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Andrew Reid

5D Mark III raw versus Panasonic GH4

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Exactly what I'm saying. The discussion about creativity/skill is irrelevant. Of course that is (more) important. Just saying with proper grading and a basic cam like you mention, everybody can make videos of their cat with a filmic look. That doesn't make you a great cinematographer, but when people discuss 'filmic' here, it's probably related to the aesthetics most of the time. Actually there isn't much vague about that. It's just the act of making something digital look not so obviously digital (highlight rolloff, dynamic range, color, grain vs noise, toning).

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Put any of todays video shooting DLSR's in the hands of a talented professional and you will get the 'filmic' (I hate that word) look. In the hands of someone who doesnt know anything about lighting or grading you will get 'videoish' looking images. I have to disagree with Julian here, a few magic bullet film presets will not make your video look like film. Lighting is the key ingredient and working within you cameras boundaries. Then, grading plays a huge part.
 These days the video look is a trait of the operator/grader and lack of lighting knowledge rather than the camera. The cameras we have today are amazing. Never has the divide between the picture quality of $60,000 camera been so small compared to a $1600 one. Its just that now you have lots of people able to afford these cheaper cameras that don't know how to get the most out of them.

 

Amateurs that need an over sized sensor like that in the 5DIII to help give them what they think is filmic (shallow depth of field) just show how little they really know about film making. Kendy's film on the previous page is a prime example. Shot on a crop sensor, at no point did I think it needed shallower DOF or that it would have benefited from a larger sensor.

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There's definitely a place for low-fi image quality.

 

Kendy's video shows why hiding stuff is just as important as what you show. The 550D / T2i was a perfect choice for what he wanted to do. I have used that Sigma 30mm F1.4 and it also has character. Nice lens. Not too perfect, not too clinical.

 

Says Kendy...

 

The whole film was done over 3 days, post production included. I used my small Canon 550D, everything is natural, no additional lights. I think it is much more atmospheric. I don’t like it when you can see everything clearly on screen because it looks fake. I like the idea of showing just the shapes or the shadows of the characters like in a comic book. I wanted something organic so I added some clean 35mm grains to my footage, because I like the visual render of the old cameras such as the Bolex. For the strange flares effects, I use a broken glass in front of my lens and shot with only one hand. It’s easy with a small camera like the 550d, but could be a pain with an Alexa because of the weight. Because I make everything with After Effects (including the edit) I work very fast. I don’t waste my time by switching between several softwares or video tools.”

 

Talented guy and without doubt the 99k plays on Behind The Move are there because of his sensitive use of the camera aesthetics, the sensitive handling of music and content, and the content itself including that amazing girl, fantastic dancer, great story. It all matters. ALL of it.

 

In the case of Behind The Move the low-fi visuals suited the content but what about when they don't? What if you want to film a rich sunset in memory colour and see every blade of grass in a field? The 550D works best with the shallow DOF and medium close-ups seen in Behind The Move because it hides a lot of the flaws, like a lack of detail, moire and aliasing, compression, muted colour, etc. There will be a LOT of content that these issues don't suit and it helps to know about it before getting all inspired over someone else's content and picking a camera that might be completely ill-suited to your own.

 

Also shooting style has a lot to do with it. Here the 550D is on a relatively slow-shutter speed and all handheld, with some great framing going on. Kendy's camera work here is like a high wire act. If you don't always get the framing emotionally connected with the mood and the subject matter, the slight of hand will be revealed the magic vanishes. If your shooting style is locked down, on a tripod, the 550D is the last thing you'd want to use, believe me. If your shooting style is more dynamic and flowing, then you'd probably be better off investing in drones and rigs rather than cameras anyway. Everyone is different.

 

I want epic scenery, anamorphic, striking visuals, super rich colours and rich details. Sometimes I may want handheld camera-work, even black & white, a grungy low contrast low resolution feel. Why not start off with as high a quality image as you can get your hands on and rough it up? The glass in front of the lens in some shots in Kendy's movie is an example of that. Making stuff look less clean, less 'real', more magical and otherworldly.

 

The technology needs to keep improving and the shooter needs to stay on top of it.

 

I am already imagining ways where Kendy's video could have been improved in terms of lenses and cameras!

