Film has been the primary way of shooting movies since the late 19th century. Only the last ten years or so has digital video become the norm and made video production accessible to everyone.
Although digital is cheaper, faster and more reliable, some people prefer the look of film with its imperfections and warm, less clinical tones. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways filmmakers can approach the post-production process to make your videos look just like a blockbuster film. With the use of some awesome video effects from Motion Array and a few other editing techniques, your video will feel right at home in the cinema.
Cutting, Cropping or Trimming the Video Where Needed
Tighten up your editing by really focusing on cutting the video in the right place. A good rule of thumb is to enter a scene as late as possible and leave it as early as possible to avoid losing the audience’s interest. Keep it moving to make it feel like a more controlled, professional production.
Color Correcting the Shots
Color correction is more than just fixing rogue colors and removing any errors. A thorough, well-considered color grade can play with the emotions of the audience as well. Blues and greys tend to work well with serious films like thrillers and dramas, while a comedy or a romance might lean towards warmer tones like reds and oranges.
Changing the general hue of a shot can completely alter how an audience perceives something or invokes a certain feeling. Spend some time in the color grade making it perfect – you won’t regret it.
Adjusting Sharpness & Film Fade
Sharpness and film fade are both tools you can experiment with as part of the color grade when you are enhancing the overall look of the image.
This process is all about replicating that lovely, analog feeling – play around with the sliders in the sharpness filters until you find a result you’re happy with. Similarly with film fade, consider adding some film overlays to get a sense of the imperfections of film processing, and reduce the opacity and saturation to make the footage feel worn.
Using the Advanced Color Tuning Tools
In Premiere, there is a huge amount more to color correcting than just tweaking the saturation slider in Lumetri Color. Spend some time getting to know the Curves, Color Wheels, and High Dynamic Range tools to really open up your color grading capabilities. Gaining full control over the color of your image lets you create whatever kind of atmosphere you want.
Focusing on the Transitions
Digital video production has opened up a realm of opportunities for video editing, one of the biggest being the wide array of templated transitions available. Whip pans, cross dissolves, wipes and a huge range of other transitions are easy to drag and drop into the project using software like Adobe Premiere Pro. But pay attention to some of your favorite movies, and you might find that creative transitions are used sparingly – if at all.
By all means, explore the options you have available, but don’t go overboard. A well-crafted scene can survive on straight cuts alone. Cross dissolves are not as cheesy as you might think when used sparingly and in the right place. Consider the tone you’re trying to convey and bring anything back to that one key thought: how will this benefit the story?
Adding Movement to Stable Tripod Shots
Adding some movement to your camera shots is one way to step up the production value of your films. Stable tripod shots are a fine place to start, but how about panning? Or mounting the camera to a slider or dolly and adding some smooth, steady pushes to your camera angles? By mixing up the movement of the camera and combining different angles in a sequence, you can step up your filmmaking above amateur level.
Stabilize the Camera
Handheld footage can be a cool effect when done carefully, but it can look very amateurish if not. When shooting, use a gimbal or Steadicam to get those slick camera moves. But if you don’t have those resources and you find yourself with video wobbling all over the place, try using effects like Warp Stabilizer to smoothen the shots and give the appearance of a stylish tracking camera.
Adding a Letterbox
Letterboxing a film is your secret weapon to making something instantly cinematic. By creating an anamorphic image and stripping away a big part of the frame, you’re bringing your image back in line with the way movies are shot and projected on cinema screens – which is actually very different to your computer’s 16:9 screen.
Consider this approach before you shoot anything so you can frame the shots accordingly and make sure you’re not cutting off anything important in the frame.
Frame Rates & Shutter Angles
And finally, just a handful of technical tricks to make your film look as close to a blockbuster movie as possible. To start with, shoot at 24 frames a second. Most films are shot at 24fps. This has been the norm for years as it most closely resembles the speed at which the human eye captures images.
Use a 35mm lens adapter to match the 35mm film that movies are historically shot with.
And finally, use a shutter angle of 180 degrees. This means your shutter speed is double your frame rate. So if you’re shooting at 24fps? Your shutter speed should be 1/48. It’s a simple trick and can be achieved in a few clicks on your digital camera, but the resulting footage is the kind of video that you have been used to seeing on the big screen for your whole life.
These few adjustments to the way you plan and capture your shots will elevate the quality of your film to a whole new level. Emulate the look and feel of film even with digital video and create premium, professional productions.