DV vs. Film amateur

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Drugger, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. Drugger macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2009
    #1
    I've been shooting using simple DV for several years, but I've never understood the differences between that and film. I'd love to get that "cinema look" in my short films on a pretty small budget. Am I right in saying that the main difference is the fps - 60 vs. 24? Is there a cheap way to convert? Or other software/hardware to get the job done? I'm not looking for perfection, just a fairly good imitation of the "mind's eye" look of real film. Thanks for any help!
     
  2. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    #2
    well I don't know much about real film, but you should check the internet. There are a lot of advices how to make your movie look more like film. Final Cut Express is 200 dollars (I believe) and has a lot of options, but you'll have to learn it. You can probably do some things in iMovie to.

    What's the difference with film and digital? Film has compared to your consumer camera more contrast. Check youtube and such to see how to achieve this.

    Film is more grainy, most people I know say they like this, but I think, I actually don't.

    Film is "unlimited" HD. "pixels" of film are as big as the molecules representing a colour. That's why all the old films can be put on HD. Cause they were shot on film AKA very high definition. (what about digital effects I can hear you say, those where rendered in 2K from the beginning for theatrical releases, 2K is resolution above full HD).

    24p isn't just the amount of frames, it also creates other pictures (so converting you files won't magically add that effect, you'll have to record in 24p. although making it 24p does help to make it more like film). Because of the less frames, frames are more blurred with movement. (or something like that, just search it up on google).
     
  3. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    #3
    http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/all/magic-bullet-frames/

    Keep in mind not everyone agrees that 24p is "all that" anymore. It's a legacy thing which came about because it was about the lowest frame rate (meaning less film used) to achieve smooth motion. (Motion picture cameras usually record at 24 fps, but movie projectors flash each frame twice for an effective 48 fps.)

    James Cameron and others think higher fps is better, it's easy to do nowadays electronically, and reproduces motion more realistically.

    OTOH, some say that the 24 fps "look", in addition to being psychologically associated with what most of us think of as "movies", might also have a subliminal effect in that the blurred motion artifacts (sometimes described as "slurred") more closely resemble a dream-state than reality.

    Then there's other factors like depth of field, shutter angle, etc... FWIW...
     
  4. Drugger thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thank you, that's very helpful. Unfortunately I don't currently own any of the host apps for the linked program, but I'll see what I can do. I understand the difference of opinions, in my opinion 24 is definitely just legacy-desirable. Thanks for the help.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #5

    The "look" you are after is a lot more complex then just the frame rate. The biggest thing is the size of the frame. Film frames are 24mm across. This means the lens you use is much longer. this means the depth of field is very different.
    Also the dynamic range of film is very different from video. As is color rendition. Other differences are the exposure time and this effects motion blur. But the biggest effect is the frame size and the lens.

    You see the same thing with still photos. try shooting with a small digital point and shoot and then compare the images you get with a film based 35mm camera. You can see the difference in a second and there is no frame rate involved
     
  6. Drugger thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    That all makes sense, obviously the differences are more complex than, literally, what meets the eye. This is all very helpful. Just to put the issue to rest, are there any alternatives to actually shooting with pro equipment that will achieve or even partially achieve the film look? And that wouldn't cost hundreds of dollars?
     
  7. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a

    TH3D4RKKN1GH7

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    #7
    The biggest difference is not only the sensor size but the light reaction entirely. You're going from using something thats created on natural compounds and chemically altered to something that's literally going to a pinhole to a sensor that's all electronic. Celluloid's light reaction and what you see digitally are quite different.

    Like others have said its also, the frame rates and lens. 24p accurately recreates what motion looks like. 60 fps does not, it eliminates motion blur, but motion blur is apart of human vision. Swing your hand past your face several times, it ain't as smooth as 60 fps. It's a brain thing.
     
  8. Drugger thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    What, of these factors, would make the biggest difference if implemented? Are any fairly inexpensive to implement?
     
  9. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a

    TH3D4RKKN1GH7

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    #9
    Well since I'm assuming you are staying digital (I'd reccomend to, I'm spending 75 bucks to develop 200 feet of color 16mm which is only really five minutes) the sensor size and lens would be most important. The new DSLRs that shoot video, mainly the 5D Mark II and EOS 7D have INCREDIBLY film-like image quality (7D being the one that does native 24 frames which is actually 23.976 frames per second and not 24.00) . The 7D's sensor size is roughly the same size of a motion 35mm film plate. The 5D Mark II has a BIGGER sensor than motion 35 so you can get better low light and a possible even narrower depth of field without having to sacrifice position/relative space.