 

It doesn't need to be improved though because the muted, low-fi look is perfect for his subject matter... the isolation, loneliness and overwork of the dancer, being stretched this way and that in a big city away from home.

 

If the film was longer and we followed her back home and there was a loving embrace with her mum or something... maybe you'd not want the same look for that scene.

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By the way here's a few frames from Kendy's next film, doesn't look quite so 550D does it? :)

 

 

He is very talented, I have followed him on Twitter, let's see what he comes up with next....

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.

 

Also shooting style has a lot to do with it. Here the 550D is on a relatively slow-shutter speed and all handheld, with some great framing going on. Kendy's camera work here is like a high wire act. If you don't always get the framing emotionally connected with the mood and the subject matter, the slight of hand will be revealed the magic vanishes. If your shooting style is locked down, on a tripod, the 550D is the last thing you'd want to use, believe me. If your shooting style is more dynamic and flowing, then you'd probably be better off investing in drones and rigs rather than cameras anyway. Everyone is different.

 

 

Just out of curiosity, what cameras would be suggested for those who's shooting style is locked down on a tripod?

 

I know almost nothing about video and come at this from shooting stills.   

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Already tested for those paying attention, it isn't a big win for the 5D actually!

 

 

I thought it was an obvious win for the 5D3 over the GH4.  At 800 ISO the GH4 couldn't pick up the flashing light on the tower.  

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Exactly what I'm saying. The discussion about creativity/skill is irrelevant. Of course that is (more) important. Just saying with proper grading and a basic cam like you mention, everybody can make videos of their cat with a filmic look. That doesn't make you a great cinematographer, but when people discuss 'filmic' here, it's probably related to the aesthetics most of the time. Actually there isn't much vague about that. It's just the act of making something digital look not so obviously digital (highlight rolloff, dynamic range, color, grain vs noise, toning).

 

Yup, I know what you're saying. The same way instagram filters and squarely cropped frames has made everyone believe they're a professional food photographer. Those devices make huge differences, only thing is like all techniques they become gimmicky when overused. Even the wide open anamorphic look can get gimmicky if you know what I mean.

 

As far as grading the GH4 you might like the following vid.

 

The issue is that "filmic" infers to looking like 35mm film, but we're working on a digital medium. Andrew has shown the example of that horrible movie (The room) which is shot on film - not a good look. The idea is that people don't always want their videos to look like film, they just want their videos to look like there was skill behind it. And yes, grading definitely is one way of exhibiting skill.

 

Just out of curiosity, what cameras would be suggested for those who's shooting style is locked down on a tripod?

 

I know almost nothing about video and come at this from shooting stills.   

 

I think it makes sense for a stills photographer to use the 5D considering its such an amazing stills camera to begin with. You get amazing stills and video.

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Most intelligent adults should be able to separate the interest in a new camera and it's strengths and weaknesses from the skills it takes to actually make a quality visual image and a film that touches the emotions.  To say that a cameras image is filmic is somewhat silly since it's just a light capturing box and what you put in front of the sensor and how you edit the images you film will greatly impact the end result perhaps more than the camera itself.  Still you want the best starting point you can get.  

 

You use the right lenses and have a really good camera it gets you closer to what you want to achieve.  Sure you can get the job done with any number of cameras, but there are differences in what each camera can realistically be expected to be able to handle.  IMO banding in poor 8bit video with no highlight rolloff can be the antithesis of filmic.  It does matter if you can use a camera that is more capable in more lighting situations.  It's also nice to know that if you really need superb levels of detail and smooth color you can get it.  This is a Golden age of low cost cameras.  We've never had it so good.  Enjoy :)

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Hi

I was just wondering what is your impression of the 1080p 200mbps on GH4? Is the dynamic range and data amount for color correction noticably better in 200mbps?

Thanks

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Amateurs that need an over sized sensor like that in the 5DIII to help give them what they think is filmic (shallow depth of field) just show how little they really know about film making. 

 

It's not over-sized, it's about the size of anamorphic s35 film. You know, stuff that most skilled DoP's love to shoot. Blade Runner looks way more 5d like (anamorphically shot) than films shot spherically (like The Room)

 

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The idea is that people don't always want their videos to look like film, they just want their videos to look like there was skill behind it. 

