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what makes feature films better?

Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 7:26pm

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destron

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I was wondering, you see in special features and stuff on movies, the finished movie has a different quality that a regular camcorder; is this because of the camera or software used in post-pro?
Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 7:32pm

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zguy95135

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I believe for the most part its the grading, it can make all the difference. After that would be better quality cameras with MUCH better lenses then normal mini DV.
Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 7:41pm

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destron

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thanks. but if you look on, say, the special features on the LoTR extended edition, there'll be somebody recording a filming session with a camcorder, and then they'll look over at the preview booth (or whatever it's called), and it'll look so much better. does that actually have something to do with the lenses? it looks more as if the final film is about 1 or 2 FPS slower than the camcorder.
Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 7:42pm

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Arktic

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Feature films are shot on film, not video.

This is what accounts for the differences in the way they look. Search the forums or google for more info on the differences between film and video.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 7:53pm

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destron

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duh. that makes sense. shoulda thought of that. you da man, arktic!
Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 10:20pm

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bBrown

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The FXHome filters can make DV look pretty Movie-Theater-Style professional though, can't they?
Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 10:48pm

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Arktic

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They can alter certain aspects of footage to give it a more 'film look', yes. And for grading such as that, they're the best tools I've ever used.

For more info, search the forums - there was a rather detailed topic recently about simulating filmlook.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Fri, 21st Apr 2006, 11:28pm

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starfan

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i think the name of the film used is alled super 8. i believe
Posted: Sat, 22nd Apr 2006, 2:35am

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Hendo

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starfan wrote:

i think the name of the film used is alled super 8. i believe
Super 8 is one type of film (which is 8mm in size), but there are many other types. Most features are shot on 35mm film. Among the other formats, another popular one is 16mm.

List of film formats.

Of course, some features are now shot on HD video rather than film, most notably the recent SW movies.
Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 2:13am

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NickD

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A lot of it is in the lighting, and the lenses used on feature films, but professional grading in post probably makes a difference as well.
Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 2:50am

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er-no

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Yeah, grading can lend a hand to making or deceiving a lot of the people that watch it into thinking it was shot on something better (and maybe even film).

A lot of people (average public) don't know or care that 28 Days Later was shot on MiniDV, but the many many filters applied to it did allow it to ride the wave of concinving people it might have been done on some form of film-format (even though personally I think its a crap film, I can appreciate what they did with video).

A lot of productions from film-makers and students seem to think that grading is the answer to everything. Far far from it. Over and above colour is sound, if you want to deliver, respect sound and get that right first. Another trick is to not overgrade, its something that is a very easy thing to do because you think it might look good, honestly, no. Grading is subtle and an artform. smile
Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 8:53am

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SlothPaladin

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I think that good lighting is one of the biggest things that can make something look professional. Whether you shoot on film or DV good lighting will enhance what people see. If I see something that was lit like a amateur DV movie I will assume it's a piece of junk and that the sound and story are just as bad as the look, if I see something that looks cool, I'll be thinking about how cool it looks, not what it was shot on. As a film maker you don’t wasn’t the selling point to be that your movie was on a 'fancy awesome cool expensive camera' you want the selling point to be that your movie will deliver good entertainment.
Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 8:21pm

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xperiment

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Good lighting and color grading.
Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 8:32pm

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destron

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uhh... that we already talked about that, xperiment...
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:18pm

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ajjax44

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Rating: +1

In my experiences, I've developed a similar opinion to Er-no and I think he's actually pretty much on the mark when he says audio is the most important thing that student filmmakers overlook, second only to the plot and stories of their films.

People (maybe not in the film industry, but certainly in general) are much more forgiving to visual mistakes then they are to audible ones. Visual "mistakes" are pretty much the subjective opinion of the viewer and most people aren't film saavy enough to realize if something is intentionally gritty or polished and graded or shot on film/video.
BUT: Anyone can tell if the sound sucks. If Warner Brothers released Batman Begins with the same visuals it currently has, but made it so you can't hear what's going on, left in any tinny room reverb, added little or no sound effects and no "sweetening" - sort of like a 100 dollar lawyer commercial on a local cable channel - then that's the quality that people will associate the film with. They might even use visual words to describe what was wrong with the movie "it looked fake." or "it looked kind of cheap" - that's because visuals are sold by the audio so much.

******

In regards to my second point about story, despite how cool visuals and special effects can be...they can be taught. They're based on the technology of filmmaking. So basically a lack of visuals can be saved by a good story but not the other way around.

EXAMPLE: Clerks was shot on cheap black and white film stock mostly on a tripod and with little or no lighting for about 30 grand. Day After Tomorrow had a couple hundred million behind it, was shot on 35mm with huge sets and had generally amazing visuals. Day After Tomorrow may have made a bunch of money in the theaterss, but I can gaurantee that Clerks will outlast Day After Tomorrow on the video shelves soley because it has some simple human qualities that are derrived from real situations.

The majority of an audience can relate to the characters and the simple story of Clerks that looks like a home video much better then they can relate to a story about the entire world freezing over that looks great. Why? Raise your hand if you've had killer CG frost chasing you down an abandoned library hallway? OK. Raise your hand if you've had some experience working in retail and had to deal with customers? Right.

