How to make DV look like Film

18 replies [Last post]
nitelife97
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Joined: Jan 9 2003

It IS possible I'm sure!

When you watch programmes of TV, the majority of which are shot on DV, some are shown as they appeared when filmed and others are given a film-looking effect in post that i can only describe as making the footage look less smooth and more filmy

'The Office' uses this coz you can tell by comparing the deleted scenes on the DVD with footage from the show that looks more film-like.

What programs can u use to achieve this anyone??? Premiere, after effects????

I'm sure this will help us all!

Mick

JMCP
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Joined: Nov 21 2000

Hi,

there are a number of sites with articles on this very subject. Here are a couple
http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-FAQ-etc.html#filmlook
http://www.rondexter.com/filmschool/make_video_look_more_like_film.htm
http://scs.student.virginia.edu/%7Efms-uva/professional/
http://www.dvformat.com/htm/HomeSet1.htm
(You need to select expert tips to find the making video look like film section)

Hope this is of some help.

Cheers John

rez0001
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Joined: Jul 29 2002

All great Movie like plug-ins I tried (for example latest ver. of CineLook) was really slow when rendered final output. With CineLook rendering time was about 1 frame per 3 sec on Pentium 4 1.8 GHz when working in D1 PAL resolution.

I tried this:

Put 2 same tracks on timeline. Higher track set to: Opacity about 50%, Fast Blur about 10%, also add some higher contrast.

On lower track just apply noise plug-in and try to render. A also recommend deinterlace desired video material before proceeding.

Rendering time was about 3 frames per sec.!
And result was just fantastic!

Try to experiment with it.

Rez

Nexus
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Joined: Jul 2 2002

You will find belive it or not that alot of TV you think is video is actually done on film. If you look at any rushes of film such as deleted scenes from a movie (shot on film) they still dont look like the finished product. This because the original film is colour graded and given the look the director wants when it is telecined onto video for editing. Changing video post to look like film will never look as good. it needs to be done in accquisition using filters, try tiffen they do a film look set of filters. Hope this helps.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

There's a LOT more to it that using filters. You're right that the grading is crucial, but no amount of grading can get right material that's been shot wrong. If you don't get the contrast handling (transfer characteristic, gamma) right, you can end up capturing as little as 6 stops whereas film and a properly setup decent video camera can do AT LEAST 11 stops. And that hasn't even mentioned the MTF, get that wrong and you'll never make it look like film.

matt_designer
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Joined: Apr 25 2003

There are various options available for faking that elusive "shot on film" look, mostly centering around de-interlacing your footage (i.e. turning it into progressive scan).

One thing to bear in mind is that the "frame/movie" mode of the Canon XL1 and XM2 is NOT a genuine progressive mode - it produces an approximation of deinterlaced video by offsetting the green pixels, thus filling in the field lines and making the footage appear deinterlaced. The downside: you lose resolution.

Some Sony cams have what they call a "progressive" mode at lower shutter speeds, but all this does is actually dumps one of the two interlaced fields, once again resulting in reduced resolution. So far as I know, the only true progressive-scan cam even remotely affordable to us mortals is the Pansonic DVX100...

But there is another way! You don't even have to be running AfterEffects. What you need is DV FilmMaker software, which is a small program (Mac or Windows) that properly deinterlaces your footage, without losing resolution. It even adds simulated film grain and warms up the red channel. I've run a couple of tests using the software and footage from a TRV950, and the results look like very high quality 16mm - I was amazed.

I was just wondering if anyone else had come across this little gem of a program.

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Alan

I'd go along with a DV camera covering 6 stops and film maybe up to 10 or 11 stops but I'm amazed that any ''properly seup decent video camera can do AT LEAST 11 stops''.

I have no wish to quibble with you but what sort of dv camera are you talking about? I admit I only have a Sony PD100 and a Sony VX1000 and I've just relooked at them and all I can get is 6 stops and that is with very careful indoor lighting.

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Alan

Are you out there somewhere?

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I'm here, been away for a bit.

A Digibeta 790 can do 10 stops by my measurements. Any of the current crop of HD camcorders (Panasonic 27, Sony 750/900) can easily do 10 and comfortably 11. The revised 900 can easily do 11 and might be persuaded to to 12 if the noise is kept down.

All this is from measurements, done by me, in a lab, and confirmed under field tests shot by professionals.

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
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Joined: May 3 1999

I'll add to that from home, a 790 can do 7.5 stops if you set it to BBC 0.4 gamma law. If you set the black stretch and knee optimally, you can get 10 stops because the input level that causes 100% output isn't the full range of the ccd. Setting that knee lets you capture that into the output range, and black stretch expoands the bottom end at the expense of a little noise.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Thanks for that info Alan.
I guess it is still only 6 stops for the ordinary mortals amongst us - I wonder if that range will increase over time for those ordinary DV cameras or is there a finite limitation that only cost can overcome?

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
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Joined: May 3 1999

Money's the key. The cameras with the big range cost lots and lots. Cheaper cameras have cheaper processing, and exploit the full range of the ccd to get extra sensitivity in a never ending race. Broadcast cameras are already rather too fast for sensible use, so it makes sense to limit the normal range and use the extra as headroom. But the extra processing uses bits like there's no tomorrow, for example, the Sony HDW900 has 12-bit ADCs at the head amplifiers and processes video in 22-bit form (that's 22 bits of R, 22 of G and 22 of B), all of which costs money. We're highly unlikely to see that sort of processing in any high street camera, ever. So you can really forget about getting a decent film look on any camera costing less than, say £35k.

