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-   -   INDIE, Film Look, Which Camera? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/3700-indie-film-look-camera.html)

david_negrin September 16th, 2002 10:35 AM

INDIE, Film Look, Which Camera?
I am new to DV video, but I'm beginning to understand the world. However, I have not been able to get a straight answer... Barring price, ignoring cinematography skills, and taking into account available filters for each camera -- for an independent filmmaker trying to shoot movies on DV that do resemble film what is the best camera :

Canon XL1S (PAL @ 25 fps, Progressive)
Canon XL1S (NTSC @ 30 fps, Progressive)
Panasonic AG-DVX100 (NTSC/PAL ? @ 24 fps, Progressive)
Sony (PD150 or I don't even know which?)

--David, NYC

Derrick Begin September 16th, 2002 12:22 PM

* * WELCOME * *

First of all congratulations on moving forward to create! The forums here are awesome. As far as answering your question, I'll give a very new and biased opinion about the XL1S. I love it!

Go down to B&H and try it out. I have the NTSC and through I have wondered, should I have bought the PAL version, I am very happy.

I have been shooting an SAG Experimental Short with it. Experimental because I am doing it all with exception of the sound. Which is being handled by my partner in ODO Productions. Check out my posts under my handle LHORIZON.

Good Luck to you!

Keep me informed of your endeavors!




Rob Lohman September 17th, 2002 04:40 AM

I don't want break your world, but I don't think camera X or Y
is going to give you a film look. We are debating film look at
this very moment in this forum, check those threads out first

Most people seem to agree that there are two things:

1. film look -> shoot film if you want a film look
2. professional look -> this is what most people are referring
to when using the words "film look" . You just want a good
picture etc. Ofcourse you want a good quality camera. But
most 3 chip cameras are more than good enough for us
amateur/indepedent movie makers (unless you have cash
to burn). The look you want has more to do with:

1. good story
2. good sound/audio (do NOT underestimate this!)
3. good lighting (and lighting setup)
4. good use of your camera (camera moves, setup, filters etc.)
5. people who can act

etc.... get yourself a budget for your camera. Then see what
3 chip camera's fall into that category. Make a list of things you:

a) NEED on a camera
b) WOULD like to HAVE on a camera
c) any BONUSES that might be nice

then see which camera fits best.

Good luck.

Derrick Begin September 17th, 2002 08:18 AM

<-- ROB

An excellent roundup and outline for choosing a camera.

I choose my camera based on the fact that when I interacted with it, I liked the features, the look of the results, and the product. Then I asked people who have owned one or several people out and about New York City with the XL1. Some where happy to let me take a gander. My original plan was to purchase the GL1.

Good Luck and Excellent shooting!

Adam Lawrence September 17th, 2002 10:08 AM


Ill get to the point.

if you dont want the "video" look (e.g. news broadcast,home video ect.), then go with a camera that is capable of shooting progressive frames rather than fields. This will have an overall effect on the look of your video, regardless of what people say, this does create a disnictive look to you video due to the frame rate, and look more towards the effect of film than interlaced video.(e.g. Canon XL1 XL1S, Panasonic AG-DVX100, SONY VX100) ect.

Any of these cameras with do the trick, choose the one you feel that fits you best. Theres so many cameras that can shoot video using that procedure, it also depends on what you want to spend. Besides that aspect, the rest is up to you....if you want you video to look more like a motion picture (professional), you will need to consider lighting, camera work, acting ect. (like mentioned above.)

david_negrin September 17th, 2002 03:51 PM

Truth be told I've just bought an XL1-S (NTSC) and I'm loving it - but I was alarmed when I saw an add for the DVX1000 on the back of a new magazine : Indie Vision (Not bad btw). That prompted me to search for DV newsgroups and is how I found DVinfo.net. Once I arrived here I found everyone talking about the Panasonic and almost went harrie-carrie. But from the discussions I've glimpsed it seems that progressive scan is the most important thing, and that while the difference between 60i and 24p or 30p is noticeable, the difference between 24p and 30p isn't gargantuan. Thanks for your replies everyone, I know this topic of conversation will linger on. However, the best thing about my conniption fit over 24 fps is that I found this newsgroup, which I've instantly recognized as a more powerful independent filmmaking tool than any of the cameras we've been discussing. Thanks again.

