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What makes an image cinematic?


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Ok I got my Popcorn, I am ready! :fearful: Oh, and I bought some more Beer. Really Ready. Tell me why I am all wrong, might be, I can be convinced, well ok I can be I guess. Sort of in a good mood today, the sun finally shined, 60 degrees.

 Now I did not think of all the cameras that are damn good like the Canon 1DX mkII comes to mind that some of you have. So add the ones you think "Make the Grade" as they say, and deserve too. I am, you am, we are looking for a good camera we can afford that hits the mark, new or used. I am not saying it has to be cinematic as hell, just better than most stuff we have tried.

I still have a Panasonic G7. I just can't sell it. For the money I can't get a better 4k. So I keep it. Not worth that much anyways. Takes damn good stills also. I recommend it. jonpais seems to love his Fuji now, never owned a modern one, old ones were great. Like Film ones Lol. So I am sure he has owned a ton of stuff in his time. So I trust he has a good eye for video.

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Here's a basic formula: When possible, take away all the light and carefully add light tuned for the story and emotion of the scene. Look at how often everything is dark, or overall not very bri

The young guy in the video makes a lot of sense - you have to give him credit for being uber-sensible.  My mantra is: If there's noise in my shot, so be it. I got the shot. And it works. Lig

For me its all about the lenses and the lighting , lens focal length choose for the scene and also they type of lenses you use gives the cinematic look I run 24p and as flat a color profile as I can ,

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15 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

Ok I got my Popcorn, I am ready! :fearful: Oh, and I bought some more Beer. Really Ready. Tell me why I am all wrong, might be, I can be convinced, well ok I can be I guess. Sort of in a good mood today, the sun finally shined, 60 degrees.

Don't really feel like debating you on what "YOU" think is cinematic. Hell it's your opinion so I could really give to shits. Love what you love and I'll do the same. Happy Filming. :grin:

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28 minutes ago, Cassius McGowan said:

Don't really feel like debating you on what "YOU" think is cinematic. Hell it's your opinion so I could really give to shits. Love what you love and I'll do the same. Happy Filming. :grin:

I am not making fun of anyone, we all are here to learn. If you don't give 2 shits, well we sure aren't going to debate, learn much being like that.  No one on here that I know is rolling in the dough or they probably would not be on here if they were.

I hope this forum is a learning experience, a place to see what others have tried, used, sold hated, liked. Even still have. There is no One camera. Even 60 million dollar films use Go Pros in them, BM cameras. They are throw away stuff for car chases, fire scenes etc. I want to see what works and what does not for people like us that we can afford... If you can get a Cine look out of a GH4 well show us how. Save us a shit pot full of cash. :glasses:

20 minutes ago, mjfan said:

shot with a hacked gh2 and played in theaters across the united states 

 

Looks damn good. Trailers are always a bit too choppy, scene cuts out the ass to judge footage with, but I do like it. Would have to see the normal footage. There is a reason we are now up to a GH5 coming out. The GH1 was a breakthrough camera and it has gotten better with every new version.

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Hell I have spent a freeking fortune on Film cameras in my life I don't want to do that all over again with Video cameras. Plus hell I am running out of time in my life. I don't have the luxury to try 50 cameras. Not anymore. I am retired, I can't work overtime to buy toys. And if you have families you don't need to waste your money either.

So I Want peoples opinion, their thoughts, none of us needs to waste time and money. We sure as heck are not all going to go out and buy the same cameras, but we can save some people the time on the duds.

This place is one of the few places on the web you can ask Video related questions and get seasoned pros, damn smart amateurs that have used this stuff, that are not into just one brand, many have tired many brands and get honest good advice and opinions.

Andrew has a great site here and we know it, and he knows it.

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1 hour ago, mjfan said:

shot with a hacked gh2 and played in theaters across the united states 

 

I saw this on my feed for Netflix a few months back problem is Netflix drops stuff all the time still pissed I didnt get to watch The Act Of Killing when I had a chance!

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Does this meet the criteria cheap and made big money... And made a career!

