Home

Go Back   IndieTalk - Indie Film Forum > The Biz > Indie

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-02-2018, 06:45 AM   #1
Onalos
Basic Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: California
Posts: 27
The Hollywood Look?

What are the big VISUAL differences in Hollywood Movies versus Indie Films?

When you see a trailer do you know it's a hollywood movie by the image quality? The CGI? The lighting? The amount of actors?

Sorry for sounding like an idiot for asking such obvious questions. My goal is to make distributors believe they are watching a hollywood film when they see my first feature (probably impossible, but I will do my best). I already cut up an unofficial teaser trailer for my film. I have colored most of the shots in the trailer to give it a unique film look. Even though I have positive feedback, to me, my film still seems like a low-budget film.

Of course I still need to complete a ton of CGI (such as the antagonist wolf that is in the woods), but there are plenty of hollywood movies that don't have a lot of (obvious) CGI, so that can't be the main factor.

Any help is appreciated.
P.s. will upload the trailer once the last actress signs the release form, in case someone wants to give me advice on what it still needs to look bigger budget (or if someone wants to tell me I'm a no good filmmaker haha).
Onalos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Today   #1A
film guy
Basic Member
 
Posts: 17

 
Old 03-02-2018, 07:42 AM   #2
Quality
Basic Member
 
Quality's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Boston, Ma
Posts: 1,012
It's highly unlikely that your first film will look like Hollywood. Especially if you don't have the budget. Don't try to compete just produce good films with what you have.
Quality is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 08:26 AM   #3
El Director
Basic Member
 
El Director's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Spokane Valley, WA
Posts: 460
Lighting, camera motion and sound. Not to mention the actors (the quality of the acting).

Lots of indie productions today are shooting some sort of DSLR that doesn't need a lot of light, so they shoot in natural light rather than taking the time to light the shots. They will mount a cheap shotgun mic to the camera or maybe to some sort of long stick and think they've done a good job capturing sound. The camera will either be locked off on a tripod, or will be handheld - adding unremovable jello to the shots. They will also use a wide angle such as 18mm 90% of the time. The acting will be forced and not natural due to using non actors because they filmmaker doesn't have money to pay for real actors.

The description above doesn't even cover post, but it will contribute majorly to the "indie look" and not a "Hollywood look". I know because I've been guilty of many of them before.

Some things you can do, even with little money:
*Take your zoom lens and decide on three focal lengths, maybe 24mm, 50mm and 85mm. Constrain yourself to these three lengths and it's like shooting with a set of primes. 24mm not wide enough? Move the camera back.
*Light your shots. Even just getting some worklights and pumping them through a shower curtain on a makeshift frame is better than not doing anything. (Note: I shot an entire feature this way, gave it a nice look).



*Don't be afraid of silhouettes or clipped whites. Transformers is notorious for having blown highlights.


*If you must go handheld, make the camera bigger. Put the camera on a tripod and pick it up by two legs. A bigger Hollywood style camera will move different than a smaller one. You can also use a tripod as a makeshift shoulder rig


*Pay attention to backgrounds and the avoid the dreaded "white wall". Even in this simple office scene, I chose to set up an accordion partition rather than use a boring white wall.


Note: Images from Leap: Rise of the Beast. Shot on a T2i in 2010

Last edited by El Director; 03-02-2018 at 08:38 AM.
El Director is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 08:53 AM   #4
Onalos
Basic Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: California
Posts: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Director View Post
Lighting, camera motion and sound. Not to mention the actors (the quality of the acting).

Lots of indie productions today are shooting some sort of DSLR that doesn't need a lot of light, so they shoot in natural light rather than taking the time to light the shots. They will mount a cheap shotgun mic to the camera or maybe to some sort of long stick and think they've done a good job capturing sound. The camera will either be locked off on a tripod, or will be handheld - adding unremovable jello to the shots. They will also use a wide angle such as 18mm 90% of the time. The acting will be forced and not natural due to using non actors because they filmmaker doesn't have money to pay for real actors.

The description above doesn't even cover post, but it will contribute majorly to the "indie look" and not a "Hollywood look". I know because I've been guilty of many of them before.

