Archive: October 16, 2012

Anamorphic Filters

If you have been to the cinema recently you may have noticed several directors and cinematographers heavily experimenting in lights flairs and filters, a similar look normally achieved in modern music videos, to create more of a raw camera look, losing the clean, colourful 90’s glaze we all got bored with far too quickly.

Well we have! so we’re just going to tell you how these techniques are created and the best way as a film maker to produce similar effects in production and in post production without the Hollywood budgets.


Streak filters;
There seems to be an abundance of films using this effect recently.. Looper, J.J. Abrams – StarTrek (which even Abrams has quoted as calling “ridiculous“) anything by Micheal Bay. Even going back as far as Ridley Scotts dark futuristic classic BladeRunner which was shot in 1982… I KNOW!!!

J.J. Abrams achieved most of his off screen light glares and blooms by having a few selected lighting technicians point 100K lights into the lens from the side of the scene achieving the look of glare from an off frame source.

Star filters:
These were popular back in the day but you still see a lot of feature films using then to emphasise a candle or distant street lights.

Where to buy:
We are big fans of Optefex who sell these filters in most sizes and colour tints. The standard is 4X4 inches if you are using a regular sized Mattebox
They can range from 4X4 can cost £200 – £600 but also a on lens filter 72mm or 77mm if you look around.

Where to hire:
We have hired from ShootBlue for approximately £70 a day before

How to make:
If you have a steady hand with a knife you could produce your own, there are several tutorial online.. You could cut straight lines down a piece of 4X4 plastic and hang them vertically in front of the the camera lens inside a Mattebox filter:

Or put some nylon or fishing wire in front of your lens with an elastic band.

As with most things these days in film, you have the ability to makes something look as good off the camera as you do on by knowing which Plug-ins to use and how.

Red Giant’s Knoll Light Factory and Video Copilot’s Optical Flares are two great examples. They give you full control over the flares and where they will glare in relation to your subject.
It’s always worth remembering that overuse of any effect such as these flairs can also hinder the look of a great shot…


Lynotype the film

Sometimes we forget how much has changed since the generation before us were born.. the industrial revolution changed everything but the digital generation made it easier and lighter.

As a Graphic Designer and a Film maker this is a combination of my two favourite past-times.

“Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centred around the Linotype type casting machine. Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, it revolutionised printing and society. The film tells the charming and emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world.”

Directed by Doug Wilson who is himself a Graphic Designer who had used to work and teach typography its sure to cover every aspect of the artform.

“We have worked very hard to have the film available in as many international iTunes stores as possible, so hopefully you will be able to download from your localised store on October 16th. We also are replicating both NTSC and PAL DVDs that are region free. This means that you can watch the film no matter where you live in the world.”

Linotype was funded by kickstarter which is a funding platform for creative projects which offers pledgers a chance to get involved in the funding towards various projects.

We will be using kickstarter for a project we start next year so keep your eyes peeled.

UPDATE: Linotype – the film can be purchased here and downloaded or rented on iTunes here

Side by Side (the movie)

This looks great, It’s something every director, DOP and young film maker has been wondering for ages.. “What do talented film makers think of the digital change?”

“SIDE BY SIDE, a new documentary produced by Keanu Reeves, takes an in-depth look at this revolution. Through interviews with directors, cinematographers, film students, producers, technologists, editors, and exhibitors, SIDE BY SIDE examines all aspects of filmmaking — from capture to edit, visual effects to color correction, distribution to archive. At this moment when digital and photochemical filmmaking coexist, SIDE BY SIDE explores what has been gained, what is lost, and what the future might bring.

James Cameron
David Fincher
David Lynch
Robert Rodriguez
Martin Scorsese
Steven Soderbergh

We have spoken to Duke of Yorks picture house (in Brighton) to see if they will play it, but are still waiting for a reply.

This was posted on the ‘Side by Side’ facebook page:

“SIDE BY SIDE premieres in London at BFI Southbank on December 6th at 20:30. Public booking begins November 13th. Please don’t call their box office until then.”

for more information on the ‘side by side’ movie check out their site here

Colour Subsampling – What is 4:2:2 for flip sake?

