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I've always wondered. (TV/Movie screen quality)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Hummer, May 1, 2007.

  1. macrumors 65816


    What makes big productions have that TV/Movie screen quality. I've always noticed that whenever watching taped TV shows and movies they would have a certain "look" (I can't describe it), compared to live TV and Amateur movies.

    Edit: Example


    Compared to

  2. mpw

    I would imagine that filming on film rather than video would give the look you're thinking of, not to mention the millions of dollars spent in post production that uncle Joe doesn't have at the Sunday BBQ and that their obviously isn't the opportunity for in live shows. Better/more expensive equipment and talent/skill must play a part too.

    Edit: Lighting, that's one huge difference that time, money and skill can have a big effect on picture quality.
  3. macrumors 68020

    I thought about this too. and it is the increased man hours/money spent, and the camera's they use are amazing and expensive.

    edit: wanted to do some price reaffirmation.
    the cameras they use can cost between tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars leading to just leasing the camera for thousands a day.
  4. macrumors member

    lots of people spend YEARS learning lighting alone.
    lots of people spend YEARS learning how cameras and lenses work.
    lots of people spend YEARS learning how audio works.
    only few people actually pay these people enough to go crazy with their knowledge.
  5. macrumors 68000


    much better lighting, shot on film (or much larger CCD's), processing, interlaced vs progressive, gamma modes (on digital cameras), list goes on...

    it is mostly the first 3.
  6. Guest


    Expensive lenses, too!
  7. macrumors 6502


    people who know what they are doing!!!!

    lighting, lenses, oh and don't forget makeup.
  8. macrumors 604


    Guesses: Dial up the aperture, so that less light enters and there's a smaller depth of field. I think that will do most of what you see there, at least it'll take care of the darkness of the shot, the focal length of the shot, and.. I really think those are the only differences.
  9. macrumors 68000


    Opening the aperture (smaller numbers) will give you more light and give you a shallower depth of field. Also having a a longer focal length (zoomed in more) will make the depth of field smaller as well.
  10. macrumors 604


    Damn.. you're right.. and I hate aperture.

    Ok, so you open the aperture and then use a filter over the lens to chop down on the light..That would also allow for all of the detail that you see in the shadows too..

    Hopefully there's no more flaws of logic this time ;)
  11. macrumors 6502a

    In the examples you've given it is mainly: depth-of-field, lighting, dynamic range and framing.

    Depth-of-field is how shallow the focus is. In the tv show the background behind the characters is quite blurred (shallow DoF). This is down to the size of the image sensor or frame of film, and lens selection. 35mm film has a surface area about ten times the size of your average consumer camcorder CCD, and to put it too simply, this allows greater control over depth-of-field. The kind of film cameras used to shoot tv shows allow lots of things (like aperture) to be tweaked too.

    Lighting can create definition in faces and objects, and can be used to control colours. You'd (probably) be surprised by how many bulbs and how much power is used on film and tv sets.

    With better (longer) dynamic you can get more details in shadows, where a consumer camcorder would render it as a flat colour. It also means the sky will remain blue and not just become a big mass of pure white. In the real world, dynamic range tends to correlate with the price of the equipment.

    One thing that is often missed in answers to questions like this is the positioning of the camera and actors. If you're recording someone with a handheld camcorder as they walk down the street, their facial features will be distorted because they're so close to the camera. The other part of this is framing, which is evident in any picture. Good framing is often the difference between a holiday photo you've taken looking good and looking "amateur" or just plain crap.

    To attempt to explain why these things are more appealing to look at would be like trying to explain why one woman is more aesthetically appealing than another. (Though "nice tits" is a pretty standard and concise answer.)
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Although it's been mentioned briefly already, you can't overlook the importance of color grading. What's shot during production only lays a solid foundation for the look of the movie/TV show, and it takes a talented colorist to fully bring that look to life.


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