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Camera "mojo" - where does it come from?


kye
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5 hours ago, User said:

I can appreciate it that you want to get to the very bottom if this, and I wouldn’t want to dissuade you in your search. But one part of me wonders if you are forgoing the obvious?

To me, the term 'mojo', describes a kind of sexiness when it comes to images achieved via various equipment, techniques and heart described in this thread - and attached clip. And it's the kind of thing you know when you see it.

 

Every time I start getting to spec obsessed I try and watch that video. Completely ignores the shutter speed rule, contrasty as hell, warp stabilizer everywhere, but man what an incredible result.

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3 hours ago, Geoff CB said:

Every time I start getting to spec obsessed I try and watch that video. Completely ignores the shutter speed rule, contrasty as hell, warp stabilizer everywhere, but man what an incredible result.

First time I saw that one. No doubt that that video is nice, but I know why you see all the stuff you see there.... I don't think it was deliberate though...

He is using 720/60p from a Canon in many of his shots there. Most likely using Twixtor too.... end result.... 

Here is my favorite use of Twixtor:

 

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4 hours ago, mkabi said:

First time I saw that one. No doubt that that video is nice, but I know why you see all the stuff you see there.... I don't think it was deliberate though...

He is using 720/60p from a Canon in many of his shots there. Most likely using Twixtor too.... end result.... 

Here is my favorite use of Twixtor:

 

I'm a tell'ya, if you have a shot you plan for Twixtor, record with a very high shutter speed, even if your FPS is 24 or 30. Twixtor is using subsampling (1 or 2 frames before and after)  and it does'nt treat motion blur too well. You can always dial back in motion blur after the fact with various plugins like this:

http://revisionfx.com/products/rsmb/

All this stuff is proccesor intensive, so plan accordingly. 

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sounds like you guys are talking more about post-production wow factor tricks than actual camera inherent mojo..

it seems shooting super-slomo at super shallow DOF + a LUT gets instant mojo approval yet i believe there's also mojo on the hardware side.

not that many cams have it imo.. it's a mix of color science, motion cadence, dynamic range, sensor type etc..

obvious mojo cams to me are Alexas, BMPCC 2.5K, 5D3 ML Raw, 1DC, Digital Bolex, D750, Fujis..  

of course one shouldn't underestimate the lens pairing either..

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For me, "mojo" is that certain je ne sais quoi present only in certain images, or with certain lenses. I agree with Matthias, it's more easily seen in stills than it is in motion. In my own images, I remember the first time I really felt its presence was after I got the Sigma 18-35, especially with stills. There was just this... gloss... to the images: how the glass rendered things, the focus fall-off, the quality of the light — that I found to be simply incredible. Even the most mundane, ordinary object — like an empty chair, sitting in the sun — can take on this transformative, seemingly magical quality when you're staring at it through the right lens. 

I have seen this same indefinable image magic with the aforementioned Sigma 18-35, the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AIS, and most especially the Contax Zeiss 50mm 1.7, regardless of which cameras I have paired them with (70D, EOS M, NX500, NX1, A7SII, GH4, GH5) so glass definitely matters. It's not about sharpness, either. There's just something there that I think we're all familiar with, that gives some soul to an image. 

Obviously lighting is important. White balance is important. Color is important. Composition is crucial. But I don't think you can really pin down in black and white, pure terms what you can or can't do that necessarily makes one image seem transcendental and special and another one mundane and disappointingly ordinary. 

I have my own personal recipe for what makes an image appealing and I'm sure the rest of you do as well. The fact that all of these recipes probably have different ingredients is what makes playing with cameras so fun, I mean how boring would it be if every movie looked exactly the same?! 

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14 hours ago, Geoff CB said:

Every time I start getting to spec obsessed I try and watch that video. Completely ignores the shutter speed rule, contrasty as hell, warp stabilizer everywhere, but man what an incredible result.

Yes exactly. And you can actually 'feel' the images working on you - though it helps that nature working her magic as well.

And for sure the images have been massaged with post effects, but they were captured with a decent combination of technical and heart, and that's enough for me. I'd rather lose myself in the story anyway.

4 hours ago, Parker said:

I have seen this same indefinable image magic with the aforementioned Sigma 18-35

I'm running this sucker on a C100Mk2 and it kicks loads of glory all over the place. Especially towards the long end with your subject riding out a couple of meters. Cinematic heaven.

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@User What a wonderful video - I hadn't seen that one, thank you.  Here's a similar one that I've seen that is also imperfect in quite pleasant ways:

And to add to the Operator vs Camera theme of the thread - the above was shot in an iPhone5, so I don't think anyone will be rushing out to buy this magical hardware to get the look above!

