Maya 2020 fundamentals - modelling the real world
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# 1 22-09-2003 , 09:04 PM
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What makes Film.. Look like film?

I've been doing a lot of research on this one and have only suceeded in turning full circle. Why does film look like film. I've heard replies like.. resolution ... FPS.... and filmstock, but I've seen a lot of people out there doing film like productions on DV. They must have found the answer to this. even more so the question should be...How do I make my DV look like film? I've compared with some of the best cameras 16mm 8mm DV cam Mini DV. and only 16mm has come close without modifying the footage. Isnt there a way to make Mini DV look more like film? Not so overly crisp as usuall as mini DV but soft ,even and film like.


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# 2 22-09-2003 , 10:07 PM
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Well, I'm not an expert on this area but I have some ideas (been searching info on this too).

- You already mentioned resolution, fps and filmstock. I would add dynamic range of colors to this category as well. DV has only a limited range of colors while film has virtually unlimited color range.
- Film is progressive and DV (usually) interlaced.
- Depth of field. The lenses on film cameras usually have rather big aperture sizes so the DOF is usually much more pronounced than in any DV cam.
- But if you put aside all the technical mumbo jumbo I think what really puts a footage alive is lighting. It is amazing what you can do with lights and shadows. Most of us are used to see amateur holiday -type DV footage and when you compare this to a film footage (which usually is done more carefully at any stage) the DV looks like crap. With proper lighting you can bring DV footage alive too.
- Also there's a vast amount of optical filters for film and dv cameras that can have a big effect on the footage. Even a simple ND (neutral density, attenuates light) filter can make wonders on a bright outdoor set. When you put it on, you can have a wider iris and thus the DOF gets more pronounced.


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# 3 22-09-2003 , 10:09 PM
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In some finishing/compositing apps, there are filters that enable you to match the look of certain types of stock grain, as well as tonal-range.
(as digital allows MANY more colors I believe)

We have a member here at SM who runs a site dedicated to compositing, and he would probably be your best bet for a qualified answer.

His mane is Paul, and you can find the link to his site (VFXTalk) in the SM links database.

You could also ask Brian E. as he has done some VERY convincing composities for his reel that look like film to me, so make sure to ask him as well!

Good luck!

PS, PLEASE feel free to post your findings!


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# 4 22-09-2003 , 10:44 PM
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I would investigate Framerates | Fields | Grain filtering and just like K said, Lighting. user added image

# 5 22-09-2003 , 10:48 PM
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Taken from a source around the web.

: Jason, I know exactly what you refer to. The reason why these pro-camcorders (actually the xl1s is still consumer oriented i believe) have a different look to them is because they run at 24fps, while normal cameras run at 30fps (I think) By slowing down the framerate it gives it a cinematic look, but it wont make it look quite like a movie just yet. I think you still need to have good lighting and maybe even apply some filters or have a special lens that really gives it that grainy look a film possesses. Some lower end consumer DV camcorders have a 'movie mode' option, like the GL1 had, that tries to similate this look, and it does a prett good job of it. I am in no way an expert and do not own a DV cam as of yet, but these are my findings. If anyone finds I am wrong or has something extra to add please do!

Video normally shoots in fields at a rate of 60 per second. Half of each frame is drawn on the screen each 1/60th of a second, and our brain uses persistence of vision to view the information as a complete picture. Film is shot/displayed in complete frames. For this reason, the progressive scan, or "frame" mode that some cameras have looks more like film. Unfortunately, fast action does not work well with this mode and looks much better using fields.


Hope this helps.

# 6 22-09-2003 , 11:49 PM
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I own a Canon XL1s. It does not run at 24 fps. There are standard PAL and NTSC models of this camera as usual. It's the same with the GL1 (the PAL version of GL1 is called XM1). What's unique to these cameras is that they all have the so called movie mode (a.k.a. progressive mode).

Normally a video camera is operating in so called interlaced mode. For PAL this means that the camera actually records 50 fields a second (NTSC: 60). A complete frame consists of two fields, even and odd (or lower and upper). On a lower field the even rows of pixels (rows 2, 4, 6, and so on) are stored. And on the upper field the rows 1, 3, 5 and so on are stroed. (hope i got those the right way user added image anyway, you get the picture (pun intended))...

