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Giving film look to HD with filters

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john alexander
Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 5, 2009 at 1:45:17 pm

Hello

2 questions i have..

I will be shooting a green screen with a hvx 200 at 108025p. The shot will be a mid shot to wide shot of an actress talking to camera. I wanted to loose the HD crips look and give it more of a film look. would this be possible to get this effect by using HD soft 2 filter, which is supposed to soften the image? But if so would it cause a problem using this filter while making chroma key?

Also with the HD look. would a softer effect be gained from shooting with the minipro 35 and prime lenses. as there would be no need for depth of field would anything be gained (apart from loosing light). and also would it be ok to shoot a chroma key with the minipro 35 and prime lenses?

regards..


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Todd Terry
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 5, 2009 at 2:38:43 pm

I wouldn't do either one...

Anything that is done to "soften" the image to lose what you perceive as the crispness of HD is also going to soften your edges. You want your edges to be as crisp as you can to achieve the cleanest key possible.

If you want to soften the image I would definitely do that in post. There would be a couple more steps than just softening the footage as you key it. You should composite it with your background plate first and then soften everything. If you don't want your background affected, you should use your keyed shot to create a traveling matte, and create something like an AVI of your source key that has an alpha channel. You could then soften that without having any blue or green edge bleed.

Likewise I would not use a DoF converter (I think that's what you are referring to with as a "minipro 35"... there's a Mini35 and a Pro35 but not a minipro 35). All that will do in this case is give you soft edges again. For a clean key you want a deep DoF, not a shallow one, and your native lens will give you that fine. I'd say the only reason to use a DoF converter would be if you have really great cine primes that are substantially better than your native camera lens... and if so, stop the prime down as much as you can without showing the grain to increase the DoF and keep all your edges sharp.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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john alexander
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:36:20 pm

Thanks for that!

Now they have changed and want to shoot with an all white back drop. would FX soft filters (half or 1) give a good effect here as it not a chroma key. ie to soften the look?? or would you recommend in post?

thanks?



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Todd Terry
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:56:45 pm

I would still do it in post, but that's just me.

I'm not too big a fan of on-camera filtration unless really necessary. With the exception of the occasional ND there are are usually no filters in my matte box. I would usually rather have a clean raw image and treat it later. However, as I said that is just my personal preference... there are plenty of great DPs that feel just the opposite (probably some in this forum).

If you are not longer compositing, then your DoF converter might now give you the more filmic look that you want. I personally, yes, would use my Mini35 if shooting this scenario. If it still looks too videoy you might try just putting some black hosery material over the rear of your primes, but leaving the front clean. That might give you the look that you desire.

Keep in mind that shooting practically in a big white limbo environment doesn't necessarily make it easier than shooting blue or green screen and compositing everything... especially if your wide shots are wide enough for a full-length head-to-toes view (i.e., "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac"). Those are notoriously difficult lighting situations and require some pretty darn precise DP work. I've not done tons of white limbo sets, but have done a few. I'd say with virtually every one of those even though they were shot in a practical white environment that we did end up doing some compositing anyway... filling in spots, getting rid of shadows, etc. If your needs are for the talent to be extraordinarily flatly lit, it's not that difficult... but if you want any interest in the lighting on the talent that usually creates lighting problems within the rest of the white limbo environment that must be dealt with either practically on set or in post. If your shots are somewhat tighter, then it's not too hard... just keep your talent a fair distance from the background and light them completely independently, just as if it were a keyed shot.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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john sharaf
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 5, 2009 at 5:23:06 pm

I have to agree with Todd, that with the exception of ND filters I almost never use diffusion filters in high def; if I do it's for some sort of dreamy or fantasy effect.

Even in extreme "Diva" scenarios like with Barbara Walters (just did her Oscar special again) we have given up the behind the lens stocking which we used to use in SD (with Betacams) and use no filters at all, even at 720 60p. Lighting alone creates the look. Even when we shoot SD, as we did recently with her 20/20 Patrick Swayzee special, we shot au natural (no filters) with the Sony XDCAM 510's in widescreen, although we did talk the producer into 30p frame rate which took the "hard" video look off. The upconversion process is like a filter itself, although I have to admit that the picture still looked pretty sharp.

Another thing to remember with filters in HD is that in most cases the recording is dumbing down the horizontal resolution, so the resulting picture is less sharp than what you're looking at. To really calibrate what you're getting you must look at playback.

JS



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john alexander
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 5, 2009 at 5:51:24 pm

Thanks both for your answers!

Its a tough one. i've ordered the filters now so the clients will not be too happy if there not used! i'll have to do a test. capture into final cut and have a look at the result.

