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@leonardlow | [email protected] DIGITAL SLR CINEMATOGRAPHY An introduction to

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An introduction to shooting films using high-definition DSLR cameras

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Page 1: dSLR Cinematography

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DIGITAL SLR CINEMATOGRAPHY

An introduction to

Page 2: dSLR Cinematography

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This session…

Why use dSLRs for filming? With demos and big-screen

blockbusters! Getting started with filming using

dSLRs Basic cinematography concepts and

dSLRs Advanced setups: taking it to the

next level Post-production

Page 3: dSLR Cinematography

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Why shoot films on a dSLR? Compact and light High-def (1080p), high bitrate (50mbps)

capture Advanced creative control (Av/DoF, Tv) High-quality, interchangeable lenses Large, high quality CMOS sensors:

Optical capture area is larger than 35mm cine film

Unrivalled low-light shooting ability High dynamic range

3 years ago, to get all this in a video camera, the *least* it would have cost is $50,000 (body only)

Page 4: dSLR Cinematography

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Demos

Vincent Laforet - “Reverie” – the clip that started it all. Shot on 5D Mark II – no colour grading.

Shane Hurlbut, ASC – “The Last Three Minutes”. Shot on 5D Mark II.

Phillip Bloom – “Sofia’s People”. Shot on 5D Mark II with just one lens, a Zeiss ZF 50mm f1.4 – no lighting or colour grading.

Page 6: dSLR Cinematography

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Getting started…

The minimum you’ll need (kits from $600!): A dSLR body with HD 720p or better

Full frame (35mm) vs crop sensor (“APS-C”) 5d Mark II

7D

60D

550D A lens

Prime Zoom

Page 7: dSLR Cinematography

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Sensor sizes

35mm Full Frame (5D mkII, Nikon D3s)

APS-C (“crop”)(7D, RED One - $25,000)

Broadcast Camcorder (Sony EX3 - $10,000)

Light from lens falling on focal plane“Full frame” sensor imaging area“Crop” sensor imaging area (1.5-1.6x

“zoom”)

Page 8: dSLR Cinematography

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Why use primes

“Faster” than zooms (esp. “kit” lenses) (Generally) better optics & image quality Many primes are comparatively cheap

E.g. Samyang 14mm f/2.8, 35mm & 85mm f/1.4 + Canon 50mm f/1.8 for less than the price of a 24-70 f/2.8 zoom - & is optically superior in every way

Zooming (while filming) is usually avoided (unless you are Stanley Kubrick, Baz Luhrmann, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg,

Martin Scorsese, Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Quentin Tarantino… )

But… need lens changes/less convenient …so less suitable for documentary/event work which needs flexibility

(for narrative filmmaking)?

Page 9: dSLR Cinematography

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Adapting old/cheap len$e$

Many old lenses can be attached with adaptors – this is a great way to pick up a bargain lens!

You will usually lose electronic control - so most adapted lenses need a manual aperture ring!

This adaptor has electronic connectors… BUT…

Page 10: dSLR Cinematography

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Cinematography Basics 101

Focal length Exposure – Light, aperture, ISO, ND

filters Shutter speed & frame rate Technical stuff

Page 11: dSLR Cinematography

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Focal length

Refers to the amount of image magnification.

“Wide Angle” – perspective exaggerated

“Normal” – natural perspective

“Telephoto” –perspective compressed

Page 12: dSLR Cinematography

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Video exposure basics

Exposure - controlling the recorded video image for correct brightness and contrast.

Lighting is the foundation of exposure. If you can control the light, you can use the camera’s exposure controls for creativity and finesse - rather than just to get a shot.

Aperture, ISO and ND filters are used for controlling exposure in-camera. Not shutter speed (though it does affect exposure).

Page 13: dSLR Cinematography

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Video exposure basics (cont) Fast lenses have a large maximum

aperture e.g. f/2.8, f/1.8, f/1.4 (“f-stop”). Note: f/x is a fraction! So the smaller the value of x, the

larger the number “f/x” - and the larger the aperture! (e.g. f/1.4 > f/2.8)

Larger apertures: Let in more light Narrow depth-of-fieldso you can Shoot in dimmer light

(with good exposure) Blur fore/backgrounds

[subject focus/“bokeh”] Create beautiful images!

f/1.4 f/2.8 f/8 f/22More light Less light

Page 14: dSLR Cinematography

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Video exposure basics (cont) Doubling ISO doubles the

sensitivity of the sensor and makes the image brighter.

However, high ISO results in more “noise”, reducing image quality.

Multiples of 160 are “real” ISOs for Canons – others are generated

Page 15: dSLR Cinematography

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Video exposure basics (cont) We can also reduce the amount of light

entering the lens with a Neutral Density (ND) filter. This is useful if we want to shoot with a wide aperture on a bright day.

ND4 (1-stop) Graduated ND Fader ND

Page 16: dSLR Cinematography

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What about shutter speed?

The shutter speed of each frame is limited by the frame rate. (Shooting) at 24 fps, the LONGEST exposure possible is 1/24s.

To mimic the appearance of film, shoot as close as possible to half your frame rate. E.g. at 24 fps, set your shutter to 1/50s.

You can increase your shutter speed, for a stroboscopic, choppy appearance (e.g. Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator).

Page 17: dSLR Cinematography

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Frame Rate

Most standard film is shot at 24 fps. PAL is 25 fps. To mimic the look of cinematic film, use a setting as close as possible to 24 fps.

The 7D can shoot at 60 fps. This can be slowed down to 24/25 fps for flawless “slow-mo” – or even further with software (demo).

Video on frame rate and shutter speed.