    7D Example: http://vimeo.com/6551436
    5D Example: http://vimeo.com/4704533

    Sensor size comparison (7D is ASP-C, 5D is Still Full Frame)
    [​IMG]

    But back to topic at hand yes sensor size and lens are incredibly important in the digital realm. You want to get a camera with at least a 1/3 sensor size, if you can get a 2/3, or a DSLR that would be great. Also if you get a straight video camera make sure it has interchangeable lenses or you can go the 35mm depth of field adapter. That's a WHOLE OTHER discussion.
     
  10. tri3limited macrumors 6502

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    #10
    In addition to the above post, I think equipment such as jibs, cranes, tracks, stedicams etc. all add to the film look... How many times do you see a locked off shot in a film? There is normally some smooth movement of some kind. (Budget also helps!)
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    Lighting, composition, set design, wardrobe, color grading, etc., all add to the process as well.


    Lethal
     
  12. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    It's everything listed here and more. I wouldn't pick one single factor above all others, but I think most people would consider 24p and 35mm-like depth of field the primary two. But, of course, they mean nothing without good frame composition and good use of lighting... And to make the most of that you need some quality grading... And for that dynamic range is important... And we mustn't forget editing and sound design and script and acting...

    But the cheapest thing you can get right — and the thing I'm sure will make the most difference — is technique. And that's usually a case of failing and trying again.
     
  13. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    x100


    x100



    If I would have to choose one,I would say Depth of field.
    It is one of those things that create that special "look",be it in photography or cinematography.
    And it is "cheap" in that sense that you can get a Eos5/7D...
    Other option for that is getting a DOF adapter,nowadays there is quite cheap ones for sale or you could rent the "better" ones. They are a pit to use though.
    Or,just with your normal video cam, set up you shots that you use max tele and open up as much as possible.



    But in short : Get something going on in the frame.
    That is the main reason.Dialogue,action,something.
    Hell,put 2 halogens in your kitchen,put your camera on a stand,write 5 lines to your mates and make the sit down by the table.
    Voila! You have a film there.




    [​IMG]
     
  14. Pikemann Urge macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Sorry, but you're misleading everyone. This is simply not true. Frame rate is pretty much most of what the 'film look' is. And when DOPs shoot with wide-angle lenses set to narrow apertures, all of a sudden the 'film look' disappears, does it?

    No, no, no. You don't see the same thing with still photos. The smaller sensors can give a harsher image but that's about it. Downsample them and there's no difference.

    Serenity now, serenity now...
     
  15. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #15
    It depends on post production and equipment.

    Actually, those things are not necessary for some. You can stretch the budget many different ways:

    Director Robert Rodriguez stretches his budget. For example using a wheel chari instead of dolly
    http://obamapacman.com/2009/08/dire...upon-a-time-in-mexico-compose-demo-apple-mac/
     
  16. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #16
    Story, acting, blocking, lighting, and audio.

    These are the 5 things I see missing from almost all student/amateur movies. Get those down and you'll have an engaging piece no matter what frame rate you shoot with. People will want to watch it because it's good and interesting.

    24p is great, but your better off in spending time on the above skills than dumping more money on a cam to get a frame rate.
     
  17. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #17
    Don't forget other technical differences like gamma and the actual look of the film. Digital formats attempt to replicate this with adjusted gamma settings and higher grade sensors, and some are successful.

    Like everybody has said, learning your craft will take you much further than the technology will.

    There are also filters you can use in editing software to approximate the look of film, so if you've done everything else well, it's not too much of a struggle. But that polish is much tougher to get than it looks, so work at it until it looks perfect.

    As an addendum, while shaky handheld footage is in vogue in major films these days, you're better advised to stick to tripods and clean shots before you start experimenting with anything like that. Learn how to produce a polished shot first.
     
