What am I doing wrong? Color and quality
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Topic: What am I doing wrong? Color and quality

  1. #1
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    unreelfilm started this thread.
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    Default What am I doing wrong? Color and quality

    Hi there,

    I am a beginning filmmaker from the Netherlands. The last two years I did filmmaking as a sidejob for my study. I always liked the technical part and I am kinda obsessed with getting the perfect image. I learned alot in these two years. However now I find myself stuck. I do see the technical flaws in my films, but I can't seem to get a grip on how to fix them. No doubt this is result of not having too much experience. I am really curious what you think is the issue with my films, and how to fix it.

    I will give you a few examples of some of the films I made and what annoys me about them when I watch them now.

    Last autumn I made two simple 'one-shot' music video's with this dutch band. I filmed everything with the new bmpcc4k on a steadicam (that was a mistake, I don't have much steadicam experience so I probably should have used a gimbal.) One film was indoor with a campfire vibe. The other one was outdoor with more of a nordic vibe. When shooting I thought the footage was going to be awesome. But it turned out to have a lot of noise. I was using ISO 1250, I read that the bmpcc4k should be able to handle this without to much noise. I spend a lot of time trying to get rid of the noise, and I think I did do relativily fine. However I spend a lot more time trying to fix the colors. Looking back at the films now I am really not very happy with how it turned out. It seems to have this very 'cheapish' quality. But I can't figure out what exactly the problem is and how to avoid it next time. These are the two films:

    Another example is this musicvideo I made for this dutch singer. Personally I think this is one of the best films I made till now. I like the simpleness and the ambiance. However when I watch it on youtube it doesn't seem to fit in with the other video's. I don't know if it's the color's, the dynamic range or something strange in the compression, but it just doesn't feel right.

    I really hope you guys and gals can help me put the finger on what I am doing wrong.

    Thanks :)

    ps. I am sorry for my clumsy english...
    pps. And also for not using clickable URL's. I am a new member of the forum and have to wait 3 days till I can use those. I will change it asap.

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  2. #2
    Member   bobspez's Avatar
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    I watched your first film and it's my opinion that coloring is an art form, you do what looks best to you. I don't know what you use for software but I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. I don't use any LUTS, it's easy to get what I want quickly in Premiere Pro, which has basically the same set of tools for coloring video as Photoshop does for coloring still pics. The same sliders and names, they work the same, although Premiere Pro has other effects like spotlights, ambient light, lighting direction and hue, etc. I took a screenshot of your first video and spent about 2 minutes applying some basic image adjustments with shadows and highlights and midtones and vibrance and gamma and saturation.. Attached is the screenshot the way I would have colored it, because I like scenes to be brighter and I like to see all the players. What I did with the screen shot is pretty much what the sequnce would look like doing the same adjustments in Premiere Pro. I didn't view the others because I may be way off base in what appeals to you.


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    Junior Member   abstractthoughtmachine's Avatar
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    Damn I typed a huge reply, and it didn't post for some reason.. so here's goes again, albeit in a slightly shorter version..

    Firstly, I like your stuff! You've got a slower, more meditative style. It's nice.

    To make something not look cheap is really the sum of a film's parts.. lighting, colour grade, costume, set design etc..

    I felt like the lighting felt a little film-schoolish in that first link. Flat yellow-y lighting against their faces and the white wall behind them. Try to shape the light a bit more - place it in spots that will create shadows, contrast etc. Also if it was to simulate the fire-light, maybe having it come from a direction that would show this. Also watch darkness in different areas.. the fella on the right was a bit underlit compared to the others.

    The last video you posted was great. The only thing I might mention is that lens choice can play a big part in something looking professional or cheap. The extra wide shots of the family in the distance were nice, but I felt as if some of those shots where they were a couple of metres away from the camera and you shot it with a wide-angle lens looked a little home video to me (my opinion, of course). You could try to put a longer lens on and move further away from the subject.. this flattens the image somewhat and in my opinion can create a more cinematic look.

  4. #4
    Junior Member   StormyC's Avatar
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    I'd say in your first music video, your color/grade is off. You need to color-correct and white balance the shot, and then grade it how you see fit, at the moment it's extremely red (even though there's a fire, it's still too red), see attached to look at the difference:

    What am I doing wrong? Color and quality-gradeexample-jpg

    Also, one-shots are a tough sell to make look professional, maybe reduce the amount of movement in the shot and be more deliberate when moving from one position to another, so it's a cleaner camera move? (Not sure!) what camera and specs are you shooting with?

    Attached Images Attached Images What am I doing wrong? Color and quality-gradeexample-jpg 

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