Wonder if you could write your crappy cam into the story... act like it was a Secret Government film from the 60 made to train and or document psychic troops maybe in the style of those old propaganda films?....(boy as im writing this the naysayer in my head is all ready saying NOPE you suck.... Cloverfield, Blair which, Starship troppers, scanners , Push, ITS NOT ORIGINAL NO NO NO! Thats lame you just Finished Reading the Poetics and Aristotle said Tragedy is Trite Vulgar The HEIGHT of story is Metaphor in simple language ah... back to the books!           

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Here's a basic formula:

  1. When possible, take away all the light and carefully add light tuned for the story and emotion of the scene. Look at how often everything is dark, or overall not very bright in classic films. Paint with light. There are tons of books on this subject.
  2. Shoot at night and wet down the street.
  3. Set the frame rate to 24 (or 23.976), shutter 1/48 (or 1/50). That's for normal shots, you can go all over the place for emotional effect of the scene.
  4. Protect highlights so they don't clip and pay careful attention to exposure to keep skin tones in the sweet spot for your camera.
  5. Study film behavior for highlights and adjust your look in post to match the highlight and color response of film. Film generally never gets super white.
  6. Use a diffusion filter of some kind.
  7. Blur a little in post if necessary and add full resolution film grain (blur may not be needed if diffusion is used).
  8. Make sure there are no digital artifacts such as aliasing or Moire.
  9. Use depth of field to help tell the story by helping the viewer focus on what's important in the scene.
  10. If your camera has rolling shutter, make sure to move the camera in a way to minimize it.
  11. Try to make the scene a little 'unreal', in a way you would not see in normal everyday life. Like in a dream.
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For me its all about the lenses and the lighting , lens focal length choose for the scene and also they type of lenses you use gives the cinematic look I run 24p and as flat a color profile as I can , but the camera is not making it cinematic it's the lenses - using selective focus and depth of field to draw your eyes to the subject in the fame is standard cinematic style film making , just get any 4 back issues of American Cinematographer from the past five years read them and you will see a pattern emerging of lens choice and lighting that define the cinematic look and you will see its the  cinematographers craft that make it cinematic not the camera .

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15 hours ago, andy lee said:

For me its all about the lenses and the lighting , lens focal length choose for the scene and also they type of lenses you use gives the cinematic look I run 24p and as flat a color profile as I can , but the camera is not making it cinematic it's the lenses - using selective focus and depth of field to draw your eyes to the subject in the fame is standard cinematic style film making , just get any 4 back issues of American Cinematographer from the past five years read them and you will see a pattern emerging of lens choice and lighting that define the cinematic look and you will see its the  cinematographers craft that make it cinematic not the camera .

This is exactly what I've been feeling. Thank you, Andy. And welcome back? I feel like I haven't seen you post in a while.

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On March 6, 2017 at 6:31 PM, mjfan said:

shot with a hacked gh2 and played in theaters across the united states 

 

Just like the documentary called Bombay Beach that was shown in theaters and shot with a Canon Vixia. I loved my GH2 GH3 and GH4, but they really don't hold a candle to my BMPCC and if I spend six months or longer writing a story, creating a treatment and storyboarding there is no fucking way I'd choose any of those cams over a bmpcc or bmmcc. 

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Yes jcs lens choose is essential for a cinematic look, most movies are shot digital now unless you are Christopher Nolan or Tarentino , the fact that all these films shot digital look cinematic shows its the cinematographers craft not the camera , also note the Arri Alexa is not a 4k camera yet its become the industry standard over the past 5 years , delivery and acquisition over the past year has altered for platforms like Netflix who now require 4k acquisition and work flow ,so some of these shows are now shot on RED Epic Dragon and Weapon cameras giving RED a new share of the market share from the Arri 

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1 hour ago, andy lee said:

... also note the Arri Alexa is not a 4k camera yet its become the industry standard over the past 5 years , delivery and acquisition over the past year has altered for platforms like Netflix who now require 4k acquisition and work flow ,so some of these shows are now shot on RED Epic Dragon and Weapon cameras giving RED a new share of the market share from the Arri 

While I've seen RED and Sony content that looks great and with excellent skintones, many times the color and highlights don't look very good (looked up on IMDB etc. to see what camera was used). ARRI just looks more pleasing, and I figure that it's also creating footage that's easier to make look good with less effort. For what we do (pretty basic stuff at this point), the C300 II does everything we need including creating skintones that need little or no work in post when lit well. The A7S II for example can also do good skintones, but needs work in post. I think ARRI's experience with digital film scanners has given them great insight into building a camera system that produces film-like capture which ends up being very easy to make look good in post, and thus why most of the ARRI content looks really good. Guessing that ARRI will announce a true 4K(+) (Super35) camera at NAB.

