My attempt at making DV look like film

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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.

here is a before and after comparison

Mainman.

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

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

Alan McKeown
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Joined: May 9 2001

Mainman,

Quote:
“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”.

This seems strange, as increasing the focal length of the lens (and increasing the camera to subject distance by the same factor to keep the same image size) should not significantly alter (reduce) the depth of field.

Are you sure the depth of field was reduced in this way?

Alan

mainman
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Joined: Nov 7 2000

Yes, I have read a number of pages about it, the more your camcorder is zoomed in, the less depth of field there is. I can see it is true in my tests where i film a head in front of a background at the cams widest angle and the background is in focus, but if i zoom the cam in say x3 and move the cam away from the subject, the background is then out of focus while the head is clearly in focus, which in my opinion, gives a much more filmic effect.

Hope i have been clear,
Mainman

RichardB
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Joined: Aug 27 1999

Zooming in will decrease Depth of Feild regardless of where the subject is: think of it this way

Wide lens = wide angle= more light= sharper focus

while:

Long lens = less angle = less light = less focus

Why do you think commercials directors shoot CU on long lenses from miles away? They want that soft bg/ skinny subject look.

HTH
Rb

mainman
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Joined: Nov 7 2000

RichardB,
thanks for backing up my claim, i knew i wasnt talking trash....hehe.

Although im sure Alan has a valid point and would like him to explain further.

Here is another post from a different forum on the subject that says about the zooming/dof thing http://pub157.ezboard.com/ffilmnetfrm139.showMessage?topicID=9.topic

read bwalsters comments

Cheers,
Mainman.

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

Alan McKeown
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Joined: May 9 2001

On the topic of attempting to achieve maximum differential focus effect with a small-format video camera.

It is, I think, well recognised that the smaller the format the more difficult it is to achieve a really substantial differential focus effect.

The situation with depth of field is well documented.

(1) Depth of field depends inversely on lens aperture. The wider the aperture the less the depth of field.

(2) Depth of field is inversely related to format size. Changing from a telecined 35 mm motion picture camera (20.1 mm X 15.1 mm) to a camera with a (1/3)” sensor (4.4 mm X 3.3 mm) (as used in many consumer video cameras) will increase the depth of field by a factor of 20.1 / 4.4 = 4.57 (for nominally the same picture from the same viewpoint).

(3) For a given format size, the depth of field is essentially independent of the lens focal length (for the same magnification and F-stop). So the depth of field cannot be significantly reduced by increasing the focal length of the lens.

These factors are covered in Alan Robert’s paper on depth of field, to be found at: http://www.dvdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000032.html

While all this is true of depth of field, most 35 mm still camera users will be well aware that a long focal length lens (say 135 mm upwards) does give a much more marked differential focus effect than a wide-angle or normal 50 mm lens (when the magnification and F-stop are kept the same)
How so if the depths of field are the same?

The answer lies, not in the depth of field region but rather in what happens in the region well outside (behind) the region considered to be in focus.
Using ray optics for a simple double-convex lens
It may be shown that:

c = (f R M^2) / N{ M R + f(1 + M)}

where:
c = “disc of confusion” (blur circle) diameter, being the image of a point distance R behind the focussed object
f = focal length of the lens
R = distance behind the focussed object
M = magnification
N = numerical aperture = f / a
a = diameter of lens aperture

As R approaches infinity, c approaches C where:

C = f M / N

This shows that in the very far distance behind the focussed object (ie. when R is very large), the blur circle diameter (C) depends on the lens focal length (f). In other words, long focal length lenses throw the far background more out of focus than do short focal length lenses.

Rearranging the first equation,
we may express R as a function of c :

R = (c f N) (1 + M) / (f M^2 - c N M)

If you plot “blur circle diameter” (c) against “distance behind the focussed object” (R) for various values of focal length (f) (all with fixed values of M and N), then, when c is less than say 5 times the value of c which defines the depth of field (DoF) limit, the graphs (one graph for each value of f) are essentially coincident, confirming that the depth of field (behind the focussed object) is indeed independent of focal length.

It is only when the value of c exceeds say 10 times the DoF defining limit that the graphs begin to diverge, ie. the blur circle diameter begins to show some dependence on focal length. This is a long way outside the depth of field region.

HTH

Alan

mainman
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Joined: Nov 7 2000

Thanks Alan,
Some very interesting and technical information there, you really know your stuff. Even if the depth of field is only reduced slightly, i still think that regardless of DOF, the shot just looks much more filmic when not shot at the cameras widest zoom setting. I feel that if shooting a film on DV, i would never film a shot at the cams widest angle unless i really had to due to filming in tight spots.

