Paris

by Jon

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Take the 2-minute tour ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There a user on Flickr who posts a lot of photos that have been processed to movie look and feel to them:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/djpoe/5549522425/

There's obviously been some Photoshopping done to the pictures, but I'm having trouble replicating it. Does anyone have any idea what adjustments you'd need to make to get this look and feel?

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

So there's the obvious stuff: cropping and letterboxing to the right aspect ratioS. (Note: both aspect ratios are important: 4:3 for the overall image, letterboxed down to 1.85:1 (the US "standard") or 2.75:1 (theatrical "wide screen") inside it.

But there's also the not so obvious stuff. And here it's going to depend on what kind of movies you want to replicate, because different DoPs and different colorists will do things differently. These days they have as much control over a movies color as we do over a still photo's color.

The sample images you showed here look very "gritty real life" style, as opposed to the poppy fields and rainbows style of say Wizard of Oz, or the turquoise and orange theme that it seemed every movie was graded with in 2009/2010. (haven't seen any movies in 2011 yet, I'm hoping that trend is DEAD by now.) If I had to guess, I'd say they pulled the saturation down a little bit, and flattened the contrast in a few images. But not by much.

@jrista also adds a great point about the DoF control in his answer. Movies tend to shoot with larger apertures due to the need to get a couple dozen frames per second, traditionally with old mechanical film cameras this pretty much required big glass and large apertures... or lots and lots of light. Modern optics mean they can stop down to get more DoF today, but just because they can, doesn't mean they do.

share|improve this answer

In addition to what @cabbey stated, I think a significant factor in that cinema/movie feel is depth of field. If you watch movies closely for the cinematography aspects, focus, shift in focus, depth of field, and quality of bokeh is a VERY critical factor in movies and getting that "movie feel". When I watch a movie where the photographers did not pay much attention to those little focus details, the result is bland, there are often too many distracting elements, and I just don't "feel" the movie as much. On the flip side, you can really tell when a movie was filmed by a talented photographer, as all those small focus details are PERFECT, with focus shift timed perfectly, depth of field is superbly crafted, out of focus highlights, particularly bright lights, look fantastic (usually with some spherical aberration), etc.

In the photo you linked, outside of the "gritty" tone that cabbey mentioned, the key thing that makes it look cinematic to me is the depth of field...which is quite nicely done. It seems there is a very slight amount of spherical aberration, the plane of focus is precisely placed, and DoF is just right.

share|improve this answer
    
Very good point I forgot to address. –  cabbey Mar 29 '11 at 20:37

Your example doesn't really look like anything more to me than cropping to that aspect ratio and putting the black boxes on top and bottom.

If you don't have the right lens and camera (in other words, not a Point and Shoot), you may have difficulty with the relatively shallow depth of field.

share|improve this answer
1  
It's also all naturally lit, incidentally. –  ElendilTheTall Mar 29 '11 at 16:15

I think I might have your answer. I came up with a technique to getting cinematic shots on any high definition camera(I'm currently making my first feature film). Check it out here http://thevrincent.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-get-cinematic-shots-on-regular.html

share|improve this answer
2  
Can you describe it a little more here? It's okay to link to your blog, but ultimately we want direct answers, not advertisements. –  mattdm Sep 12 '13 at 18:42
    
Sure thing- I'm not a spammer. The whole trick is about getting the actual look of what you are shooting instead of trying to give your footage a new color(if you're shooting in winter, don't edit the footage to look warmer or colder, etc.). Basically you add the letterbox(black bars) and keep everything 'raw', just the way you got it on video. As for the camera part, always have an object in the foreground that you can focus/blur out on. This is an easy way to get the image depth wanted, making your footage more interesting and realistic. –  Achim Sep 13 '13 at 19:02

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.