Video Killed the Big-Budget Movie Star

"Is this a film camera?"

You’ve got a camcorder. And you like making videos… heck, maybe even films.

But it all looks amateurish. Nothing has that crisp, vivid look you see in The Movies.

WTF? You spent how much on this thing, and its video looks like 1987 family Christmas footage? Don’t freak out. You’ve identified the problem. Now choose a solution.

3 Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Your Film Look Professional

1. Get a Lens Adapter
Lens adapters are a great way to achieve detailed, polished footage. They do this by creating a shallower depth of field. Less in focus = they’ll be totally focused on what you want them to see. It’s much easier to tell a compelling narrative with that control.

Case in point: Monsters (2010), a high-quality indie feature film, was shot on a consumer-grade Sony XDCAM with a lens adapter. See Gareth Edwards talk about ‘Monsters’ in this Adobe-curated piece.

2. Use Smart Software
MagicBullet is a powerful color correction and effects tool. It’s designed to turn “average” video into cinema quality with professional visual “pop”. But if you don’t want to drop $800 on CC software, check out this simple Final Cut CC Tutorial.

3. Crop Your Image
This is super simple, but instantly gives you a big-budget feel. 16:9 is the new standard ratio for HD film and television, but big-budget film is shot super-wide (anywhere from 19:9 to 25:9). Therefore, when you see a movie on a TV screen, you’ll see those signature crop lines. Cropping your video image mimics this look and can convince the audience you shot your move on expensive, wide-ratio equipment.

In essence, all these methods are just focusing your audiences’ attention. Cropping an image, focusing on one object, accentuating certain colors… it’s all drawing their attention and creating a specific mood. This is the essence of filmmaking… it is how to tell your story.

For more great examples of powerful films shot on a consumer HV40, check out Matt Brown’s Vimeo page.

Great Film Is Within Reach

You don’t have to have a multi-million-dollar budget. Don’t be intimidated by those feature films. Instead, harness their methods for your own clever purposes.


Meme E

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