Colour Subsampling

With the release of the new Canon C100 announced recently everyone will be wondering why it is half the price as its older brother, what exactly do we lose for £5000 less?

Canon C100 Side 02

One very important feature is the codec the C100 captures in.. AVCHD at 24Mbit 4:2:0.. and its this 4:2:0 we will be looking at today to try and understand what it means and if we notice it after its been encoded for vimeo 720p.

We’ve all seen the numbers 4:2:0, 4:4:4, 3:1:1, 3:1.5:1.5, 4:1:1 and 4:2:2 but what the heck do they all mean and will it affect the films and videos we produce?

Most of todays cameras take the light coming through the lens and convert it to 3 sets of numbers, one Red, one Green and one Blue.. this is called RGB, the problem with this data is its MASIVE in size so the camera uses a technique called ‘colour sampling’ or if you cant spell correctly (American) ‘color sampling’ this splits the colours into a new set of numbers called YCbCr or YUV to reduce the size of each file, this makes it easier to stream over the internet, broadcast, record onto CF cards or back in the day.. video tapes (ask an adult)

YUV breaks down the signal into
Y = Luminance (brightness of colours)
Cb = Chroma blue (amount of blue saturation)
Cr = Chroma red (amount of red saturation)

Colour sampling works in a similar way to the human eye which uses rods and cones to sense light, the rods sense brightness, light and dark and shades of grey in-between while the cones see colour but they are fewer in number.  We find it easier to see changes in brightness than change in colour.  Back in the day video engineers used this system on the basis that “we’re not really going to notice anyway”

Where does the 4:2:2 and and 4:4:4 come in?

Have a look at the diagram below and imagine it is part of a larger image, just 4×4 matrix of pixels that are used to make up a larger image:

In the example every box has a Y value (the black square), a Cb value (blue) and a Cr value (red), so in shorthand we would call this 4:4:4 over a set of 4 pixels wide.

Not a lot of cameras shoot in 4:4:4, its normally called RAW and takes up a lot of space on a card or drive. Its also not really noticeable to the human eye when colours are taken out or added.

Most cameras shoot on 4:2:2, this is what it would look like as a diagram similar to before:

As you can see 1/2 of the pixels are missing important colour data but this isn’t incredibly noticeable when you watch it on a HD screen

Basically the higher the number the better the colour data, RED Epic RAW records the RGB data straight from the sensor which is why all the best directors are using them.. It’s as close to film as they can get at the moment to film but everything will change in the next year or so.. it always does.

There are a number of plugins you can get to bring colour data back into your footage and minimise the impact of low colour sampling, if you own a PC search for a ‘chroma blurring filter’ to smooth out the blocky edges, and on a Mac there is a plug-in called ‘Nattress’s G-Chroma Smoother’ which can be found here


Canon C100 (C300’s baby brother)

It seemed Canon have caught up with what consumers want and need with the release of the C300 at the end of 2011.. but now they are back with a smaller version… and cheaper.

Canon announced on the 29th August 2012 they will be releasing the budget version of the C300.. It is half the price of the C300 but has well over half of the exciting features of its older brother.

Its 15% smaller, shares the same sensor as the C300 (Super 35mm 8.3 Megapixel Canon CMOS sensor) It records as AVCHD codec at 24Mbit 4-2-0 which could be a problem, all’s not lost though as it has a clean HDMI out (WOOOHOOOO) so effectively you could put on a Blackmagic HyperDeck Shuttle and record ProRes at 4-2-2 (we think)

Canon C100 Side 02

The camera also has the 2, 4 and 6 stop ND filters built in which we think is a massive selling point.. they are manual compared to the smooth electronic system on the C300 but I’m willing to make that sacrifice to keep the ND filters.

This could be the camera that distinguishes the DSLR film makers from the small to medium video production company, such as ourselves.

We are very excited about the C100, it goes on sale at the start of November for approximately £4000 on the CVP website.. we might even consider rooting around in our deep pockets to add to our ever growing kit list.. although saying that, the 6D is out in December and has built in WIFI and full frame sensor.. we’ll see what santa brings us.

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