Now that I am working in the film industry for a living, I have been given a more objectiv perspective on how best to be successful at filmmaking. IMO, I think for young directors, early on it's a great idea to make all sorts of short films with little regard for how good or bad they are simply to make as many mistakes as possible before it really counts. This also helps you get more intimate with the tools at your desposal and how you prefer to use them (which winds up being your style). But, when the time comes to make your calling card - don't waste it trying to replicate the visuals that any big film company can simply buy. That won't impress anybody but for a brief time. Instead, spend your most intense efforts solidifying a good story and how to tell it in a clever way by using the resources you have to their fullest potential. Think at all times - does what I'm doing in this scenes further the story along or help bring the audience in for a closer look at this character? If not, think of a way that it will, then go for it. The rest of the stuff is icing on the cake IMO. Sorry for the long post. Good luck!
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:23pm

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destron

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wow, thanks ajjax! you provided some new insights for me, thanks. but what is 'clerks'?
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:26pm

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ashman

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Well said, ajjax44, as i was reading your post your voice sounded a little like yoda, very wise.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:30pm

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destron

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mMM... very wise you have become, young ashman...
smile LOL
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:30pm

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ashman

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Use google man GOOGLE!
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:33pm

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destron

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who, me? what for?
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:36pm

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xperiment

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ajjax44 wrote:

In my experiences, I've developed a similar opinion to Er-no and I think he's actually pretty much on the mark when he says audio is the most important thing that student filmmakers overlook, second only to the plot and stories of their films.

People (maybe not in the film industry, but certainly in general) are much more forgiving to visual mistakes then they are to audible ones. Visual "mistakes" are pretty much the subjective opinion of the viewer and most people aren't film saavy enough to realize if something is intentionally gritty or polished and graded or shot on film/video.
BUT: Anyone can tell if the sound sucks. If Warner Brothers released Batman Begins with the same visuals it currently has, but made it so you can't hear what's going on, left in any tinny room reverb, added little or no sound effects and no "sweetening" - sort of like a 100 dollar lawyer commercial on a local cable channel - then that's the quality that people will associate the film with. They might even use visual words to describe what was wrong with the movie "it looked fake." or "it looked kind of cheap" - that's because visuals are sold by the audio so much.

******

In regards to my second point about story, despite how cool visuals and special effects can be...they can be taught. They're based on the technology of filmmaking. So basically a lack of visuals can be saved by a good story but not the other way around.

EXAMPLE: Clerks was shot on cheap black and white film stock mostly on a tripod and with little or no lighting for about 30 grand. Day After Tomorrow had a couple hundred million behind it, was shot on 35mm with huge sets and had generally amazing visuals. Day After Tomorrow may have made a bunch of money in the theaterss, but I can gaurantee that Clerks will outlast Day After Tomorrow on the video shelves soley because it has some simple human qualities that are derrived from real situations.

The majority of an audience can relate to the characters and the simple story of Clerks that looks like a home video much better then they can relate to a story about the entire world freezing over that looks great. Why? Raise your hand if you've had killer CG frost chasing you down an abandoned library hallway? OK. Raise your hand if you've had some experience working in retail and had to deal with customers? Right.

Now that I am working in the film industry for a living, I have been given a more objectiv perspective on how best to be successful at filmmaking. IMO, I think for young directors, early on it's a great idea to make all sorts of short films with little regard for how good or bad they are simply to make as many mistakes as possible before it really counts. This also helps you get more intimate with the tools at your desposal and how you prefer to use them (which winds up being your style). But, when the time comes to make your calling card - don't waste it trying to replicate the visuals that any big film company can simply buy. That won't impress anybody but for a brief time. Instead, spend your most intense efforts solidifying a good story and how to tell it in a clever way by using the resources you have to their fullest potential. Think at all times - does what I'm doing in this scenes further the story along or help bring the audience in for a closer look at this character? If not, think of a way that it will, then go for it. The rest of the stuff is icing on the cake IMO. Sorry for the long post. Good luck!
Nice job ajjax44.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:43pm

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ajjax44

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Clerks is a movie by Kevin Smith. It's definitely worth a rent (even a purchase if you've got the lawn mowing money saved up). It's a good example of a great use of available resources.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 10:58pm

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Limey

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Every film should have a different look so the "film look" could be different with movie. I don't think mini dv looks that bad though.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 11:17pm

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Arktic

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No, definatley not - sometimes, the DV look can greatly enhance the mood/impact of a film.

A good example is the French independent movie Baise Moi. It's certainly not a movie I reccomend for most users here - it's a very mature (and extremely explicit) film covering some very dark issues. However, it was shot on DV, and you can tell. But, for me at least, that really enhanced the tone of the piece.

Why? Well, the film is very 'gritty', and watching it is not a pleasant experience. The DV look puts you in mind of home videos and makes everything seem, somehow, more real. Also, some scenes (such as one depicting a rape) don't need to look 'polished' and Hollywood-ised - doing so would detract from the horror and disgust you feel as a viewer when you see them.

As I say, not a film for everyone, but a good example of how the 'DV-look' can work in a film's favour.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Wed, 26th Apr 2006, 6:42am

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ashman

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I actually bought Baise Moi a while back, and to be honest thought that the DV look destroyed what little was to be had. To me that particular look for a movie is really clinical and cold and just hurts my eyes, maybe that was the intention? But I still don't like it, that was exactley the same look that was coming out on my teasers, maybe it was the lighting i don't know, but that will always be a look i don't agree with, it has it's uses tho, I'm fully intending to use "that look" in very small parts of my next movie, but i struggle to enjoy a movie that uses it throughout, i can't put my finger on why, maybe because it destroy's the illuosion and atmosphere that the movie is trying to create.
Posted: Wed, 26th Apr 2006, 5:02pm

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Arktic

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To me that particular look for a movie is really clinical and cold and just hurts my eyes, maybe that was the intention?
Yeah, the impression I got was that the filmmakers WANTED that kind of homevideo look. It reminded me (in some ways) of the look that cheap porn movies have - and given the subject matter, that might well have been part of the film's intention, to draw some sort of comparison between the objectification and humilliation of women through both rape and pornography? Though that could be reading too much into it, I think it's been hinted at by the writer / director.

But all that aside, I can easily understand why it might not appeal to everyone - it's a very niche film, I guess.