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Jakub Buczynski

The difference between pro and amateur?

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Hi,

 

I watched your video, looks nice. Just out of curiosity(relevant to the question), what shutter-speed and frame-rate combination were you using? Judging by the object in the foreground at 1:44(

), it appears that you are shooting at a high framerate/shutter. That will give it an unnatural 'videoish' look instead of the much desired 'filmic' look.

 

Regards.

 

Thanks! It was a year ago, so I don't remember all the settings, but you must be right about high shutter speed. I don't have ND filters, so sometimes I have to use something different that 1/50. About the frame rate, it was 24p.

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There is something to be said for working your way up the ladder and learning from the pros.

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Think of it logically. Get a film out of your DVD cupboard and go to the credits. You will see that there are hundreds of people working on the film, if not a single shot in the film. Now, if your starting out, you are more likely to be working by yourself or with one or two other people. Spot the difference already? Just don’t be too harsh on yourself if your comparing yourself to Spielberg as he has got a whole team of people behind him with millions of dollars.

 

I think you would be a lot happier with your work if you changed your view point. Here are some examples:

 

Change the phrase “Achieving the film look” to “achieving the film look with a DSLR”. A handheld digital camera out of the box is unlikely to perform anything like a 35mm film camera on a hollywood film set. Film looks different to digital anyway, so you will never get it to look completely Hollywood.

 

Accept that you will never like your own work. Kiera Knightly has never watched herself in the Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End. Picasso burned lots of his work. Robert Richardson, cinematographer, says he never looks back on a project as he will start seeing mistakes in his work. He’s a professional with some major films under his belt and even he finds things he doesn’t like. Main point is, its very difficult to judge your own work, and something that you may find awful in your work, someone else somewhere will love it.

 

Concentrate on producing your own style rather than copying something that has already done. Even if you made an exact replica of somebody else’s film that you admired, and it was a perfect copy, you would still find that something about it wasn’t quite right. Nothing can replace raw innovation.

 

Just because it looks good, doesn’t always make it a good film. Narrative counts. Terminator 3 for example. You could say it has the ‘film look’ but lets face it, its still a bit rubbish compared to the first two instalments.

 

However I think there are still some things you can do to improve the look of your film work. (I can’t find your personal movie on here, but these are things that I thought improved my work).

 

First of all, concentrate more on the story and the mood of the piece, rather than how it looks. How many times have we seen ‘Film Look Tests' on Youtube of people smoking a cigarette whilst walking through the woods with piano music playing softly int he background. It’s not a short movie and they are not very good. Write some dialogue, get an interesting location, form a short narrative using the dialogue and you will have a movie that is instantly more compelling than something that has just been been colour graded an looks nice. The film look will probably come naturally afterwards anyway.

 

Make sure your video is broadcast safe. The amount of times I’ve seen videos on Youtube that are over exposed is incredible. It hurts your eyes. On Final Cut Pro there are a few tools for getting your film broadcast safe, and by doing so it improves the look of your film greatly.

 

Anamorphic Lenses. I’m not an advocate of spending huge amounts of money but I would recommend anamorphic lenses. If you go on wikipedia there is a huge list of films that have been shot in this way.

 

Anyway, I hope this helps. You don’t have to agree with me on these points, as its just my opinion, but at least you’ve got another viewpoint.

 

For more information please visit:

 

http://pjscottentertainment.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Or follow me on twitter at:

 

@pjscott89

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Also a couple of other things to mention that agree with a few of the posts before.

 

Lots of practise. My first film was terrible. It was absolute rubbish. Though my film technique isn’t perfect it has greatly improved because of practising.

 

To add to my previous point about DSLR’s been different to hollywood cameras. DSLR’s are digital, hollywood cameras are film. Therefore you are not making a film, you are making a digital moving image. I know this seems trivial, but I think its important to realise why a digital camera will never look like film; because it isn't. if your going to call it something, at least call it a movie.

