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Old January 29th, 2003, 12:12 PM   #1
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"Film Look" Description ?

Well someone has to ask the dumb questions, so I'll start. What does everyone consider a "film look"? Are we talking how the video looks when originally shot compared to the final version after it's been edited?

Many DVD's have a "making of the movie" feature included. They show some of the scenes as originally taped, which sort of look like they were taped in my kitchen. (Sort of like the "World's Funniest Videos" look). It seems like the real magic happens in editing.

Just wondering...

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Old January 29th, 2003, 12:45 PM   #2
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On those DVDs you are looking at footage shot with a video camera, and that is not footage that actually gets edited. It's usually used for "dailies" and the such. The reason it looks so bizarre in comparison is the framerate and also the way the CCD's capture the image (less detail, etc)
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Old January 29th, 2003, 01:38 PM   #3
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Kirk, some of the shots you see in "deleted scenes" and such on DVDs are the actual film, but since it was not going to be used in the final cut, wasn't subjected to the full process that the rest of the film was. Sure does look different sometimes! Alot of the magic is indeed in post production.
However, 95% of the footage you see on extra features, is actualy video, as Curtis explained.
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Old January 29th, 2003, 02:51 PM   #4
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Not only are those 'deleted scenes' not pushed through the entire machinery of postproduction, often what you get to see is the off-line video material.

Many features shot on 35mm are transferred to BetaSP or even DV, to be edited, and then an EDL (edit decision list) is exported for the lab to cut a 'matchback' of the actual celluloid. The film is then graded in the lab, and what you get to see on DVD is often a digitized version of that material - whereas the deleted scenes are at raw betaSP or worse quality.

Back to the question, much of the film material can look flat before final color grading, even though it is film. The final magic is often applied by the colorist, either digitally or in the filmlab.

digital storytelling and vfx
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Old January 29th, 2003, 04:15 PM   #5
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Thanks for all your replies. I guess the one I remember best was the latest Star Wars DVD, where they showed a few scenes in I believe the robot factory, when the princess was dodging presses, etc. before any effects, then slowly added them to the scene to show the final version.

The blue screen background looks interesting also. It would be kind of cool to put people and things on a different background (although I don't have any idea how to do it yet).
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Old February 8th, 2003, 04:06 PM   #6
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On the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid DVD there is a 45 minute documentary that was shot on 16mm.It had a film look but it wasn't a Pro Look because doc cameramen can't worry about elaborate set ups and what not-they are basically in "point and shoot" mode.
What most people mean by film look is that cinematic,larger than life quality,that doesn't look anything like "real life" at all.In other words,it is surreal,which Websters defines as"having the intense irrational reality of a dream".This is a good way of putting it,because how else does the ordinary,everyday,mundane reality of real life look so different on that silver screen?

When people say that they want that film look,they mean, mostly,
that they don't want anything that they shoot to have the appearance of video,because video is more direct and immediate than film is(or so they *think*)But what they really mean,is that they want to have their productions looking as *professional* as possible,because film and video are two,very different beasts.So the term "film look" is inappropriate for two reasons:

1.If you take "film look" as criteria for *anything* shot on film as such,then millions of people over the years have been achieving that look,just by virtue of having shot on everything that loads film.It's going to look like film because it is film,from instamatics to 110 to 35mm to 4x5 stills to 8mm,Super 8 and 16mm motion pictures.But medium and vision are two different things:You can give a Panavision 35mm motion picture camera to a teenager and have him or her shoot some footage.But,if they don't have any idea of what they are doing,even in the most general of terms,they won't produce anything of noticable worth.Which brings us to number two....

2.Now give that same camera to a seasoned pro,and he or she,is going to turn out some lovely stuff because they have the knowledge and training to do so.Even when they were in film school,they weren't constantly yammering about wanting that"film look"-they were *already* shooting on film.The things that most consumed them though was,lighting,composition,framing,exposure and everything else that is part and parcel to becoming an ace cinematographer.In other words...a PRO-fessional.Which means that they could transpose that knowledge later on to other fields and other mediums,such as video(with extra learning curves tossed in,of course).

In the end,it's just easier to treat film like film and video like video.
But be pro no matter *what* you're shooting with.

Video doesn't have to be just "video"

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