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DIY Film Look

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6 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

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.

Yeah, no question, but when I was watching films at run-down grindhouses during the 1dollar matinees, the print and projection was not all that great. So the quality perception is skewed regarding "film" if all one is used to is watching a pristine transfer on blu-ray. 

My movie going experience as a kid growing up was decidedly less refined.  Memories of sloppy screenings of "Corvette Summer" or "Fort Apache The Bronx" or "Phantasm" are more my recollection. 

...this doesn't even touch on the reality of VHS home viewing of movies. 

So yeah, film is great!  But by the time copies of movies filtered into my rust belt neighborhood, the IQ reality had taken a beating. 

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to get the "film look" over video, try to use less grading and more in camera capturing of the light and color, so as your footage can look beautiful without hours of grading. Never say ill fix it in post...as for all these luts and things i think they tend to look all the same, you should try to create your own coloring look, and i think less is more, if the end footage looks ungraded for me its a win

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34 minutes ago, Christina Ava said:

to get the "film look" over video, try to use less grading and more in camera capturing of the light and color, so as your footage can look beautiful without hours of grading. Never say ill fix it in post...as for all these luts and things i think they tend to look all the same, you should try to create your own coloring look, and i think less is more, if the end footage looks ungraded for me its a win

Probably the best advice and the most missing thing in time.

I'll try to consider in the future, and i'll think less in gears, upgrades and "in post fixing"

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1 hour ago, Christina Ava said:

to get the "film look" over video, try to use less grading and more in camera capturing of the light and color, so as your footage can look beautiful without hours of grading. Never say ill fix it in post...as for all these luts and things i think they tend to look all the same, you should try to create your own coloring look, and i think less is more, if the end footage looks ungraded for me its a win

Exactly what I've been saying now for months. I think a lot of people are blaming their cameras for the the color, noise and so on, but most of today's cameras, if you expose and white balance carefully, can give a great image, provided the lighting is good enough to begin with.

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10 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

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 Mission Impossible, 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. 

 Going to a Drive-In movie theater and think your going to see a movie as art well.... Like I said above, watching those old Gun Smoke re runs in B&W was just, well it was mesmerizing. I could not get enough of it. And hell it was on a 720p 32" LCD TV. It was buttery smooth, NO crushed blacks, but black as hell, just almost art. A Stupid weekly TV show! Man the people that produced, shot that show had to feel good about what they were doing. They were artists. And they made hundreds of them, thousands maybe.

There is not a digital camera in the world that can look like that. I took some of my video gear with me down to Florida, and what I shot sucked compared to that damn Gun Smoke. My brother in law ruined it for me LoL. I am going to buy another BMPCC or a BMCC and give it a whirl again. Only camera I have had that made me smile with the output. A pain in the ass camera a bit, but hell it's worth it. I don't make a living doing video. Who cares. But I wish they were a camcorder body shape. I sure do miss my old ENG cameras for something you just turn it on, sling it on your shoulder, and hell you are good to go, every control at hand. Damn good stuff.

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5 hours ago, jonpais said:

I was watching Birdman the other night and couldn't stop thinking to myself, 'if only it had been shot on film!' If only Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell and David Hockney hadn't used acrylics...

I am really starting to worry about you lately LoL. :grimace: It's those damn Fuji cameras isn't it??

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55 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

 Going to a Drive-In movie theater and think your going to see a movie as art well.... Like I said above, watching those old Gun Smoke re runs in B&W was just, well it was mesmerizing. I could not get enough of it. And hell it was on a 720p 32" LCD TV. It was buttery smooth, NO crushed blacks, but black as hell, just almost art. A Stupid weekly TV show! Man the people that produced, shot that show had to feel good about what they were doing. They were artists. And they made hundreds of them, thousands maybe.

There is not a digital camera in the world that can look like that. I took some of my video gear with me down to Florida, and what I shot sucked compared to that damn Gun Smoke. My brother in law ruined it for me LoL. I am going to buy another BMPCC or a BMCC and give it a whirl again. Only camera I have had that made me smile with the output. A pain in the ass camera a bit, but hell it's worth it. I don't make a living doing video. Who cares. But I wish they were a camcorder body shape. I sure do miss my old ENG cameras for something you just turn it on, sling it on your shoulder, and hell you are good to go, every control at hand. Damn good stuff.

Old productions were lit well.  I wouldn't asssume the film stock was the only reason that show looked great and your digital footage looked bad. 

As for motion pictures as art, I do remember my first movie going experience was seeing "Bambi" at the "Twilight Drive-In" movie theater.  As a three year old I was hardly able to tell what would be discernible as art, but I recall being engaged in the storytelling. 

At any rate, I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from thinking film IQ ain't grand, but when it was all-film-all-the-time back in the day, the distribution chain did have issues.

We're in a place now where, practically, digital bypasses those quality control issues. I can shoot a doc on a gm1 and have it edited then screened with no loss in quality  from the moment it's shot to the "4-walled" user's eyeballs. 

I'll take that trade off vs. a difference in DR IQ. Watching my films projected via DCP has been a lot of fun. It looks incredible. That kind of thing has only been possible on the cheap in the past few years.

And, without a doubt, in the next few we'll all be shooting high DR stuff on consumer gear that does surpass film. 

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I don't think it has to do as much with DR as we all think. Kodak states "Vision3, the last film stock they produced, has a maximum dynamic range of 13 stops." The Zacuto test pegged this figure at 14.5 stops. I’d rather believe Kodak, they’ve been doing this for a hundred years.

So basically a BMPCC has the same DR with Raw. Heck Arri and Red cameras are well above 14 stops and they don't look like film to me. I would say a Arri XL is the closest, they ought to be for 60 grand for a basic package!