 

Lighting. Lighting is super duper important. It adds lots of drama and can’t be easily replicated in post.

 

Plan your shoot. Don’t expect to take your camera down to the park and expect to make a blockbuster. Make a script, draw storyboards, and plan each camera movement. Drawing storyboards and planning each shot was perhaps the best lesson I learned when making my last film. It makes a massive difference.

 

Again, hope this helps.

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Yeah the problem is you're shooting on a peice of crap camera.

You need an Arri-3 and some 35mm stock. Add on some Zeiss Cooke S4's and you will

have the don image potential. If you cant afford s4s get some old school Zeiss Standards.

Roger Deakens used them on 1984 and Shawshank redemption. Look great. :-P

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Yeah the problem is you're shooting on a peice of crap camera.

You need an Arri-3 and some 35mm stock. Add on some Zeiss Cooke S4's and you will

have the don image potential. If you cant afford s4s get some old school Zeiss Standards.

Roger Deakens used them on 1984 and Shawshank redemption. Look great. :-P

 

Your forgot to mention the necessity to multiply the budget by ten or twenty times to shoot film as opposed to a self-owned DSLR.

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The point is, if you want the super slick PRO look then you have to have the PRO kit.

Sorry, as good as the Canon 5Ds are. You will never hit the elite spec with that kind of gear.

Perhaps with some pl mounted panchros.. but still you hit a barrier. The 7D is great for polished turds. 35mm is the don format and I fight to have the privilege of working with it. At the expense of quite a lot. all my money go's on it. I love it.

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Add on some Zeiss Cooke S4's and you will

have the don image potential. If you cant afford s4s get some old school Zeiss Standards.

Roger Deakens used them on 1984 and Shawshank redemption. Look great. :-P

 

You mean Taylor Hobson Cooke S4's! ;)

 

love

 

Freya

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You mean Taylor Hobson Cooke S4's! ;)

 

love

 

Freya

 

Taylor Hobson made the glass for the Cooke Panchros. I think Cooke makes the S4's.

Edited by Tom Jensen

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YEAH FREYA :-P YEAH! GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT K!

 

Hey, I could be wrong. That's why I use words like "maybe" and I think' and "sometimes." Always give yourself an out.

Edited by Tom Jensen

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Hello everyone!

 

About 2 years ago I purchased my Canon 7D which has introduced me to the world of film. Since then every time I was doing something as DP I was mad about one thing - getting the "professional film look". I was experimenting with many things - picture styles, color grading, lenses, lightning... Of course I have improved the quality of my footage alot, but you can still say, that it was shot by amateur. I've had few periods of time, then I was blaming alot of things why it was impossible for me. Using 7D, not Alexa, Red or 35mm, using Canon lenses, not Zeiss or Cooke... It even got to the point, where I was blaming different air density in my country, than in USA (lol, but actually it's a fact. still not a game changer...). I know that it's possible to shoot great footage with DSLR (example - Killing Joke or

that was shot in my country, which proves to me, that I shouldnt blame "air". And by the way it was shot on neutral picture profile, which also proves to me, that picture profiles are not the ultimate tool for "film look"). I was thinking that using some cine lenses is going to get me there. Well, quick search on youtube (
) shows, that there is some difference, but it's not the ultimate cinematic tool. Now I came across some amazing footage (which I'm also going to use as example of this "professional film look" that is my ultimate goal - GH1 + Lomo) from GH1 with lomo anomorphic lens on the front. This put me into thinking - anomorphic is the ultimate tool for geting this look. Well, again just a quick search on youtube, and my idea seems to be wrong - Century anomorphic + 5D. So what I would describe as this "film look"? Definitly one of the biggest differencess between my footage and professional footage is contrast ratio. This "cinematic" kind of black. Also colors. Mine are over saturated, but when I'm trying to make them desaturated I feel like I'm loosing some details in them. Sharpness - I know that it's about good lens and focus puller. But definitly my ultimate goal is this footage from GH1 with Lomo, that also proves to me, that you can get that look without special picture profile, color grading or lights. The best I've got so far -
by cinestyle and color grading and
by lightning (actually I know it would look alot better if we could afford more lights, but our budget was really tight. oh and by the way, please don't judge audio and color correction - it's just RAW files from camera cutted in right order).

