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It looks like "video"


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What exactly does this mean? I used to think that it meant that the image lacked depth. Or perhaps the image looked somehow artificial. But anymore what I think it really means is that the image is clean. The truth is many modern cameras produce clean images, and frankly that's okay. My eyes don't see film grain when I look around at my surroundings. So why do we expect cameras to show this when it's not really there? The so-called "organic feel" is nothing more than distortion. My eyes "are organic", and the images I see with them are free from this grain and other artifacts. 

This whole "video look" thing reminds me a lot of when CD first came out. Many audiophiles complained that CDs sounded too digital, too clean... Sterile. Some producers even went as far as to add noise and hiss to their digital recordings in an attempt to make them sound more organic. I think that many filmmakers are following in these same footsteps. Trying to make the new digital format appear more like the old noisie, distorted, soft format that they are accustomed to.

I watched the trailer for Revenant... That's the new movie that was shot on the Alexa 65. It looked wide, it looked impressive. But you what? It didn't look like film? And do you know what else? I really didn't care that it didn't. 

The truth is, if you are attempting to make your video look more "filmic", what you are really trying to do is make your video look more vintage... You are living in the past... clinging on the a memory of how movies looked when you were a kid. It's not bad to look like video, this is what the Alexa 65 has shown us. 

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well, digital has it strong point and weaknesses as does film.

dynamic range and detail is where films usually wins...and resolution is not to be mistaken with detail. 

digital can be extremly clean, which is good, but shows moire, aliasing, too much contrast.

If I get a flat aliasing free with lots of detail and 12 stops of DR image out of a digital camera I could not care less if it`s 240p or 4k.

Film did that to some extent, and thats why it`s still used...these filmmakers that can shoot a movie on film probably have an 8k red at their dispoasal as well.

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Suddenly clipped highlights, over sharpened, moire and aliasing, 60i and high compression.

That is the video look :)

Video look is not: deep depth of field, small sensor (super 16mm is a film look after all), though a crap DP can certainly make anything look like video if they try ;)

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Suddenly clipped highlights, over sharpened, moire and aliasing, 60i and high compression.

That is the video look :)

Video look is not: deep depth of field, small sensor (super 16mm is a film look after all), though a crap DP can certainly make anything look like video if they try ;)

Totally agree. 

I see some of these "characteristics" an issue in a lot of these new consumer 4k cameras. Images so brittle and oversharpened that they look hyper-real and thin. A lot of electronic lenses are the same. You see a huge difference when shooting raw where images have color depth, tonality, organic motion cadence, and high dynamic range. 

Nearly every single camera out right now has a "video look". The best way around it is to shoot raw and use cinema lenses. Then become bankrupt. ;)

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Film doesn't look like real life. And that's the point imo. It looks good, dreamy, exciting, magical, "enter any random word".

And it's the same with everything in films. Even if they are shot digitally it doesn't look like real life. It doesn't sound like real life. People don't talk or act like real life. Physics don't apply. People don't die when they should. Etc etc etc.

All I know is that I sit in forums like this and peep at everything from Sony 4K to H.265.  I mainly shoot Raw but also avchd. I watch modern movies shot with the absolute latest in video technology. 

And then the other day when I rewatched the old "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" I was once again just blown away of how good real film looks. Even if it's over 50 years old and kinda Vintage.

The skin tones, highlights, shadows, everything just straight out kills any video footage I've seen.

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Film doesn't look like real life. And that's the point imo. It looks good, dreamy, exciting, magical, "enter any random word".

And it's the same with everything in films. Even if they are shot digitally it doesn't look like real life. It doesn't sound like real life. People don't talk or act like real life. Physics don't apply. People don't die when they should. Etc etc etc.

All I know is that I sit in forums like this and peep at everything from Sony 4K to H.265.  I mainly shoot Raw but also avchd. I watch modern movies shot with the absolute latest in video technology. 

And then the other day when I rewatched the old "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" I was once again just blown away of how good real film looks. Even if it's over 50 years old and kinda Vintage.

The skin tones, highlights, shadows, everything just straight out kills any video footage I've seen.

 are you certain you're not confusing cinematography with the media used to capture it. I point out again, that Alexa 65 looks pretty darn good in the aforementioned trailer, but it sure doesn't look like film.

