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John_Harrison

DIY Film Look

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Like many on this forum, I think there is something innately beautiful about film. Sadly, shooting all of my projects on film is not financially feasible, and until the day that it is I must make do with shooting digital and using emulation LUTs. 

Unfortunately I haven't really liked the look of many of the free LUTs I've tried (FilmConvert was OK, but I'd like a little more control). Lately I've been learning Resolve, and I'm wondering if using it's color matching tools I could emulate the looks of modern photographic (and potentially cinematic) stocks by shooting color chips with my AE-1 and G85 (using the same lens and same lighting conditions) Now obviously getting "the film look" takes quite a bit more work than just matching the colors. I'd also have to put a considerable amount of work into replicating the highlight roll-off among other things. 

Have any of you had any experience doing anything similar? Do you think it is foolish to think that I could better replicate "the film look" than the professional colorists who have made the LUTs I feel so ambivalent towards? Could any of you point me in the direction of any materials that would better help me understand the process of building a Film LUT? 

 

And also... if I go through with this would anyone be interested in seeing my results? 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

The "film look" is a combination of the entire craft.  I've even seen (and shot) 16mm film that doesn't necessarily have the "film look."  

Embrace the fact that one needs to comprehend numerous elements of motion picture image creation and you'll be on a path that might get you there someday.  It's not a single tool, it really is the knowledge and wisdom that makes it happen.

...the least of which, IMHO, is highlight roll off.

But, understanding color is a piece of the puzzle.  Knowing how to control color in post does help, but don't expect it to be the answer.  It's just a fraction. 

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48 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

The "film look" is a combination of the entire craft.  I've even seen (and shot) 16mm film that doesn't necessarily have the "film look."  

Embrace the fact that one needs to comprehend numerous elements of motion picture image creation and you'll be on a path that might get you there someday.  It's not a single tool, it really is the knowledge and wisdom that makes it happen.

...the least of which, IMHO, is highlight roll off.

But, understanding color is a piece of the puzzle.  Knowing how to control color in post does help, but don't expect it to be the answer.  It's just a fraction. 

Yeah you're right about that, "Film Look" is kind of a loaded term. I guess more specifically what I'm trying to say is "I want to shoot Cine D and make it look like Portra"

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5 hours ago, John_Harrison said:

Like many on this forum, I think there is something innately beautiful about film. Sadly, shooting all of my projects on film is not financially feasible, and until the day that it is I must make do with shooting digital and using emulation LUTs. 

Unfortunately I haven't really liked the look of many of the free LUTs I've tried (FilmConvert was OK, but I'd like a little more control). Lately I've been learning Resolve, and I'm wondering if using it's color matching tools I could emulate the looks of modern photographic (and potentially cinematic) stocks by shooting color chips with my AE-1 and G85 (using the same lens and same lighting conditions) Now obviously getting "the film look" takes quite a bit more work than just matching the colors. I'd also have to put a considerable amount of work into replicating the highlight roll-off among other things. 

Have any of you had any experience doing anything similar? Do you think it is foolish to think that I could better replicate "the film look" than the professional colorists who have made the LUTs I feel so ambivalent towards? Could any of you point me in the direction of any materials that would better help me understand the process of building a Film LUT? 

 

And also... if I go through with this would anyone be interested in seeing my results? 

I would first try to focus on content and lighting. The G85 already gives a nice look straight out of the camera. Are you going to be screening your work at film festivals and in theaters? Or maybe you have a 65" home theater setup? If you've just begun to use a professional grade NLE, how do you expect to do better than people who've been in this field a long time, like Denver Riddle, et al?  Incidentally, concerning color chips, practically every shot I've seen online where someone has shot models or whatever using color chips is either intensely boring, or the colors look like crap, or both. Anyhow, the sensor in the G85 has a limited dynamic range, highlights will clip and so on, so I'd say the whole idea is a pipe dream. Can you show us some of your footage? Perhaps you are over-sharpening the image, shooting in harsh lighting conditions, or maybe your white balance is off, in which case your work will never resemble film anyway. But we can't know that unless we see your work.

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I need to grade this scene that was shoot on GH4 with Cine D using Paul Leeming´s setting advice.

Trying to ETTR I finished overexposing and burning out the sky. 

Whats the best way to recover highlights?

Any suggestion of filmic/cinematic grade?

 

grade.jpg

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5 hours ago, Grimor said:

I need to grade this scene that was shoot on GH4 with Cine D using Paul Leeming´s setting advice.

Trying to ETTR I finished overexposing and burning out the sky. 

Whats the best way to recover highlights?

Any suggestion of filmic/cinematic grade?

 

grade.jpg

Drop a mask in the upper right and lower the luminance.

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44 minutes ago, Grimor said:

Not easy to track a mask in every take, because they are mostly on glidecam.

What kind of gradding do you think fit best for an institutional cops/military video?

A sinister grade LoL. I would turn down all sharpening and lower contrast by a fair amount, not a lot though, in camera, to smooth out the videoish look m4/3 cameras have baked in. Nobody is going to equate a MFT camera with a film look no matter what you do.

In reality they have too many MP to get that look. 4k is only like 8.3mp, heck 1080 is only like 2.2mp, 720 is only like 1mp.  And most people only have a LCD TV that shows 720 max. Heck old stuff like Gunsmoke, Mary Tyler Moore show, Price is Right all are in shot in 480! So most modern consumer cameras have Way too much resolution for video use. Sony A7s is an exception.

When I shot TV news with  $100,000.00 Sony ENG cameras they only had a max in camera resolution of 500 lines. Hence 480 output. Pretty crazy. But that was back in the time of Tube TV's and 3 tube, 2/3 Video Cameras.

