From Noise Reduction to Film Look

Posted in cinema with tags , , , , on 19 aprile 2015 by realuca

Editing:

You need to do is drag and drop your footage into After Effects. You want to set your project settings so that you are working in a 16bit or 32bit depth. The reason you do this is so that when you add effects and grade your footage, you are not limited to the 8 bit color values (0-255).

When you add your footage to the timeline, the first thing you should do is denoise the footage. The best consumer noise removal tool out there right now is a software called Neat Video. By removing digital noise, you will somewhat mitigate the ugly digital look of your footage, and also have the ability to edit your footage more aggressively. When you denoise your footage, you introduce banding. The reason for this is that areas with subtle gradients previously had variation in the color (noise), now that the variation has been removed, those subtle gradients are more solid/constant making banding more apparent. To remedy this problem we have several options:

  1. Add color grain
  2. Blur individual channels
  3. Use the ramp scatter effect
  4. A combination of all three

I recommend playing around with all three options and seeing what produces the best results. After you have cleaned up your footage, you are ready for FilmConvert.

FilmConvert takes your DSLR footage, and transforms it to look as if the footage was shot on film stock. This is achieved by applying grain, and messing with the colors. You can use it as a stand alone software or as a plug in. The color adjustments is simply to make it look as if you shot the footage strait to a film stock and not to a digital camera and is not intended to be a substitute for color grading.

By now your footage should be free of ugly digital artifacts, have the properties of whatever film stock you chose to mimic, and ready to be color graded in a 16 or 32bit color depth.

Color Grade Your Footage

If you plan on grading in Davinci Resolve (which is free and really cool), render out your After Effects project in one of three formats:

  • DPX
  • TIFF
  • Cineform
  • ProRes
  • Uncompressed native (h.264 .MOV for Canon)

By rendering your video in DPX or TIFF, you avoid degrading your video quality via compression. Exporting DPX files is a more advanced option. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can easily screw up your files when rendering them out. I would not recommend using DPX unless you already know what it is and how to use it. TIFF files will be lossless and, like DPX files, result in extremely large file sizes. If you don’t have the hardware to handle it, opt for Cineform or ProRes. Cineform and ProRes are the two most popular intermediate codecs for amateur filmmakers. If you plan to stay in After Effects, then just leave the footage alone, proceed to the next step with your FilmConvert adjusted footage.

If you want to get even fancier, let Adobe Media Encoder handle all the encoding. In general, working in lossless is a good idea if you are doing professional/paid/commercial work. If you are uploading to Vimeo or Youtube just for non commercial reasons, it is a waste of time and resources. You would be better off working with lower quality files, and spending the saved time and headaches on shooting more footage. My recommendation is this: use cineform, or just work with the original files until the final render.

The Film Look Color:

Today everything is greenish/bluish. I think if you are going for a big budget, crime, thriller, action, or political thriller, than this look is fine. But don’t over do it on the blue/green. If you saw my film look examples or my Criterion look examples, you will see that this is not the look we are going for in most cases. The everything is blue except for skin fad is something that has only become popular in recent years. If you look at older films, you will see that they don’t have this crazy color grading. Here is what the current trend looks like:

Adding Film Grain:

After you have finished color grading your footage, you should add a little bit of extra film grain. The reason I prefer to add even more grain (remember, we dithered the footage with grain, then FilmConvert added additional grain) is because I upload my videos to the internet. And if you read my page about YouTube and Vimeo compression, you will see that when you upload your file, it gets heavily compressed. I often notice that the grain I added to my footage does not show up very well on the internet, so by adding more grain than usual, I am anticipating the effects of compression. I recommended using the film grain provided by Rgrain or Garilla Grain for this job. Both Rgrain and Gorilla Grain are cheap solutions for getting good looking grain. You get multiple grain styles packaged as video loops. By using video loops, you make rendering and editing much less stressful on your computer hardware. If you want film grain that is real and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, buy Grain35 by CrumplePop. If you want grain that is even better than Grain35, go with CineGrain or IndieScans. CineGrain and IndieScans provide robust packages of very high quality film grains that are very easy to edit. Unfortunately their prices are too steep for amateur filmmakers working with tiny budgets.