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Film doesn't look like real life. And that's the point imo. It looks good, dreamy, exciting, magical, "enter any random word".

Great point, probably the best I've seen to date on the film vs. video debate. You always see the technical differences (colors, DR, roll off, grain, whatever) cited, but your point highlights the creative intent. I don't see though why you can't achieve the same dreamy unreal look with the tech we have these days in video cameras.

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 are you certain you're not confusing cinematography with the media used to capture it. I point out again, that Alexa 65 looks pretty darn good in the aforementioned trailer, but it sure doesn't look like film.

No I would say that movies such as "Drive" which I watched the same day are pretty well lit and professionally executed. 

That Alexa 65 footage sure looks great. But I suspect I will like Tarantinos 70 mm more.

And my home processed Medium Format stills look pretty darn sweet as well, atleast look wise. Now if I could just take 24 of them a second and learn how to light, get actors, production money, a good writer, director and it would be in the bag. 

Great point, probably the best I've seen to date on the film vs. video debate. You always see the technical differences (colors, DR, roll off, grain, whatever) cited, but your point highlights the creative intent. I don't see though why you can't achieve the same dreamy unreal look with the tech we have these days in video cameras.

I wish I could. The closest I get is with the D16. I think some of the f35 I see is right up there as well.

I have been shooting tests this weekend to see what really looks like film using blackmagic, bolex, s-log and actual film.

IMG_10615074945522.md.jpg

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I have been shooting tests this weekend to see what really looks like film using blackmagic, bolex, s-log and actual film.

Since a good part of the look comes from the post work, it'd be great if you could shoot the same scene and (a) try to match the digital to film on your end and (b) post the ungraded digital footage so we can try to match on our side. Even if we don't get a match, it'll be a good educational exercise in understanding the source of the film's appeal.

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I wish I could. The closest I get is with the D16. I think some of the f35 I see is right up there as well.

I have been shooting tests this weekend to see what really looks like film using blackmagic, bolex, s-log and actual film.

IMG_10615074945522.md.jpg

that's a test i want to see

I think, tech wise, we can obtain a look, with video, akin to older film stocks, or aged movies, pretty well, but modern stocks are still out of our reach. Of course, I like the "filmic" aesthetic that is possible with modern cameras. It's not the same, but it's similar. 

But I couldn't agree more with Mattias, the closest I have seen is from Raw footage, either from the Digital Bolex, or the Pocket Cam, or some ML Raw footage. 

Or maybe it's possible to achieve a filmic look, but not a cinematic look?

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Not sure why everyone feels the need to try to make their footage look like film. It's almost as though footage cannot look good free from the artifacts that real film leaves. Take for example the footage from the Kinefinity KineMax. To my eyes it looks great. I just don't see why it needs to look anything other than great. And by great I don't mean "film like".

kinefinity kinemax footage:

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Not sure why everyone feels the need to try to make their footage look like film. It's almost as though footage cannot look good free from the artifacts that real film leaves. Take for example the footage from the Kinefinity KineMax. To my eyes it looks great. I just don't see why it needs to look anything other than great. And by great I don't mean "film like".

kinefinity kinemax footage:

I think this is where the problem lies... that footage does look filmic. I can see why you like it. 

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Since a good part of the look comes from the post work, it'd be great if you could shoot the same scene and (a) try to match the digital to film on your end and (b) post the ungraded digital footage so we can try to match on our side. Even if we don't get a match, it'll be a good educational exercise in understanding the source of the film's appeal.

I have about three different test videos in the pipe. So I can definitely upload some frames for people to grade. 

But it might be a while since I need to shoot one more roll before sending it to a lab. Also Ive only shot a couple of 10sec clips in the beginning of each roll.

Now I'm undecided if the third roll should be for a mini doc or another "family film" for my future self. Either way I can squeeze in a test clip again.  

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Probably 50% of the cinematic look is movement and sound design.

Look at Bloom's C300 mk II shot in London.... No cinematic movement, no interesting sound design... everyone cried "Video". You could shoot that on film and people would still scream "Video"... because the subject matter, movement and sound were more like what we expect from a video camera shooting stock footage.

