Post & the DI

Back to Post & the DI...

Movie Theatre Look (9 replies and 6 comments)

Jeff609
4 weeks ago
Jeff609 4 weeks ago

Gear I Own:

BMCC 2.5k EF

Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 Art Lens

Rokinon 14mm 3.1 Cine Lens

Blackmagic SDI-HDMI 6G converter

Rode NTG2 Mic

 Behringer C2 Mic 

Zoom H6 Recorder

ND filters 2,4, and 8

Rokinon polarizer

Tiffen Pro mist 3

Davinci Resolve Lite

 I’ve been shooting with the BMCC 2.5k for a few months now. Trying my best to learn the basics. Such as framing/movement/ exposure /colorgrading etc. But I just don’t seem to get it. My footage still looks like video. I know many things come into play when your trying to make your footage look cinematic such as lighting, performance , location etc. But how can I get that almost finished look on set while filming. For example, i watch behind the scenes footage on most films. And some shots are being lit only by natural light. For example a exterior shot of a man walking on a sidewalk. U can clearly see there’s no lighting/no scrims/no reflectors/ no nothing. Just the camera and the character. And when I look at the monitor that they are using, you can clearly see that the footage of the man walking looks like the finished product. I know they colorgrade while onset to get the image,but how is it done??? I know I sound inexperienced and naive. But how can I get my image to look cinematic. I use the Blackmagic sdi to hdmi as a 3D Lut box. Since it allows you to input two 3D luts to a external monitor. I practice and practice over and over again. But I still don’t get it. What am I doing wrong. Can you please give me tips on colorgrading. 

simon m
4 weeks ago
simon m 4 weeks ago

Not Roger here, but it's hard to tell what the problem might be without any images. Maybe upload a couple of images you're struggling with and you could get specific suggestions from the forum.

jthomsg
4 weeks ago
jthomsg 4 weeks ago

I don't know what you mean by "movie theater look", but it might be that you're not filming at 24fps with 1/48 shutter speed?

Also, I'm sure a lot of cinematographers do extensive scouting work when they plan on filming exteriors, especially when it comes to using no equipment. There's this BTS footage of Ladybird, where they filmed in a garden near magic hour. Notice how there are no clouds, it's a perfect day. The lighting conditions are perfect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcDeMXXlpd4»

At 2:44

As for coloring, usually the DP will sit with a colorist to overlook the final stages of the image. And maybe someone who shoots low budget commercials will try to find the look right then and there, but a true professional will do it on camera as much as possible. 

 

David M
4 weeks ago
David M 4 weeks ago

To be honest, part of what you’re seeing is probably  just a superior image captured by superior gear. All other things being equal, a $1500 camera with a $600 lens is not going to look like a $100k camera with a $25k lens on it. 

Wouter
4 weeks ago
Wouter 4 weeks ago

It's all about exposure and development. The very basics of photography. It's no different in the digital domain, it's even more important to get it right due to the unforgiving nature of the format.

In digital terms, you have to expose the sensor correctly, record into a log/raw format and then properly transform that data for display. The easiest, head-ache free way to do it is via ACES in Davinci Resolve, as far as I'm concerned.

Better start googling!

jthomsg
4 weeks ago
jthomsg 4 weeks ago

To be honest, part of what you’re seeing is probably  just a superior image captured by superior gear. All other things being equal, a $1500 camera with a $600 lens is not going to look like a $100k camera with a $25k lens on it. 

That's not precisely true. Rachel Morrison who was nominated for an Academy Award (Mudbound), shot 'Sound of My Voice' with a Canon 7D (DSLR) in 2011 and it was a very well made film. It's really about the eye of the cinematographer, the camera isn't the culprit of anyone's inability to make images. Likewise, David Lynch shot 'Inland Empire' on a Sony PD-150. 

That equipment Jeff609 listed is very good equipment. I believe Paul Thomas Anderson used that exact camera to film 'Junun' -  a music documentary. 

You can't blame the camera. I think Jeff609 just needs to continue making stories and decide what he likes and what he doesn't like. 

David M
4 weeks ago

I’m not saying you can’t make beautiful imagery with a wide variety of cameras, but if he’s scrutinizing high budget films and comparing them back and forth to his own footage and wondering why the character of the image itself is different than his, that could be a part of what he’s seeing. Otherwise why would we ever bother with high end equipment? I do agree with everything else you say, including don’t blame the camera and continue making stories to grow style and skill.

JakeJakeJake
4 weeks ago
JakeJakeJake 4 weeks ago

One thing to consider is that DP's like Roger Deakins have been doing this for over 40 years. It takes years of practice and passion to grow and learn everything. It's experience and learning what does and doesn't work. I've been doing this just over one year full-time. Studying every single day and practicing just as much and I can see huge improvements in my own work, which proves to me that it's not something that is just learned overnight. Every time you shoot something, the goal should be to make it just a bit better than what you shot last. Over time you will most certainly see improvement. One more thing to consider is that we are our hardest critics. I am always looking at my work wishing that it was better. The key is to keep moving forward and let your passion take hold, and believe in yourself!

Wouter
4 weeks ago

^most useful comment imo

Jeff609
4 weeks ago
Jeff609 4 weeks ago

Thanks for replying guys. Yes I am very inexperienced, where I live resources like filmmaking don’t exist. I’m doing this all by trial and error. Ima try to explain what I mean by movie theatre look......people always want that blockbuster look. Many factors go into this look. Lighting, Dof, composition, performance, location, sound, etc. Not all films look the same but they all have that look. For example a film like The Matrix looks nothing like the Transformer movies. Matrix is literally a green movie, Transformers is teal and orange. They “look” different. But they both have the cinematic look..if you take a screen shot of the matrix and transformers you immediately see the quality, the cinematic look. Don’t even look actual clips of the movies, that way sound and performance and dialogue are redundant.. Just look at screenshots(attached below) They have that look. You walk in to the theatre right now. Every single film in that theatre will have that look everyone is after. Even if they don’t look same. Even if one was shot with a Alexa and another with Panavison. They still have that look that no one seems to never able to explain. I have pretty decent gear, and I’m trying and trying. Google, YouTube, forums, u name it. Maybe I should invest in some diffusion filters?? Black promist? Warm black promist? Glimmerglass? Hollywood Blackmagic? 

