musicvid10 wrote on 3/5/2011, 8:41 AM
You didn't say which camera or what its "film look" setting does, but film is shot at 24 fps. So you may want to shoot 24p (23.976).
Steve Mann wrote on 3/5/2011, 12:29 PM
Define "film look". Every filmmaker seems to have a different definition.

If you want "film look", then shoot on film.

Here's an interesting blog titled:
"The 'film look' is a Crock, Shallow depth-of-field is Banal and Rack focus is Lazy. Would all you indie filmmakers please Get Over It..! "

If your destination is a film transfer, then shooting at 24P eliminates any frame count mismatches. You should never use the in-camera effects. You have more options available in third-party programs, but if you apply any effects in-camera, then fixing it in post is not an option.
ushere wrote on 3/5/2011, 2:05 PM
If you want "film look", then shoot on film.

how true! i have seen so much BAD 'film look' manipulation that i can't believe people are still trying to mimic film with video.

as pointed out, you didn't state what what camera you're using. if it has such built in features as 'film look' then it's certainly the wrong camera to be shooting a doco on.....
farss wrote on 3/5/2011, 2:21 PM
Apart from the frame rate one aspect of film that's different to video is it's dynamic range. Sony's CineAlta line of cameras provide non standard gamma curves that attempt to get closer to what film does. The cheapest such camera is the EX1 which provides a number of Cinegamma curves to preserve more of the highlights. If you make the currently HUGE leap upto the top shelf CineAlta camera you get "hypergamma" which preserves both shadows and higlights.

Neither Cinegamma or much more so Hypergamma is designed to be viewed "as is" out of the camera.

Also these cameras offer the ability to alter the color matrix which can get a look closer to certain film stocks. This is where you really need to be careful because the Look can be pretty much baked in.

One thing about film. The latest stocks from Kodak have kind of turned the tables as Kodak try to keep up with digital. They look rather similar to high end digital acquisition. So the convergence between film and digital gets closer and closer.

John_Cline wrote on 3/5/2011, 4:31 PM
One part of the "film look" equation is to light it like film.
Serena wrote on 3/5/2011, 6:14 PM
I think the term "film look" is fairly meaningless. Partly because the attributes associated with that term (e.g. shallow DoF) are absent in notable theatrical films. Yes, films are projected at 24 fps but I don't believe the very common arguments about the magical other-worldly cadence of 24 frames per second. In any case, you actually get 48 pictures per second. What people really mean is "looking as good as professionally shot theatrical film productions". Almost none of those are shot without skilfully controlled lighting (including outdoors) to say nothing of all the other production skills. I suggest that the more useful starting point is to identify what it is about video that you find doesn't match up to your standards for film, and see what you can do to overcome those limitations. Dynamic range (shadows with detail and highlights not blown out) is obvious. Effective lighting (conveying mood).
Most of the issues have been mentioned by earlier posts above and this is a question that has been discussed often enough in a variety of forums; of course a search of the web will tell you 24fps and shallow DoF are the key elements. Such attributes were possessed by 16mm home movies and I doubt that many of those would be lauded for their "film look".
rdolishny wrote on 3/5/2011, 6:37 PM
Wow so many snooty reactions to a legit question!

Shoot progressive. 24p or 30p. 24p doesn't look great at all with lots of motion (too much strobing).

Use Magic Bullet (either the full suite or the Quick Looks). Keep in mind, this product has not been updated in years and is NOT going to work with the 64bit version of Vegas.

What DOES work is the awesome new Soft Contrast filter standard in Vegas. It's amazing for some spot work with contrast and fake vignette. Consider adding two of these filters to a clip: one with a soft focus effect in the border of the image and another one with a bit of darkening effect to the edges. I've been able to get great Magic Bullet effects with a colour correction, and one or two Soft Focus filters.
Serena wrote on 3/5/2011, 11:05 PM
Yes, that is one of the problems. People preferring spot fixes to general understanding of the issues.
John_Cline wrote on 3/5/2011, 11:12 PM
It does help if you have experience shooting film.
fausseplanete wrote on 3/5/2011, 11:33 PM
Re farss <<Neither Cinegamma or much more so Hypergamma is designed to be viewed "as is" out of the camera.>>

Quite so, it looks washed-out straight from the camera, it is intended to be graded.