Sorry chaps, I tells it like I sees it.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

I suppose I should thank you - but through gritted teeth you may not hear it too well.

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

My hearing's reasonable, the sound of grinding teeth travels quite well. Sorry about that.

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Alan - a long shot. You mentioned earlier that the current crop of HD cameras could handle a a 10/11 stop dynamic range, would that include the new low cost JVC GR-HD1?
I'ts only a single chip at 1/3"

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I seriously doubt it. The best cameras at this game cost oodles, the JVC is $3.5k high street at present. That puts it where the VX1000 was when it came out. So I don't expect significantly better performance than, say, PD150 or thereabouts. I had hands on one at the end of last year, and again a few days ago, but haven't had any chance to do my usual in-depth analysis (I do this professionally, by the way). I expect it to cope with about 8 stops and am prepared to be happily surprised if it does any better.

DrFox
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

Dear Alan,

I'm new to this biz, but got intrigued with the meaning of the stops?
Can you give me some light?

Tks

DrFox

DrFox

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Assuming that wasn't an intended pun.....

The aperture of the lens is calibrated in stops, the numerical value for each stop is the diameter of the iris at that setting. Since the light passing through the iris is proportional to the area of the open iris, the number sequence follows a square root pattern. Thus, for each stop value change the light doubles or halves depending on which way you go. Strictly speaking the stop value for the iris setting is F/n where F is the focal length and n is the ratio of the iris diameter to the focal length.

So, starting at F/1, where the iris diamter equals the focal length, you get F/1.4, F/2, F/2.8, F/4 etc. Each change halves the light through the lens.

In the same way, halving the exposure duration halves the light, this time on a linear scale. So if you're shooting at 50 field/s second, the exposure duration will be 1/50 second. 1/100 will halve the light, so you need to open the iris by one stop to maintain signal level.

Now, here's the hard part.

Digital cameras have a limitation that film doesn't have, the number of bits. DV records an 8-bit signal to tape, and the front end (the adc where the signal from the ccd is made into digits) is typical 8- or 10-bits. So, theoretically, DV can record up to but not beyond, 8 stops, because each bit represents a doubling of the tonal range, just like a lens stop. BUT, that assumes the camera behaves like film, and is linear in the logarithmic world (the film equivalent is the D/LogE curve). Video cameras have a gamma corrector that attempts to do this, but rarely comes near, resulting in compression of dark tones and clipping of white tones. The more expensive the camera gets, the more control you have over this, so with the cameras I routinely play with, I can set "black stretch" and "knee" controls to exopand or compress the signal at both ends, and get more stops in.

In a simulation I ran last night, using the settings I normally put into one particular HD camera, I got 12.5 stops range from a camera delivering 8-bits to tape.

It's a funny old world

mainman
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Joined: Nov 7 2000

I been playing around lately with making my dv footage look more like film, like the look of a film on DVD. I used the DVD of the matrix as a reference.

After reading posts on this forum, I understand that the biggest and most important challenge of creating that film look is at the shooting stage. The main aspect seems to be the lighting of the scene. Then the camera's depth of field needs to be taken into account, as video seems to have a wider DOF then film. So i researched and found that by zooming the camera in a little (not at the widest setting, maybe x2 or x3) this would make a shallower DOF. Also found that opening the apature and changing the shutter speed also helps to reduce DOF.

Also, shoot with a shutter speed of 1/50. This will create the motion blur that film has (well, similar)

The rest of my research was in post production. The first thing was to deinterlace the video into progressive scan footage to create that dreamy film motion. There were a few ways i did this. My first attemps were poor as the deinterlacing was actually just getting rid of 1 of the fields in the image, but this reduced the resolution. I then used the free video processing tool VirtualDub with some free filters, one of which that deinterlaces only motion areas of the footage, therefore is much better quality.

I notice that people always say to add noise or film grain to the footage, but when i watch my films like the matrix on dvd on my tv, there is no such grain that i can see, the image is grainless in my opinion. But i noticed that my dv footage shows some video niose in the image, so i wanted to get rid of this in post. After researching, it came down to the need of a temporal noise reduction filter. This worked a treat for getting ride of that noise and getting a clean picture, but does need tweaking of the settings as you will get ghosting atifacts.

I also changed the gamma of the video to bring the images more in line with film.

Then i changed the colours, since i was using the matrix as a reference, with its green tones, i tried to match this. The overall look was nice, but i wanted to do this all in premiere and not use virtualdub. So i managed to find some plugins for premiere that would allow me to do the same, but actually at higher quility. Firstly i used Reelsmart Deinterlacer for, guess what, deinterlacing the footage, and also used Vixen for both temporal noise reduction and gamma/colour correcting.

I then thought to myself that the images were too sharp and 'electronic' like. So i added a slight gaussian blur in premiere to the footage at a setting of between 0.4 and 0.6. This softened the iamges up and made then look a little more 'organic'.

Finally, i added black widescreen bars to really finish the effect.

I hope this information helps someone out, as i am personally pleased with the result.

Please email me or simply post here if you have any questions about the above.

Mainman.

[This message has been edited by mainman (edited 23 June 2003).]