Thanks for the info,
Mainman

Alan McKeown
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Joined: May 9 2001

Quote:
“i still think that regardless of DOF, the shot just looks much more filmic when not shot at the cameras widest zoom setting.”

Yes, throwing the far background out of focus by using a longer lens focal length will go at least some way to mimicking the differential focus effects available with large formats.

However, what you will not be able to do by using a long focal length lens on your small-format video camera, is reduce the depth of field. This means (among other things) that you will not be able to focus on one object (an actor, say) while throwing a nearby object (another actor?) out of focus. And of course you will not be able to “pull focus” from one object to the other in the classic “Hollywood” manner.

Alan

RichardB
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Joined: Aug 27 1999

hang on a second...

'Throwing a background out of focus by using a longer lens' is EXACTLY what we're talking about.. that's what I've always referred to as depth of feild: broadly put the decreasing feild of focus due to the increasing apeture needed with a long lens.

At the end of the day, this is what mainman is saying he's doing: shooting with a long lens to keep the b/g out of focus.
Now I've read through Alans post, and was interested in the part which ruled out focal length in the equation, on the other hand I've also loaded up my camera and, just to prove it to myself, shot off still of the same object size at wide and long lens settings, and yes the bg went from sharp to blurred.

So, either we're not all using the same terminology, or I've got a Magic Camera
I guess as long as we get the effect we want, it doesn't really matter.

Rb

RichardB
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Joined: Aug 27 1999

PS mainman... I'm not getting the posts you put up showing the results of all your work... not sure what the policy is here for posting pics, I have seen some but not many: maybe you could host and link them, or just drop me a couple by email.

Be interested to see them

Rb.

tim.callaghan
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Joined: Apr 4 2001

I think where the images are hosted they are locked to the site, as to prevent file/bandwidth leeching. Mainman won't have any problems cos the images will be cached locally on his machine.

Right click on the image placer, properties, and copy and paste the url into a new browser window, and et voila.........

Cheers

Tim

mainman
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Joined: Nov 7 2000

Yo,
sorry about the pics, but not sure where to host them.

'I guess as long as we get the effect we want, it doesn't really matter' - Great line, thats hits it right on the head. Still, i wish i had a real 35mm film cam and crew and shit..hehe

Mainman

Alan McKeown
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Joined: May 9 2001

RichardB,

Quote:
“'Throwing a background out of focus by using a longer lens is.... what I've always referred to as depth of feild: broadly put the decreasing feild of focus due to the increasing apeture needed with a long lens.”

Depth of field (DoF) is defined to be, to quote Alan Roberts:
“the range of object distances, from the lens, within which everything appears to be in focus in the image.”
That, in essence, has always been the definition of DoF, right from the dawn of photography, when it was a major concern due to the very large formats and insensitive photographic emulsions then employed.

Depth of field as a topic is primarily concerned with ensuring that the wanted part of the image is in focus. It is not directly concerned with the “artistic” desire to deliberately throw certain parts of the image out of focus. However, for those “artists” who wish to do the latter, the DoF is of importance as it determines how close in the object space the focussed plane can be to an intentionally de-focussed plane.

If you read Alan’s article on DoF you will see that he concludes that DoF does not depend on the lens focal length. To quote Alan again:
“One conclusion is clear; if we are using a zoom lens, then it doesn't matter whether we get close up with a wide angle, or a long way away with a telephoto. Provided we keep the image size fixed, and the same F stop, the depth of field will be constant irrespective of focal length (since F=a/f).”
This is in agreement with my equation.

Should you still not believe Alan Roberts or myself, you can check this near constancy of depth of field with varying lens focal length, by using depth of field tables (remember to keep the image size fixed).

Throwing the far background more out of focus by using a longer focal length lens is not the same effect as reducing the depth of field.

Alan

cstv
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Joined: Jul 26 2002

so you're both right, just working from different definitions of depth of field...

i suppose in that case that you can use focal length to give the illusion of a shallower depth of field, but it requires careful positioning of objects in the frame...

i've often wandered by using my 2x suplimentary lens sometimes give me a better "depth of field" and sometimes not... now i know!
thanks guys!

btw, this issue of imaging medium size is exactly why all these cute little palmcorder style cams are completely useless for doing anything remotely artistic... also why getting professional stills shots is almost impossible using a consumer digital stills cam - it's al very well having 6 million pixels, if you cram them all on to a pin head then images just look cheap...

mark.