Some things you can do, even with little money:
*Take your zoom lens and decide on three focal lengths, maybe 24mm, 50mm and 85mm. Constrain yourself to these three lengths and it's like shooting with a set of primes. 24mm not wide enough? Move the camera back.
*Light your shots. Even just getting some worklights and pumping them through a shower curtain on a makeshift frame is better than not doing anything. (Note: I shot an entire feature this way, gave it a nice look).



*Don't be afraid of silhouettes or clipped whites. Transformers is notorious for having blown highlights.


*If you must go handheld, make the camera bigger. Put the camera on a tripod and pick it up by two legs. A bigger Hollywood style camera will move different than a smaller one. You can also use a tripod as a makeshift shoulder rig


*Pay attention to backgrounds and the avoid the dreaded "white wall". Even in this simple office scene, I chose to set up an accordion partition rather than use a boring white wall.


Note: Images from Leap: Rise of the Beast. Shot on a T2i in 2010
Wow excellent stuff. Yeah, the image quality of my film doesn't look like yours even though I am using T2i. Thanks so much. I have like NO budget so definitely missing a lot of stuff. Will post the teaser soon. I really hope you guys like it.

You are definitely right about the acting. I have some actors and some friends just helping out. BIG difference.
Onalos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 10:20 AM   #5
joelhall
Basic Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Buckinghamshire, England
Posts: 143
Loving El Director's advice, especially re: making a camera bigger. If I use a shandheld camera, I use a custom rig I built up with plenty of added weight. Wielding a sword is different from a flick knife, as nutcases says.
Lighting and lenses, most definitely. I cannot think of anything more important, actually (with the exception of sound). And not always merely lack of Lighting, but poor choices or lack of knowledge on how to use lighting to the best advantage.. At the moment I've been loving some of the budget lights (e.g. Ex-Pro of third party battery game are doing some decent lights from well under £100 with decent CRI), and there are even some passable cheap lights around. Not great, but passable. Lighting techniquesoften do more than having exceptional lights.

With the lenses, as El Director says, it's more about chosen focal lengths. Any lens is basically going to make decent footage (unless it's very cheap or damaged), but shot composition and chosen focal length makes more of a difference than using expensive Cooke lenses. I'm not a massive fan of the many DSLR/mirrorless "cine" lenses on the market to be honest, when stills lenses will do the job. Yes, most of those "cine" lenses still breathe and have all the same faults of stills lenses, their only redeeming features often being the focus wheel.

Really though I think there's a few other things that set apart a zero budget or newbie film from a high-end production.

1. Sets. One reason so many aspiring filmmakers make poor lens choices is because of available space. Sets really have to be planned out well ahead of time. If you're using a mate's living room for the action, then at least clear out the other half of the room to make some space. Get the characters involved with the scenery, get them away from the walls, use colour to your advantage, and create three tiers to mimic 3D - foreground, background, and the mid ground where people focus.
Also think of the scenery. Granted as a small production or one man show, taking time to do some set design can seem too much of a burden, but it makes a difference. It shows you have thought through your story and the characters, and want the audience to become lost in your narrative.

2. Overuse or incorrect use of techniques.
Racking focus, super shallow (or even shallow) DoF, insert shots, shot-from-inside-a-car-boot-for-some-reason, blah blah. They all have uses, and can convey elements the audience or characters need. But don't feel they must be used as often as possible, or even at all. Lighting does a great deal more than people believe, and overuse of techniques can make a film stand out, and not in a good way. There should be a purpose and justification for everything you do. If you want the characters to stand out from the background, use good lighting techniques, rather than shallow DoF (which should be standard for everything, anyway).

3. Poor tempo and pacing. Hollywood, for all its faults, and of course the high end indie productions have extremely talented and skilled people who control this this. It takes practice of course, and nobody is expecting perfection (even from the pros) at every single point. But it does reflect on the overall look, massively. If something feels "off" about the action, it will have an audience either get bored rapidly, or look around the frame to see if they've missed something. The latter is a negative, it means they'll miss the action and dialogue.