With the pro 35 through, my one time using it in a studio environment i noticed it need so much light, i felt like i was over lighting the scene. it looses 1.5 stops through the adaptor i think? and then the HVX 200 panasonic p2 needs allot of light. i was always on f2 more or less?

So your not both not saying its a never do situations with the add on filters? its a personal preference, just be careful and do tests with playback before final shooting?

Thanks again..






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john sharaf
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 5, 2009 at 6:04:14 pm

I'll be very clear; never use diffusion filters for green screen or even white cyc shooting (in fact you should turn the detail down or off to minimize excessive contour on edges). It will destroy what edge sharpness/integrity that you have. On the greenscreen the composite edge will be bad and on the white cyc shots the edge will bloom. Test all you want, but it will only confirm these facts. Admit your mistake and return the filters or use on your next dream sequence or fantasy project.

JS





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Mike Smith
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 6, 2009 at 11:26:25 am

For my part, if you know and are set on the look you want, I think there's every reason to do it in camera and not rely on "fixing it in post." But it does reduced your flexibility later. And you'll need excellent monitoring on set.

Early days as a cameraman, working with an experienced DoP, we found that editors often defaulted to using the standard cover we shot as safety, rather than the more interesting takes ... prompting a consideration of when and whether to shoot safety cover at all.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 9, 2009 at 6:59:22 pm

I'm not as experienced as some of the others here, but after doing the white limbo thing with real white and with cheomakey, I still prefer shooting it chromakey and adding the white later, to me, and my limited pallete of lighting tools, it is easier to concentrate on lighting the figure properly, and putting an even wash on my green wall, than it is to balance exposure between figure and white BG. I also like the added flexibility in post of really tweaking the white to just what's needed, over having to try and modify an original white in the camera master.

I was heartened to hear that I'm not the only one who thinks "less is more" regarding filtration during the shoot. Frankly, the Red type cameras are showing the way to a future where pretty much every filter you could think of is a post production effect and not in the camera master shot. Now, if you know what you're doing with polarizers, grads and such, more power to you, but I see a trend among the young wannabees to throw a matte box and French Flags on the front of a camera, for the same reason "Tuners" put excessive spoilers, "Type R" and "Nos" stickers, a coffee-can muffler and ground effects wings on their mom's Corolla to make it seem like a "ricer". Matte boxes serve specific purposes, and should be more than a fashion accessory to make the camera "look cool". Or don't use them at all.


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Todd Terry
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 9, 2009 at 7:18:51 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Matte boxes serve specific purposes, and should be more than a fashion accessory to make the camera "look cool". Or don't use them at all."

Mine frankly rarely has a filter in it at all, maybe on occasion an ND or two. It's mostly there to control flare and hold up the eyebrow. I'm a fan of strong backlights, and considering with most all of my primes the front glass is very near the front of the barrel I sometimes need flare control.

But as for filtration, yes, less is more. I've often had to deal with footage where I said "Man, I wish they hadn't filtered that," but rarely say "Man, I wish they had filtered that." If ever.

Oh, Mark... my box does have a Panavision sticker on it. Am I trying to look too cool?


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mark Suszko
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 9, 2009 at 7:39:40 pm

Speaking of stickers, one way to tell rubes from pros is, the rubes never remove all those little colorful feature stickers from their cameras. :-)


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Robin Probyn
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:40:57 pm

Oh, Mark... my box does have a Panavision sticker on it. Am I trying to look too cool?

Not if its on a Panavision camera .. yes if its infront of a Z1.. :)



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Todd Terry
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 11, 2009 at 12:34:34 am

[Todd Terry] "my box does have a Panavision sticker on it. Am I trying to look too cool?"

[Robin Probyn] "Not if its on a Panavision camera .. yes if its infront of a Z1.. :)"

Well, it's on an XHL1/P+S Technik Mini35... so no, it's not on a Panavision camera by any stretch.

The matte box however is in front of Panavision lenses... :)



...I just wish it was on a better matte box, hoping for a swing-away soon.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Richard Herd
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 11, 2009 at 6:09:44 pm

Been wanting to ask: what medium are you capturing too?



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john alexander
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:21:01 am

1080i 25p



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john alexander
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 10, 2009 at 11:01:56 pm

Thanks for the info on the red with the filters in post.

Im glad you got the matte box thing of your chest...



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Keith McNulty
Re: Giving film look to HD with filters
on Feb 19, 2009 at 7:49:02 am

Just thought i'd mention a bit about white cyc shooting, I actually worked on one of the mac pc commercials, they used 2 bigeye 20k's (fresnels) with very large chimeras on scissor lifts as dual keys, and the cyc area was lit with about a dozen 6k spacelights (no skirts). A very simple plot easily duplicated for a smaller stage with smaller units.


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