But grading can invoke other problems: gamma-boosting shows up noise (like camera gain does) while color curves etc. stretch the quantized gaps between the video levels (of which there are only 240 or fewer with typical 8-bit recordings) giving a ragged or banding effect (depending on the type of image). So for an EX camera, ideally need a video denoiser (Neat Video seems best) and to record at 10bits minimum (e.g. via NanoFlash or KiPro unit) not just the standard 8 bits (and for purists, even 10 bits is only to be used "at a push" And muchas CPU / patience...
Anthony J C wrote on 3/6/2011, 1:56 AM
Everybody goes on about getting the "film look", what about getting that wonderful "film sound", or should I say cinema sound. I still get thrilled when I go to a movie house and hear that un-describeable sound from the movies, the ambience and sheer quality of the sound is total pleasure to me which of course adds to the enjoyment of the visual experience. The nearest I have got to hearing that on my home theater system is during the days of laser disc, 1492 being a classic.

Grazie wrote on 3/6/2011, 1:57 AM
Has anybody ask - Why? Or more to the point what will the FL version, in your mind, do for that point in the narrative?

There's much more to discuss, and away from the actual long drawn-out discussion as to what FL is or isn't.

A bad narrative can't be saved by form. A good narrative can be blind to the way a video/film looks like. BUT, the way a video looks can influence narrative, if dealt with sensitively.

How do I know this to be true? I've been guilty of it and cringe at what I've done in the past.


Grazie wrote on 3/6/2011, 1:59 AM
And no, it's not a stupid question at all.


Serena wrote on 3/6/2011, 3:50 AM
Grazie, your contributions are always significant, but perhaps you might expand on that one. I guess your point is that one must have something to say before one need worry too much about refining technique. And if one does have something to communicate, then how it is said and how it is presented (e.g. lighting, sound, whatever) significantly influences how that is received by an audience. An important event will be perceived as important no matter how bad the technique, and no amount of polishing will change nonsense into gold. But yes, that "given" doesn't feature heavily in technical discussions. Should somebody asking about a bleach bypass grading, for example, provide context so we may advise first whether that is an effect they ought to use?
farss wrote on 3/6/2011, 4:50 AM
I've used Cinegamma with -3dB gain and not had any noise issues.
Indeed for S-Log 10bit is vital, CG on an EX1/3 doubtfull if it gains you anything recordning 10bit. For a doco shoot using CG after careful testing could be a good choice if shooting in harsh outdoor lighiting, really depends.
Orignal question was to do some undescribed "film look" in camera or in post. In my opinion using a modified gamma curve in camera would be all I'd consider. Everything else I just wouldn't risk if it was a doco.

That said I don't understand why anyone would want a doco to emulate film. Most docos today are shot digital because of the weight issue with 35mm cameras and of course the cost.

The Nano only records 8 bits BTW.

Grazie wrote on 3/6/2011, 6:52 AM
Serena, yes.

Bob. you can't understand why? I can.


mvpvideos2007 wrote on 3/6/2011, 7:46 AM
I think you are asking to get a more dry look like film, vs. the wet, or live look from video. I have a Sony AX2000 and in Vegas, when rendering, I right click on the clip, go down to properties and select reduce interlace flicker. It will give you the dry look.
mvpvideos2007 wrote on 3/6/2011, 7:46 AM
I think you are asking to get a more dry look like film, vs. the wet, or live look from video. I have a Sony AX2000 and in Vegas, when rendering, I right click on the clip, go down to properties and select reduce interlace flicker. It will give you the dry look.
mvpvideos2007 wrote on 3/6/2011, 7:46 AM
I think you are asking to get a more dry look like film, vs. the wet, or live look from video. I have a Sony AX2000 and in Vegas, when rendering, I right click on the clip, go down to properties and select reduce interlace flicker. It will give you the dry look.
mvpvideos2007 wrote on 3/6/2011, 7:47 AM
I think you are asking to get a more dry look like film, vs. the wet, or live look from video. I have a Sony AX2000 and in Vegas, when rendering, I right click on the clip, go down to properties and select reduce interlace flicker. It will give you the dry look.
Dave_OnSet wrote on 3/6/2011, 8:30 AM
A couple of CineGamma comments:
We often shoot with cinegammas on the EX1 or EX3 cameras. They essentially compress down the highlights to get more detail, or to allow darker areas to be better exposed without the bright areas to be totally obnoxious. There's actually a lot of adjustment range in the (picture profile) camera settings for the cinegams - and the Cine1 andCine2 settings are very similar to two of the HyperGamma settings from the higher end cameras.