 

Well said. I think that's the whole overhyped "filmic look" and "cinematic look" in a nutshell.

They're buzzwords that describe an emotional, rather than a technical concept. They no longer have anything to do with actual film stock.

 

 

Anyway, speaking of shooting skilled stuff with the GH4, and a little bit about the Canon C100 and 5D3, too, I stumbled on yet another "real life test" with rather predictable results in the News Shooter. "Would you recommend the GH4?" Note that he's referring to a out of the box 5D3, not a hacked RAW shooting one. 

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Yup, I know what you're saying. The same way instagram filters and squarely cropped frames has made everyone believe they're a professional food photographer. Those devices make huge differences, only thing is like all techniques they become gimmicky when overused. Even the wide open anamorphic look can get gimmicky if you know what I mean.

 

As far as grading the GH4 you might like the following vid.

 

The issue is that "filmic" infers to looking like 35mm film, but we're working on a digital medium. Andrew has shown the example of that horrible movie (The room) which is shot on film - not a good look. The idea is that people don't always want their videos to look like film, they just want their videos to look like there was skill behind it. And yes, grading definitely is one way of exhibiting skill.

 

 

I think it makes sense for a stills photographer to use the 5D considering its such an amazing stills camera to begin with. You get amazing stills and video.

 

After watching this video, I'm going to have to check out mLooks!

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By the way here's a few frames from Kendy's next film, doesn't look quite so 550D does it? :)

 

 

He is very talented, I have followed him on Twitter, let's see what he comes up with next....

 

Any guesses?

 

Knowing Kendy's approach to shooting/editing, I'd say a C100 would be his obvious upgrade. The sharpness and low light of the stills support this theory too ...

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I want epic scenery, anamorphic, striking visuals, super rich colours and rich details. Sometimes I may want handheld camera-work, even black & white, a grungy low contrast low resolution feel. Why not start off with as high a quality image as you can get your hands on and rough it up? The glass in front of the lens in some shots in Kendy's movie is an example of that. Making stuff look less clean, less 'real', more magical and otherworldly.

 

The technology needs to keep improving and the shooter needs to stay on top of it.

 

I am already imagining ways where Kendy's video could have been improved in terms of lenses and cameras!

Kendy's style initialy is based on "gimmicks" shallow dof, framing low light, lo-fi mood, which are great because he compensates the lack of "high art" expensive cinema gear. (zeiss cinema lenses, arri cams,etc)

as he grows and (money rolls in) i think this will change.

 

Which brings me to the point of "filmic" quality. Shallow DOF is a gimmick, you direct the eyes of the audience to where you want them to look, and hide the (bad lighting, bad framing, cheap ugly backgrounds). The truly great DP&Director, keeps everything in focus, and you look at a moving "painting" where everything is balanced, and of course shoots wide, anamorphic being the ultimate, imo.

 

Lubezki: Many of them were the same rules we had on Tree of Life, where we avoided underexposing the negative and wanted a lot of depth of field. Terry doesn’t tell the audience where to look in the frame — if they want to look at the actors, they can, or if they prefer they can look behind them at the trees. We want complete depth and clarity in order for that to happen, so another rule is to shoot with film that is as grainless as possible — in general, Terry prefers images that are sharper rather than softer.

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A bit harsh to say that a true DOP and Director keep everything in focus. So if one does shoot shallow does that make one shit at their job, or have shit aesthetics?

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Which brings me to the point of "filmic" quality. Shallow DOF is a gimmick, you direct the eyes of the audience to where you want them to look, and hide the (bad lighting, bad framing, cheap ugly backgrounds). The truly great DP&Director, keeps everything in focus, and you look at a moving "painting" where everything is balanced, and of course shoots wide, anamorphic being the ultimate, imo.

 

 

Do you actually believe that? meaning,is it a hypothesis that you have thought about for some time and are sure about? or is it something you have just pulled out of your ass in the last half an hour?   It sounds like the latter.

 

Deep focus is certainly a look that you can decide to go for and works well in a lot of cases.  But to suggest that every single shallow depth of field shot or photograph in the world ever is to mask bad framing, bad lighting and cheap ugly backgrounds is patently ridiculous.