 

The question is - what am I missing? I really want to know, becouse I've got some big projects in near future, and I don't want to waste opportunity of making documentary film about hospital for their 100'th anniversary (don't worry, I'm better documentalist than DP:) ). Thanks for any help!

I took the time to view your examples. Its not a question of technology, just practice and technique. Its not a matter of not having enough lights but using what you have to good effect. As you practice, remember its all about taste. Knowing what you like is the first part, getting there is the fun part. The term 'professional film look' is actually holding you back. Its too vague and gives you no where to investigate. You have to answer the question yourself 'what do i like about those images.' Its detective work to deconstruct lighting and setups from other films/videos. Over time you'll get better at that too.

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Hey, I could be wrong. That's why I use words like "maybe" and I think' and "sometimes." Always give yourself an out.

 

 

 

Yeah, and why Freya uses words like Love and emoticons.

 

Pres. Don't Yell at Freya Society

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.....what's the right path for better quality. Focusing on lenses? Getting anomorphic adapter? What made video with GH1 and Lomo so great?

 

 

I wonder if it is a mistake to separate the film making from the cinematography.

 

With the Festiwal Wcześniaka you have a finite piece of time to basically make observation and produce the most interesting possible images. To make exquisite images in this context one is using skill and perceptivity that may be of a different kind to what is used to shoot great drama. The best beginning point for an observational piece like this is to care deeply about your subject and to be very familiar with it. One needs a point of view, something to say. There are moments where you get lucky (3:11). The kids faces behind the microphones, the uncertain movement, the boys face (eyes) half aware of the camera.

 

If you want to develop depth as an observational photographer then come up with a project that allows intensive development of idea and gives a relaxed timeline. Or work with a film maker who is developing a project like that.

 

Similarly, with drama. If you want to end up with exquisitely crafted images that carry the spirit, emotion or narrative then invest a lot of energy in development of those images. Or put yourself with a film maker who does. The WKD film feels mostly undeveloped in terms of how the images express the ideas. This can be fine. A film like that can be fine. But you have a hunger for images that are more expressive and more developed I think.

 

The G1+Lomo. I'm assuming that is all photography rather than image manipulation in post. He's a good photographer. He found meaningful compositions in that environment using available light and made a sort of poetic relation between them. A little film. It's based on his ability to see. His perceptivity. Ok, and some curiosity about the Lomo anamorphics helped him.

 

As to whether one should be deconstructing the work of others, then reconstructing one's own version of that. Isn't it better to work intuitively, natively, according to where one really has arrived in terms of our ability to see the world around us.

 

Where do I subscribe to the Don't Yell at Freya Society?

Edited by Gregg MacPherson

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The point is, if you want the super slick PRO look then you have to have the PRO kit.

 

 

Here I was thinking you were being sarcastic in that earlier post laugh.gif

 

 

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Here I was thinking you were being sarcastic in that earlier post laugh.gif

 

 

Pro look is not subjective. It is achieved via very expensive glass on either very high end digital equipment or 35mm equipment. This is combined with expert knowledge of

light and there you have your pro look.

 

If you have a Canon 7D with a plastic lens on it and expert lighting, it still won't be the pro look.

 

My point is. You want Hollywood Spec. You need the hollywood gear. If there is something un-true about this. Please say now Chris.

 

OK!

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Here I was thinking you were being sarcastic in that earlier post laugh.gif

 

 

Alright Chris. Lets see your hollywood spec reel created with a Gh1. I'm all ears mate :D

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Just my .02 but your problem is as others have said composition, lighting, and movement. It's also your production design. The first thing that stood out to me about the GH1 Lomo video is the lighting. The photographer shot an area with architectural lighting that was designed to look good. The second thing was composition and subjects. I am far from a Master of Cinematography but I do know that it takes more than a high end camera and good lighting to achieve the "Hollywood" Film Look. I have seen plenty of horrible movies made with high end Film Cameras, Alexas, and Red Epic's.