See more on filmbrute

Slow Motion & Flickering >> Red Epic vs Alexa

Posted in cinema with tags , , , , , on 18 aprile 2015 by realuca

Light Requirements

Just because your camera is shooting slow motion doesn’t mean that it’s magic.  Just like any other frame you’re putting together, it needs light.  The higher your frame rate, the more light it needs.  This translates into the need for fast lenses, well lit areas, and higher ISO.  I find myself in a shooting situation where the production is asking for 300fps with the RED Epic and there’s little to no light in the scene.  If you don’t have proper lighting for your slow motion shot, you should expect a corresponding result…

Let’s do some quick math.  If you’re shooting a 180° shutter (standard for most cinematic shooting), your shutter speed will be 1/48 for regular 24fps shooting.  Correspondingly, your light needs increase as you raise your frame rate:

24fps = 1/48 (benchmark light level)
48fps = 1/96 (1 stop light loss)
60fps = 1/120
96fps = 1/192 (2 stops light loss)
120fps = 1/240
192fps = 1/384 (3 stops light loss)
240fps = 1/480
300fps = 1/600 (just under 4 stops light loss)

Know your shutter angles

and to what extent you want them for your shots and the corresponding amount of motion blur – this can help you in a pinch.  If you’re shooting 300fps and can pull off 360° shutter angle instead of 180° – this will allow in twice the amount of light.  When you’re talking about extremely high frame rates – this can be a true blessing as long as your image works out.  Do some tests at 360° and review the footage.  If those motion blur for your action is acceptable, you just gained a full stop off light compared to 180° shutter.

Flickering Lights

If you’re working around practicals that are fluorescents, there’s a good chance you’re going to see flickering.  If you’re shooting narrative and it’s not horror genre, this is very likely to be unwanted.  When it comes to current cycles and older wiring, fluorescents are most often not flicker free.  Bring your own lights.  Do camera tests to make sure things look how they should in playback.  Even flicker-free HMIs can fall short when it comes to shooting high speed.  Their flicker free ballasts usually have a switch between flicker-free and normal running and when switching you will see a reduction – but often still see a rolling band through the footage.

See more on mitchmartinez

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Natural Light vs Artificial Light

There is two simple equations to give you rough calculation of how much light you’ll need. X (special frame rate) divided by Y (natural frame rate – 25 fps) = Z (how many times more light you need) So In our case: X (200) divided by Y (25) = Z (8) You’ll need roughly eight times as much light as you would shooting at 25 fps. Also worth knowing is that every time you double the frame rate you have to go up one f-stop. So 25 fps to 50 fps equals 1f-stop up , 50 to 100 equals 2 f-stops up, 100 to 200 equals 3 etc.

Shutter Speed

In the process of setting up the camera each setting play its role. But there is one I haven’t mentioned until now. Shutter Speed. The default setting on the RED is 23,98 fps time base so don’t forget to change it to 25 or you’ll have trouble with the shutter speed and in post production, especially if you’re used to working at 25 fps time base.

When you shoot at 25 fps the shutter speed is 1/50, but when you change the frame rate to 200 fps the RED automatically sets the shutter at 1/200. That could work but I prefer to double up 1/400 in order get ride of the blurring caused by camera movement or camera shake. In addition, it gives me a more precise focus point and an image with more peaking and detail as well as compensating for any faults which might appear due to the focal length. When you shoot at this frame rate, you cannot be out of focus.

These settings continue to make the camera less sensitive. So it allows me to compensate by re- opening the diaphragm a little. It re-establishes some depth of field in the shot (so that not everything is in focus, even with the 18 mm). It also allows me to take pity on my FP (not that he needs it) but it’s a team effort after all! Which is how we were able to pull off a tracking shot using an 85mm lense on a homemade dolly.