Adam Lawrence September 17th, 2002 04:26 PM

good choice!

Ive been thinking about purchasing the AG-VX100, yet keeping my XL1, thus
being the powerful camera that it is..I like the AG becuase of its ability to shoot 24p which i think has a noticable difference from 30p plus can be
1:1 to film matching...other than that theres a number of cons when camparing to the XL1 or better yet the XL1S...

david_negrin September 18th, 2002 02:43 PM

Compositing 30p to 24p for film look?
I am a newbie, but today I shot some 30p video on an XL1-S NTSC, pulled the clip into AfterEffects and rendered a composite of the clip (DV - AVI, NTSC) at 24 fps. I then exported this and watched it. I was able to see what could be called a "cinematic effect" on the clip.

If I wanted to shoot a short film why couldn't I shoot all my dailies at 30, render them to 24 before editing, and produce a film with this "cinematic look?"

Is there a situation when filming, e.g. close-ups, quick action, or certain lighting conditions where this method (basically pulling frames out and speeding the rest up) will backfire?


Adam Lawrence September 18th, 2002 03:33 PM


I for one have done this method before through After Effects..

I saw a significant difference in image quality when rendered 24p.
though all the pans, zooms, or signifigant movent in people or objects seemed to be very choppy, due to the loss of frames..

I dont recomend using footage cut from 30p to 24p for that exact reason.

Im not sure what the film transfer method is...thus i doubt if this is the best
way to achive a 24p frame rate 30p.

Ive shot numerious counts of footage with my trusty XL1 and achived
a beautiful "film like" look, with a 30p frame rate. Youll be amazed of what
you can do with the right lighting and color corrections in post to achive
such a picture.

Try shooting some footage and then going into after effects and work with
color adjustments and such..youll find this method more effective towards
achiving the film look than messing with the frame rates.

Jeff Donald September 19th, 2002 07:41 AM


On the PAL, NTSC issue it realy depends what your going to do with your productions. If the productions are for web, DVD or probably broadcast I would stay NTSC. It will save costly PAL to NTSC conversions. If you are going to film your choices are a little more open. I would pick the conversion house first. Many companies want NTSC rather than PAL. Of course many prefer PAL and the higher resolution. In the US, NTSC will be more versitile and lower cost to operate. PAL will yield slightly higher resolution and 25fps. But if I had only a PAL camera I would loose a lot of work.


david_negrin September 19th, 2002 09:08 AM

Color Adjustments for Film Look (AfterEffects)
_REDONE_: What kind of color adjustments do you suggest for film look? I always figured I might reduce sharpness, introduce a sort of blurr effect. What post-production color adjustments do you suggest?

<<<-- Originally posted by _redone_ : David...
Ive shot numerious counts of footage with my trusty XL1 and achiveda beautiful "film like" look, with a 30p frame rate. Youll be amazed of what you can do with the right lighting and color corrections in post to achive such a picture.

Try shooting some footage and then going into after effects and work with color adjustments and such..youll find this method more effective towards achiving the film look than messing with the frame rates. -->>>

Adam Lawrence September 19th, 2002 09:48 AM


I wouldnt "blur" the image becuase you want to retain the crisp look like
film, it would have a backwards effect. I think shooting in frame mode softens
the image so that creates that effect by defualt.

I would recommend going into the effects panel>adjust>color balance.
Also work with the hue and saturation. Adjust the colors according to what you think looks good, thats one reason professional video and film looks like it does. Its all in your lighting , camera work, and color corrections thats makes a great looking image..