 

When I started out I had a Panasonic HMC-80. That's a 1/4" 3Mos. This is my first movie.

 

http://vimeo.com/38831359

 

It's nothing amazing or anything. It does prove the camera is not all important. I spent a lot of time learning how to light during this movie. I spent a lot of time experimenting with composition. I had zero experience. Nobody would work with me until after I made this movie. So I spent a lot of time learning from Wally Pfister, Shane Hurlbut, Christopher Doyle, and janusz kaminski's work. I watched all their movies. I read all the articles I could on why they did what they did. I learned it was far more than equipment, spectacle, film, and expensive lights. As somebody said before it was about everything in front of the camera. I actually never had any intention of becoming a cinematographer. I just did it because I wanted to make a movie that looked good. Because of the limitations of my camera I learned how to achieve shallow depth of field, rack the auto focus, and deal with the video look. I decided to start my journey to become a Cinematographer after making my first movie. I worked every project I could for the past 18 months mostly free. I have shot on HDSLR's, Red, FS100, GH2, HMC-80, and HVX200. I have shot some terrible footage on great cameras and great footage on a Sony 5N. Camera and lenses will come and go but your knowledge and skills as a cinematographer will always trump the latest and greatest.

 

As others have said you need to have a relationship with those characters. The way I approach cinematography is not by look but by story. To me the camera tells the story. The actors and locations are the story. The camera should interact with the characters and the locations and props to tell the story. The camera controls the audiences perspective. The film look is achieved by everything in the frame not the camera that shot it. I have seen video shot on a T3i that was far more powerful than anything I have ever seen come out of a "Hollywood" film camera. I think you will find what your looking for if you start focusing on Composition, movement, and lighting, in general and not a specific technique or style. It's millions of little things that come together in a composition that creates the look you are seeking. This is just my experience which is far less than most people in this thread.

Edited by Samuel Laseke
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Can you back this up with evidence?

 

This is a straw man argument considering that art is in fact subjective. What I find more powerful than anything else is my opinion. What you find more powerful may be entirely based on the camera and lens it was shot on. I don't think you would find too many people outside the filmmaking community that care if a movie was shot by a great cinematographer with an HDSLR or Imax. What your shooting and how it's shot will always trump what you shot it with. The camera, lenses, film or digital, hand held, steadicam, or static shots all tells the story and these decisions are important. I believe the story should dictate the camera and lenses your using but at many filmmakers level you don't always have that option. High end equipment however will not provide you with super powers that will replace skill. Likewise a cheap camera is not going to strip you of your ability to make great cinematography. If that were true an Imax movie would only be great when played on a true Imax screen. It would be absolutely terrible when viewed on Television. Some people may find that to be true. Most people don't. I think everyone would agree there is a huge drop in quality but that does not suddenly make the movie terrible. Point being just because it was shot on a cheap camera does not make the cinematography any less powerful.

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This is a straw man argument considering that art is in fact subjective.

 

How can it be a straw man? I merely asked a question. A question cannot be a logical fallacy. If, as you put it, powerfulness of a film is not based on the camera it was shot on, then why did you make a point to mention that the most powerful you've seen was on a t3i? It seems that you are undermining your own statements with a comment like that.

 

Everyone wants to argue that "it doesnt matter what something was shot on." At the surface, this seems plausible enough. However, if a filmmaker starts to do a pattern of short cutting in one area, usually this leads to shortcuts in others. That sort of mentality is generally not going to lead to a great film. A great film doesn't happen randomly. It is the result of intense planning, talent, and money and/or labor.

 

Let's put it another way...what if one were to say "it doesnt matter what microphone a sound mixer uses...as long as he is skilled." This statement would be false to anyone who knows better. And bad sound, like bad acting, can take you out of even the best script in no time.

