Post-Production : Emulating the Film Look by Patrick Southern

Patrick Southern

Emulating the Film Look

We've been playing around with the ImpulZ LUTs from VisionColor and have had pretty good success imitating Kodak Vision3 stocks, among others. What tools do you use to get the "film look"?

Matthew -MK- Kilburn

We use the Red Giant Color Suite:

Dan Cortes

The more I study film the more I realize it is the opposite of what digital experts tell us. That you need more latitude and detail in the darks for example. While I highly agree a raw image or flat look will provide more detail possibilities for use in post yet all of the classic films (I am thinking specifically of the God Father here) lacked a great amount of this high definition or detail. I just watched 12 Years a Slave and the "lack" of detail in the darks is astonishing. There's a void of image a tremendous crushing of the blacks that film gives you that all the digital experts say one MUST avoid when shooting on digital so as to emulate the "film look." It's a contradiction in terms. Also any Hollywood DP who shot on film when trying their hand in digital will tell you HD "sees too much." They will tell you how primes suddenly become way to sharp and they miss the soft lensed nuance celluloid gives to the image. So I would say the best tool get that film look is obviously to shoot film but moreover when shooting digital strive for perfection in what you place in front of the lens be it a actor, a prop, a set -- that the thing your shooting feels filmic to begin with.

Ken Koh

Filmconvert is excellent for tweaking digital image to look like film. Arri Alexa got the processing right with their sensor, it's the most filmic of all the digital cameras out there to my eyes.

Erwin Vanderhoydonks

Perhaps it has nothing to do with this itme but Dan Cortes commented that the images are 'to sharp'. That's why I like to use my old Canon FD lenses on my Sony NEX FS100. Gives softer (not so sharp) images.

Patrick Southern

Alle, you're right. Various film stocks and sizes give very different looks. I personally am a huge fan of 70mm/15-perf IMAX, and would love to emulate that look. However, I don't think that will happen anytime soon. My original question was meant to be aimed at emulating the color and luminance handling of various film stocks. However, it has well been noted that there is a lot more to the "film look" than that. Dan Cortes, I really like your point about striving to have a filmic frame before it hits the sensor/film stock. Often times people forget that lighting, makeup, and art direction play just as much a role (if not more) in making a cinematic shot than what camera or post workflow is used.

Jake Pasley

Generally, 'Film Look' has grain, shallow depth of field and wide latitude.

Jake Pasley

You can emulate the film look now with right setup. While doing film and digital test for Skyfall, Roger Deakins couldn't distinguish some of the shots. Skyfall was shot digitally.

Patrick Southern

I agree that the Arri Alexa cameras tend to give more of a 'filmic' look than other digital cameras. My original intent with this post was to find out what tools one might use in post production help with attaining the 'film look'. Perhaps I should move this conversation to the Cinematography corner of the Lounge?

Ken Koh

Hi Patrick. Any number of tools like Da Vinci Resolve, Speedgrade will do the job if you have the right colorist. It's all about the the colorist eyes and skill in grading to get a certain look, obviously that is if the DP done the job right. A good DP should be able to get you the look in camera.

John Robert

I do not agree with the "filmic" look of the Alexa at all. I am not sure what you're comparing to but naw... I disagree on that one. Everything I have seen from that unit seems to be either overshot and poorly graded or just plain flat looking as far as color.

David Leonel

Hi Guys looking for a London based Editor, any ideas

Richard "RB" Botto

Check JOBS, David.

Christopher Binder

Best way to get the film "look" is to shoot on film.

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