FINEST FILTRATION Popular filters like grads and polarisers work just as well for shooting movies. And we’ve already discussed how essential NDs are.
IT’S IN THE EDIT Once you have footage, it’s time to edit clips into the finished film, complete with getting colours right, matching up audio, syncing music, creating transitions between shots, slow or fast motion, and perhaps even adding titles or motion graphics. There’s a huge amount of learning to be done, but this is where your clips really transform into a movie. Several free, stripped-down editing programs are available, and you might already have one – iMovie comes free with Apple computers. But it’s far better to get to grips with fully featured software that grows with you as your skills increase. The three main NLEs – non-linear editors – are Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. The former is a
a complicated software with more functionality. You can’t go wrong with either. However, DaVinci Resolve is greatest in its handling of colours, used by top editors as the industry standard for grading. Best of all, the basic type is completely free. A full Studio version adds some features, but for the vast majority, the free one is more than enough.
more commonly exploited in photography, like those of Lee or Cokin. It’s more common for filmmakers to employ filters in SmallRig matte boxes, for example. These are similar to a photo filter holder, but usually with an adjustable flag to prevent flare. They either fit via an adapter that screws to the end of the lens, slip around the outside of a dedicated cinema lens, or are fastened to a set of rails fixed to the camera’s base plate. Filters are dropped into slots, which often turn around at distinct angles independently. These commonly come in 4x5.65in size – the Panavision standard – and are typically 2mm-thick superwhite optical glass, so won’t fit into regular stills-style holders. Look out for Schneider-Kreuznach, H&Y and Formatt-Hitech.
While many still shooters are looking for pin-sharp quality, highly detailed images in video can have an overly ‘digital’ look. Diffusion filters are in demand, to slightly soften this. Although flare is often the enemy of a photographer, it can add a stunning look to video. Filters to promote flare or emulate the look of pricey anamorphic lenses get a lot of attention. These provide a long, horizontal flare beloved by sci-fi cinematographers, available in different strengths and colours. Many filters simply screw into the filter thread at the end of a lens, and you can get away with using drop-in resin or glass filters
one-off purchase, while Adobe is obtained via a monthly subscription that you may already have if you pay for Creative Suite. Adobe also offers After Effects for motion graphics. Most professional filmmakers tend to use Premiere Pro, which works on Apple as well as Windows computers, but Apple fans often stick with Final Cut. The latter has a more user-friendly interface, while Premier Pro is
POST-HASTE As with still imaging, there is a great selection of software for video editing. Many, like Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 18, are free – while others are outright purchase or available on subscription
HAVE WE GOT HUES FOR YOU Just as in still photography, lighting can be on- or off-camera – but these are continuous lights rather than flash. On-camera lights tend to be small LED panels providing a little bit of fill. They are loved by TV film crews and can get you out of a dark hole, but are not the best for creative shooting. For soft, flattering light, look at medium or large panels such as those by Rotolight, Kenro, Acebil and Litepanels. They accept a range of accessories like grids, barn doors or diffusion panels to change the output. You could buy a hard light, including COB (chip on board) LED heads from Nanlite,
Aputure, Amaran or Godox. These come with a standard Bowens S-mount on the front, so are compatible with simple reflectors and projector attachments, to huge softboxes or umbrellas. Also becoming increasingly fashionable are LED tube lights available in different lengths. These can mimic a fluorescent tube, or be set to all sorts of crazy colours and moving displays. Look out for prevalent tube lights from Astera, Godox, Nanlite and Aputure, among others.
Instead, it’s far better to go with lights on stands to create the mood you want. LEDs now dominate, as they are affordable, quiet and bright – powered by batteries, an internal cell or mains. Most are daylight-balanced or bi-colour, so work in daylight or tungsten. The latest innovations have multicoloured LED bulbs and are called RGBWW, offering red, green and blue, as well as multiple white options. These can create every colour under the rainbow, for creative effects, different white light to match various colour temperatures and tints. And many are controlled via an app, with several offering a whole range of special effects, too. These SFX settings can include flashing blue and red to emulate a police car, the flickering of a fire or candle, lightning flashes and more. They have their benefits for creative drama work.
A PICTURE OF VERSATILITY Variable ND filters make image fading and light control easy. The H&Y VND+CPL features the Revoring mount, so it fits a range of different lenses – and the iris fitting mechanism is secure, yet quick to use
JARGON BUSTER 4K Ultra High Definition 4K is a 16:9 format with a resolution of 3840x2160. DCI 4K/C4K is a 17:9 format with a resolution of 4096x2160. Bit depth The level of gradation used to define a shade of dark or light. Higher bit depth allows more detailed and higher-quality adjustments when editing. Some cameras record in 8-bit, some 10-bit, with a few in 12-bit Raw. Codec A file format for recording video files. Popular codecs include Canon XF-AVC and Sony XAVC, H.264, H.265, MJPEG, MPEG-4 and AVCHD. Some codecs, like Canon’s, give superior quality in 4K. Others, such as H.265, are open formats and offer better data compression. Frame rate The rate at which a shutter opens and closes, or a sensor captures video, during one second. Typical frame rates are 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50 and 60fps (frames per second). Log A logarithmic setting that provides footage low in contrast and saturation, but holding
more tonal information that can be utilised in post-processing to deliver wider dynamic range. Canon has C-Log, Sony S-Log and Nikon N-Log, for example. LUT An LUT – short for lookup table - is a set formula applied to an image in order to alter its look into something different. Oversampling A 4K video is essentially a succession of 8.3-megapixel images captured between 24 and 30 times per second. Oversampling happens when the camera takes the image from the entire sensor and generates 8-megapixel moving images out of it, rather than simply reading an 8-megapixel crop of the sensor. ProRes A high-quality video format used in editing and exporting. Masters are often delivered in ProRes 422 or 444. Proxies Lower-resolution versions of original video files. These are helpful for making editing quicker and easier.
INTO THE LIGHT LEDs come in all shapes and sizes, from those that sit on the camera’s hotshoe to powerful light-standing units. They are versatile, with adjustable colour temperatures, selectable colours and special effects
36 Photography News | Issue 100
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