Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer

Cinematic Excellence at 24 Frames a Second

How To Properly Add Life Back Into Your Digital Footage

(Before: Log/After: Grade w/Film Convert)

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you probably know that one of my biggest frustrations with digital imagery today is how pristine it is. Digital images are just too good, and too clean. When great digital cameras are coupled with great modern glass, the resulting image is one that is technically "perfect," but lacks the "life," "character," & "personality" that film brought with it in years past. I have developed a three step process to reintroduce life into my footage: 1. Proper lens selection, 2. Proper in camera filtration, & 3. Proper post processing. Recently I have added FilmConvert to the post processing step of my footage. But I've wondered... When is the proper time to apply FilmConvert? Since the online documentation is lacking, I set out to test a couple of workflows for myself. Here is what I've found.
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The Problem With Digital Cameras & My Secret Solutions


Thanks to many innovations in technology, digital cinema cameras are continuing to improve in quality by leaps and bounds. The mere fact that we can now shoot at an actual EI of 800 and have clean useable images with 13-14 stops of dynamic range was unthinkable just a couple of years ago. However, the pristine images that these cameras are delivering have introduced a new problem that we haven't had to think about until now: the images are getting too good. They are too clean. Read on for why I think this is a problem, and what to do about it.
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