Alan McKeown
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Joined: May 9 2001

Just to illustrate how the depth of field varies with changing lens focal length for a typical case, with image size and F-stop held constant:

Conditions:
35 mm still picture format
Lens Aperture f / 2.8 (ie. F-stop = 2.8)
F-stop kept constant.
Image size kept constant (by adjusting the lens to focussed object distance as tabulated)

Lens focal length.....Focussed object distance.....Depth of Field

24 mm..................... 0.96 m ......................... 295 mm

50 mm..................... 2 m .............................. 290 mm
135 mm.................... 5.4 m ........................... 288 mm

500 mm.................... 20 m ............................ 288 mm

1000 mm................... 40 m ............................ 288 mm

The Depth of field calculator used may be found at:
http://www.silverlight.co.uk/resources/dof_calc.html

Alan

tony23
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Joined: Aug 27 2002

interesting stuff. i find After Effects works well - using various film effects plug ins and like u said with a little blur here and there etc...

however...the best results i've had are from actually shooting on film. i bought a good super 8 camera (and a near top of the range braun nizo can still be found second hand for about 300) and then got the films transfered to mini DV at widescreen centre, who do a basic service...although u can also go to soho facilities houses and get a very expensive but totally amazing popvideo/ad type service...

anyway if you shoot on film then guess what...it really really looks like film..it also looks a hundred times more beautiful than video.

however the best thing i've discovered about shooting on film is that becuase the super 8 films are only 3 minutes long, you dont end up with tons of footage. having filmed on video for a while, i've found that its too easy to shoot an hour or so of footage which can take weeks or months to edit. granted i only work on very personal 'arty' and music projects but ive found that 'less is more' and also found that the near antique super 8 cameras are more of a joy to use than even the most expensive video cams and also elicit a better reaction from the public...

if you point a video camera at people say at a party or protest or public gathering then they almost treat you like you're from tv or some kind of sinister amateur perv...however when you start poking a super 8 around, everyone seems to treat you better...they have a respect and curiosity for the old tech or the romance of film...who knows.

i also like the fact that when using super 8 and the basic kodachrome 40 film you have to wait until the light is right...unlike video you can't just turn it on regardless...i found this makes for a more thoughtful and meditative approach to film-making.

so thats it really. granted this might not be the right approach for everybody but i started wanting to make video look like film and now i use film. and for me, anyway, there's no going back. i only use my video camera now as part of my editing system.

hope thats helpful to someone.

Paul Masters
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Joined: Oct 24 2003

quote:Originally posted by tony23:

interesting stuff. i find After Effects works well - using various film effects plug ins and like u said with a little blur here and there etc...

however...the best results i've had are from actually shooting on film. i bought a good super 8 camera (and a near top of the range braun nizo can still be found second hand for about 300) and then got the films transfered to mini DV at widescreen centre, who do a basic service...although u can also go to soho facilities houses and get a very expensive but totally amazing popvideo/ad type service...

anyway if you shoot on film then guess what...it really really looks like film..it also looks a hundred times more beautiful than video.

however the best thing i've discovered about shooting on film is that becuase the super 8 films are only 3 minutes long, you dont end up with tons of footage. having filmed on video for a while, i've found that its too easy to shoot an hour or so of footage which can take weeks or months to edit. granted i only work on very personal 'arty' and music projects but ive found that 'less is more' and also found that the near antique super 8 cameras are more of a joy to use than even the most expensive video cams and also elicit a better reaction from the public...

if you point a video camera at people say at a party or protest or public gathering then they almost treat you like you're from tv or some kind of sinister amateur perv...however when you start poking a super 8 around, everyone seems to treat you better...they have a respect and curiosity for the old tech or the romance of film...who knows.

i also like the fact that when using super 8 and the basic kodachrome 40 film you have to wait until the light is right...unlike video you can't just turn it on regardless...i found this makes for a more thoughtful and meditative approach to film-making.

so thats it really. granted this might not be the right approach for everybody but i started wanting to make video look like film and now i use film. and for me, anyway, there's no going back. i only use my video camera now as part of my editing system.

hope thats helpful to someone.

Hi im new to all this, was wondering wether or not you transfer your film footage to computer and then edit?
Kind Regards
Paul Masters

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Trust the Alans on this, the maths is right. DoF is not a function of distance. It depends on lens aperture (/F number), total image magnification, and the MTF of the overall system. Nothing else comes into it.

BUT, you can change the way you use it. By staying back and using a long lens, yoyu "flatten" the field, i.e. distort perspective such that fore- and back-ground seem close to objects in the focus plane, whereas going in close with a wide lens to get objects in the focus plane the same size, you get fore- and back-ground objects at very different sizes. That may change toy way you perceive DoF, but it doesn't alter the DoF itself.

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

FOund the pictures they are here.
http://www.geocities.com/cgi_wizard/matrixafter.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/cgi_wizard/matrixbefore.jpg

use right click and properties to get location.

The DOF i have used on many weddings to get that nice OOF look, mainly with zoom, or up the shutter cl;ose the iris and the same effect can be achieved. If you have ever shot at night with a camera you will know how hard it is to focus, and even worse with zoom.