The more technical 50% of the cinematic look, for me... DR, colour, highlight rolloff, shadows into perfect blacks, 2K+ resolution.

I look forward to the day that everyone has a 4K, 15 stop, perfect colour camera and the focus can be on movement and sound again.

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I feel like we mostly have all embraced digital at least a little. Definitely wouldn't make sense to always screen exactly what comes out of the camera because "digital is just as good!". Grading is kind of a given, putting in contrast and adjusting colors to get an image that may end up looking closet to film in a good way. Sometimes the cinematography is like another character in your film, so clearly digital (over sharpened, 16:9, auto exposure, auto focus, digital noise, rolling shutter, colors clearly from a certain brand, banding, clipping, super cheesy hdr, 3d, etc) could reeeally take the audience out of it. Aside from grain (which can help an image in other ways, helping banding, matching differently isoed shots), other "issues" can clearly give a film character. Anamorphic is a very analog, cool thing. Softish lenses are very cinematic. A broken piece of glass held in front of the lens can look great.. which is like the perfect example of this type of shitty trying too hard effect, ruining a spotless image just to pacify an audience stuck in the past.. but it's completely cool when done right.

There's probably no argument that the look of crappy old digital movies are better in the same way people are saying about film, but I wouldn't think someone is crazy for going for that effect either. Lots of charm and character.

Don't know, I didn't have a problem with the way the alexa 65 looked in that trailer, but I wasn't floored by how clean it was, even though it was probably clean.. Have definitely been more effected by "broken" shots

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I think this is where the problem lies... that footage does look filmic. I can see why you like it. 

 So if it looks good you claim it as filmic? This looks like video to me, way too clean, much too sharp to look like film. Seriously, too many people living in the past. 

Well would you buy a JVC camera?

no, but not because it doesn't look filmic or organic. There's more to an image than film grain, fake vignette, shooting at 24fps and softness.

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I don't think it's the "past" when a good portion, if not the majority of Hollywood films are still shot on film. 

I think it's cool you like the look of digital video more than film, that is very convenient for the times, but video does not look better than film... especially if sharpness is your only reason.

There are ways to manipulate digital to look more filmic, but it doesn't look better.

I really like filmic video, it's a different but similar compromise, and of course the future. I do find it sad, though. We always talk about the technological advancement with resolution or processing, but rarely do people speak about how film has advanced through the years and how there will probably be no major, further advances in film stock. 

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DBounce said:
What exactly does this mean? I used to think that it meant that the image lacked depth. Or perhaps the image looked somehow artificial. But anymore what I think it really means is that the image is clean. The truth is many modern cameras produce clean images, and frankly that's okay. My eyes don't see film grain when I look around at my surroundings. So why do we expect cameras to show this when it's not really there? The so-called "organic feel" is nothing more than distortion. My eyes "are organic", and the images I see with them are free from this grain and other artifacts. 

This whole "video look" thing reminds me a lot of when CD first came out. Many audiophiles complained that CDs sounded too digital, too clean... Sterile. Some producers even went as far as to add noise and hiss to their digital recordings in an attempt to make them sound more organic. I think that many filmmakers are following in these same footsteps. Trying to make the new digital format appear more like the old noisie, distorted, soft format that they are accustomed to.

I watched the trailer for Revenant... That's the new movie that was shot on the Alexa 65. It looked wide, it looked impressive. But you what? It didn't look like film? And do you know what else? I really didn't care that it didn't. 

The truth is, if you are attempting to make your video look more "filmic", what you are really trying to do is make your video look more vintage... You are living in the past... clinging on the a memory of how movies looked when you were a kid. It's not bad to look like video, this is what the Alexa 65 has shown us. 

I don´t get the point, what you mean exactly...

Look at ten years old footage from a film camera and a videocamera, then you see what is video-ish and what is filmic.

Nowadays we have the luck that digital cameras looks more or less closer to film. 

And this depend on a lot of things like Highlight rolloff or what Andrew and others said...

And yes, I agree, we don´t need to add Grain or distortion to have a nice image.

 

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