View Full Version : Low Budget Cinematography Work


bonquista
04-29-2009, 02:39 PM
Hello filmmakers, I have been studying on my own the aspects of cinematography and have tried to further my knowledge by watching small independent films so I can apply some of the work to my own.
I've been going through YouTube videos that seem to have good short-film quality and I came across this western short last night that I liked, it looks as if the camera is about the same quality as mine and it seems to be a VERY low budget short.
My question is can anyone describe to me what they did with the color correction/contrast? It seems to work for it and has to have been done in post. I'm using Premiere so if anyone can tell me some pointers to make my footage appear with these tones I'd appreciate it - maybe what to mess with under "color correction" - RGB correction? three way color? contrast/brightness?

Here's the link to the western: Western (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpBpFtPSKGc)

frXNtier
04-29-2009, 09:47 PM
My question is can anyone describe to me what they did with the color correction/contrast? It seems to work for it and has to have been done in post.
If I were you, I would not be trying to replicate this look, if we could even call it a "look". As CromsonRecon says, it looks like they've just adjusted brightness/contrast and all that has happened is most of the footage is blown out. By that I mean the lighter parts of the frame have lost detail beyond all recognition.

This is already an unfortunate by-product of cheaper DV cameras, which makes colour correction in post a tricky business. So to blow it more makes it worse. Admittedly, it can sometimes be used for artistic effect, but it does not look good throughout a whole movie - it just makes it look horrible and cheap.

What you really want to concentrate on is getting as much colour information on the tape as possible, even if this means underexposing the image slightly. Then when you get the footage onto the computer, colour correct with Levels and Curves adjustment, which gives you more control. Remember to keep the whites where they are. You can adjust the other colours beneath them to give a similar effect, while still keeping your whites (take a look at this movie (http://www.redrockmicro.com/footage/Z1U/quiroga.mov) for a smiliar effect to what you might be going for, but which doesnt just blow everything out).

There are lots of books and internet links (and also a lot of stuff on this forum) to help you out with colour correction. Get into the good habit of creating great looking images from the start, it doesnt matter how cheap your camera is, you can still get a great look with it ;)

indietalk
04-29-2009, 10:22 PM
Hello filmmakers, I have been studying on my own the aspects of cinematography and have tried to further my knowledge by watching small independent films so I can apply some of the work to my own.
I've been going through YouTube videos that seem to have good short-film quality and I came across this western short last night that I liked, it looks as if the camera is about the same quality as mine and it seems to be a VERY low budget short.
My question is can anyone describe to me what they did with the color correction/contrast? It seems to work for it and has to have been done in post. I'm using Premiere so if anyone can tell me some pointers to make my footage appear with these tones I'd appreciate it - maybe what to mess with under "color correction" - RGB correction? three way color? contrast/brightness?

Here's the link to the western: Western (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpBpFtPSKGc)
This is not the way to get attention to your film. I found the story a little fishy so I traced your IP and it goes to the same town as the filmmaker, at UNT. Why not just say it's yours instead of this tactic? I never understand that.

Admit its yours and join the community. Be proud of your film. Completing one is a huge accomplishment in itself.

M1chae1
04-30-2009, 09:47 AM
Filters and color correction can add a ton of production value--as can lenses and DOF. IMHO I dont like the look of the Western you linked...it looks like a backyard film. I don't mean to offend anyone...but let's be honest, the quality is pretty low. There doesn't even seem to be an interest in the look of the film...and it actually looks standard def in most of the shots...don't emulate this film.

Also, remember that your basic techniques will make the most impact on production value. Your lighting overall, your composition of shots, your camera movement, your SOUND.

It's nice to have someone that knows how to color correct tweak your footage...but don't use it as a crutch. If other parts of your film are weak, no amount of color correction or filters can save it.

I don't mean to insult you...I'm sure you're well aware of these ideas and ideals...sorry.

I'd like to share--what I think--is one of the best new up-and-coming DP's in independent film. He's only 23, and he does all of his own work: shoot, edit, direct, post...his name is Leo Angelos and I just worked with him (was the DP on a feature I worked on). His films are micro budget...all of the production value your seeing is from skill and technique.

I particularly like his color correction. The camera he is using is a basic, medium-range HD cam...nothing special at all. But his shot composition, lighting, and color correction is inspiring...and it ups the production value by ten fold...this is going to be a feature, and here is the teaser:

'A Duel Affair' (be sure to watch in HD): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_hCI-yPCcY

Gonzo_Entertainment
04-30-2009, 09:55 AM
Looks like crap. Totally blown out. Could be used for effect for a few seconds, but an entire film shot this way screams "I have no clue about lighting".

bonquista
04-30-2009, 04:50 PM
Okay Yeah, that was really dumb/immature of me to do that. I read an article that was about getting your video seen (by thousands in the first few days) to make it a viral video.

It gave advice on all channels of communication (via internet) forums/blogs/facebook/myspace/etc.

I've never been on a forum and tried to do it not knowing how obvious it was.

Thanks for calling me out early - and the actual criticism provided helped in what I can do in the next short film/student film I make.

I apologize to your community and wish to join, I find Indie Talk very interesting and informative as I sifted through some of the forums, namely Guerrilla Shooting / DIY.

Thanks for posting actual advice, I've read it and soaked it in.

Jake.

indietalk
04-30-2009, 05:27 PM
No problem man, it's not a huge deal, and welcome to the site. You will like it here.

I haven't seen the film, if I get time I'll check it out.

M1chae1
05-01-2009, 01:16 PM
Looks like crap. Totally blown out. Could be used for effect for a few seconds, but an entire film shot this way screams "I have no clue about lighting".

Sorry, this may be a silly question...but you're referring to the Western film, and not A Duel Affair correct?

Gonzo_Entertainment
05-01-2009, 01:37 PM
Sorry, this may be a silly question...but you're referring to the Western film, and not A Duel Affair correct?

Yes, the westen film. It's called a light meter (or zebra), use it.

M1chae1
05-01-2009, 02:40 PM
Yes, the westen film. It's called a light meter (or zebra), use it.

Light meter? Is that some kind of space age polymer?

I don't think many indie film makers (shooting digital) are using light meters. All you have to check for is stripping (aka zebra as you mentioned)...that is of course if you're talking about overexposure...you don't have stripping for under-lit shots (which are just as common as over exposed).

Of course that's not the only problem with this western. It's not just overblown looking...it simply has no visual style or lighting design at all...welcome to the wonderful world of indie film, where 75% of all movies are shot without any of this in mind. :)

Look ma' I'm a film maker!

:) I'm being funny! Sheesh! Tough crowd.

bonquista
05-01-2009, 05:43 PM
Yeah, the western was just me and my 3 actors, my brother that held the boom and a guy that pushed a wheelbarrow I sat in haha.
One weekend I went down to San Antonio to my friend's ranch and we shot during the day, and camped during the night. Definitely an awesome experience, and good way of life haha. As far as lighting goes (and sound), I didn't keep close tabs on those factors or prepare much either. It was my first time to use my friend's Canon XL1 and in the viewfinder, it looked great but upon capturing it looked way too bright - something I didn't really put much mind to (for whatever reason). We filmed as quickly as possible so that we had enough sunlight to finish and I definitely rushed everyone to get the film done so I could return to edit and go back to school.
I will say that I kept the shot composition as a priority - I had planned that during preproduction - I think it turned out as I imagined. As for acting, the actors looked over there lines for only the week before.

Whatever the case, it was a fun adventure. Next time I'll be more ready. :)