Cinematography: Not Video, Get the Film Look | Zoë Davidson | Skillshare

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Cinematography: Not Video, Get the Film Look

teacher avatar Zoë Davidson, Software Engineer & Cinematographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Camera Sensors


    • 3.

      Crop Factor


    • 4.

      Depth of Field - Part 1


    • 5.

      Field of View


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Depth of Field - Part 2


    • 8.

      Deep Focus


    • 9.

      Focus Pulling


    • 10.



    • 11.

      Lens Compression


    • 12.

      pCAM Pro


    • 13.

      Linear vs Log


    • 14.

      Color Spaces & LUTs


    • 15.



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About This Class

This course has been designed by Zoë Davidson, a cinematographer and professor of Digital Media.

The class is a follow up to "Cinematography: Take Control of Your Video" and will provide you a more nuanced understanding of cinematography and a look a the importance of choosing the right tools for the job.

The goal of this class is to leave you with a deeper understanding of camera sensors, lens compression, LUTs and more.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Zoë Davidson

Software Engineer & Cinematographer


Hey! I'm Zoe, a software engineer, filmmaker, and former professor from Toronto, Canada. I have an MFA in Film from Howard University, and also do work as a software engineer.

In the past, I've worked for the University of the District of Columbia, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Lionsgate, Huffington Post, and I'm a member of organizations like the Canadian Society of Cinematographers.

The films that I've worked on have been featured at festivals around the world, including Sundance, ABFF, Trinidad Tobago Film Festival, and CaribbeanTales.

Check out my latest work, here:

