1 man show a lot but.... often times when i find someone else i am an actor since most would rather run the camera. So yes... sloppy camera work to say the least haha, but I appreciate their help and do what I can with what I have and larger record sizes allows this
I think I neglected to reply about the Micro cinema camera -- sorry about that. I just moved into a new apartment and haven't had time to get an internet hook up yet, it's been a very busy week (giving my little Dragon lots of exercise though).
IMO the Micro cinema camera is going to be a winner. Tiny body, very inexpensive, legions of lens options ranging from dirt cheap used Minolta SLR lenses that no one wants because they don't realize that some of those were Leica R lenses but Minolta doesn't have the Leica cachet all the way up to, for the nutters and budgeted folks, the Angineux Optimos and their ilk.
They have the dynamic range to be very forgiving, and IIRC can capture up to 60fps? I think they're limited to HD, but if you're primarily making movies for yourself right now, who cares? HD isn't a limiting factor right now, and won't be for a while.
In fact, one of the biggest frustrations I'm running into with my little Dragon is that I can only shoot in HD by windowing the sensor, so I'm being forced quite often to shoot in 5K when I really only want HD.
Color is more important than resolution, IMO. I'd rather be shooting films with a Black Magic camera than with a Sony a7s2 for cinema, even though I'm a Sony fan -- I use a Sony for my fine art photography...
Other than cfast...
This video confirmed my next purchase haha @WhiteCranePhoto
The thing is, earlier in this thread I pushed for the Ursa Mini 4.6k based on specs and early review footage. But, now that it's out in the wild, it seems there are teething issues.
On the other hand being on set with a RED ONE is the only time I've heard the phrase "I need another bag of ice for the camera, this one is boiling!"
@WhiteCranePhoto , I am, at this point, going to want at least one 4K camera. But... I shoot a lot of events where I am down a camera op and want to be able to post-crop. Yes, I know you're a purist, but for that type of work, it's a lifesaver. For narrative, I frame my shots and use what I take. ;-)
In my "Working on This!" thread I recently posted a video where I had two SD handheld and a 1080p lock with board feed and ambient mics. (Final output was for SD broadcast) It works pretty well. Long day. I brought nine hours of load for each camera, and literally ran out of media in the middle of the last band's set. We were told seven sets of 45 minutes, so nine hours was a good safety... Nope, eight sets and at least one act played two hours....
You can imagine that, halfway in my second op went to sticks. I stayed mobile.
@Triem2, it seems as though the Ursa Mini 4.6K is getting past the teething pains. The new OS update for the Mini seems pretty promising, but I'm not switching from the Dragon now, especially since Red's been nice enough to lend me a Scarlet Dragon while I await my Scarlet-W.
For events, 4K is nice... but for the one I was shooting, media was the big problem. The loaner only came with one Red mag, so when it's full I have to back it up before I can keep shooting, which quickly gets to be a drag during events. And I was solo on top of that. I'd have preferred the space savings that time, to be honest.
For films of course, I'm very precise with my compositions, but in film work the crew has a lot more control, so it's possible to be that precise, unlike in an event situation, where the film crew (which might be just one cam op) has next to no control over anything but the camera.
But that's also not cinematography... it's a different beast, even though some cinema cameras serve nicely as event cameras.
Curious... is there an adapter for cfast to SD for recording?
The mini only shoots up to 4K and I'd likely shoot just prores, I bet an SD card could handle that. If so, I might cop one of these Q1 of 2017 with my tax return. @WhiteCranePhoto @Triem23
Upscaled 2k is worse than 2k on a 2k screen.
Anyways, my dream camera is a mirrorless, small form factor, raw 1080, xlr. I dont think there is one yet,but I disagree about raw being crucial for VFX. The lighting must have been very poor on the non raw slr.
If youre more creative, and better idea of cinematography, youll beat anyone with a RED with a smartphine , so theres definitely more to it.
@Triem23 Alright... so after a VERY late night of research. I found I am not nearly close to using the full capabilities of my NX500. I may not need to upgrade as soon as I thought.
My Question: Do you have a link to a 'sparknotes' version of how to color grade with LUTs? From what I understand, find the most flat profile your camera can produce, pull up in an editor and apply a LUT.
If I do this, will it make my footage look more cinematic than my cameras normal HDR settings? In additon to the normal letterboxing, depth of field, good angles, ect...
@TriFlixFilms Buy a higher quality LED panel (~95+ CRI) and watch magic happen buddy.
The way I go about it is shoot in the most flat profile my camera can produce, color correct then if I want to I apply a LUT, but the problem is I've never done it any other way because adding a LUT before correcting would make it harder to get it good IMO.