4. Using techniques and advice you got from other inexperienced indie filmmakers on YouTube, etc. This will directly impact the look of your film.
This isn't bashing anyone, but there is a lot of "obvious", mistaken, superfluous, and downright wrong advice out there, often given by amateurs who believe they're better than they are.
For example, there is a certain young lady on YouTube whose skill certainly does not match her perceived skill level (or ego). However, she finds herself in a position to impart "wisdom", when frankly her films tell another story.
Test any advice sceptically, including this. The pros will know their game, that's why they get paid so well and offered the jobs. The amateurs need to have a little more humility. There's some decent stuff out there, for example the Cooke Optics TV channel on YouTube.
joelhall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 10:45 AM   #6
Alcove Audio
Basic - Premiere Expired
 
Alcove Audio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Fairfield County, CT
Posts: 7,558
And, of course, Uncle Bob has to add the audio perspective…

Audio Post/Sound Design is all about layers. Even something as basic as background sound is actually quite layered. I personally start with some basic "air" and build from there. If it's a city scene I start with one of my "empty street" sounds and add appropriate layers - vehicles, pedestrians, sirens, construction, etc., etc., etc. As far as the production sound everything with the exception of the dialog is stripped out. Room tone ("air") is added and then Foley is performed/recorded to replace all of the human made sounds such as footsteps, kissing, punches/kicks, cloth, props handling and the like. Sound effects and diegetic sounds fill out the rest of the sonic world. The more deeply layered the soundscape the more believable it will be. I'm sure that this principle applies to most other aspects of filmmaking as well.

99.9999% of fledgling filmmakers completely ignore sound until it is much to late. "The Blair Witch Project" is invariably pulled out of the hat as an example of successful micro-budget filmmaking, however the fact that almost $1million was spent on audio post to make the film palatable to paying audiences.



Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.
Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.
Alcove Audio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 11:52 AM   #7
joelhall
Basic Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Buckinghamshire, England
Posts: 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcove Audio View Post
And, of course, Uncle Bob has to add the audio perspective…

Audio Post/Sound Design is all about layers. Even something as basic as background sound is actually quite layered. I personally start with some basic "air" and build from there. If it's a city scene I start with one of my "empty street" sounds and add appropriate layers - vehicles, pedestrians, sirens, construction, etc., etc., etc. As far as the production sound everything with the exception of the dialog is stripped out. Room tone ("air") is added and then Foley is performed/recorded to replace all of the human made sounds such as footsteps, kissing, punches/kicks, cloth, props handling and the like. Sound effects and diegetic sounds fill out the rest of the sonic world. The more deeply layered the soundscape the more believable it will be. I'm sure that this principle applies to most other aspects of filmmaking as well.

99.9999% of fledgling filmmakers completely ignore sound until it is much to late. "The Blair Witch Project" is invariably pulled out of the hat as an example of successful micro-budget filmmaking, however the fact that almost $1million was spent on audio post to make the film palatable to paying audiences.



Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.
Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.
What do you make of the idea of recording ambient sounds and frequencies on location separately where possible to later add in, rather than silent background?

I'm a sound idiot, so not even sure if this is a good question
joelhall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 12:33 PM   #8
indietalk
IndieTalk Founder
 
indietalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 10,871
If you have a passion for filmmaking, a good story, and the ability to get it on the screen, no matter what, then THAT will impress.

If you try to look Hollywood for the sake of looking Hollywood and that is your main goal, then THAT will unimpress.

If you combine the two, worry less about #2.
indietalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 02:54 PM   #9
Modern Day Myth Prod. LLC
Premiere Member
 
Modern Day Myth Prod. LLC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Rego Park, NY
Posts: 4,461
In order to give yourself a realistic expectation of what to expect your film to look like, adapt this business practice; benchmark your film by comparing it to other films on YouTube and Vimeo made with the same budget.
Modern Day Myth Prod. LLC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 03:56 PM   #10
El Director
Basic Member
 
El Director's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Spokane Valley, WA
Posts: 460
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onalos View Post
Wow excellent stuff. Yeah, the image quality of my film doesn't look like yours even though I am using T2i. Thanks so much. I have like NO budget so definitely missing a lot of stuff. Will post the teaser soon. I really hope you guys like it.