  18. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a

    TH3D4RKKN1GH7

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    #18
    Yeah I'd disagree with the remark that he's misleading everyone. I for one agree that frame rate is not everything. It's a large part of it but its certainly not the end all be all. Of course when you look at 30p footage next to 23.976 footage its much different, but again, its not everything.

    Wide angle shots on FILM and on VIDEO still look very different due to the nature of the material used to make them, one is made of natural compounds and chemical reactions, the other is essentially a machine, guessing on how to interpret light. Light is the key difference between a film and video work. I can watch a film and automatically tell when its shot on digital and when its shot on film. I can call out RED One footage from 35mm footage. Both are shot at 23.976 frames per second but they look totally different. It's all about light.

    Beyond light probably the most important thing is depth of field because its the most striking and for the most part represents high camera /lens quality equipment. My friends always say "look how blurry or how isolated that character is, that's cool." When I first showed my friends the video above I linked to "Sophia's People" the immediate reaction was, "WOW THAT LOOKS CINEMATIC" just off the first shot alone. Why is that? Well it's using a sensor bigger than a motion 35mm camera, providing better dynamic range and INCREDIBLE depth of field at a given distance.

    So yes its light, frames, and depth of field. They are all pretty equal in my book in terms of importance.
     
  19. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Dude,you´r better than jesus!

    I would be inclined to call bs on that,but you might have that ability...Ability that even many cinematographers dont have.

    Went and checked out The Curious Case With Benjamin Button with a friend of mine,a DoP. The movie came a bit from behind the trees,we hadn´t read a lot of it beforehand. Watched and enjoyed the movie and afterwards we started talking about the cinematography,obviously.
    Only days later it came clear that it had been shot with Thompson Viper cameras at 1080p!

    Add some good grading/tuning to that and the fact that the release print is made to a chemical film stock ,well, the film looked like it would have been shot directly to film.
    Fooled me.And him.
     
  20. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a

    TH3D4RKKN1GH7

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    #20
    I wouldn't even say many, there are just things you can look for. I figured Benjamin Button was shot on digital it just didn't look like film at all, mainly the hospital shots. I look for fine grain, facial light reflections, nature of the light. It helps that as a film student at SVA, I'm constantly exposed to film, and naturally as a filmmaker and this day and age, video as well. I'm always looking at the two of them together. It's very possible to be fooled these days considering how great color grading programs are as you've said.
     
  21. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #21
    Film is basically a man made concoction guessing how to interpret light as well which is why different film stocks provide different looks. In one you have a human setting up the programming and in the other you have a human setting up the chemical reaction. The idea that film is inherently right while digital is inherently wrong is misguided, IMO. We, the audience, have been condition to accept that cinema looks a certain way which is why people say video looks 'wrong' on the big screen because it doesn't fit our preconceived notions of what looks 'right.' It's not right or wrong, just different.

    And digital is just in it's infancy. People (filmmakers, studio heads, stars, etc.,) said that sound didn't belong in films, and that color didn't belong in films. Where the first attempts at talkies and color all the great? No, but the tech advanced and color movies w/sound became the norm.


    So films like Citizen Kane aren't cinematic because they use deep focus?


    Lethal
     
  22. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a

    TH3D4RKKN1GH7

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    #22
    You're assuming I have negative connotations on digital, which I don't so yeah moving on to the Kane remark. I don't really get the point of this question to be honest. In my original post I pointed out the reasoning for thought on this. Citizen Kane is cinematic for other reasons, never did I say Depth of field was the end all be all but from people's reaction to it, it seems to be synonymous with high end cinema visuals.
     
  23. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    And I think it's all much more of a hang-up for aspiring filmmakers, concerned about looking legit, than for the average audience member.
     
  24. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a

    TH3D4RKKN1GH7

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    #24
    Your opinion but I've yet to find a DP, whether indie or professional, who doesn't love him some shallow depth of field. Exception being Wally Pfister when he worked on Dark Knight using those IMAX cameras where the DOF was like SO shallow they were having to be super careful focus pulling, he still loved the image though.
     
  25. 3D0G macrumors regular

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    #25
    You know all those DVD "special features" where they show raw film footage and then the same scene as edited/processed for the movie? And the movie scene always looks darker (sort of more blue-ish/brown-ish, I guess) than the raw footage? Is that the standard movie "look" that is done in post processing? What is this post-processing called? Can anyone set me straight about this?
     

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