Should You Go For That Film Look Or Embrace The Digital Clean Look?

August 19, 2016

Sometimes going for the film look is not the right decision. Dan shares his tips on going digital to give us great punchy sharp images.


Series

Is the quest for a filmic look always the right option?

In this Insight we take a look at grading a fashion film shot in a studio, you’ll see how pushing things into a classic 35mm realm looks interesting but when compared to a digital sharp punchy grade looks weak. When working on a fashion film going for a light grade that looks punchy is a great option.

Enjoying A Light Grade

This week I graded some wonderful fashion films for a high street retailer.

They were shot in a white studio with all the models wearing white shirts/tops and either black or blue jeans.

We played around with the look for about an hour before I made the realisation that I had been going down the completely wrong path.

You can see some examples in the insight below of how I was pushing it towards my traditional love of a 35mm style grade.

What we actually ended up doing was very minor tweaks to the grade after applying the Log C to Rec709 LUT.

The client loved it but the hard part was me getting over the feeling that I had done enough.

When wiping between the before and the after we basically dropped the black down to add contrast, pushed a little contrast/pivot to add a gloss and then used some midtown detail and sharpening to make it pop.

It was a great reminder that some of the best clients just want to see a good final image rather than making something feel very graded for the sake of it!

Jump over to my video below for more examples of how this look evolved.

If you’ve got any questions, be sure to leave a comment!

-Dan

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Comments

2 thoughts on “Should You Go For That Film Look Or Embrace The Digital Clean Look?”

  1. Funny I had the same experience this week. I sent the DP a filmic grade with grain and a what I felt was a more authentic feel to the commercial, and his response with NEVER send me a shot with gran on it. He had been obsessing to himself where all the noise came from when it was added grain. He tries the get the sharpest cleanest look possible. I had to start over and just stick to the basics as well.

  2. The question is whether we approach it as “digital” or as ” … Real … !”. Had a “wow” experience the first time I dropped 4k clips onto a timeline, and then watched playback on my 1920×1080 monitor. Even though the data was scrunched down to the monitor’s capability, it was far more like looking at Reality. And there is a “digital” look of the sensors & processing/viewing capabilities of the last few years that isn’t so … appealing … but some of the “real-ness” we can now get has its own visual and visceral appeal.

    So I think it’s using the tools to go for at times a breath-taking reality, yet … not looking digitzed, I guess would be the way to put it.

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