You are definitely right about the acting. I have some actors and some friends just helping out. BIG difference.
Looking forward to seeing it! My last feature (the one I used for examples) I shot for $2000. If you've already shot the film, then a lot of that is too late. So spend time in post. Learn how to color correct and grade. Lots of good tutorials online about this. Beef up that sound mix and take the time to learn how to mix sound. Even a scene with zero dialogue should have AT LEAST 5 or 6 layers of audio to it (most of the time). When you're in post, the only deadline is the one you set for yourself. So take your time. At the indie level, shooting your film is running the race. In post, you have something Hollywood doesn't - time. Use it to your advantage.
El Director is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2018, 05:10 PM   #11
sfoster
IndieTalk Moderator
 
sfoster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland
Posts: 5,416
if you recreate an existing scene from a hollywood movie that could be a great learning exercise for you
sfoster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2018, 01:11 AM   #12
Alcove Audio
Basic - Premiere Expired
 
Alcove Audio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Fairfield County, CT
Posts: 7,558
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelhall View Post
What do you make of the idea of recording ambient sounds and frequencies on location separately where possible to later add in, rather than silent background?

I'm a sound idiot, so not even sure if this is a good question

Although it is - or at least should be - standard practice to capture room tones (about a minute or two recording the silent sets) everything else is done during audio post. Filmmaking, and especially sound design/audio posit, is not about reality; it's about creating a believable sonic world for your characters and your audience. That calls for meticulously recorded sounds that are carefully selected to enhance the mood and emotion of the individual scenes and the project as a whole.

Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.
Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.

Really pay attention to this. It's not just another banal saying. Many of the "great" directors are fanatics about sound.

Of your audiences five (5) senses you, as a filmmaker, only get to influence two, sight and sound. That is what is meant by "Sound is half of the experience."

I'm not suggesting that you get yourself over whelmed, but you should really do some serious research about sound-for-picture. Start with film sound.org. It hasn't been updated much recently, but there are many very interesting articles as well as technical definitions. There are quite a few decent clips on YouTube as well. The following is a reading list of books regarding sound-for-picture.



The Location Sound Bible - Ric Viers

Audio Postproduction for Film and Video - Jay Rose
Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound - David Yewdall
Audio-Vision - Michel Chion

Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures - John Purcell
The Foley Grail - Vanessa Ament
The Sound Effects Bible - Ric Viers

Sound Design - David Sonnenschein


Yeah, it's a big bite, but even if real sound design is beyond your budget for a while it's important to start to have your thinking processes start there. That's the true essence of all successful low/no/mini/micro budget filmmaking, knowing what is possible and and clawing as much quality as you can out of limited budgets/resources, prosumer equipment and limited time.

Here's a few vids….








Sorry, didn't mean to rant on….

Good luck!!
Alcove Audio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2018, 04:15 AM   #13
joelhall
Basic Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Buckinghamshire, England
Posts: 143
Cheers for the advice. I know the importance of sound, but its never been something I've worked with, I only do cinematography. My go to sound guy is moving on, so I'm trying to build up a skills set just in case i don't find anyone else up to his talent (at the same cost).
joelhall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2018, 07:38 AM   #14
Onalos
Basic Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: California
Posts: 27
Thank you all for your advice. Really appreciate it. Sound is an area that I have neglected and settled for 'decent' but I will definitely force myself to have a fetish for sound (metaphorically speaking) because it is very true that it is half of the film experience.
Onalos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2018, 10:36 AM   #15
indietalk
IndieTalk Founder
 
indietalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 10,871
When you say "Hollywood look" that is very ambiguous, instead of asking what makes the look you should pick a film that YOU like, and use it as your inspiration.

What genre is your film? What is your favorite film in that genre? Watch it twice in a row and take notes. What did you like about it and what made you feel this was a "legit" Hollywood film?

Acting? Effects? Cinematography? Opening credit sequence? Sound? Editing style? Etc.

Watching flicks is important. Watch some more. And more.
indietalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
film, hollywood, indie, trailer, vfx


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:20 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.


©IndieTalk