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Deepak Chhetri
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16 Tips to Make Your Video Look Like Film

Published on 10/8/2018
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Within my career, I have received some brilliant agency storyboards from my Executive Producer. Whenever this happens, I hunker down in my desk in the office and also emphasise a therapy. This is the fun part. That is when I earn my money. I spend hours trying to come up with suggestions that will make the ad better than it's on paper. While I've come up with striking visuals and a story arc I would be pleased with, I inquire what format we are shooting . I can not count how many times my fantasies and dreams have been crushed when she states,"HD."
Arggghhhh! There goes the beautiful vignettes. Gone will be the stunning colors and textures.
Dealing with increasingly low budgets on advertisements and music videos, I have found myself forced to use movie many times. Throughout the last couple of decades, my cinematographer buddies and I have almost mastered the art of making video look like film. The shallower the depth of field, the less focused the items around your subject will be. DoF allows you to form the composition of your frames by choosing what areas are going to be in focus. This aides your storytelling and art management. And it just looks better. There are cases though that you'd want deep focus like for very wide shots.
DoF is usually the very first dead giveaway that you are shooting video. That's movie's weakness. Everything is in focus.
The following are techniques we have used and I swear by them. The aperture size is specified by the f-stop. The more complicated the f-stop, the smaller the aperture and the larger the depth of field (Remember that inverse relationship!) . Think about your eyes (that can be essentially nature's most advanced set of lenses), when you squint to check out a remote object (reduces aperture), you can see that it's sharper. If your pupils dilate (speakers available ), things get fuzzy.
Alright, enough of the technical discussion. Just remember the reverse relationship: High F-Stop, Small Aperture, Large Depth of Field. We need the opposite: Low F-Stop, Big Aperture, Shallow Depth of Field.
Utilize the Extended End of this Lens - Zoom as far as you can go and move the camera back. Although you won't really receive exactly the identical composition because you are changing the focal length of this lens, it'll be easier to defocus the background. However, using a longer lens does not necessarily mean you'll get a shallower depth of field.
24P - In this day and age, I would never take anything interlaced again. 24P cameras mimic the way images are captured on film. I won't go a lot more into this. This subject has been beaten to death because the Panasonic DVX100 came on the scene.
Diffusion Filter - Throw a piece of glass over the lens. No, not just any glass. More specifically a diffusion filter. All these filters soften up the image a little and saves you from the harshness of video. As a side benefit, your celebrities will love you. :-RRB-
Adjust Shutter Speed - Video is generally place at 1/60 shutter speed. Film records at 1/48. Therefore, if you want to emulate movie, obviously take at 1/48. Doing this adds a little motion blur into the images, and it is a good thing because video is inherently very sharp.
Gamma - A camera sensitivity into the dark and bright areas of a scene is called gamma. Film supplies a much wider latitude between the dark and bright places. Video doesn't. That's the reason video's bright areas blow out fast and the dark regions eliminate detail quickly. More advanced video cameras permit you to alter the gamma up to a certain extent. Stretch it a little bit to get closer to film.
Film Lens Adapter - As far as you can, I really don't shoot video without a film lens adapter. I only recently switched loyalties from P+S Technik over to Letus. The excellent thing about the Letus is it's not quite as light hungry as the P+S. And if you are shooting video, you most likely do not have the funds for a lot of lighting gear. Besides, that the Letus is much cheaper compared to P+S. If you can manage to lease Zeiss Ultra Primes, proceed ahead. I utilize either Ultra Primes or the Zeiss ZF place I own. However, a pair of Nikon lenses should suffice.
Use Suitable Composition - Learn the techniques of proper composition. Just pick up any photography book and you will discover how simple it is to create an image considerably more strong and dramatic by just composing it marginally different.
Utilize a Dolly, Crane, or Jib Arm - Fine, leasing a crane is pricey. Well, at least use a dolly. Dollies can be rented cheaply. I've completed the wheelchair thing but frankly it's simply not as eloquent as a well-oiled dolly on tracks. A dolly move adds a little bit of production value, something that you won't see in a home video. If you can get a boom, so much the better. Any kind of"professional" camera moves you'll be able to add gives your work a sense it is grander than only a guy running around with a handheld camera.
Use Suitable Lighting - A favorite myth in shooting video is that you don't need as many lights like in shooting film. The cinematographers I've worked with have always used"movie lighting" practices even when lighting video. Use the"Three Point Lighting" method. If you've got more lights, go with four things by lighting the background. Video has very shallow comparison range (blows out easily). You need to light correctly to balance the contrast. These are home made with only some cardboard, aluminum foil, etc.. Because of video's crappy comparison range, prevent shooting bright backgrounds. You may eliminate detail quite quickly.
Professional Audio - People forget that pictures only make up half the movie. The other half is noise. Well-recorded and blended sound creates a huge impact on how watchable your material is.
Use Magic Bullet - A few years back, Red Giant Software came out with this remarkable software. This is practically a must have. It permits you to manipulate your pictures into just about any look you desire. Try out their presets. These are often good enough with just a little tweaking.
Use Letterbox - This way is somewhat of a cheat. If it does not, then frame for 16x9 on your shoot and just throw a letterbox in post. Use masking tape on your monitor and LCD screen to give you the proper dimensions. This is crucial otherwise you may wind up with a few shots styled for 4x3 and a few for 16x9.
Color Grade - Regardless of how great your cinematographer is, his work will still have to get graded. I have discovered that crushing the elephants gives video a more lively feel. The image becomes more aesthetically pleasing. Including a bit of heat and diffusion helps. Do not go overboard though since you can easily make the grading look apparently"touched ".
Manufacturing DESIGN
Position foreground and background images - Component of art management is shaping what goes into the frame. Every frame consists of 3 elements: the foreground, the midground, and the background. Many novice filmmakers concentrate only on the midground (where your celebrities are) and the background. This frequently results in horizontal images. Imagine if you throw a potted plant in front of the camera? What if you're shooting through a window or steel bars? Be sure the foreground is out-of-focus enough so it doesn't distract from the primary scene (the midground). That is, of course, unless your primary scene is happening in the foreground.
Blocking - Proceed your actors away from the background if possible. Doing so will let you defocus the background. If you're performing an over the shoulder shot, then you may even cheat it by transferring the actors away from one another. The further objects are from each other, the easier it's going to be to get a shallow depth of field.
It is still all about content and narrative. If you can not hook your audience to the narrative, they won't care that you shot a gorgeous piece of art. That is why a few of the best reality shows are still better than a number of the very best shot movies.
I hope you've enjoyed and learned from such snippets of advice I've given. It took me along with my staff a lot of trial and error to get things right. Believe me, it completely sucks when you contact the editing package and you find the grid lines of the diffusion filter on the screen. :-RRB- As with anything, practice makes perfect.
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