See more on raindance

  • Flickering. Artificial lighting is much more likely to flicker at higher frame rates; always try to shoot under bright daylight or continuous studio lighting when possible. See the tutorial on flicker-free shutter speeds for additional tips.
  • Motion Blur. Viewers typically expect to see minimal motion blur with slow motion, so shutter angles smaller than the standard 180° may be necessary. However, without extra lighting this may require larger apertures and higher ISO speeds, which may come at the expense of sharpness and noise.
  • Detail. Shooting at very high frame rates typically requires lower resolution. It’s therefore more critical than ever that these images have the highest quality possible. For example, light permitting, stopping the lens down by 1-2 stops will improve sharpness. In post, using the unsharp mask and denoise tools can also help. Most importantly though, use the highest quality lenses available.
  • Wide Angles. With RED cameras, shooting at lower resolutions means the outer portion of the frame gets cropped out — causing the image to appear as if it were taken with a longer focal length. For example, when shooting at 2K as opposed to 5K resolution, the effective focal length will increase by 2.5X (causing a 20 mm lens to appear as if it were 50 mm). See the interactive RED crop factor tool to see what happens with your specific settings.

Alternatively try Twixtor and Flicker Free plug in for After Effects

Three Point Lighting & the magic of Key Light

Posted in Cinema e Fotografia with tags , , , , , , , on 5 aprile 2015 by realuca

The Key Light

The key light is vital for video production lighting: it is placed about 45 degrees to the subject, either left or right, usually above and aimed down between 30 and 45-degrees. It is the dominant light. Position this light as you would if it were the only light you had. From this, you’ll have defining shadows on the face which would be lost if the light were on a similar axis to the camera, but you’ll notice that, in a room with no other lighting, it will create deep, dark shadows. Toning down those shadows is the job of the next light.

The Fill Light

The fill is usually two or three stops dimmer than the key light, and its placement is at a near 45-degree angle on the opposite side of the camera, often on a level with the subject’s face. The fill light is a reaction to the key light, and its ultimate placement depends on the function of the fill – what shadows does it create? Where do you need to reduce them for better video production lighting?

The fill light can be the same size as the key light in wattage and bulb size, but you might then place it further away than the key. Watch as the fill drives back the shadows; though the lighting is not nearly as harsh, these two together still present a very two-dimensional view. The job of the third and final light is to create a sense of distance between the subject and the background, giving an illusion of a third dimension on the screen.

The Back Light

The back light, sometimes called a rim or shoulder light, is aimed at the subject’s back, and, like the key light, it is usually 45-degrees off the axis and shines down upon the subject. This creates a bright rim around part of the subject, creating an outline which then appears to separate the shoulders from the background. The back light should be at least as bright as the key, often brighter.

See more on videomaker

Flat Lighting

Because this light is a very flattering light, flat lighting is used primarily in head shots and glamour editorial shots.

Butterfly Lighting

This lighting pattern is usually used in beauty shots when a reflector is added underneath to soften the shadows.

Loop Lighting

Because the light pattern comes from this angle, it creates a more dramatic look with a shadow that falls off the nose pointing down to one side. The subject will have more light on one side of their face. You can use this to your advantage if the subject has a “good” side or a preferred side of their face by lighting that side.

Rembrandt Lighting

Rembrandt is a stronger angle than loop lighting, making it look more dramatic. The more shadow we add to our subject and the more we turn our light away from flat lighting the more dramatic our lighting becomes. It is used heavily in all types of portrait photography including athletes. It is also the type of lighting we used in the video above!

Split Lighting

If flat and loop lighting fills in wrinkles, split lighting will exaggerate them. This lighting pattern is used a lot in athletic portraits just for that purpose. It exaggerates their muscle definition and body features.

