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I’m sort of new to cinematography. I’m hoping to achieve a certain look or at the very least come close it. I plan to upload this mainly online for now (like youtube and vimeo). I know what I’d like to have as an outcome, just not sure specifically what I might need to do to get there.



I’m looking for more of a style used during the 90’s for music videos. They, I assume, were filmed with film camera and not digital, so I’m aware of one part of that solution. I figured if I shoot digital in 24 fps, somewhere around 720, that I might be able to get close to the look I’m looking for (plus whatever sony vegas or premiere can provide me for filters).



I have examples so that anyone with sound advice can understand what I mean in a visual sense.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDazyPyjts (Redman “I Can’t Wait”)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMJH2XWBQGU (Nas “The World is Yours Tip Mix”)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehT_R-Vd6Nk (Da Youngstas “Mad Props”)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOppDnMIIak (Extra Prolific “Brown Sugar Directors Version”)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIWH2xc9yKk (Camp Lo “Luchini”)



I put up a couple of links to give a better view of what I mean, from mid 90s to late 90s. I’m aware I’ll need a dolly, tripod or some kind of stabilizer (I don’t plan to get any of the big production cranes). Other than that, not sure exactly what I would need to do to get the closest to that quality (besides lighting techniques).


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Wow, you have your work cut out for you.

 

I looked at this stuff and I kept thinking Sony, till I got as far as Camp Lo which screams out Betacam SP!!!

 

Brown Sugar looks different to me BTW. Looks like that is film. Vaseline on a clear filter with focusing while shooting. I wondered if some of the cutaways might be Beta SP again but they were too fast to be sure.

 

Couldn't get NAS to work.

 

Anyway suspect it is mostly the Beta SP effect.

 

The good news is you might be able to track down the real thing for a cheap price. You would need to find a DV camera with analogue in as well to do the recording. You might even get close to this effect with an old 1 chip ccd DV camera which might be easier and cheaper but will be a lot nastier.

 

720p is space age compared to this stuff.

 

Freya

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Failing that get hold of the cheapest Sony camera you can find, shoot at the lowest resolution and cross your fingers..

A 3 ccd Sony camera will get you closest perhaps?

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All music videos from the 1990's were either 35mm or 16mm film. Get your hands on a cheap KONVAS 1M ( very cheap-less than $800 cheap) and use KODAK VISION3 500T , tell the lab to push the film 1 stop. Transfer the film to video on an older CCD telecine (RANK Turbo). Use a heavy compression ratio, like the DV Codec when editing - DO NOT USE PRO RES if using Final Cut Pro. You will be happy with the results and you will have a film negative that will last a long time - longer than any memory card or hard drive.

 

 

Should you decide to shoot digital, get your hands on a Panasonic HVX200, use that.

If using a DSLR, buy an adapter that allows you to use older NIKON or CANON glass from the 1970's.

The focus of the aforementioned techniques is to soften a high res image.

 

The 2 most important parts of creating a vintage look are set design and wardrobe.

 

 

High budget music videos in the 90's were shot with Panavision or ARRI cameras with PRIMO, Zeiss Super Speeds or Cooke S4 lenses. If you watch DVD compilations

like the Director's Series, you will see the quality actually exceeds today's standards, where budgets are now 1/10 of what they used to be:

 

Director's Series, Vol. 3 - The Work of Director Michel Gondry

http://www.amazon.com/Directors-Vol-Director-Michel-Gondry/dp/B0000DBJ9J/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1411566971&sr=1-2&keywords=michel+gondry

 

 

Director's Series, Vol. 2 - The Work of Director Chris Cunningham

http://www.amazon.com/Directors-Vol-Director-Chris-Cunningham/dp/B0000DBJ9I/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1411567133&sr=1-2&keywords=Director%27s+Series%2C+Vol.+2

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All music videos from the 1990's were either 35mm or 16mm film. Get your hands on a cheap KONVAS 1M ( very cheap-less than $800 cheap) and use KODAK VISION3 500T , tell the lab to push the film 1 stop. Transfer the film to video on an older CCD telecine (RANK Turbo). Use a heavy compression ratio, like the DV Codec when editing - DO NOT USE PRO RES if using Final Cut Pro. You will be happy with the results and you will have a film negative that will last a long time - longer than any memory card or hard drive.

 

That's a very big over generalisation certainly there was stuff shot on Super8 and some stuff was even shot on video too but it's true that you would expect them to be shot on film. The only one of these videos that looks like it was shot on film is the brown sugar video however. Camp Lo appears to be definitely either Beta SP or possibly an Ikegami camera.