It to me is the gradients, no banding, no jagged edges, butter smoothness, pure blacks, pure whites, etc that make it happen. Sure it has to be exposed right, but that craft has been honed to perfection for years.

Am I going to start shooting film, hell no, but i am going to "waste my time" doing Raw on a Black Magic Camera or a Canon camera. Why not, I want that smile back again! :glasses:

Now if I am trying to make a living doing it, I am going with a C300 mkII or a Red, Sony FS7. Fast turn a rounds and great output. Well not film great, but sure as hell great enough to put bread on the table.

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15 minutes ago, Grimor said:

@Dan Wake @webrunner5 @jonpais This is the final edit:

Not sure i get the best, but however, thank you guys for your help.

Wow that is a great improvement! Well done. I see you darkened it a bit. I think that is what made it a lot better. About as good as I have seen a GH4 edit as of late. Keep up the good work.

I have never been to Málaga. Closest I got to there was Rota, Spain. Been to Valencia also. Great food in Spain, good stuff.

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2 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

I have never been to Málaga. Closest I got to there was Rota, Spain. Been to Valencia also. Great food in Spain, good stuff.

Rota is not so far from my home. 2 hours driving. Wine, serrano ham and flamenco..y olé!!!

2 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

@Grimor, nice edit and framing and pace, perspective. Nice job with the colors as well. What lenses did you use? Exellent choice of focal lenths! Great job!

Lenses: pana 12-35 for GH4 and panaleica 25 for G80.

Thanks for the feedback!!!

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I agree, the film look is lovely.

But it's not magic.

It's resolution and motion, and color handling and skintones.  It's how it nails the natural red in people's faces.

I started to get more into older glass to help.  That with making highlights blue and and shadows blue helps too.

A little grain, and you get somewhere.

But yes, each film stock and telecine technique help give a unique look.

But I still think a certain natural sharpness mixed with softness helps very much.

Here's my latest piece with the old angenieux 12-120mm 16mm film lens that helps make it feel more organic.

I also softened it in post as well - that helps too a lot.

 

 

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To get a film look:

  1. Don't clip your highlights when filming
  2. Shoot with lower contrast settings, including turning in-camera sharpness down or off
  3. Turn down or off noise reduction and/or add organic noise grain in post (subtle is best IMO unless going for an effect)
  4. Use a diffusion filter, e.g. Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/4 (I use one sometimes)
  5. In post bring your whites down so nothing is super white (study film to learn the levels)
  6. If too sharp or any visible digital artifacts, apply Gaussian Blur to reduce or remove. Then if too soft try Unsharp Mask (verses Sharpen) to bring back more apparent detail, and Unsharp Mask can also be used to create a Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE) effect: use a very large radius- over 100, perhaps 200 or 300+ and adjust other settings as needed
  7. Study the contrast curves / gammas of film, compare to similar shots on video-looking shots to learn the difference. Do the same with colors

You can get a film look straight from camera with a bit of work. 1DX II (other Canon DSLR will look similar), on the left is Canon Standard with bit of grading and on the right is a custom profile with only contrast and sharpening in post. See full screen- at first they may look similar, look more closely at the skintones, eyes, and all colors:

StandardP2Matched.jpg

I will try something similar for Panasonic and Sony after I finish the Canon version (I think the Panasonic and Sony versions will require a LUT in post to match what I can do with Canon SOOC). More info here: 

 

 

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I worked on a feature that was shot on 35mm with a digital b camera and I shot some b camera stuff too, which was a blast. First and only chance to get to use a Fisher dolly. Same (very very expensive) lenses on both cameras, same lighting we're talking nine lights really old school big light set ups. Anyhow we had to match the two. And they did NOT look the same.

So in post what I did (way before film convert, this is before the Alexa was even announced it was way back when lol) was to make sure they had shot color checker charts. Then in post I lined up the vector scopes side by side and used the hue v hue line to match the colors on the charts. Made some gamma curves by eye. Applied that as a preset and tweaked from there. And then used a film grain effect, too. (Again, this was before film scans were widely available and the film grain we shot for compositing was too slow to apply across a feature.)

Did it work? Not really lol. Tungsten matched but we had an HBO exec at the theatrical screening who called out some shots, probably the daylight ones. They did not feel the same exactly. Skew was one issue (okay, it was a Red One MX lol), blown highlights... a bit less of an issue than you'd expect since everything was lit great and the b cam was picking up close ups with fewer practicals in frame. The crazy part was that the vectors cope on the video was more "diffuse" than the film one, as if the color had way less resolution even at 1080p and the saturation appeared lower even at the same saturation level, which you know you can't push it too high for broadcast, so the Red stuff looked less vivid.

That said, it was quick and dirty work. And it matched REALLY closely for the most part. We used older lenses which were sharp but a bit... smooth. So that helped.

What worked: lighting exactly the same as you would for film, using expensive support gear, $200,000+ lenses, painstaking grading, super imposing film grain. Shooting film as a reference.

What didn't work: Painstaking grading as well as we'd like lol.

For us the key was shooting film as a reference and lighting for film and using the same support gear and lenses you'd use. Without that, it wouldn't have been possible. And even then, we only got so close. But hey, it was a cool project and we got really really close.

That said, it can be done. Check out Yedlin's Nuke script. Breathtaking work there. If only we could get our hands on it!

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14 hours ago, odie said:

    average footage becomes ..spectacular and easy with kodak film.. (with very little money)  that's why I love it

There is some truth to the first part but I question the second part. How are you shooting and scanning film affordably? 16mm or 35mm? If I can figure out how to I would love to.

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