@TriFlixFilms I don't know that there's a CFast to SD adapter available, but there is a dual CFast2 to SSD adapter. Some people have used them with Ursa Minis to get around the high price of CFast2 cards, since they're coming down in price at a glacier's pace... oh wait, that might actually be faster than a snail's pace now... argh. Never mind.
Your best bet for making your work look more cinematic is lighting and framing. Kick the Fool of Thirds to the curb where it belongs (leave it for the camera dongles) and learn to compose images. Study real art, like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Dorothea Lange and Yusuf Karsh, not the S*#$()#*$ drivel that the average cinemadongrapher pushes.
(Hint: avoid listening to anyone who pushes the rule of thirds. They know nothing, and can't admit it.)
Learn lighting. Study lighting. It's 90% of image quality. Who cares if you can't color grade your footage; treat it like slide film (that's how I learned -- making stunning, art gallery quality images with three stops of latitude with a 4x5). Any clod can get a "proper" exposure with a Dragon, learn instead to decide what an appropriate exposure is. Think about shadows, where they fall, how they falloff. What will the audience see? Where do you want the viewer's attention to focus? How does the blocking and art direction support the dramatic intent of the scene?
If you can't design a frame with those in mind, you you don't need to upgrade yet.
Your goal really should be to get the image you want in camera, excluding VFX. Everything else should be as close as possible to how you want it shown.
You described my end goal perfectly! @WhiteCranePhoto
However my end goal is off in the distance. My engineering classes start Monday and I work 30 Hours a week so my Write/Shoot/Edit time has been limits to 5 hours per week.
I need that FCPX approach to it where you click and it works haha. I know this goes against 'The Art of Filmmaking' and every shot is a piece of art. I need to find the best us of my time and cutting corners in post while increasing production value is important. Hince why I lean towards LUTs rather than traditonal grading a scene from scratch. You and members like Triem are very experienced and I am looking for the secrets/advice to achieve this.
Essentially, the B-Roll footage in the Ursa video I shared is my goal for the present time. Once I finished classes I will pursue more of the Art Side.
If you nail it in camera, you'll save yourself a *lot* of work in post.
The "secret trick" that you won't get from the indies is to not use ettr. Keep skin tones consistent, and then you don't have to worry about color matching in post.
That isn't really a secretthough; professional Cinematographers recommend that approach. It's really only the same sort of people who worship the fool of thirds who push for ettr. Just don't do it; you'll be much happier... Because you'll spend less time tweaking color and more time enjoying filmmaking.
It's hard work, but it's also fun.
By ETTR you mean shoot at a constant ISO and if I need more light I need to get off my lazy butt, grab a light panel and fill/key/accent whatever it may be my scene by hand, right?
So prior to this convo, Auto iso was on my list of features I desired (and still do for vlogging) but it can actually hinder a scene when used for more cinematic content such as short films or tech videos
@WhiteCranePhoto Thank you so much for the help and insight, very humbled
Yes, all the grain created by the ISO is information that has gone bye bye and is never ever coming back.
Avoid autocrap... there's a reason that it's so rare to have anything even vaguely resembling an auto mode exists on a professional cinema camera.
ETTR is exposing to the right. It's what you do when you have no vision and are hoping to tease out something cool in post. While it's ok in stills, I don't even use it for that... and I do get stuff into curated fine art galleries...
If you want to light on the cheap, get a few 5-in-1 reflectors and some friends to PA for you, have them Hollywood the reflectors, and <poof> you're in control of your lighting.
I shot a feature film that we lit mostly with a $100 set of Ikan Iled One LED lights, a few reflectors, and a bunch of table and floor standing lamps that we scrounged up from the basement of the house we were renting as our set.
You CAN achieve high production value on the cheap if you know what you're doing and apply a bit of ingenuity. It's just easier when you have nicer toys to work with.
No problem... and when people look down on you for using cheap gear and just being scrappy, remember that they're probably just jealous because your work looks better than theirs.
To slightly rephrase WhiteCrane the "secret" is to, in-camera get the most important thing of the sequence correctly exposed and consistent from shot to shot. Usually this is skin tones. As long as your skin tones are good from shot to shot, everything else is less noticeable (skies and foliage next).
Sparx Notes on LUT's half sarcasm, half serious: LUTs aren't grading, but "Snapchat Filters." A "Look Up Table" is simply a list of color values designed to take values recorded in a known, calibrated format and shift them to another known, calibrated format. In general LUTs are supposed to take "neutral" footage and give it color values of particular film stocks/cameras. If the source footage isn't in the proper starting LOG format, then the LUT will not work as designed. So with a DSLR, Action Cam, Phone, Micro 4/4, or ENG camera you end up assigning a random look. LUTs are useful if you know what/how the LOG is supposed to push your footage.