 

If going with film you would definitely at least want to start with 16mm and then try and get a really bad transfer. Rank Turbo was a flying spot scanner so that wouldn't be good because you are right that you want an old ccd look. Possibly an old Bosch could do the trick.

 

The easiest way to get the look would be to shoot on Beta Sp tho.

 

Have you actually watched the videos?

 

Freya

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I love the feedback you all have given me. Very detailed, informative and helpful. My other question would be, IF i decide to use a DSLR, could you re-explain a cost effective or simple way to achieve something as close as possible to this type of technique?

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That's a very big over generalisation certainly there was stuff shot on Super8 and some stuff was even shot on video too but it's true that you would expect them to be shot on film. The only one of these videos that looks like it was shot on film is the brown sugar video however. Camp Lo appears to be definitely either Beta SP or possibly an Ikegami camera.

 

If going with film you would definitely at least want to start with 16mm and then try and get a really bad transfer. Rank Turbo was a flying spot scanner so that wouldn't be good because you are right that you want an old ccd look. Possibly an old Bosch could do the trick.

 

The easiest way to get the look would be to shoot on Beta Sp tho.

 

Have you actually watched the videos?

 

Freya

 

C'mon Freya. C'mon. I saw that Camp Lo video back in the day when it was brand new, broadcast on TV in 480i. That's

35mm telecine with some obvious Power Windows and telecine diffusion. There's also GRAD filters used, as well as 48-96fps slowmo. the African American skintones would block up on Beta SP. I can look at the sheen in the waitress's hair and tell that's film. The set was also smoked up.

 

Another technique that might work for him is shooting with a SONY HI-8 handycam.

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I love the feedback you all have given me. Very detailed, informative and helpful. My other question would be, IF i decide to use a DSLR, could you re-explain a cost effective or simple way to achieve something as close as possible to this type of technique?

 

Get an adapter so that you can use old lenses( example: a CANON FD to EF adapter ), use a Tiffen Pro Mist 1 filter.

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You all mentioned cameras to look at, but can anyone give me specific model names? it makes the search online for them much easier if i have their full names or close enough.

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Get an adapter so that you can use old lenses( example: a CANON FD to EF adapter ), use a Tiffen Pro Mist 1 filter.

As a heads up, I use Nikon cameras, so i'm guessing i couldnt use the canon fd to ef adapter but maybe if they had a Nikon one?

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C'mon Freya. C'mon. I saw that Camp Lo video back in the day when it was brand new, broadcast on TV in 480i. That's

35mm telecine with some obvious Power Windows and telecine diffusion. There's also GRAD filters used, as well as 48-96fps slowmo. the African American skintones would block up on Beta SP. I can look at the sheen in the waitress's hair and tell that's film. The set was also smoked up.

 

Another technique that might work for him is shooting with a SONY HI-8 handycam.

 

You could be right I've never seen the original but that version on youtube sure looks nasty, especially the stuff in the van and when they run around wearing masks. Mad Props is perhaps even worse all blown out highlights, jaggy edges and there are bits that almost look like bad keying. Looks about the level of a really good Beta SP recording to me. Don't forget Beta SP was analogue so no blocking to be had there.

 

You are right that smoking up the set would be a great start tho.

 

Freya

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As a heads up, I use Nikon cameras, so i'm guessing i couldnt use the canon fd to ef adapter but maybe if they had a Nikon one?

 

Maybe a Nikon to M42 adaptor and some old glass. In post try and really take the resolution right down.

 

Freya

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POWER WINDOWS!!!! Thanks James, I was racking my head around that technique they would do in telecine, something to the effect of Gaussian Blur in Photoshop. But not really seeing it on these.

 

Not Beta... ALL of those videos where film... most of them 16mm which is why you get the deeper depth of field look.

 

Mostly all videos then where shot with standard primes and super speeds where the top choice. S4's were reserved for the big boys and 35mm jobs. Still many where on the 10:1 canon cinema zoom.

 

Chocolate and Tobacco filters where ALWAYS in the bag. White & Black ProMist made its rounds as well as Grads all over the place as clearly seen.

 

Not vasaline in Brown Sugar, swing and tilt lenses mad a peek in videos also... this is what you got going on here as well as flash frames... flash frames we would just cut the camera off and restart the camera. Many of the good directors could do it in a good sync area of the playback track for an effect look that would hit during certain rifts of the song.

