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Camera "mojo" - where does it come from?


kye
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17 minutes ago, Oliver Daniel said:

Camera mojo in the simplest terms....

No.  then any high end cam should have "mojo" and this simply isn't true.

what you listed is what helps create a good looking image.

 

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1 minute ago, anonim said:

Thanks - and as above, just one question for clarification: what do you think, how is achieved that impression of thickness (not technically but as color quality)? In other words - when you look at footage that has that quality more - what is its origin if there's not any chemical structure as in pigments or emulations, because it is projected 2dimensional image? Relations between saturated area, or better gradation in front and back plan or anything else or some sum of what?

If I knew the answer to that question, I’d undoubtedly be a better filmmaker.

Honestly, I think you’re looking at it wrong. Find a camera and lens that feel good in your hands and makes you want to shoot.

Hopefully that same camera will help you to tell the story you want to tell in a visually and emotionally engaging way. Use the strengths of the camera and lenses to your benefit while working around its weaknesses.

I think searching for a quantifiable A+B=C approach to “mojo” or “filmic” is a fool’s errand. But I do believe some cameras will get you there quicker and a lot of craft doesn’t hurt either.

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1 minute ago, mercer said:

 

Honestly, I think you’re looking at it wrong. Find a camera and lens that feel good in your hands and makes you want to shoot.

 

This.

The thing to look for isn't so much Mojo but Mego as in it makes you want to go out and use it.

That's what concerns me about the A7iii as its a great spec but the only thing I ever feel like shooting after picking up one of their cameras is myself, with a large calibre pistol.

 

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15 minutes ago, mercer said:

If I knew the answer to that question, I’d undoubtedly be a better filmmaker.

Honestly, I think you’re looking at it wrong. Find a camera and lens that feel good in your hands and makes you want to shoot.

Hopefully that same camera will help you to tell the story you want to tell in a visually and emotionally engaging way. Use the strengths of the camera and lenses to your benefit while working around its weaknesses.

I think searching for a quantifiable A+B=C approach to “mojo” or “filmic” is a fool’s errand. But I do believe some cameras will get you there quicker and a lot of craft doesn’t hurt either.

Thanks - oh no, I'm not at all spending my life searching for it :) But I'm in this thread and I'm simply by habit trying to maybe learn most of that, that is possible (here) to learn. Of course it is not asking for quantification - just some most important variables to which I can pay more attention... And from my question mustn't be supposed that I'm without experience - I'd say, rather contrary :) But such is my nature - first, I'm totally not interested for what I already know; second it is quite often possible to find some wonderful and smart insight everywhere - for example, presented wonderful footage from French author you post here first - of course, thanks for that...

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7 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

This.

The thing to look for isn't so much Mojo but Mego as in it makes you want to go out and use it.

That's what concerns me about the A7iii as its a great spec but the only thing I ever feel like shooting after picking up one of their cameras is myself, with a large calibre pistol.

 

LoL. The new body style is a lot better. I don't think Sony ever designed the A7 series cameras to have a 100-400mm lens or bigger hanging off of them. With a small prime you can stick one in your coat pocket. That is pretty amazing. And with the crop mode in it and Clear Zoom, damn you have like 3 lenses in one using it.

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I agree.

16 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

If it was so definable and attributable to particular cameras then every single "Guess The Camera" thread would have a majority of right answers surely?

And they really don't.

At all.

agreed.  oh so many variables.  none of this changes the reputation these cameras have aquired.

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14 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

This.

The thing to look for isn't so much Mojo but Mego as in it makes you want to go out and use it.

That's what concerns me about the A7iii as its a great spec but the only thing I ever feel like shooting after picking up one of their cameras is myself, with a large calibre pistol.

 

Well I think it’s probably a symbiotic relationship. Some filmmakers just seem to have a beautiful relationship with certain cameras... Andrew Reid with his hacked GH1/GH2 films. Kendy Ty with his t2i videos, that Ruslan guy with his Leica D-Lux 6 videos, Ed David with his NX1 video, Mattias with any camera he picks up, etc, etc, etc... so I think some combination of craft and mechanics can give almost any camera or more importantly film that “mojo.” But it does seem that certain cameras have it in spades. Think about it... on a technical level... 8K Red should obliterate Alexa footage, but it doesn’t...

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8 minutes ago, mercer said:

Think about it... on a technical level... 8K Red should obliterate Alexa footage, but it doesn’t...

When they're both being viewed at 8K it might well do ;)

I still think there is additional human mojo at play that is wrestling that extra performance out of it but there is a ton of subtlety involved - particularly familiarity of how to shoot it to its best advantage - that is added to the mix. You could also factor in that the extra resolution might even work against it subjectively as far as our own reaction to it goes. 

I could make them both look identically bad in my role as the anti-Mojo of course ;)

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8 hours ago, mercer said:

Honestly, I think you’re looking at it wrong. Find a camera and lens that feel good in your hands and makes you want to shoot.

It's a good sentiment, however, in my particular case, this is counter to why I started this thread.

I own a camera that I can't afford to replace.  Even if there was some sort of magical camera out there that would be better for me than the one I have, I can't afford it.  I am 'stuck' with what I have, at least for some time.

The purpose of understanding what might go into 'mojo' is so that I can use the tools I already have (Canon XC10 and Resolve) to optimise the amount of mojo that my films have.  This was my hope for this thread.  I already knew about the 180 degree shutter, but I suspect there are 27 other 'rules of thumb' that I don't know that I could exploit.  Maybe there's a ratio of rolloff for grading highlights (I just made that phrase up as an example) and that's how film looks, so that will get me a bit closer.  Then perhaps there is something to do with shadows, or vibrant colours, or......  

From editing photographs I learned that you want to do a huge number of things that all push the image to be better by just a little bit, and it's the sum of all the parts that makes the overall difference.  Just pushing a bit here, pulling a bit there, etc.

I want to learn what to do in making films.  That's the purpose of this thread, for me at least.

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@kye do you like your camera? Does it feel good in your hands? Do you enjoy shooting with it? I had the XC10 and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I loved that camera, it has great ergonomics and I loved every minute I shot with it. And luckily for you... the image has some mojo. The C-Log in 4K or 1080p is gorgeous. I’ve never used a camera that had better 4K video than the XC10. 

I think all you can do as an operator is work on the basics. Lighting, composition, exposure... etc...

With that statement, I was addressing another member because he seemed to be looking for a formula to get the mojo. And sadly, if there was a formula... other than time, practice and craft, everybody would be amazing filmmakers.

However, I do believe that certain cameras have more mojo... it could be the way it’s coded, or the amount of MPs mixed with the color science, or the bitrate, mixed with the curve... the possibilities are endless  

Thw good news is that almost every camera on the market in the past 5-10 years is capable of great images.

@TheRenaissanceMan gave me some great advice when I was starting out. Take a notebook with you and jot down all of your exposure settings, where your light is coming from, time of day, etc... and go back and watch the footage. Rinse and repeat a couple dozen times and you’ll figure out what’s what.

Either way, great topic and good luck. 

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5 hours ago, mercer said:

I was addressing another member because he seemed to be looking for a formula to get the mojo.

 

Of course not, another member just ask for effort about some further explanation of claim that something has "mojo" or it is "cinematic". To try again, this image is presented as example of mojo and ultimative cinematic. Simple question - why? What is special to look in it? Or just say - inexplicable, I cant explain, and that's ok. But please - why than exist tone of books explaining and teaching values of Rembrandt's pictures? Say thousand scholars that are searching for formula - when they teach our children why and how to distinguish portraits done by Velasquez and paintbrush on billboards.

 

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