See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: Hi everyone. My name is Zoe. I'm a cinematographer and a Professor of Film. I've been shooting films for many years now. The projects I've worked on have gone on to be shown at festivals like Sundance and Caribbean tails. What is it that separates a video from a film? It's not just the content. Today we're going to be going over a few elements that will bring your videos into the film world. Throughout the course, you'll be covering several essential topics, including cameras, sensors, depth of field, lens compression, and much, much more. Let's get started. 2. Camera Sensors: Cameras, sensors. When it comes to digital video, there are tons of options to choose from when you're looking at cameras, sensors, it's important that you choose the camera with the correct sensor for the work that you're shooting. 3. Crop Factor: Crop factor. The first thing you want to do is to determine the cameras sensors size. The size of the sensor will have a major impact on the lenses that you choose to shoot with. If we take Canon DSLR is as an example, you may have heard that they have full-frame cameras as well as APS-C or crop sensor cameras with Canon in particular, this is important to know due to the fact that they have at least two types of lenses. Canon is known for their EF and their EFS lenses. Lenses can work on any camera, but EFS lenses, which are usually more affordable, can only work on crop sensor cameras. But what does this all mean? Well, crop sensor or APS-C cameras and cannons case, such as the cameras from the Canon Rebel series, are targeted towards an early learner demographic, both in complexity and in price point. To this end, canon has enabled most of their lenses to work with these cameras. As their users become more experienced, many upgrade to the 5D or 1D semi-professional and professional lines. Both of these cameras feature full-frame sensors, but are also much more challenging to use. Crop sensors got their name from being just that cropped. They are physically smaller than a full frame sensor. What this means is that many cameras with these sensors will have what is known as a crop factor. The crop factor refers to a ratio in comparison to a full-frame sensor, or rather how the crop sensor has to compensate to achieve the same coverage as a full-frame sensor. In practice, what this looks like is a bit of lens map. For instance, the crop factor of many canon rebels is 1.6 I. A 50 millimeter lens on a cabin, rebel would actually capture an image that looks much more like it was taken by an 80 millimeter lens. It's important to understand the multiplication that goes on here in order to be able to make the best choices when selecting a camera and lens. 4. Depth of Field - Part 1: Depth of field. Based on the size of the sensor, the depth of field will also appear lesser or greater. On full-frame cameras, shallow depth of field will become more apparent than on crop sensor cameras. For the most professional look, I'd recommend going with at least a full frame sensor whenever possible. 5. Field of View: Field of view. Additionally, the field of view that you will get with a full frame camera is much greater than you would get with a crop sensor camera. This is especially important when you're considering which wide shots you're looking for in the film that you're shooting. 6. Lenses: Lenses. Another crucial decision you'll make when choosing to shoot a film is which lens or lenses you'll use. I'd argue that your choice of lens is way more important than your choice of camera. Within reason, the lens you choose will determine a large percentage of what constitutes the look of your film. Spherical versus anamorphic, fast or slow. These are all choices you'll need to make as you look at lenses. I'd recommend looking for fast full-frame lenses. That way, no matter the body you're covered. A fast lens is a lens that has a wide minimum aperture. We'll go into greater detail about aperture later in the lesson. But for now, what we should remember is that aperture is also referred to as the f-stop or the T stock, and is usually advertise after the focal length leg. So most really dramatic shots in popular films are shot with a lens with a low aperture as having a shallow depth of field really focuses the viewers sight line on the subject. It isolates them in the frame. But what is depth of field? 7. Depth of Field - Part 2: Depth of field, depth of field in the space within a shot of the things that are in focus. But what does this mean exactly? Most videos that we see on the internet, whether they be newscasts or YouTube, vlogs look something like this. As you can see, everything or almost everything is in focus. This is great for when we want to see every element of what we're filming, but not so great for making different types of films. Depth of field is one of the tools that we as filmmakers can use to direct our audience's attention from one object or subject to the next. By using a very shallow depth of field of maybe a foot or only a few inches. We can really isolate the subject of the shot and give them that so-called film look that you might be familiar with. Depending on the aperture and the lens that you decide on, your depth of field can shift greatly and you'll want to change it to suit the content that you're shooting. 8. Deep Focus: Deep focus. We can get a very deep focus where most things are in focus by closing down our aperture and can establish a shallow depth of field by opening it up. However, there are challenges associated with both deep focus and having a shallow depth of field. For instance, shots that use deep focus require a lot more light as a result of the aperture being so close. Now, historically, the focus was the norm. And as a result, the amount of light required for filmmaking in the past was extensive. Needing so much light in post challenges, if they're required, lighting elements were unavailable. Today. A lot of light is still required. However, we also have the advantage of technology. Iso is something that we can adjust to give ourselves a bit more latitude with regard to the amount of light that we require. For a bit more on ISO, check out my previous video on cinematography techniques. Another trick, if you really want to use defocus, but you don't have the lights or the latitude with ISO is to shoot outside during the day. In this instance, the sun is one of the best light sources. 