However, in the movie mode the (PAL) camera records 25 full frames per second which is pretty close to what film cameras do.
When this is played back on a normal TV it gives the film like feel. Usually DV cameras do not have this progressive mode, or if they do they're not capturing the frames at full framerate.


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# 7 23-09-2003 , 02:40 AM
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i own an xl1s and its close to film when i drop frame rate to 25 fps in editing. But, the look isnt quite film. any ideas what lens filters might do the trick? or are you refering to Editing Filters ok some kind?...


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# 8 23-09-2003 , 10:51 AM
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i used for some time a canon xl1 and it did had a 24 fps mode... (i suppose you then have to capture it at 24 to get 24 fps on editing, else youll get an extra interpolated frame...)
and the 16:9 mode was so crappy that almost halved the resolution... also the ultrasonic focus and zoom was way too sloooow than direct mechanical....and the iris was placed on a weird place... (you can assume i didnt liked it a lotuser added image)maybe the new model (s) resolved those problems? (i doubt it)

I agree that lighting and post are the keys to the look... remember to make a good (ot tricked out if you want...) white and black balance to put the camera on the right color range for the scene...


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ahhh good ol´ betacam...

# 9 23-09-2003 , 10:59 AM
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Originally posted by dragonfx
i used for some time a canon xl1 and it did had a 24 fps mode...

Interesting. Was this a US or EURO model?


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# 10 23-09-2003 , 12:23 PM
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i heard of the same problems with the xl1, but it appears that the xl1s reolved the zoom issue and i dont shot in 16:9 mode anyways. but still. is there a filter to put on to get that film grain look? i have 3 filters but i dont know what one of them is. one says uv the other polorize but the last says FD. whats that?


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And after calming me down with some orange slices and some fetal spooning,
E.T. revealed to me his singular purpose.

--TOOL, 10,000 Days---

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# 11 23-09-2003 , 01:44 PM
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Euro model... i suppose (i dont know where they bought themuser added image), at least it outputted pal user added image

whitout seeing them id say that the uv one is the commonly called skylight, it gives a slightly more saturated tone whithout changing any color, polarize probably is the blue one, use it for recording whith artificial quartz/tungsten lights (bulblightsuser added image) you probably have an internal filter on the camera for that... right now i cant tell ya what the FD is ( i learnt the types in spanishuser added image) but the point is that you cant affect grain on the camera (well ok, in poor lightning conditions the more artificial gain you put the more grain... but thats not the grain youre searching...) to get the film effect is mainly a post ewffect, also sometimes whan you do something in maya and then send it to post for compositing they ussally modify it in ways that make you say: "who did that 3d? its cool!"... user added image (when i achieve a level im comfortable of my skill with maya ill dig on that area....)

# 12 24-09-2003 , 07:05 PM
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OM freakin' G, i found a way to get DV to look almost identical to film.... some may think this is over exaduration, but I'm not the only one who sees the closeness of the two. Cannon xl1s's now can get a 35mm lens attachment that produces a film-like quality on Charged Couple Device driven cameras (CCD cams). The result is so close to film that the attachment cost $25,000. HOLY SHIT.... ITS JUST A FREAKIN LENS ! ! ! ! ! !.... Not much electronics in it at all. just a wide lens for the depth of field and contrast.$25,000 AND WE THOUGHT MAYA UNLIMITED WAS EXPENSIVE.


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And after calming me down with some orange slices and some fetal spooning,
E.T. revealed to me his singular purpose.

--TOOL, 10,000 Days---

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# 13 24-09-2003 , 07:20 PM
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I take two please user added image


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# 14 24-09-2003 , 08:15 PM
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CRAP!!! I dropped it!

...maybe my boss will never know if I swap it with this look-a-like lens! hehe...


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# 15 24-09-2003 , 09:57 PM
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well the average betacam pack costs about 30000€ to buy, the combo of the cameras lucas used for phantom menace is arround 137500 €...user added image so you can say that if it works its cheap and worth it user added image. iron post the link so i can take a look plz... im wondering what on earth it does exactly...

The resolution of the xl1 was DVD on 4:3 mode... so i guess they will use DVPro or something in that line...
but then i wasnt able to spot resolution artifacts on that train scene from "Dancing in the dark" which was made with 100 or so Panasonic DVs of 2000€ each... with no interchangeable optics... so... i still think that is mainly post trikery and magic)


well rage, shit happensuser added image

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