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the "film look"

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citizendanny
the "film look"
on Feb 24, 2007 at 12:53:44 am

I noticed that primetime shows(eg. CSI or Seinfeld,etc.) have a "film look" even thought they're shot on video. Daytime soaps and talk shows and news have the cheap video look. So what camcorders are the primetime shows using? Even old shows(Magnum p.i., Twin peaks, etc.) have the film look - even though this was predigital, so were they shot on video and what camcorders where they using? I was wondering what camcorders I should use to get the film look(names of modern digital ones and even old ones using video tape if possible). Any answers would be appreciated. Thanks.



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Tim Kolb
Re: the "film look"
on Feb 24, 2007 at 6:10:19 am

Primetme television has been historically shot on film...only very recently did some primetime programming start to move to HD video.

The camcorders used would be units like the F900 Sony HDcam...$100,000 USD without a lense, which isn't cheap either...I thought I saw somewhere that the Panasonic Varicam just reduced it's price to $45,000 USD from 65,000 USD...but I could have that one wrong.

Video cameras that shot at 24fps, or any emulation thereof have only existed for about 5-6 years.

Film has a dynamic range that video still struggles to imitate, and since you are shooting positive with video as opposed to negative with film, the whites get the attention now whereas for film, the blacks were the key to intended exposure.

Bottom line...if it looks like film, it's still very likely that it's film...




TimK,
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Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
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tony salgado
Re: the "film look"
on Feb 24, 2007 at 3:09:21 pm


FYI CSI and Seinfield shoot on film not HD. Maybe that has alot to do with that mysterious sought after "film look".

Digital or non digital cameras are only part of the formula needed to create an appealing "film look" the primary part of the formula is the skill and talent of the DP and crew via motivated lighting etc.

Equipment without creative talent buys you nothing in the end.



Tony Salgado


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Tim Kolb
Re: the "film look"
on Feb 24, 2007 at 7:27:37 pm

[tony salgado] "Equipment without creative talent buys you nothing in the end."


If you remember nothing else from this thread...remember this.




TimK,
Director,
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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P. J. in Hollywood
Re: the "film look"
on Apr 15, 2007 at 9:37:07 pm

You couldn't be more right, Tony.

Guys with their video cameras (with three lights) and their NLEs trying to get that "film look" should learn that lesson. Successful DPs have spent years learning their kraft in a collaborative study.

All would do well to study the basics of art, lighting, composition, etc. After all, basics are basics for a reason.

I believe in lots of study, practice and mentoring...especially mentoring. Even then, it takes years or hard work to become an artist.

Even after all of that, the arts of sound design and story telling are other chapters altogether.

Best wishes,

P J





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Nate Weaver
Re: the "film look"
on Mar 7, 2007 at 7:03:01 am

[citizendanny] "Even old shows(Magnum p.i., Twin peaks, etc.) have the film look - even though this was predigital, so were they shot on video and what camcorders where they using?"

Those shows were shot on 35mm.

New website, new work online:
http://www.nateweaver.net


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rmherd
Re: the "film look"
on Mar 15, 2007 at 7:02:11 pm

Pick up this month's American Cinematographer. There's a long article about it.

RH


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P. J. in Hollywood
Re: the "film look"
on Apr 16, 2007 at 2:21:54 am

You are asking the million dollar question that requires a lot of study in order to understand. Once again, its all down to basics. Remember, however, as stated before, the capture medium is only a small part of it. One must understand the entire field of motion picture production and story telling. Don't get stuck on the "film look" to the exclusion of the rest.

In order to begin to understand a bit about the two different mediums, you must study their characteristics.

Motion picture negative film has many times the exposure latitude that video as well as other different characteristics. Each film is different from the other in many ways.

Trying to get the elusive "film look" is dealing with many factors such as, but not limited to: exposure latitude, gamma curve and much more.

Here is a link to the Kodak web site technical data for Kodak Vision 2250T motion picture film, just as an example:

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/products/curves/c5218.jhtml

The oft discussed depth of field issue has to do with the size of the film (16mm or 35mm) or the imaging chip (1/3", 1/2", 2/3", etc.) and the lens selection in conjunction with lens aperture; another field of study oft neglected by videographers. Many people think of a shallow dept of field as the "film look".

Beyond that is contrast and lots more. Each film has different factors. How the film is exposed and developed also has an effect on the film look, not to mention what is done to in editing.

There is lots of data you can study; e.g. Characteristic curves-camera stops. Once you understand the film's characteristics, study video.

Pick your video camera of choice, go to the manufacturer's web site and down load the technical data on that video camera. Compare that with the characteristics of film.

Here is a link to a site that may give you general information on video vs. film characteristics. http://www.myvtp.com/htm/vidfilm.htm

For product-specific information on a high-end product (Sony BVW-F900), here is a link to an article entitled "Sony HDCAM:EXPOSURE LATITUDE - ISSUES OF DYNAMIC RANGE" by Laurence J. Thorpe. I know that this ($100,000 camera) is beyond the scope of most videographers, but perhaps the data may be of at least some use to you.

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Professional/production/productsite/files/24PTechn...

Ultimately, one must understand each medium and make one's decisions.


Hope this gives you a start in your journey.

PJ






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