'Movie Look'?

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by FilipeJMonteiro, May 28, 2011.

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  1. DARTH_CORLEONE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2001
    star 4
    It'll naturally give you a telephoto depth of field...with compressed space and flattened perspective, if that's what you're after. But as you start to get a series of shots, you have to think about what that sort of composition is communicating, aside from just getting 'soft backgrounds'. What is the story communicating...how should the viewer feel when watching it? That'll dictate your composition...then you'll use whatever tools you can to make it feel cinematic and 'movie-like'. Sometimes you're better off with the camera just a few feet away with little depth of field than zoomed-in...even if the latter has those nice soft backgrounds. If you light and compose it well, both can look equally as nice...so it comes down to which one expresses what you're after.

    Red One
    [image=http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/1355/collage1b.jpg]
    [image=http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/1560/collage2t.jpg]


    Canon 7D
    [image=http://i52.tinypic.com/mw9kpd.jpg]


    Aaton Penelope (35mm)
    [image=http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/8556/abecomb.jpg]


    Combination of 35mm and Red One
    [image=http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/6458/allpics2go7.jpg]



    Obviously, some of these camera systems and lenses may not be used by some here yet, but trust me...it's not just the camera and lens.
  2. Zurita-Films Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2006
    star 3
    People have already talked a lot about aspects like composition, color correction, etc, so I'll tackle something I've seen a lot of changes in within the indie film community.

    Depth of field is an interesting aspect of film making, especially since the advent of video DSLRs have given independent filmmakers cheap access to the same DOF they see in mainstream cinema, aka 35 mm. As a film student that started before the whole DSLR craze, I bought myself a Canon XHA1. Great HD camera, films on tape, tons of manual and computer controls. But now I see just about every student buying a T2i or 7D, or some even selling their semipro videocameras for a DSLR essentially for the smaller DOF.

    If you're out to get the cinematic look and when you get to this aspect of the image, consider what other areas you might be sacrificing to get it. In the DSLR example, you sacrifice good quality XLR inputs in your camera for audio, though you can record it externally and sync up your audio in post (more work though). You also sacrifice motion quality with artifacts like rolling shutter. I've seen other filmmakers put an adapter on their professional camcorders to narrow the depth of field without running into problems like rolling shutter. However, in this situation they've severely cut down the amount of light reaching their camera chip, which could narrow down their filming options depending on the situation they're filming in.

    So while you ALWAYS want to have precise control of your focus, I heavily warn against any filmmaker who will abandon their current camera or choose a DSLR over a professional video camera just for the narrow depth of field. Consider all the options that might sabotage your film look (there is nothing 'filmic' about rolling shutter or an underexposed image), though if you have the crew, equipment, and shot planning to control everything, as the best films do, you can avoid all of these problems, as well as the problems you would typically run into in other video cameras.
  3. WolverineOfTheORS Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2006
    star 3
    Color grading, frame rate, composition, lighting, depth of field, awesome camera.

    I love the point made about the importance of quality sound too. Crap sound has the potential to kill any shot. When sound is good, it instantly improves the visual. Never forget that! Sound is so deeply underestimated, 50% of a film experience is what you hear.
  4. DARTH_CORLEONE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2001
    star 4
    How do you get your footage to look like a real movie?

    Pretty much the same question as how do you get instruments to sound professional...or how to get a painting to look like it was done by a real artist. You could get the same gear, effects, processing, and even employ the same recording techniques...and the same paints and brushes that anyone can get in an art supply shop. But it starts with the actual musician, and the actual painter. Work at learning and developing your craft, and if you have the talent and discipline, you'll find that you can make things look like film/movies with just about anything you're filming with.
  5. tumblemoster Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2000
    star 4
    Film look? Still? The Hobbit is shooting at and trying to deliver at 48 FPS. 3d films are often shot at high frame rates. Digital or actual "FILM"?

    The film look is whatever makes it to the screen. The film look is the story, the dynamic visuals, the "thing" that makes a movie great. Focus on the film you want to make first, not the look. It's within even the lowest budget, least experienced filmmaker to make an amazing film, but you have to be thinking of the film you want to make FIRST, and the technical requirements second. We get all "Star Wars did this" and "<X> did that" and forget that our ideas are original, our ideas are what matter. The best filmmakers know what they want to see on screen, THEN they sort out which techniques best tell their story. The "Film Look" is bunk, it's a crutch, a pointless diversion on the path to a brilliant film. Don't forget why you're actually here: You want to make movies.
  6. FilipeJMonteiro Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2010
    star 1
    Quick question to add: how big are the differences between equipment used to make shows and to make movies? Should shows look have the 'movie look'?
  7. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    As someone who is spending an increasing amount of time around film students, and as someone who is a photographer, I am beginning to despise the shallow depth of field look. There's certainly a place for it, as there always has been. But when entire films are shot with shallow depth of field, it's aggravating and often disorienting as well. At the ASU film capstone showing in May, I wanted to stand up in the theater and say, "STOP DOING THAT!" or something along those lines. Good writing and other achievements were and are being lost because people think that they can shortcut their way to looking good. Or, worse, they think that it's how you look good, period, and somehow ignore the variety of shots present in the best films.