See more on slrlounge

Curiosity of photos shows.. the dream of cinema reveals

Posted in Cinema e Fotografia with tags , , , , , , on 5 aprile 2015 by realuca

Photographers see the world differently. On road trips we see ‘stop the car now’ moments that would never draw attention from 99.999% of the population. On a nature walk, we go from standing to laying horizontal on the ground. At airports, in buildings, we notice chairs, patterns and lines. We see literally and abstractly. We see character in peoples faces, wildlife emotion, beautiful bokeh, color, with perspectives that cross the gamut. We see in color and black and white. Photography is a way of observing, absorbing and forever (thanks to digital and photograph restoration) storing a moment.

  • Happiness
  • Feeding the Addiction
  • Solitude
  • “I wish I could do something”
  • Explore
  • Thinking
  • Noticing Details
  • Happy Bubble

See more on lightstalking

“Hey, are you a dreamer? I haven’t seen too many around lately. Things have been tough lately for dreamers. They say dreaming is dead, no one does it anymore. It’s not dead it’s just that it’s been forgotten, removed from our language. Nobody teaches it so nobody knows it exists. The dreamer is banished to obscurity. Well, I’m trying to change all that, and I hope you are too. By dreaming, every day. Dreaming with our hands and dreaming with our minds. Our planet is facing the greatest problems it’s ever faced, ever. So whatever you do, don’t be bored, this is absolutely the most exciting time we could have possibly hoped to be alive. And things are just starting.”

See more on nofilmschool

An Imaginary Conversation Between Two Masters of Painting – UNDERSTANDING THE PAINTING: THE DEATH OF SOCRATES

Posted in Cinema e Fotografia with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 4 aprile 2015 by realuca

We often get too set in our ways and our conversation remains in the same context, which can blind us to seeing the pitfalls we create for ourselves. In general, using other photographers’ aesthetics, judgements, and sensibilities should make us think twice, thrice, … Yet, in the rush of creating the next “noticeable” image on the Web, we use presets, filters, brushes, and a whole lot of them without thinking twice.

In fact, there are sites designed specifically to allow the photographers to apply a collection of filters to have that “different yet very familiar” look, and people go there in droves to mutilate their photographs in an effort to get their 15 seconds of fame and countless “likes”.

Instead of trying to make the same point in the same context, which will be quickly dismissed, below is an imaginary conversation in a different context: two painters talking about the newfangled tools.

Let’s listen… Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin are chatting…


“Vincent do you feel you are not creative at times, frustrated that others can produce very creative work and you spin your wheel?”

“Well, who doesn’t? But, we keep trying.”

“Wait, there are ways to create highly creative work with little effort, you won’t believe how easy these new add-ons and brush tools are and how creative the results look.”

“Oh, well, go on …”

“Take a look at the creative still life I painted. I started with what you see above, very dull and not creative enough, don’t you think? I even considered adding more texture, like wood, or dried leaves. I think I painted that orange too close to the top edge, but …”

“Get to the point Paul!”

“Then, I remembered reading an ad on the bar wall that promised ‘Amazingly creative results in two easy steps’”

“And you believed that?”

“Sure, look, I got a creative brush tool made by a Frank Talius. It creates amazingly creative wispy things on your painting; you could have used it in your Starry Night, much faster and more creative. It would have taken you days to produce the same effect.”

“Are you serious?”

“But wait, there’s more! I also found out about an add-on canvas that gives you a Monet-like reflection on water of your own painting with ripples no less; no extra work needed and very creative I must add. Look at the result after two easy steps, amazing or what?”

“Are you serious Paul? What do you call this?”

“‘Amazingly creative results in two easy steps.’ What do you think?”

“And, people think I’m crazy?”

See more on petapixel

What can we learn about filmmaking from a piece of Neoclassic art? Well I guess not a whole lot – except for concepts of composition, lighting, blocking and a good sense of art history. Nerdwriter1 digs into this Jacques-Louis David masterpiece.

See more on filmmakeriq

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