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I'm sure they will , the Arri became industry standard due to the look , work flow and ease of use , with Codex Vault you are a great work flow from set to edit , so a 2.5 K camera with less resolution than some of the cameras here on this forum produced cinematic images in the right cinematographers hands , so resolution and 4k are not essential , its the lenses lighting composition and story ...is it entertaining ! That makes it cinematic . anyone on this forum can produce wonderful cinematic images with a bit of care and thought

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On 05/03/2017 at 1:03 PM, Bioskop.Inc said:

There are just too many films out there for the term Cinematic to have any real meaning or relevance to filmmaking. Personally, I think the term should really refer to any film that gets shown in a Cinema.

The way the term is thrown about in forums makes me laugh, because every film is different & so the requirements are also different. So, basically if you want your film to have a documentary feel to it, it will be pointless to make it look like a big budget Hollywood blockbuster with fancy lighting etc. & vice versa.

I very much agree. Whenever I see a photo or video that has visuals that I enjoy for one reason or the other, I try to figure out what part of the image that makes me like it. Is it the framing, is it the lighting, is it the colouring, is is the motion, or a combination of those? If I figure out what it is that I like, then I can likely imitate the look one way or the other as long as I know the limitations of my camera. If you learn how to replicate looks that you enjoy, then you won't need to listen to what other people define as "filmic", "cinematic" etc. Make it look the way you think it looks good yourself. You'll probably never satisfy everyone with whatever you make, but at least try to make it look the way you enjoy it yourself.

Another important thing, is to experiment with the cameras you have. Try to push them to the limits, and even over the limit of the camera (like high iso noise, burning out highlights etc - learn where the limits are for when you find the camera acceptable and good enough). If you know what makes the image you want, and if you know the limitations of your cameras - then you better know what possibilities you have whenever you film. Not mattering what project you work on - you will have some kind of limitations. Time, money, camera choice, lens choice, light etc.

I find it important to be able to realise what limitations I have in a project. If I know those, I better know what I can do to make the best choices and produce the best possible considering the limitations. 

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On 3/6/2017 at 1:16 PM, Juxx989 said:

Does this meet the criteria cheap and made big money... And made a career!

Wonder if you could write your crappy cam into the story... act like it was a Secret Government film from the 60 made to train and or document psychic troops maybe in the style of those old propaganda films?....(boy as im writing this the naysayer in my head is all ready saying NOPE you suck.... Cloverfield, Blair which, Starship troppers, scanners , Push, ITS NOT ORIGINAL NO NO NO! Thats lame you just Finished Reading the Poetics and Aristotle said Tragedy is Trite Vulgar The HEIGHT of story is Metaphor in simple language ah... back to the books!           



Yes, it got shot on a fairly cheap camera back then ( but that would be in the ballpark of a blackmagic camera today if you compare price )
But the movie got transferred to film for release and that not something affordable without the backing of a production studio. ( and that process made the image....well much more cinematic)


 

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16 hours ago, Grimor said:

Camera movements its a important point that people forget to mention.

Clever use of a slider or a crane gives you instant film karma.

Yeah if you study the greats in film making they use a lot of camera angles we really can't even afford to do. They are masters of isolation. Having views in films you are not accustomed to, I think, keeps you glued to the seat to see something you have never seen before in a sense. Sort of the unknown , and humans are in reality, a curious breed.

Plus lets face it, they have the best of the best on every high dollar film, using 35mm, Panavision, CinemaScope,70mm, etc from script writing, acting, acquisition, best DP, lighting equipment from hell, best focus pullers, and editing, not counting top notch audio, you name it, and a 50 piece Symphony Orchestra. Hard to go wrong with that. "We should be so lucky" as they say.

But I guess even with all that, more stuff probably bombs than makes 300 million bucks. So don't feel bad if your efforts, at times, does not come out so hot.  :blush:

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