Saturday, 14 April 2012

Cinestyle loving

For those who don't know (and you really should by now) The Cinestyle profile for DSLR's from Technicolor is an uber flat looking profile that sits on your SD card and enables you to have the maximum amount of dynamic range available - whichever camera you happen to be using. I here it was made specifically to get the best from the 5DMK2 but it works very well on all the others as well. I tried it out during a behind the scenes shoot (previous post) for my brothers band, Fed To The Ocean.

Now il be honest here - I probably shouldn't have used Cinestyle for this particular shoot. It was for all intensive purposes, a documentary, albeit one without proper sound because we didn't bring a microphone. Since this profiles really meant for extensive grading and 'the film look' this shoot really didn't need it. I was actually halfway through moving house at the time of this shoot and really had no time at all to do anything crazy good, so I threw a quick edit together for the band, knowing that without decent sound we really didn't have a massive amount of usable footage, at least not without the video ending up a crap attempt at a music video.

However.....since that shoot just over a month ago I have had chance to really get to grips with After Effects and some colour grading. Learnt loads....and thats what its all about really isn't it? trying, failing, trying again, getting there, finding something new, having a brain wave, a new lease of creative life and going at it! I took some inspiration from this guy right here -
He's got some incredible films on there and obviously knows his way round a camera as well as colour palette.

Im off out tomorrow to shoot a video photoshoot with my girlfriend and a few friends. This is just a bit of fun and I will be using Cinestyle, and probably grading the bajezus out of it in post. No idea where were gonna end up yet and what the weathers gonna be like. This is England after all. Il post the film when its done, along with some screen shots. Lets see how much better I can get it.

Few pointers for people using Cinestyle for the first time:

- Set the shot up and expose WITHOUT cinestyle turned on. Use 'Neutral' or Standard. Its much easier to get the correct exposure when your looking at a proper image as opposed to a super flat one.

- If anything, underexpose! DONT overexpose because your highlights wont come back. No fancy software, however expensive will bring them back.

- Shoot with half a mind of what you want your shoot to look like at the end. I would say that for every shoot though, whatever profile your using.

- Focusing with cinestyle on is hard. Especially if you have a decent lens, shallow depth of field and all the rest of it. Get yourself an external monitor and if you can, set it up to display a different profile. It'l help trust me.

- Not really a cinestyle issue, more a generic filming one. Shoot at your camera and lens sweet spot aperture wise. Yes shallow depth of field is lovely and everyone wants to shoot wide open. But it will be soft, I did a most shots at 2.4 - 3.2 and its still slightly soft. I find on my lens here (Canon 50mm 1.8)  the best spot is around 4 - 5 .6

If you want to comment, give me any pointers, ask me anything, help me on a shoot or give me any cake, please do......Its all about collaboration kids. I know loads...but like most people,  I need to know a lot more.

Cinestyle - Ungraded

Cinestyle - Graded

Nautral profile - Slightly tweaked, sharpening off completely, saturation down 2 notches, contrast down 2. Just to show that these can be graded as well.

....and graded to match the previous shot.

Monday, 2 April 2012

550D shoot and a small rant

Few tests with 550D + Magic Lantern

Ok so I'm a little late on the DSLR uptake.....kind of but I'm nowhere near a total newbie. Been used to shooting with prosumer video cameras for a few years now, Sony Z1, couple of Panasonic P2 cameras and my own Sony EX1 which I LOVE! Anyway, like many I've always craved the elusive film look. I tried a million types of picture profiles on my EX1 and practice grading ALL the time and got some great results. You can view some stuff on my Vimeo account at I shot mainly corporate stuff at that time, still do occasionally so the film look isn't exactly essential.

 I was forever reading articles and reviews on DSLR's and following their progress pretty closely. The amount of footage on sites like Vimeo now is immense and its pretty clear how incredible an image can be got from them, so eventually I was always going to buy one.

Now I'm no Philip Bloom or Vincent Laforet so I'm not for now anyway gonna be posting load of reviews and documenting my ponderous adventures around the globe. I quite simply am not rich or known about in the film making community quite yet. That's not a dig at them, their 2 people I look up to and follow and I've learnt a massive amount from what they do. They strive to help people like me become better film makers and more importantly help develop a massive community of people who can share ideas and help each other. That whole ethos is something I really care about and love. I'm also a major geek so I'm not going to complain when someone posts a 20 minute video of how to rotoscope in After Effects. Having these kind of skills is a massive bonus, especially now in a digital age, the world and his hot wife can make a film. There's so much competition to get noticed, be appreciated and make money that you have to throw everything into it to get anywhere. It's great to see people sharing ideas and giving others advice.


I got a 550D....yes I know its the baby of the range, the 7D is a great camera and the 5d mk2 is just incredible. Now the C300 is here and the 5d mk3 is out as well, things just keep getting better and better. Seems like I'm kissing some Canon ass here, course there's some awesome cameras out there from other companies, Nikon in-particular. I've actually shot a few photos with the D300 at work and it's great. But for now I'm sticking with the 550d.

Lens wise, I ended up with the 50mm 1.8 and so far I'm loving it. Plenty of reviews on that around so I wont go mad with detail but its a great lens for starting off. Got one for £70 n all. Buzzin! Next on the list is probably the Sigma 30mm as that's the standard for cropped sensor cameras. I also took the plunge and grabbed both the awesome Cinestyle profile and the Magic Lantern hack for the camera. Really glad I did. It's amazing having all the features and makes the camera so much more usable for film work. Here's a couple of photos I took with it straight off the bat. My girlfriend wont thank me for the first one but I'll buy her a cake to make up for it. You can see how beautiful she is anyway. My dog.....wont give a crap. I do have a much bigger (and better dog) but he wouldn't stand still for long enough.

So, ranted on a bit here I'll actually post a video. This is my first full shoot with the camera and I got lucky. It's a short documentary/making of music video for the band 'Fed To The Ocean' if you like a bit of headbanging metal, head on over and check them out.

And now for the final film....for the moment just on YouTube as my Vimeo upload is playing up.

Much love n all that jazz.