    This is just as much a problem in still photography. I've reacted to it by shooting less and less with shallow depth of field and more and more with a lot of depth of field. I think part of the issue, which I think was touched on earlier, is that photographers and videographers fall in love with the ability to shoot with shallow depth of field, just as some pitchers in baseball fall in love with a certain kind of pitch sometimes. Some people never do grow out of this, and they are abetted by a public that often doesn't know any better and often reacts positively to a photo or scene shot with a shallow depth of field look.
  8. DARTH_CORLEONE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2001
    star 4
    Not really very different, if at all, and it depends on the actual show. It's more about the speed of turnaround/editing/workflow than the differences in 'look'. Something that shoots to a tapeless format that you can natively edit as opposed to something you have to transcode like Red without a Rocket or ARRI-RAW helps get to post quicker..,,,anything from XDCAMS, to DVCProHD/P2 camcorders for multiple handhelds, and so on. Or HDCAM as well. Turnaround times are usually a lot quicker on TV with shorter deadlines for a lot of volume, so you might not get as much time to light things as 'dramatically', either. Again, depends on the show. But I would say there's more going on with the overall pacing/feel/aesthetics than the actual cameras. They used to shoot a lot of shows on film, yet it still had a TV feel/look because, well, it was a TV show.
  9. CountDoosheee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 15, 2002
    star 3
    It's great to see people talking about depth of field, as it's something that's really been thrown out the window in the past couple of years; working with depth of field has gone from 'this is a hard thing to manipulate on my consumer level camera' to 'I really don't care what this shot looks like now because everything is blurry and it looks professional' - it's really lost all meaning.

    I can't remember the last time I saw any indie video that didn't employ horrendous amounts of "look at me, everything's out of focus" guff. It seems like shot composition has basically gone out the window, and I worry that if I ever get back into making videos of any kind, I'll have to deliberately put everything out of focus just to be competitive. Just wait until HDR video is available to the mainstream!
  10. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Great points there. It's a bit like driving on a freeway-- you have to speed because everyone else around you is speeding. If you don't, you're impeding traffic.

    Fortunately, art can reward those who go against the grain, but it's difficult. I just can't believe that so many young (and not so young) and aspiring filmmakers go along with this, buying into the hype and the look. In December, I think I'll keep some kind of count of the number of shallow depth of field images in each student film I see, or perhaps it would be easier to count the number of shots that don't use shallow depth of field.
  11. Boter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 4
    I just used a 5DMkII last week, with a low f-stop (2.something-or-other), and I'm ashamed that I wasn't able to keep my subject in focus on a couple shots; unfortunately, they were ones that the subject delivered his lines right, so we went with them. Hopefully they'll see it as artistic and not a screwup <.<
  12. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Probably not. Best to chalk it up to a lesson learned.
  13. Boter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 4
    Yep. It was really only one shot, and the content of the audition beats the pants off of most others, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

    Heh. "A lesson learned" is actually a big thing when it comes to things like film look - try stuff, see what works and what doesn't. You won't get it the first time out.
  14. Vidina Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2006
    star 4
    f-stop really doesn't affect DoF though. It's how much light you let into the camera by opening the iris, IIRC. So, a lens with a minimum f-stop at 1.2 is extremely good in low-light conditions, when shooting in ISO values lower than 800. It should also be noted that they're ridiculously expensive. I've a 50mm f/1.8 that works well, but has an extremely shallow DoF, due to the width, and oftentimes, it's better to just use the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.0 stock lens.
  15. Ryan_W VIP

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2001
    star 4
    The opposite of that.
  16. TrowaGP02a Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 2004
    star 4
    Literally 100% the opposite of that.
  17. Psilaef_Zeias Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2006
    star 1
    Mathematically 180° the opposite of that. :-B
  18. furcifer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2004
    star 2
  19. Boter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 4
    Uh, yeah, what they said. Lower f-stop value = more light let in at once =somehow= narrower DOF.
  20. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    *scratches head*

    You may want to learn some basic principles of photography.
  21. Vidina Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2006
    star 4
    Apparently, I was very off with that comment. Back to the drawing board, I suppose :p
  22. Psilaef_Zeias Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2006
    star 1
    [face_talk_hand]No, go back to the gadget bag. You need to stop down and achieve a greater field of focus on picture taking stuff. ;)
  23. HSJFILM Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2005
    star 2
    Lower f-stop = opening the iris = letting more light in = getting harder to focus, therefor = shallow DOF
  24. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Everyone wants to shoot wide open or nearly so these days. You can differentiate yourself just by stopping down and having a lot of depth of field right now.
  25. Zurita-Films Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2006
    star 3
    I would laugh so hard if there was a craze to do that all of a sudden. And then Canon started manufacturing T2is with smaller chips for more depth of field. And then someone say "we gotta put these small chips in an actual camcorder (again)." Then everyone with the large chip sensors decide to shoot at high F Stops to try and match it.

    I would laugh SO hard.
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