Monday, 23 June 2014

7 Easy Steps to Film Quality Footage

These days, everyone has a camera but only a select few are filmmakers. This blog is for the young dreamers with a budget the size of their piggy bank. I'm going to show you how to make your video clips look like real film footage by adding color contrast and depth of field. We will be using Adobe Premiere Pro for this brief tutorial and I will explain every step with screenshots or a New Girl GIF, because it's awesome. That's why. 

First you have to understand the differences between film and video:
  •  Film looks so rich in color and sharp in lines because, when captured, there is an even distribution of color across the image.
  •  Video is captured a bit differently. A video camera captures the information as scan lines which   form the image. This means there are spaces between the scan lines with missing information,  causing video to lack the luster of film. 

I know it sounds like gibberish right now, but stay with me. What we are attempting to do with this technique is fill in these spaces between the scan lines so your video looks fuller. The difference will be very subtle but the overall look of your final product will be well worth the extra render time.

  • I will be using a piece of stock footage I found of people walking on a street in Romania. Here it is: 

    As you can see, everything looks rather dull. The colors aren’t vibrant and everything has a soft edge to it. By making the colors pop we will also give everything a nice, crisp edge. So let’s start!

    The steps are simple:

    1.     In your timeline, make 2 copies of the clip you want to use. Quick tip: Hold down the Alt key then click and drag clip to the next video layer.

    2.     Hide your top two video layers, we will deal with them later individually.
    3.     Find the “Fast Blur” effect and apply it to both of your clips on V2 and V3. Start by setting your blur to 2; you may come back and lessen it later but 2 is a good starting point. You want to set your Blur Dimensions to vertical and select “Repeat Edge Pixels”.

    4.     Make V2 visible and open your effects control panel for that clip. Click the arrow next to Opacity and deselect the stopwatch. From your blend modes, select “Overlay”. Lower your opacity to around 40%-50%, you can change it later. We are trying to add that rich depth of field to the video clip so it’s ok if it looks a bit dark for now. 

    5.     Make V3 visible and open your effects control panel for that clip. Again, click the arrow next to Opacity and make sure the stopwatch is deselected. Select “Screen” from your blend modes and lower the opacity to around 20%-30%. Note: If your clip is already bright, your screen should have a lower opacity. My example shot was very bright, so I lowered my opacity to 10%.

    6.     Compare your clip to what it looked like before and continue to play with the opacity levels until you’re satisfied.



    Here's a picture of them side by side:
    In my example, you can see the colors are more vibrant and the edges are crisp. 

    7.     Render and marvel at the beauty!

    Now you can start submitting your work to film festivals and celebrate your future successes! 

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