it, like coiling cables!
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Old May 24th, 2003, 06:18 PM   #15
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Wow, these forums are great. Thanks very mcuh for the advice. Unfortunately I;m just a student and every penny counts, so I think it'll just be one set for now! But thanks for that breakdown and I will practise indoors before goign to the beahc with them etc! Cheers! :):)
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