6 hours ago, Parker said:

For me, "mojo" is that certain je ne sais quoi present only in certain images, or with certain lenses. I agree with Matthias, it's more easily seen in stills than it is in motion. In my own images, I remember the first time I really felt its presence was after I got the Sigma 18-35, especially with stills. There was just this... gloss... to the images: how the glass rendered things, the focus fall-off, the quality of the light — that I found to be simply incredible. Even the most mundane, ordinary object — like an empty chair, sitting in the sun — can take on this transformative, seemingly magical quality when you're staring at it through the right lens. 

I have seen this same indefinable image magic with the aforementioned Sigma 18-35, the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AIS, and most especially the Contax Zeiss 50mm 1.7, regardless of which cameras I have paired them with (70D, EOS M, NX500, NX1, A7SII, GH4, GH5) so glass definitely matters. It's not about sharpness, either. There's just something there that I think we're all familiar with, that gives some soul to an image. 

Obviously lighting is important. White balance is important. Color is important. Composition is crucial. But I don't think you can really pin down in black and white, pure terms what you can or can't do that necessarily makes one image seem transcendental and special and another one mundane and disappointingly ordinary. 

I have my own personal recipe for what makes an image appealing and I'm sure the rest of you do as well. The fact that all of these recipes probably have different ingredients is what makes playing with cameras so fun, I mean how boring would it be if every movie looked exactly the same?! 

Fascinating - thank you.  Not much has been spoken about lenses in this thread.  I knew the Sigma 18-35 was a favourite but I've not heard it described like this!  I contemplated buying it for my Canon 700D but after doing some tests of IQ I concluded that the codec was just too compressed for the kind of work I wanted to do.  That lens still peaks my attention when it's mentioned, maybe in the future I'll make the decision to buy one and then work out what camera to put on the back of it :)

I'd be interested in hearing your personal recipe.  Not to copy it (which sounds like it would cost thousands of dollars in lenses!) but to see if there's anything in there I can learn from.  Obviously if this is 'secret sauce' and you'd rather not share then no worries.

On a personal note, I think I've made several strides in the last few days.

Yesterday I found a wonderful combination between C-Log ETTR as recommended by @mercer (thank you again!) and the post workflow described by @Juan Melara in this video here:

I was previously using the custom profile from the XC10 thread that was hammered out in response to finding the ghosting in C-Log from the temporal noise reduction they sneakily add at higher ISOs to bump their lab test scores.  Unfortunately what that meant was that there were no LUTs or camera profiles available for me to use, so I was thrown into the deep end of Log grading in Resolve without a paddle, however shooting in C-Log and then using the above method gets wonderful punchy colours almost effortlessly, but is also flexible enough to correct for my inevitable exposure and white-balance issues.  I've watched my body-weight in YouTube videos from amateurs showing workflows that seemed to work for them but never for me, or pros who did it and made it look easy with test footage shot without the problems that I encounter - none of them had a workflow even remotely like the one Juan uses above.

And on top of that my investigation into YouTube and how to get nice looking video quality out of YouTube has paid off to the point where I now have a workflow without major issues (for the first time since buying the XC and Resolve!) so I'm pretty stoked about that.  Now I think I just need to shoot more and gradually learn what I like :)

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19 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

I'm a tell'ya, if you have a shot you plan for Twixtor, record with a very high shutter speed, even if your FPS is 24 or 30. Twixtor is using subsampling (1 or 2 frames before and after)  and it does'nt treat motion blur too well. You can always dial back in motion blur after the fact with various plugins like this:

http://revisionfx.com/products/rsmb/

All this stuff is proccesor intensive, so plan accordingly. 

Agreed! And there is a reason for the high shutter speeds, because you usually double the shutter (180 degree) to match whatever current fps you are shooting at... so 24 is 48, 30 is 60, 60 is 120 & 120 is 240 and so on.... but the trick with Twixtor is that you're doing a hypothetical 240fps, 500fps or 1000fps or more.... but you are only really shooting say 4K @ 60fps so you set the shutter speed to say 1000, 2000 so it works with Twixtor to get that 500fps or 1000fps. Sometimes its better to even set shutter speed at 4000, but think about how much light you are losing.

Also, thanks for the heads up on the new plugin to treat motion blur...

18 hours ago, Django said:

sounds like you guys are talking more about post-production wow factor tricks than actual camera inherent mojo..

it seems shooting super-slomo at super shallow DOF + a LUT gets instant mojo approval yet i believe there's also mojo on the hardware side.

not that many cams have it imo.. it's a mix of color science, motion cadence, dynamic range, sensor type etc..

obvious mojo cams to me are Alexas, BMPCC 2.5K, 5D3 ML Raw, 1DC, Digital Bolex, D750, Fujis..  

of course one shouldn't underestimate the lens pairing either..

I also agree on this as well... 