Yes, ideally everything shot cinegam should be graded in post, but really just about everything shot without a full ccu shading system should be tweaked in post as well. But footage shot with Cine1 or Cine2 can often look wonderful as recorded.

Film Look is a term that can mean many things to different people, and yes for many it means 24p, compressed highlights, deep blacks with detail,and of course film grain as well. Not to mention the fact that film negative ALWAYS goes through a color correction process in creating either prints or video transfers.

If you like the 24p look, go for it. We do most of our documentary shooting with an EX1 or EX3 in either 24p or 30p, and most of our corporate work in 60i. If a doc has a chance of being transferred to film, we almost always shoot 24p. We also have a number of custom matrixes that we have created for different purposes, in addition to using the HiSat or the FL setting, and will often make minor adjustments to picture profiles on a job-by-job basis. One thing that we almost always do is drop the detail levels in the camera, and bring the blacks down slightly.

Of course you also should bring along a decent monitor with scopes. And know your monitor before going out in the field - in my experience some of them, particularly certain Pana 17" models, have screen backlighting that is WAY too green to judge color accurately.

I shot film for 20 years, but there are certain things I can do in a camera now that I could never do in film - such as skin tone detail adjustments. On one project we started out shooting in 16mm, but switched to HD when it became obvious we would run short on funds. After some testing we determined at that point the closest we could get to the same look was the Sony 900/3, which we used for the rest of the shoot. Did it look exactly the same - no - but it was close enough to intercut.

You can make a lot of adjustments in the field with todays cameras. Will it look like film? - that depends what you think film looks like.
fausseplanete wrote on 3/6/2011, 10:09 AM

Doh, you're right, my bad memory, Nano only 8-bit. It's their XDR that was supposed to do 10-bit uncompressed (upgrade), and that seems to be out of production. I'll stop dreaming about that one then... But the KiPro (incl. Mini) does have 10 bit to ProRes which (one way or another) can be fed to Vegas.

It was from experience with the EX camera CG modes that I encountered the quantization issue, e.g. in live situations where an uncomfortably broad illumination range is shot using CG and subsequently in post try to introduce gradient back to otherwise flat-looking faces. There seems to be a bit of an art to using CG, which I'm trying to learn, and maybe anyone new to it will find that also. To avoid the flat-faces issue, I now expose faces lower, like 50-60% instead of 70%. Of course, controlled illumination-range is much better, but that is not always possible.

Hopefully it is useful to identify in this discussion any knock-on implications of using CG. In that context it's interesting to know how much 10-bit is or isn't used or seen to be needed.
wandering journalist wrote on 3/22/2011, 7:41 AM
Thanks Dave OnSet - was looking for information like that, super! Glad I sparked such a great debate! Sorry I didn't chime in sooner, I've been without a computer for two weeks :( Only so much you can do with a Blackberry! I have access to two different Sony rigs that will both shoot 24p and that was where I was leaning, but have footage that is already shot that needs a fix that another post gave a suggestion for as well!

wandering journalist wrote on 3/22/2011, 7:43 AM
awesome! I will try that with footage that I have already shot and will play with the 24p setting as well and see what I like better.... very cool idea indeed! Been without a computer for two weeks so couldn't jump back in to post.