If i shot something that may look to "redish" or warm i would go into
the color balance and maybe add some blue or green to my image to retain
that balance of color. Maybe i might add a tad bit of saturation, or hue
to go out on a limb and make some over inhancements. Try using contrast
adjustments or gamma control to adjust the darks or lights. Add a little
grain (just a little) to resemble the crystal emulsion in 35mm. Shoot your original footage in a 1/60 shutter speed come as close to the defualt 1/45 of film. Theres plenty of ways fix or add to your footage in post production.

Ive always liked the way my footage looked when shot with with a short
DOF (depth of field). You can achive this by shooting footage from a couple feet away and zoom into your object, or by reducing the Iris.

Richard Alvarez September 22nd, 2002 08:06 AM


For those concerned about achieving the film look re: interlaced and progressive scan etc.


This is a transfer house that transfers video to film. (At great prices I might add). They have software for converting interlaced 60i. Their site explains a lot of the issues concerning conversion, and also talks about the new Pannasonic 24p camera. (WHich after all must shoot in 29.97 the same as ALL DV Cameras.)


skyy3838 October 9th, 2002 06:47 PM

Framing and Shutter Speed
You cannot underestimate the importance of proper framing(or composition,if
you will) and shutter speed,at least in the digital realm.Of the two
however,the item that would contribute the most to your success is framing.A
pleasing composition,no matter if it is on digital 8 or VHS or 110 camera
film goes a long way in justifying the time and effort you have spent on a
shoot.It tells your viewers that you were thinking of them and not only of
yourself.It tells them that you are pro enough to drag it past the
point of no return to bring home the shots that matter.Composition,no matter
what medium it has engaged has and always be of utmost importance.It is also
yet another way to help tell a story with very little or no dialogue at all.
Learn composition the best way possible-watch movies,movies,movies! Take
notes on your favorite shots and try to work them in somehow into your own
projects.Try and find out how they did certain combinations of elements(For
instance,the way the background snackbar goes out of focus while Helen Hunt
walks towards a huge killer funnel at the drive-in,in "Twister")
These are hallmarks of a skilled eye and careful craftmanship.Learn about

About shutter speed,there is a particular helpful setting on just about any
Sony 1 chip camera,be it D8 or Mini-DV. "Slow Shutter 1" has been
particularly helpful in sometimes getting away from that "camcorder
look".It's in the digital effects section of the camcorder,located adjacent
to the LCD screen on the left side of the camcorder body. I wish I new what
"SS1" was,expressed in fractional terms,but try using it sometime.That is if
Sony is your camcorder of choice.It's not *exactly* "film",but it sure as
heck ain't "video" either.One precaution:When you're engaged in "Slow
Shutter 1" you cannot use manual exposure,so, you have to plan your shots
carefully and make sure there's just enough light on whatever you're
shooting,so the details come out.Also if you go from one extreme to the
other in the same shot
(example: tilting down from a bright sky to a dark horizon-the auto iris is
closed down against the sky and fails to open up again on schedule to
compensate for the dark horizon.Either tilt down very slowly(and I do mean
SLOWLY) or take yourself out of "Slow Shutter 1" go back to "regular" video
and engage your manual exposure.Using manual means that the exposure stays
"locked" so that shifts between light and dark are eliminated.Since most
Sony camcorders do not have "f-stop" numbers available to read( a BIG
mistake,IMHO) you could do this.
Look through your viewfinder and zoom in on a section of the horizon-make
sure there is no sky in your view-just the horizon.
Use the manual exposure dial and adjust the picture until it looks
like a proper exposure ie: not too light and not too dark.This is purely
arbitrary,I realize,but Sony dropped the ball.....If you need to expose one
element over the other,choose your horizon-it might "blow out" your sky just
a little,but the horizon is more important in this case.
If I haven't worn out my welcome,if you want,I can give you a method for
extracting your "f-stop" numbers from your camcorder.

Once again,I'm writing a *chapter* instead of a post.


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