And by the way, their are many films who have bad actors, boring dialogue and terrible storylines but yet they still have that look ppl are after. For example This film “Checkmate”(screenshot below) was filmed with Bmcc 2.5k and bmcpc 4K with Blackmagic Pocket inserts. It’s a terrible movie, In my opinion. The acting and the dialogue sucks. And the storyline isn’t interesting. But it looks great. Looks like anyother film... they shot it in prores/video. Nikon still Lens. And I’m over here shooting in Raw with a Sigma 18-35 art lens. And I still can’t get anywhere close. I’m gonna keep practicing everyday like I’ve been doing. But more feed back will be great. Thanks guys.

 

 

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/25DDD6E0-454F-4102-B5A0-DCDBEF38BFF5.png
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/A6BF9B60-0477-4911-B3FC-55410AC400D2.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/9096CA92-53E8-4312-846C-ED8A7631C902.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/9ABE7B18-31CB-4B88-9759-049FEC66EFB0.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/71773DF4-BB00-49A5-8D38-89C71114CCB2.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/9FE20A3E-35F1-4203-A85F-1CD9EC1501A8.jpeg
David M
4 weeks ago

Can you post some stills of your own work?

Wouter
4 weeks ago

it's not so much about the grade as it is about production design/art direction... you might want to get familiar with colour matching theory

jthomsg
4 weeks ago
jthomsg 4 weeks ago

All those screenshots you posted have distinct looks, because they are actually lit using lighting equipment. I know there are videographers on youtube who post these tutorials, where they will shoot something without actually lighting anything, and they will simply tamper with the image on Adobe Premiere, and color grade it. I see you listed all that camera gear, but do you have any actual lighting kits? 

And movies like 'Transformers' are lit in a way that will make actors look far more appealing. So they tend to make the images look glossy, the colors far more intense and vivid. And the image probably looks blue, because it's a night scene. Movies tend to give night exteriors a slight bluish hue. And the green in The Matrix was meant to denote that Neo was connected to the computer program, that green fades away once he is disconnected and freed. 

Colors are also meant to have meaning, as they represent emotion.I think a good example is the opening of 'Taxi Driver' with the red lights on Travis Bickle's face.

Look at this clip from 'The Red Shoes' by Powell and Pressburger, they were masters at using color. And it's all done IN CAMERA by Jack Cardiff. From the costumes to the stage lighting and the sets, everything is designed and planned meticulously to fulfill the director's vision. 

So when you ask how you get that kind of quality into the frame of the camera, you have to realize that it takes an army of people to create the image. I think you're focusing on the wrong thing, I mean every movie has a different idea behind it, there really is no "movie theater look". 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktv3-1JTspc»

 

Jeff609
4 weeks ago

Thanks for the reply. And yes I understand lighting means everything. I don’t own any light gear yet. I did drive to NY and did a lighting workshop. But even images where no lighting was used. For instance many films tend to shoot day exteriors with nothing but natural light. Sometimes without scrims and flags. Yet they are monitoring an image that looks nearly complete. On set colorgrading? 3D luts? I want to get in the habit of doing everything on scene, in camera. As oppose to post production. I don’t plan to do this professionally nor make money. It’s fun for me/hobby. But just because I do it for fun doesn’t give me the right to make terrible material. I want to respect the process. Just a little confused.i know I sound very inexperienced and I just have a hard time explaining what I mean without sounding so naive.. once I get back home I’m the next few days. I will post some of my footage on here. .

Jeff609
4 weeks ago

Also.....You say every movie is different and your 100% right. But your looking at it as an artist. Look at it from the consumer side. An average person will be able to tell the difference between that blockbuster look that they are use to and a film that looked like video...for instance the film I mention before. “Checkmate”. First time I watched it was on Netflix. I was watching it without having any idea that I own the same gear they used. The reason I found out is because after I watched it, I thought it was a terrible film. So I did research on it to see what ppl were saying about this film that sucks. Surprisingly I discovered I own the same equipment they used. But don’t get me wrong. I know this is an art.. for example, some of the most amazing drawings were drawn with only a NO #2 pencil and a piece of paper. That doesn’t mean anyone with a #2 pencil and a piece of paper can replicate masterpieces. Same thing with filmmaking. Just because I own the same gear they used doesn’t mean I can immediately replicate that image. It’s a skill it’s an art. I understand that. I’m just looking for some direction on how it’s done. Thanks guys.

jthomsg
4 weeks ago
jthomsg 4 weeks ago

Well, you can always look up some seminars on youtube to get an idea on how professionals work and think. This is one of my favorite ones, there's another one by David Mullen ASC. You have to realize all of them have been doing this for many years, you just can't expect quick results. Someone like Roger has been shooting his entire life, film after film, and even so he's mentioned that every film is different, there's no formula to this. And even so, you can argue that cinematography isn't about making good looking images, it's about what's right for the story. 

You should watch 'The African Queen' which was shot by Jack Cardiff, the actors look absolutely horrendous, I mean they are naturally good looking people; Bogie and Katie Hepburn, but you are meant to feel the harsh sunlight, and that suffocating heat that it feels like you're suffering with them. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S8Q7t8c01Y»

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHBwZT06zR8»

Back to Post & the DI...