9. Focus Pulling: Shallow depth of field. On the other hand, having a very shallow depth of field is a challenge for whomever is maintaining the focus. The focus polar. Typically the first AC is the person responsible for ensuring that what is meant to be in focus is correctly in focus. By limiting the range that this person has to work with, their job becomes exponentially more difficult. As at some ranges, they will only have a few inches to work with. And don't forget, the first AC has to pull the focus as both the actors and the cameras potentially move about the set. Not an easy task. However, this is a skill that can be trained. And if you're interested in working with shallow depth of field, I'd recommend practicing your follow focusing with a moving subject and a wide open aperture. 10. Aperture: Aperture. I cover the details of aperture in my other class, but for a brief refresher, here's what aperture is. Aperture. Aperture is my favorite way of manipulating and digital image. What is aperture? Aperture is the whole inside of moulins. Increasing or decreasing the size of your aperture essentially allows or prevents more light from passing through the lens and hitting your camera sensor. Aperture is measured in stops. It increases on a logarithmic scale. On typical lenses, you'll see an aperture ranging from about 1.4 to 22. However, there are lenses lower than this and some that go higher than 22. Now what does it mean by going lower than in higher in that 22.41? Well, essentially 1.422 are both measurements of the size of the hole in the lens. You can have an aperture of 1 for which while being a small number, is actually quite a large hole in your lens. And you can have apertures all the way up to 22, which is actually quite a small hole in your lens. A lens that has an aperture of 1.4 allows a lot of light to pass through it. However, as you go up on the scale, the amount of light steadily decreases having each time you go to a full stop in aperture. And f star of 1.4 has twice the amount of light as an f-stop of two. And then an f-stop of two has twice the amount of light as an f-stop of 2.8. Not only are these major stops ways of measuring how much light, but these stops are actually broken into thirds. So you can have an f-stop of 2 third, 2 and two-thirds, or 2.8. 11. Lens Compression: Lens compression. Now that we understand a bit more about depth of field, we can talk about another major factor in motion picture making, lens compression. Lens compression is a visual effect that can cause the images the camera captures to appear distorted. On a wider lens, the subject may appear slimmer, the background may seem further, and the straight lines near the edges of the frames may look curved. On the flip side. With a tighter lens, the subject may appear wider, the background may seem closer, and the images in the background may also look a lot larger than they otherwise would to the naked eye. This is the result of lens compression. In the right moments, lens compression appears normal as our eyes have been trained to accept certain distortions in certain shots. However, it's something to be cognizant of when we're making our shortlist and choosing our lenses. 12. pCAM Pro: P cam pro. P can Pro is an app created by camera Tech David you back. The app features a lot of excellent calculators that allow you to make quick decisions based on facts instead of guesses. There are options to preview field of view, depth of field calculators and aperture calculators to ensure that multiple subjects remain in focus. I won't spend a lot of time on this app, but if you're serious about getting accurate results, I'd highly, highly recommend making the investment. 13. Linear vs Log: Linear versus log. Most videos that you see online have been shot using a linear picture profile. What this means is that the image has been produced without too much regards to the exposure curve. However, as we learned about aperture, exposure values are inherently logarithmic or doubling or halving depending on whether the amount of light is increasing or decreasing. Shooting in a log is an attempt to correct the elements of the linear picture profile and retain as much of the camera's dynamic range as possible. Occasionally, you may look at an image recorded in a linear picture profile and notice one of two things. Either the highlights are blown out or the shadows are crushed. This occurs because the linear picture profile does not adjust for these elements that are on the ends of its spectrum. As you can see in this comparison of the linear versus the logarithmic curves. As you might expect, the linear curve is not a curve, It's a straight line. The log curve, on the other hand, has a greater slope at the beginning of the line on the left and a lesser slope of that translates right. The bottom left side of the curve refers to the shadows of the image, which the curve attempts to maintain the details though by bringing the brightness up and closer to the middle. And on the right side, it does the opposite with the highlights by bringing them down and closer to the middle and darkening them so that the details are not lost or blown out. This results in an image that is apparently more flat. However, as the details are all able to be recorded by the sensor in post-production, they will be able to be utilized as the contrast is then re-introduced to the image. If it's in your budget, shooting in law will always give you more flexibility over a linear picture profile. In the long run, many prosumer cameras even come with the option pre-installed. For instance, the camera that this is being shot on has c log installed. And if you look at the before and after, you can see the difference that color correction makes. However, many cameras don't come with the option for log. Or maybe you're just not comfortable with the idea of color correction. There are still choices that you can make to optimize your image. 14. Color Spaces & LUTs: Color spaces. If you're scrolling around in the picture profile options of a digital cinema camera, you may see the option to record in or use a lot representing rec seven O nine or wreck 2020. These two color spaces are two examples of dozens of color spaces that are available in the film world. But first of all, what is a color space? A color space is a specific grouping of colors that your camera, television, or other device can recognize and reproduce these colors. Space is also applied to the clips that you shoot. And rec seven O nine and erect 2020s are just two examples of that. Rec seven O nine is the standard for 1080 HD television. And its scope looks something like this. It's effective for what it was established for, but it's a bit limited. 15. Conclusion: I hope you've learned a bit from this video and are able to utilize depth of field log color spaces. Let's end much more in your next project. As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, and I'd be happy to address them.