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Cinematography and Color Grading

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Bradley Stearn
Cinematography and Color Grading
on Dec 18, 2011 at 9:48:03 am

What do people think of my cinematography in this video?
And also what do people think about the Magic Bullet Mojo color grading? Do you think it looks like a Hollywood film?



Thank you

Red Spectrum pictures


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Kevin Camin
Re: Cinematography and Color Grading
on Dec 19, 2011 at 4:54:47 pm

I don't know what to say about the cinematography. You shot a lot of b-roll type footage on an overcast day; to me it's not particularly engaging out of context. It would be nice to see how it fits into telling a story.

The first two shots work with the Magic Bullet presets. I won't go so far as to say it looks like a Hollywood movie. I think most serious color graders don't use preset software. They manually massage the picture into their vision with pro software; much like one using Photoshop uses masks, adjustment layers, blending modes, etc. to target parts of the picture with a fine brush. Preset software is often heavy handed and lacks secondary correction control. I think this preset software is for aspiring filmmakers or for working professionals who wear many hats at a company and who are not color grading specialists, but are sort of required to do some type of grading--this is usually not high end stuff.

Best regards,

Kevin Camin


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Todd Terry
Re: Cinematography and Color Grading
on Dec 19, 2011 at 5:08:50 pm

I agree with much that Kevin said.

You asked what we thought of your cinematography. Cinematography is, to a degree, concerned with things like frame composition, focal length selection, etc., although those parameters are shared with and often dictated by the director. Cinematography is much more about lighting... crafting lighting, painting an image, and molding it to do what you want it to do.

All of your footage appeared to be shot with just pure available light, unmodified in any way. It's not to say that real cinematographers don't do tons of that... they do, especially on wide or distant exteriors where they are not able to modify available light. But it also doesn't really let us know if they are really good cinematographers or not in those instances, and the same goes for your footage since it all appeared to be unmodified available light.

As for the finish effects... yes, presets are a good starting point, but not always a good ending point. The Magic Bullet effects (and I think MB is a great tool, use it all the time) are cool, but their presets are VERY heavy-handed... much more so than you'd usually see in a finished film. Go in and learn what all the various parameters in each Magic Bullet look does, learn to tweak them, make them more subtle when needed, and I think you'll come up with a result that is a lot prettier, doesn't detract from the final image, yet adds to it.

Keep at it!

T2

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



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Richard Herd
Re: Cinematography and Color Grading
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:23:00 pm

It's really tough to just go shoot. You need some kind of plan, story, or theme. Otherwise the result is mediocre at best. Keep in mind, Hollywood Cinematographers get to shoot well-written stories starring well-trained actors.


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