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Episode 30 – Listener Question: Getting the Cinematic Look

This week Timothy and Alrik answer a listener question: “How do you go about making your footage look cinematic?”

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Show Notes / Links

The Daily Struggle

  • The on-line premiere of Lone on the CG Bros YouTube Channel
    • YouTube vs Vimeo

  • Alrik talks about his plans for the release of Brother

Topic of the Week – Listener Question: Getting the Cinematic Look

  • This was a Listener Question Submitted to podcast@makingmoviesishard.com: Something that’s been plaguing me, and I just can’t find solid advice online, is how do you go about making your footage look cinematic?  And when I say cinematic, I mean how do you get the look and feel of a serious Hollywood movie.  Or even something small and less flashy, like Juno for example. I know it’s some combination of lighting, composition, rule of thirds, art direction, the props, the acting, the makeup, the camera itself, it’s dynamic range, the depth of field and then later on in post, the color grade, the aspect ratio etc etc…… But where do you guys place the most emphasis?  How do you go about getting a cinematic shot?
  • How do you define cinematic?
  • The danger of thinking professional equipment will solve all your problems
  • Alrik’s advice: learn to use your camera
  • Why your first movie might not look cinematic
  • Our tips and tricks to getting something to look cinematic: locations and depth
  • How would we make a Therapist scene look cinematic?
  • We have a revelation: Intent!
  • How do you make your movies with intent?
  • Why Art Direction and Color Correction work hand in hand
  • Actors and how they contribute to the cinematic feel of a film
  • Do you need a huge crew to make something to look professional?
  • How editing plays a role in the cinematic look.

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  • Intent! What a revelation. I do believe that if you approach every decision in filmmaking with intent, your work will feel more cinematic.

    • heck yeah! Intent intent intent! I’m shooting a short this weekend and that’s all I have in my mind. What am I intending the audience to feel/think with each shot.

  • Taylor Boatright

    i think a good example for this episode would have been “Tangerine.” That is a movie filmed entirely on a two year old phone and looks better than most people’s iPhone 6s footage and even some DSLRs. They used a special steadicam, and an anamorphic lens adapter, but is that all? Why does a movie shot on an iPhone 5 look so cinematic?!

    • Ooh. I wish I would have thought of that. Unfortunately I haven’t seen Tangerine yet so I can’t comment. Do you have any thoughts on why it looked so great? This will take some research.

    • Ha, now I have to see Tangerine! Well I think you answered your own question, an anamorphic lens adapter and a steadicam go a long way to make something look cinematic!