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Telecine On Music Videos

Published : 15th February 2005

I was wondering if anyone had any information on the post production process for the typical 35mm high end music video. My question really stems from seeing these really "glossy" music videos and wondering if all that was achieved in telecine. Or does the film go to some kind of color sweetin’ process in software like flame? It seems like a step comes after the initial telecine to punch up the look and make the video look amazing. Maybe all it takes is great cinematographers and a great telecine.

PS. This very polished look also goes for alot of commercials

Thanks for your time.

Skot Blank
Student dop


class="style9">>I was wondering if anyone had any information on the post production >process for the typical 35mm high end music video...seeing these really >"glossy" music videos and wondering if all that was achieved in >telecine.

The glossy music videos and commercials you see are usually shot on Full Aperture Super 35. After filming is completed the Director and sometimes DP attends a supervised transfer of all the footage, working with top colourists like Stefan Sonnenfeld, Dave Hussey, Beau Leon or Jais@ Bobine. Many DP´s, who are often on to another job and can't attend the session, will send digital stills for the colorist to use as a reference. It's not uncommon for people to use tear sheets from magazines, photography books, movies and other music videos and commercials to give the colorist an ideal of what they want. It's not out of the ordinary for the director and colorist to come up with five, six or even more, different looks for a music video in telecine.

The telecine session generally is one -two days, depending on the amount of footage being transferred. After that comes syncing the audio and the offline edit. The editing can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks because after the director delivers his initial cut, he or she will have to get feedback on changes from the artist and their management, as well as the record company.

If you have effects or compositing, etc you need to go to an effects house. The most common tool used on music videos is Flame. There are some very talented Flame artists working today. The timing of this step can be from 1-3 days to weeks. When your completed with effects you can do your online in the Flame bay.

The look of the video all starts on the set with the DP using his/her skills in lighting and composition to get the look. They establish the foundation for the colorist and effects artists to enhance, improve and occasionally, save.

If you want more information I recommend you check out the excellent book "Film Technology in Post Production" by Dominic Case.

class="style9">>The look of the video all starts on the set with the DP using his/her skills >in lighting and composition to get the look.

Actually I should have mention that many times it's before that, since the look may be outlined in the treatment for the video. Discussions take place between the director and DP prior to the shoot, and may also involved the production designer/art director and other key personnel like hair and makeup, location scouts etc, are involved. My point overall is that the DP plays a major role in executing the look of these videos t which is why the best ones are in such high demand.

Hope this helped.

Wendell Scot Greene
Cinematographer - Los Angeles


Thanks for the info... I will check out that book later this week. It sounds like a good resource to have handy.

Thanks for your time and knowledge.

Skot Blank



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