Since I DON'T know what the various LUTs are doing it's kinda like loading in random filters until finding one I like. If I have a specific look in mind, it's usually faster for me to roll my own. LUT LUTs are intended as a starting point to push a neutral image to the "raw" look of a film stock or camera before beginning grading!
Thanks everyone for the awesome advice!
I think I got what I needed
As for help shooting and friends... like I said I only have 5 hours to write/shoot/edit and none of my friends, soctal media requests, collaberation apps have found anyone willing to help.
So it's pretty much solo work except for my step dad that offers to run the camera (which I greatly appreciate) but I've found using a tripod yields better results as his skills are not a refined with it.
I understand LUT are looked down upon from true artists but my content is no funded youtube tech, vlogs, shorts, ect... and I need fast turn around that are visually appealing and better than my competition. You guys were nice enough to help me understand how to apply them and such... with that I am very grateful
Luts aren't something to be ashamed of, they're just limited and don't always save time.
Try forums like craigslist and local film communities, and sites like stage32. You might be surprised at how many people want to be involved in filmmaking. Just be sure to feed them and provide coffee.
The only advantage/benefit I can see to a LUT is that it is cross platform/application portable. There are more camera Log curves than you can shake a stick at so a LUT unless developed for your camera source is not precisely giving the result stated.
In Hitfilm we have presets. In Vegas we have filter packages. Others call it ???. All can contain a collection of effects at certain settings. Create the preset settings giving what you want, with your camera source, and you still have a one click grade like adding a LUT. The preset will let you tweak individual parts as necessary. Obviously presets are not cross application portable.
That's my thinking but I may be nearsighted.
One possible advantage of a LUT is applying one is fully non-destructive where a preset of effects may not be. Whether or not that's necessary or helps is going to be a case by case basis.
Well, I found a tutorial on creating custom LUTs for camera matching, with the key point being that, once you can make a LUT for YOUR camera, other LUTs become a lot more accurate.
TriFlix, to add more, (and expand on what @NormanPCN wrote) cinema cameras shoot flat, low contrast footage, using a dynamic bringing blacks up to a low gray and bringing the whites down to a light grey. DSLR, Micro 3/3, action and ENG cams might shoot 0-255, 16-235 or 16-255 depending on the camera. All of these are wider contrast ranges than most LOGs. This means if you use a LUT designed to push the contrast, it becomes very easy to crush your blacks and whites Beyond 0/255 or push saturation beyond legal limits. This kills a lot of detail.
In hitfilm without scopes this becomes very difficult to detect. For internet video it might not be that big a problem, as there are no legal levels for internet video. However, if you are working for broadcast, like I do, this is a real problem. Providing video outside the legal limits can cause problems with the audio track. Whites above 100 IRE (w55, 255,255 is 120 IRE will produce auduo buzz in an NTSC signal.
So, that's another reason why I am a bit leery of LUTs. However, if I were to take the time to profile my cameras and lenses for correct LUTs, then I would be more likely to use them.
@Aladdin4d good point on non-destructive. Still, see above points. And with 8-bit source footage, especially 4:2:0 (DSLR) even the LUT can start aliasing, although 16-bit calculation minimizes that.
99% of the times I've seen personally a LUT is going to make any beginner video look like pro video in terms of colors, rather than doing it yourself. It's only when you get good at doing manually is when you'll outperform a LUT, besides, there's not enough orange and teal out there.
I think @KevinTheFilmmaker captured what I meant pretty well.
I know some of you can throw on curves and levels and produce something beautiful just a fast as some that throws on a lut and tweaks it. It just cones with training and experience.
I am not very skilled with them yet. When I do use them and produce an image I think looks good, the feed back is I use too much contrast or the skin tone doesnt look right. Too me I think it looks good but it's because I'm untrained/skilled in that area.
I don't really have time to learn and play with it right now with my schedule. But it is something I am very interested in and know I need to face in order to improve. As always, just want to make my peers proud after all the time and advice you invest in me.
I'll have to look into the Craigslist posting, might be a posibility. The only issues is all the closest cities you can search by from where I live are all 1 hour away... Cincinnati, indianapolis, louisville.
@TriFlixFilms is it possible that you are doing color correction/grading using an calibrated monitor? Possibly what looks great on your end looks a little heavy in the orange range on other monitors. Yes I also thought that your skin tones are a tad on the overly warm side.
BTW, though HitFilm needs scopes to enable precise color matching, it has some presets that are quite like LUTs but a lot easier to adjust, great for quick grading.
Since we're on a HitFilm forum, we might as well mention that it's there...
I've gotten pretty good results with the CineStyle look, though I think the default film grain setting is way too strong.