 

film speeds, we carried 100T, 200T & 500T. 800T was just hitting the market and was a bit pricier. Also, 50D & 250D

 

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I was a camera loader and 2nd AC during the heyday of music videos!

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POWER WINDOWS!!!! Thanks James, I was racking my head around that technique they would do in telecine, something to the effect of Gaussian Blur in Photoshop. But not really seeing it on these.

 

Not Beta... ALL of those videos where film... most of them 16mm which is why you get the deeper depth of field look.

 

Mostly all videos then where shot with standard primes and super speeds where the top choice. S4's were reserved for the big boys and 35mm jobs. Still many where on the 10:1 canon cinema zoom.

 

Chocolate and Tobacco filters where ALWAYS in the bag. White & Black ProMist made its rounds as well as Grads all over the place as clearly seen.

 

Not vasaline in Brown Sugar, swing and tilt lenses mad a peek in videos also... this is what you got going on here as well as flash frames... flash frames we would just cut the camera off and restart the camera. Many of the good directors could do it in a good sync area of the playback track for an effect look that would hit during certain rifts of the song.

 

film speeds, we carried 100T, 200T & 500T. 800T was just hitting the market and was a bit pricier. Also, 50D & 250D

 

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I was a camera loader and 2nd AC during the heyday of music videos!

I'm sure there was a lot of valuable knowledge in there, but I'm not sure how to use any of that to make the type of video I'm trying to make. Basically, should I be taking any of that and applying it to what i want to do?

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I'm sure there was a lot of valuable knowledge in there, but I'm not sure how to use any of that to make the type of video I'm trying to make. Basically, should I be taking any of that and applying it to what i want to do?

 

YES! ...Or maybe.. depending on what it is about the look you are trying to achieve.

The links you posted probably don't look that much like the original videos, so it comes down somewhat to whether you want it to look like the video on you tube or more like they had originally looked. Having watched some other stuff by the same artists it seems like they are very badly degraded. If they are all film as has been suggested here and would certainly have been common at the time (and other stuff by the same artists appears to have been shot on film) then they have probably been through the following workflow: A cheap telecine, transfered to Beta SP, broadcast on TV, copied in someway (possibly even to VHS!) imported to computer, cropped to 16:9 and finally compressed for youtube.

 

In your situation of working with the Nikon then things to look at would definitely be some cheap tobacco filters:

 

Chocolate and Tobacco filters where ALWAYS in the bag. White & Black ProMist made its rounds as well as Grads all over the place as clearly seen

 

.

Tobacco filters are much easier to come by than choc. Grads too and as James was suggesting... smoking the set. Flash frames can be sort of added in post and are available as a download lots of places. They might look a bit fake on a digital shoot tho but that hasn't stopped loads of people in the past. You could try lens whacking instead for a different light flood effect. It looks very different tho but would be in keeping with the Nikon.

 

The FD lenses that James was suggesting are available cheaply but I'm not sure if you can get an adapter for nikon you will have to look into it. The FD lenses are hard to adapt which is why they are cheap. They require extra optics in the path so I'm not sure if an adapter is out there for Nikon but they could be worth a look if they can work.

 

 

Not vasaline in Brown Sugar, swing and tilt lenses mad a peek in videos also

 

 

So there you go on that score! You might be able to score a swing and tilt / tilt - shift setup on e-bay. These days the lensbaby tends to be the thing used for these kind of effects but it has a different look to this usually. If you are stuck financially you could try vaseline on a filter or something else to defocus parts of the frame.

 

Alfeo was around at the time and what he is saying seems like it could easily be a match for what is in the videos.

 

The thing is that it's not clear from you postings what it is about these videos that you like and what you want to reproduce so you are going to be more likely to get people chatting randomly about the process, the state of things today, how things were once upon a time etc... nature of a cinematography forum! :)

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black

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POWER WINDOWS!!!! Thanks James, I was racking my head around that technique they would do in telecine, something to the effect of Gaussian Blur in Photoshop. But not really seeing it on these.

 

I think you are thinking of the telecine diffusion that James mentions maybe? Power windows is when you can select areas of the screen and make correction just in that "window" tho you could maybe just blur that area?

 

It's more like what you would use grads for and I'm not sure if they would have had power windows technology that far back?? I'm imagining something more like a pogle setup but maybe DaVinci was a thing by then?

 

Freya

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This looks much more like film which would appear to underscore what James is saying:

 

 

(Youngstas is the right name, he looks like an angry teenage buddhist, wonder where they are now?!)