Just to be clear, I wasn't promoting Twixtor or other slo-mo softwares, was just responding to @Geoff CB when he said that the creator of the 'Dark Side of the Lens' - "Completely ignores the shutter speed rule, contrasty as hell, warp stabilizer everywhere".

And, as @Matthew Hartman pointed out, that you need to plan for it to be really effective for its intended purposes. I think that the creator of 'Dark Side of the Lens' was intending to use Twixtor to some effect, but its hard to really plan it out on a run and gun - nature type video. So he set it @ 720/60p - recorded as much as possible and as fast as possible with high shutter speeds (or not) and did the rest in post.

Also, "it seems shooting super-slomo at super shallow DOF + a LUT gets instant mojo approval" - I don't know so much to say that... what I can say from the video that I posted with the BMX bikes - yes... there is this cool/awesome factor, but notice that there in lies the problem with Twixtor too. The image quality becomes some blurry soft mess, hence you thought this super shallow DOF, when in fact those rain drops are SFX/CGI add-on courtesy of After Effects and Red Giant's Trapcode Suite, placed there to mask the problem or to get the viewers to set their sights away from the problem :) 

For those interested in Twixtor, Phillip Bloom has some really good advice on it:

http://philipbloom.net/blog/twixtor/

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13 hours ago, kye said:

@User What a wonderful video - I hadn't seen that one, thank you.

Thank you Kai. I'm just happy to contribute what little I can, and that you picked up the 'mojo' discussion again. And that I have all you wonderful film nuts to learn from! :)

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On 3/5/2018 at 2:28 AM, kye said:

 

Yesterday I found a wonderful combination between C-Log ETTR as recommended by @mercer (thank you again!) and the post workflow described by @Juan Melara in this video here:

I was previously using the custom profile from the XC10 thread that was hammered out in response to finding the ghosting in C-Log from the temporal noise reduction they sneakily add at higher ISOs to bump their lab test scores.  Unfortunately what that meant was that there were no LUTs or camera profiles available for me to use, so I was thrown into the deep end of Log grading in Resolve without a paddle, however shooting in C-Log and then using the above method gets wonderful punchy colours almost effortlessly, but is also flexible enough to correct for my inevitable exposure and white-balance issues.  I've watched my body-weight in YouTube videos from amateurs showing workflows that seemed to work for them but never for me, or pros who did it and made it look easy with test footage shot without the problems that I encounter - none of them had a workflow even remotely like the one Juan uses above.

And on top of that my investigation into YouTube and how to get nice looking video quality out of YouTube has paid off to the point where I now have a workflow without major issues (for the first time since buying the XC and Resolve!) so I'm pretty stoked about that.  Now I think I just need to shoot more and gradually learn what I like :)

This video is absolutely wonderful, completely changes how I edit LOG from now on. Thanks!

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19 hours ago, mkabi said:

when in fact those rain drops are SFX/CGI add-on

I did have that thought when I was watching it.  I watched a few tutorials on twixtor when I discovered Resolve basically has it built-in, and it was obvious that optical-flow time-stretching (what twixtor uses) is great for things that move proportionally, but absolutely awful when things move in front of other things.

I guess embracing the softness of the effect and using it to your advantage is kind of like the Zen of film-making!

In a sense that film has certain luxuries in run-and-gun film-making that other formats don't have - that's the ability to just select the good stuff in post and only use what works in the edit suite.  If you're a wedding film-maker it wouldn't go down too well to not include key moments in the video, although now people are making 'highlight reels' there is more latitude for removing bad bits if there were technical issues.

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35 minutes ago, Geoff CB said:

This video is absolutely wonderful, completely changes how I edit LOG from now on. Thanks!

Did you watch his other videos?  He's obviously a pro, and his attitude in the Linny LUT video is hilarious - giving the LUT creators crap while casually explaining advanced colour concepts like they're something that is taught in primary school is a very entertaining mix.  I can't wait for more.  

What stood out especially in the Log grading video above is that part about grading in Arri LogC and how you should use the Offset, Contrast and Pivot controls instead of Lift Gamma and Gain - I can almost feel how much I'm going to learn when he explains that!

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17 hours ago, kye said:

Did you watch his other videos?  He's obviously a pro, and his attitude in the Linny LUT video is hilarious - giving the LUT creators crap while casually explaining advanced colour concepts like they're something that is taught in primary school is a very entertaining mix.  I can't wait for more.  

What stood out especially in the Log grading video above is that part about grading in Arri LogC and how you should use the Offset, Contrast and Pivot controls instead of Lift Gamma and Gain - I can almost feel how much I'm going to learn when he explains that!

Watched them all. Mesmerized. ? subb'd. 

I also figured out where mojo comes from. From your all's Moms. ?

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