 

As for anamorphic.  If you are shooting deep focus there is not much point.  Anamorphic is primarily to preserve resolution, but with 4k you have more than enough to just crop.

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Do you actually believe that? 

yes matt i do. no its not something that just came up in my mind, check the work of lazlo covacs and zsigmond vilmos two of the best DPs still around ,check the work of gregg toland, probably the best cinematographer ever, he is the contrary of shallow depth of field,  noted for his amazing ability to create extreme depth.(citizen cane)

it takes some extra talent to keep everything in focus,and keep it interesting, and no anamorphic is not just to preserve resolution, its an artistic choice, that needs alot of creative talent and expertise to pull through..you have a huge canvas and it needs to be perfect.

shallow dof, is a gimmick that we use to cover up our mistakes (me included) and make it look "cinematic", but wasnt covacs "easy rider" cinematic enough?

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Kendy's style initialy is based on "gimmicks" shallow dof, framing low light, lo-fi mood, which are great because he compensates the lack of "high art" expensive cinema gear. (zeiss cinema lenses, arri cams,etc)
as he grows and (money rolls in) i think this will change.
 
Which brings me to the point of "filmic" quality. Shallow DOF is a gimmick, you direct the eyes of the audience to where you want them to look, and hide the (bad lighting, bad framing, cheap ugly backgrounds). The truly great DP&Director, keeps everything in focus, and you look at a moving "painting" where everything is balanced, and of course shoots wide, anamorphic being the ultimate, imo.
 
Lubezki: Many of them were the same rules we had on Tree of Life, where we avoided underexposing the negative and wanted a lot of depth of field. Terry doesn’t tell the audience where to look in the frame — if they want to look at the actors, they can, or if they prefer they can look behind them at the trees. We want complete depth and clarity in order for that to happen, so another rule is to shoot with film that is as grainless as possible — in general, Terry prefers images that are sharper rather than softer.


You're right about shallow DOF being used to direct the audiences eye. You're wrong in saying that its just to hide bad lighting or framing.

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I, for one, appreciate the sentiment this thread has evolved into.  As the technology rapidly becomes more democratic the tools become a commodity.  What you do with that tool matters more.

 

I love watching the march of development as much as the next guy, and I like to buy video/film cameras. Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, Hitachi, JVC, Sony, Fuji, Bolex, Arri...  I've owned 'em or rented 'em all.  But I'm not a fan boy that projects their purchasing commitment/ownership into some sort of brand proselytizing.

 

It's not too hard to imagine that in a decade we'll all have access to numerous small DSLR cameras shooting over 4K with incredible low-light sensitivity, full frame, uncompressed internal flash card recording, 5 axis-stabilization, and over 15 stops of dynamic range.  And it'll be pretty cheap to boot.

 

Digital moves fast and we'll have those goodies before you know it.

 

Those that concentrate on the craft rather than the tech will stand out from the numerous numerous people that will also own this gear.  As it has always been and and it will always be.

 

It used to be that purchasing a superior camera got you into the realm of "pro" simply by ownership.  After all, six figures for a well lensed and rigged camera is serious business, and DOES have value.  However,  I really think that legacy of the industry will be more and more irrelevant.

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yes matt i do. no its not something that just came up in my mind, check the work of lazlo covacs and zsigmond vilmos two of the best DPs still around ,check the work of gregg toland, probably the best cinematographer ever, he is the contrary of shallow depth of field,  noted for his amazing ability to create extreme depth.(citizen cane)

it takes some extra talent to keep everything in focus,and keep it interesting, and no anamorphic is not just to preserve resolution, its an artistic choice, that needs alot of creative talent and expertise to pull through..you have a huge canvas and it needs to be perfect.

shallow dof, is a gimmick that we use to cover up our mistakes (me included) and make it look "cinematic", but wasnt covacs "easy rider" cinematic enough?

 

Though I get what you're saying, As per your example, I don't think anyone in there right mind would shoot a sprawling desert landscape with razor thin DOF wide open. You want to see that beautiful location. Those shots required all to be in focus, but many shots don't. Its a matter of both style choice, mood, directing and subject. All these tools need to be used within a narrative... most of the tests we see aren't a part of any storyline, and are more just stylistic tests.

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