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I am not arguing that it doesn't matter what something is shot on. In fact I stated quite the opposite if you read my post. Every story decides the camera that should be used. So I am not sure what your rant is all about. Of course it matters what you shoot on. But I will take anything shot well on an HDSLR over artless crap shot by a videographer with an Alexa.

 

I mean no offense but you are in the Students and First Time Filmmakers section of this blog. What you consider is a short cut is a way of life for us lowly simpletons. Christopher Nolan thinks your cutting corners by not shooting on Imax when ever possible. It's all relative to your distribution platform and budget.

 

Do you honestly think that a hack with the best mic in the world is going to produce better audio than a highly experience engineer with a mediocre mic? Let's put it another way. Do you think Jakub Buczynski could take <insert the best camera ever> and best Shane Hurlbut armed with an HDSLR? I think everyone can agree that's it's not likely at this point in his career. That's the point. If we were talking about shooting a 300 million dollar feature with an Iphone your rant would be valid. We are talking about a 7D and how to become a better cinematographer. You wouldn't go into a film school and berate people for using HDSLR's instead of Imax and you would not tell them the camera is anything more than a tool either.

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I mean no offense but you are in the Students and First Time Filmmakers section of this blog. What you consider is a short cut is a way of life for us lowly simpletons.

 

I shoot 16mm, which was the student standard for like...ever until every person with a DSLR thought they were a filmmaker. Did film become more expensive relative to inflation? Not at all...in fact the workflow is cheaper than ever for film. Its the students that have gotten cheaper. Why? Because they can, not because they "cant afford it." You'd be surprised what you can afford when you actually care enough about it to give up going to Starbucks two days a week or resisting the urge to have the latest Apple products (ipad, iphone, whatever.)

 

This is what I mean. If people dont value filmmaking to the point that they would give almost anything for their project, they are short cutting their work. I dont care what Nolan thinks of < IMAX. I love Nolan for his take on saving film but I realize we cant all do what he does...at least at his level. But thats why film has different gauges. The quality is always there, it just may not have the sharpness, fine grain, etc. But regardless of where one is financially, you should always give your all. Am I to believe that film students are poorer now than they used to be? Or maybe the older generation of film students were more careful with what they shot because they knew film was finite.

 

Think about it and then please let me know your thoughts on the matter.

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Your problem Mathew is you think the equipment is the end all be all. Super 16mm is not better than Digital. It's different than Digital. As a student that has given up far more than you can possibly imagine for this dream I will choose the format that allows me to become a better cinematographer. The more I shoot the more I learn. The more I learn the better I become as a cinematographer. Learning composition and movement in real time will teach you far faster than waiting a week to see what mistake you made. Having a finite medium limits your ability to learn. The same discipline can be obtained with any camera. Imagine having the ability to see your mistakes in real time and also trying to fix them on the spot. You don't have this option with film. That does not make Film any less important to the industry. It's not better or worse than Digital it's different. I agree we should be giving it our all. I don't think however that shooting on Film or an HDSLR or any other platform has any bearing on a persons commitment to their craft. I plan to master them all because my ability and craftsmanship is more important than a single project.

 

But let's bring this back on topic since this is not about film. It's about how to achieve the pro film look which is subjective. If it's not can you kindly show me which page of the ASC book I can find that definition on? If you don't have good lighting, composition, and movement your film is going to suck just as much as your HDSLR footage. Which is the entire point. It's not about equipment it's about the cinematographer and how he crafts the image. This is what Jakub wants to know not be berated because he is not using the best equipment or Super 16mm film. At some point your equipment will hold you back. That's when you should upgrade. There is simply not truth to equipment making you a good filmmaker or the lack there of cutting corners. Chris Doyle uses a Couch Cushion instead of a Steady Cam! There are so many great cinematographers that make amazing movies and so many more than make average stuff with the same equipment. Obviously we will never agree on this and that is fine. To each their own.

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