"Film Look" Cards


We may have touched on this subject here and there.

I am starting a 4 month production which was originally intented to be on 16mm but now will be on video using a Sony D600 or D700. I am somewhat apprehensive about the whole thing. I have done a lot of stuff on tape, but never in this long term-replace film directly context. I have read on this group and elsewhere about set-up cards that are supposed to create film looks where one can even specify the type of film to be imitated.

I am skeptical about those cards and wonder if anyone here has tried them and if they are worth it. I already have many little changes that I do with the 600s to achieve a more filmic look so is it worth spending (probably) a few hundred bucks for those cards. I for one tend to believe, without putting tape down in anyway, that good video is good video and film remains film and I can easily live with that artistically speaking.

Where can we buy those?

Daniel Villeneuve

You shouldn't have to spend any money. All of the configurations for the DVW-600/700 can be programmed via the camera controls. Once programmed, they can be stored on a memory card. Sony has assembled recommended settings to create a more filmic look. Any decent Sony Dealer or rental house should have access to this information. If you can't track it down, let me know, and I can provide you the information I have. There may also be others here who have more up-to-date information that what I have.

The camera settings alone will not make video look like film. Properly setup and used, the DVW-700 can create a fantastic looking video image, which shares many attributes with film compared to the more conventional characteristics of video. For example, video traditionally has less light latitude than film, but the DVW-700's digital signal processing does a superb job of compressing the luminance bandwidth in the middle of the range to extract more bandwidth in the problem areas at the top and the bottom. The net effect is to take video's typical 5 stop latitude (7.5-100 IRE) and give you a much wider effective range. The various recommended camera setups will also soften the detail, eliminating the some of the "electric" sharpness that is typical of video, and will tweak the color matrix to more closely mimic the color characteristics of film. But make no mistake about it: the resulting images will still look like video. It can be some of the finest video you've ever seen, but there will be no mistaking it for film.

That said, it is possible to apply the appropriate post effects, such as the "FilmLook" process, and create a reasonably good alternative for video that originated on film.It's the combination of the capabilities of the DVW-700 to give you a broad luminance palette to work with, and the various attributes provided by "FilmLook" (grain, 24fps simulation, gamma adjustment) that will create a final product which the average viewer should find hard to distinguish from film-originated video.

Bill Crow

I think one of the best options you have is to set up the DVW700 for a very low con flat not aperture corrected look and then do a tape to tape grade on this.

The pictures on set will look not very good at best but will look MUCH better when put through a Da Vinci or Pogle.

Sony published set-up specs on how to make the DVW700 look like the uncorrected output of a TK with 48.

They spent a long time comparing the output (raw) of film from a TK and the output of their cameras.

I've got the specs here, Art has them as well and they're on AOL or Cserve.

Geoff Boyle

I think you probably have all the tools you need in the camera and paintbox (black stretch, knee control, gamma, etc.) to avoid having to use Filmlook at all. I've never added "grain" and I don't miss it. 24 fps simulation can be done through any digital switcher; just dial up the strobe effect until it looks right. Filmlook's 3/2 reverse emulation just doesn't do it for me. It may be technically correct but it looks too "chattery" for me, much more that film transferred to video looks. Also, part of Filmlook's process seems to be to take mid and dark tones and drop them down about a half stop to increase contrast. This is probably something that can be adjusted but I've heard a lot of complaints about losing detail off the bottom end. I heard (rumor only) that Isidore Mankofsky shot a hurricane MOW in Beta (or DigiBeta) and complained that Filmlook nuked his shadow detail, especially in the night/exteriors.

My point: with DBC you can do most of your look on the set, and should. The only thing that should be added in post is a strobe effect, and that won't change your look.

Sony's "Film look" card seems to be optimised for tape-to-tape color correction, basically reintroducing the "colorist" back into the process. I'd rather keep control on the set, especially since I am rarely invited to attend any kind of color-related post sessions (online, transfers, etc.)

Art Adams

That would be the Hurricane Andrew MOW that Izzy shot for NBC-P about 3 or 4 years ago. Digital Betacam was not in existence at the time, but I doubt that it would have made any difference. I was the colorist on that show, and I ran into things you wouldn't believe and probably are rarely considered - such issues as the original edits being moved to field 2 randomly (due to the quasi-pulldown processing), and the general inability to recover detail and "punch" up the picture in tape to tape. Basically, the Filmlook processing eliminates so much information that subsequent tape to tape color correction can really only serve to allow better color matching, but any image manipulation beyond that is out the window.

I was involved with Sony's tests (with Duane Dahlberg) to help determine the best way to create "film emulation" for the 700. In their zeal to properly emulate film stocks, they originally worked up settings that would cause the camera to react as film negative would, but in doing so, they created an image that was not proper for video. Using the show "Raising Caines" (never aired, but was shot using 16mm at 30 FPS) as a test bed, side by side footage was shot with the film camera and the 700. The Encore VIP process helped Sony in that it showed that what they really needed to emulate was not the film negative itself, but how that negative reacts on a telecine, i.e., a film to tape transfer environment. I guess in the long run they agreed with that notion, and the film cards since then have emulated transfer characteristics rather than simply exposure characteristics. Having said that, I somewhat disagree with the notion that color issues should be handled on-set, primarily due to the lack of proper monitoring conditions and restriction of range that is critical for later tape to tape color matching if necessary (which it nearly always is).

Mike Most

Don't count on the Sony stock "film look" card. Your best bet is to have a qualified video tech with paint box and wave form/vector scope at hand. If you want, you can work with an engineer and come up with some custom cards and start your own collection. If I am not mistaking, you can not just set up you card on a camera from a west coast rental house and expect the exact same results by dropping your card into another camera from a different rental house in another town. Every rental house has an engineer tweak the factory settings when they buy a new camera (this includes w.b. preset). Personal preference has to come in to play. The memory cards can only make adjustments from these engineer defined "0's".

p.s. analog paint box adjustments can not be saved on the digital memory cards

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