I know a lot of amateurs out there struggle with finding the 'film look' that we see and love in all our favorite hollywood films. How can someone with no budget and no big equipment achieve this look? This post will let you explore many cost-efficient and simple ways to get the "film look" as we explore shots, lighting, programs and colour grading. Also you will find some basics good for starters here.
The first thing I want to say is that it really doesn't matter what type of camera you have! It really doesn't! Although it is nice to have HD camcorders or dslr's and of course good old HDV cameras. One of the most important things one can do to get even close to getting the 'film look' is how he sets up his shots! Follow the guidelines for mid-shots, close ups, wide shots, extreme wide shots, two shots. Look at this link for examples of these: http://www.mediacollege.com/video/shots/.
Next up you want to make sure what your shooting in the frame is well lit! If the original lighting is bad (too dark is worst case scenario), then there is no way you are going to get close to the film look. Here is a quick education of types of lighting: http://www.cybercollege.com/tvp027.htm
Now that you have filmed your shots in the best way you could have, but its still not cinematic enough for you, here comes the magic of post-production to fix that! Many ask what programs they should get. I personally love to use Final Cut Pro but that isn't available to everyone. If you have a mac iMovie has some beginner colour settings (which i wouldn't recommend if you have a better program), here you want to mess with the brightness by making is slighter darker, same with the exposure and the colour level bars (so you can get a small black vignette). Sony Vegas will have coulour correcting settings which you mess around with, and also (very important!) look at their widescreen settings so you can get the famous panoramic black bars to accompany your colour-graded look. No matter what program you use, you always want to make the footage a tad darker, and add some colour to it (green, yellow) and never saturate too much. If there are widescreen settings, I suggest you fiddle around with that to your liking.
The trick to colour grading is to mix about two or 3 coulours. If you want that yellowish film look (like seen in the social network) I would only use yellow, green and some darkening.
If you want to achieve whatever film look that you've seen in a movie but you just can't get it right, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and begin the title of your subject with "Visua: enter subject here"
Hope this helps you guys!
-Visua, AudioVisua Productions