Page 18: dSLR Cinematography

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Technical stuff

Compression – How the original video data is reduced for storage. Currently, all dSLR video is compressed (lossy) Codec – how the video data is encoded.

H.264 (Canon) is more efficient than MJPEG (Nikon)

Bitrate – how much data is used to store video

Page 19: dSLR Cinematography

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Advanced dSLR setups

Allow mounting of additional accessories

Improve visual & audio quality & monitoring

Improve creative & technical control Look awesome professional!

Page 20: dSLR Cinematography

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Advanced considerations

Support/mounting systems High quality audio capture &

recording Manually controlling focus Controlling video and audio Monitoring video and audio

Page 21: dSLR Cinematography

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Support/mounting systems

Shake and blur are distracting! Sturdy tripod & fluid head – almost

essential I recommend WeiFang EI-717AH head.

Sturdy “Rig” – for shoulder/handheld work Weight and/or contact points minimise shake I use this collapsible shoulder rig . Or you can make one for a few dollars . Works fine!

Stabilisers/steadicams. 15mm cinematic rails for mounting

accessories.

Page 22: dSLR Cinematography

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Basic SupportsShoulder rig with

integral 15mm rails

Use of rails to mount accessories (overkill for most shoots!)

Steadicam stabiliser

Video fluid head

Page 23: dSLR Cinematography

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Supports for camera “moves” Dolly & tracking: Moving the

camera in one plane. Fwd-back = dolly; left-right = tracking (Phillip Bloom “Salton Sea” demo with

slider) Crane: basically, tracking up and

down Pan & tilt: Rotating camera on H or

V axis. Don’t do this too fast (causes rolling shutter &/or strobing) or jerkily!

Page 24: dSLR Cinematography

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Supports for camera movesTripod dolly

Slider

Crane

Fluid head for pan/tilt

Skateboard as dolly

(you can DIY most of these!)

Page 25: dSLR Cinematography

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Capturing audio

Audio is arguably more important than video for quality filmmaking. Viewers will tolerate poorly-shot images; but rarely poor sound! Turn off Automatic Gain in camera (AGC)! Use external microphone (Lavalier/shotgun) Mic setup e.g. boom, shockmount, windshield Boost S:NR - use amp/recorder (Juicedlink/Zoom) Use shielded cabling for longer cables (XLR) Sync with slate/clapper board (acrylic/iPad/DIY)

Page 26: dSLR Cinematography

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Capturing audio (images)

Page 27: dSLR Cinematography

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Controlling focus

Most dSLRs cannot autofocus in video mode

But in narrative filmmaking, we use manual focus anyway for more control

For “focus pulls”, we use a “follow focus”:

Follow focus for shake-free, precise focus adjustments and “pulls” - with white marker disc

Industry-standard rail mount (15mm Ø rods, 60mm apart)

Speed crank for fast focus pull

Page 28: dSLR Cinematography

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Controlling video

To control flare from light sources, use a lens hood or matte box:

Matte boxes also enable use of 4x4” filters

“French Flag” – helps cut glare

Filter holders: static/rotating

Matte box – should attach sturdily!

Foam “donut”, snug around lens

Attaches to 15mm rail mount

Page 29: dSLR Cinematography

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Controlling video (cont)

Always shoot in M (Manual) setting Need to White Balance - because

we are shooting compressed video (not RAW).

To improve final dynamic range, use “Picture Styles” (Canon) to flatten contrast. I recommend Technicolor Cinestyle (free!) Colour-correct in “Post-” (Colour Grading)

with Cinestyle Look-Up-Table (LUT) (also free!)

Page 30: dSLR Cinematography

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Monitoring audio & video

Monitoring video: External field monitor or loupe for camera LCD Use “zebra stripes” and

live histogram – not in standard camera… but…

Monitoring audio: Use headphones – closed

ear, flat response is best Use level meters - not in

standard camera… but…

Page 31: dSLR Cinematography

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Magic Lantern for Canon dSLR

Some talented programmers have written free software for Canon cameras that improves control and monitoring of video & audio: http://magiclantern.wikia.com/

Audio level monitor (int/ext mics)

Live exposure histogram

“Zebra stripes” (shows over/underexposed areas in

image)

Focus distance

Other data

Page 32: dSLR Cinematography

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Post-production

One you have shot your footage, it needs to be edited! Some options & tips… Free, open source video editor: Lightworks

Used to edit “The King’s Speech” (Winner of 4 2011 Academy Awards incl. Best Motion Picture)

Other options: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 can edit dSLR video natively – saves hours

Apple Final Cut Pro Free plugin imports Canon files for best quality

Converts to 4.2.2 Apple Prores colour space

Page 33: dSLR Cinematography

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Colour grading

Shoot flat for detail in highlights & shadows

Colour grading: for hue, saturation & contrast

Page 34: dSLR Cinematography

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Summary - and tips!

To get started you just need a dSLR and lens: Install free Technicolor Cinestyle picture

style Use free Magic Lantern firmware Use free editor (http://lightworksbeta.com/) Use free music (e.g. http://mobygratis.com/

or http://creativecommons.org/) for audio Shoot and practice!

Page 35: dSLR Cinematography

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Summary and tips (cont)

If you have a few extra dollars: Buy a tripod and external

shotgun microphone Make a rig, shock mount and boom pole

(even cranes, sliders and dollies if you want to!)

Use a digital audio recorder (e.g. your phone)

Shoot and practice some more!

Page 36: dSLR Cinematography

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More information

Online dSLR filmmaker community http://cinema5d.com/

How-to Guide http://nofilmschool.com/dslr/

Latest News (Blog) http://www.eoshd.com/

Me! [email protected] |

@leonardlow