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5 minutes ago, Dan Wake said:

I did it in lightroom with a gradual filter (lowered exposure and added warm). then some lut on the main photo. maybe you could try to export in tiff, grade in lightroom and make a new video in after effects.

grade.thumb.jpg.20afd7901c7d8489e31264a058b995a7.jpg

 

Thanks for the imput. I'll try to go this way.

 

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3 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

Nobody is going to equate a MFT camera with a film look no matter what you do.

Gunsmoke, Mary Tyler Moore show, Price is Right all are in shot in 480! 

I tend to think if you shoot a "360" degree shutter it pretty much takes away most of the video look. 

I used to call it "0 degree" shutter, but 360 is technically correct (so I've been told). Whatever the case, it's basically a 24 shutter speed matched with 24fps video. 

One needs to be mindful of the motion blur, but I really like motion blur because it takes away the video-ish-ness.  I shoot my documentaries this way, on m43, with longer focal lengths.  The footage doesn't  look like it was shot on video at all to my eye.  Not sure if you can say they look exactly like film, but it seems pretty close to me.

Also, I think MTM was a multicam  film production, like other sitcoms such as Cheers.  Gunsmoke was film too, I'd wager; single cam. Typical film production style. 

Price is Right was most definitely live to video tape. Studio video cameras all the way.

An interesting bit of trivia you probably know:  in the days of before video tape, electronic NTSC tv shows were recorded live to film via a primitive telecine; basically a film camera recording a tv screen. 

2 hours ago, Dan Wake said:

lets try also "magic bullet looks" on premiere. there is a gratuated filter.

FWIW, the magic bullet suite is a 3rd party plugin from red giant software.  I think it costs about $800. 

It's not installed by default with premiere, so the OP might not have it on his/her particular system. 

But regardless, you can easily make a custom gradient and overlay it on your video in any NLE.

personally, in premiere, I'd recommend just masking a lumetri effect. 

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I would imagine the original B&W version of Gunsmoke was Film like you said, it is beautiful, I was watching some episodes when I was in Florida last month. The color version probably video. Not sure. I am too old to remember LoL. :grimace:

As to the film look on m4/3 BM can make it happen because of Raw on the BMPCC, BMCC, it is beautiful also, not pure film look beautiful, but close. Without Raw I don't think a Oly, Pana camera can look like film. YMMV. But look how good a ML Raw on a Canon 5DIII looks. Raw makes it happen.

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15 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

I would imagine the original B&W version of Gunsmoke was Film like you said, it is beautiful, I was watching some episodes when I was in Florida last month. The color version probably video. Not sure. I am too old to remember LoL. :grimace:

As to the film look on m4/3 BM can make it happen because of Raw on the BMPCC, BMCC, it is beautiful also, not pure film look beautiful, but close. Without Raw I don't think a Oly, Pana camera can look like film. YMMV. Look how good a ML Raw on a Canon 5DIII looks. Raw makes it happen.

Yeah, with every passing day of looking at footage I shot, I am constantly disappointed. And the only footage I've shot where I am surprised by how good it looks, is from my 50D with ML Raw, or old BMMCC or BMPCC footage. I am a horrible colorist so I think B&W Raw may be in my future. 

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11 minutes ago, mercer said:

Yeah, with every passing day of looking at footage I shot, I am constantly disappointed. And the only footage I've shot where I am surprised by how good it looks, is from my 50D with ML Raw, or old BMMCC or BMPCC footage. I am a horrible colorist so I think B&W Raw may be in my future. 

Oh B&W film or even Raw digital well done is a thing of beauty to behold. Heck even B&W Photo prints by say Ansel Adams takes your breath away.

A lot of the old B&W movies done in the 40's 50's are breath taking. It is hard as hell to shoot and get that look, but when you figure it out Wow, you got something for sure.

I have read a few things lately that 27mm, 28mm is the magic focal length on the old film movies, and the old timers are even doing that length in Digital. I guess that FoV has a special look?

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Yeah, so in FF terms... it has the field of view of a 42mm? Polanski would only shoot with a 50mm because it was believed that a 50mm represented the FOV and angle of the human eye. More recent eye tests have determined it's actually closer to a 45mm lens... so that 28mm in Super 35mm is just about the same. Make it a fast lens and you have a great focal length for either shallow or wide depth... a very versatile lens. I guess that's one of the reasons that people refer to the Contax Zeiss 28mm f/2 as "The Hollywood?"

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Agree to disagree. Raw ain't the "filmlook" panacea many people like to think it is. 

Its great, and I shoot it from time to time too, but it's not a priority for me.

And 12 stops of DR is better than what I was used to growing up on 70's cinema screened at the drive-in. It's not like those films were awesome image-wise. 

Salvaging some highlights is nice and all, but blown out sky on a bad print never stopped me from enjoying a Sergio Leone or Sydney Lumet film. 

In fact, a good exercise last year was watching "Hateful 8". The novelty was fun. Even under the best controlled conditions of what they were doing, I was thinking, "yep, this is a film projection and it's crusty."

after a few minutes of the narrative, it really didn't matter. 

Also watched the last MissionImpossible, shot on film, (digital projection) and thought, "Wow, that's grainy and rough."

For me, a lot of the "film look" is the analog flaws of it all. The blessing and curse. Of course, that's just me though. Your mileage may vary. 

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Imo, grain asaide. Digital just cant compete image wise. It cant reproduce the DR, colors and tonality of film. 

But when trying to do so, raw definitely helps.

I just have to watch an old movie from the 90s, 80s, 70s or even 60s. Today's digital just cant touch it. I wish every day that it will be the day when it can.

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