 

Freya

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Music Videos and TV commercials are the earliest adopters of new tech. Check this out:

 

http://www.finalcolor.com/history4colorists.htm

 

1992 -DaVinci introduced Power Windows for Telecine use. That year we began seeing the use of Power Windows in music videos.

 

@ Sadiq -After Effects can help you achieve a part of the overall look that we are discussing - at home with your computer. If your NIKON DSLR has an F mount (it probably does), then you can use older NIKON glass lenses or get a CANON FD to NIKON F adapter to use Canon lenses on your NIKON camera. Get a TIIFEN Pro Mist 1 Filter, as well. Check EBAY for those

 

 

@ Freya, Alfeo - Thanks for the input. I really enjoy discussing this stuff ( even though we are in the wrong sub forum :rolleyes: ).

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Can someone tell me if this makes any sense...Assuming i can or can't find an older nikon lens (mainly because i have no idea where to start looking), can i shoot 1080p/24fps, then during the editing, downsample to either 720i or 480i (considering older TVs were using that), and keep the 24 frames per second to get the closest? then maybe find something out of Red Giant to help with the color, to resemble a more older feel or "film" look?

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Music Videos and TV commercials are the earliest adopters of new tech. Check this out:

 

http://www.finalcolor.com/history4colorists.htm

 

1992 -DaVinci introduced Power Windows for Telecine use. That year we began seeing the use of Power Windows in music videos.

 

@ Sadiq -After Effects can help you achieve a part of the overall look that we are discussing - at home with your computer. If your NIKON DSLR has an F mount (it probably does), then you can use older NIKON glass lenses or get a CANON FD to NIKON F adapter to use Canon lenses on your NIKON camera. Get a TIIFEN Pro Mist 1 Filter, as well. Check EBAY for those

 

 

@ Freya, Alfeo - Thanks for the input. I really enjoy discussing this stuff ( even though we are in the wrong sub forum :rolleyes: ).

 

I honestly wasn't sure which sub forum i should put this in, so i apologize if it was in the wrong one.

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Can someone tell me if this makes any sense...Assuming i can or can't find an older nikon lens (mainly because i have no idea where to start looking), can i shoot 1080p/24fps, then during the editing, downsample to either 720i or 480i (considering older TVs were using that), and keep the 24 frames per second to get the closest? then maybe find something out of Red Giant to help with the color, to resemble a more older feel or "film" look?

 

No, Sadiq. You are looking for the easy way out. It doesn't work like that. It takes more effort that just using a plug-in to get a specific look. Conduct an EBAY search for Vintage NIKON Lens.

See here:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-Nikkor-H-Auto-1-2-f-50mm-Lens-Manual-/121442864739?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c468f0e63

 

You have to go out there and do it. Shoot tests. more tests, until you reach an image that satisfies your eyes.

 

A cinematographer learns throught alot of trial and error in the beginning of the journey toward great imagery. Learning to

' see light ' is something that takes time. Me, Freya and Alfeo gave you lots of useful input. now you have to do the work.

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I honestly wasn't sure which sub forum i should put this in, so i apologize if it was in the wrong one.

 

We all make that mistake. A thread like this would be considered General Discussion.

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Get a TIIFEN Pro Mist 1 Filter, as well. Check EBAY for those

 

 

@ Freya, Alfeo - Thanks for the input. I really enjoy discussing this stuff ( even though we are in the wrong sub forum :rolleyes: ).

 

Don't think anyone would come here if they didn't enjoy waffling on about this stuff...oh.. hang on scratch that...

 

Anyway... are you thinking of a Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1? A white Pro Mist 1 would be quite strong I would have thought? Like heading into wedding photography territory but maybe that extra strength would help knock down the modern cameras a bit. I'd be more inclined towards black Pro Mist and maybe maxing out at about 1/2. I guess a Pro Mist 1 would have the advantage that they are more easlily available for cheap.

 

Freya

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Music Videos and TV commercials are the earliest adopters of new tech. Check this out:

 

http://www.finalcolor.com/history4colorists.htm

 

1992 -DaVinci introduced Power Windows for Telecine use. That year we began seeing the use of Power Windows in music videos.

 

Yeah but when it first comes out it's going to take a while to get out there and then spend a further amount of time being a high end only thing, it's hard to tell the reality of what was on the ground when by just release dates, although obviously they help in the absence of any other info.

 

Freya

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