How can I get my videos to look similar to this?

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    • #53017


      I've been trying and failing to replicate the look I really like from Korean commercial films. They're soft and creamy, without any harsh lines between the subject and the background.


      I think this first video really illustrates the soft look I'm talking about. Especially at 0:14, where the model's skin is very creamy (for lack of a better word). This is what I'm looking for.


      I currently have a Pentax KX and Asahi M 50mm f1.7 lens that create a film look with amazing depth of field. Unfortunately, I've been having a hard time trying to replicate the soft Korean commercial film look. I absolutely love my camera though, so I hope to create the look I want without having to buy a new one. If anyone could help and lead me in the right direction with tips on lighting, type of lens, accessories that may help, editing, etc., I'd greatly appreciate it!



      Addition: I like that the room in this commercial film is really bright and filled with light, yet it looks natural on the model. Every time I use sunlight in a room, I get unnatural overexposure from the window and on the people inside. How can I get even lighting in a room like the one in this video?


      Many thanks!

    • #205423

      Well, I'll take a stab at this. I warn you I'm not a pro, but I think this is how I'd do it and maybe it'll get the discussion started in the right direction:


      1. make sure the colors in the room and clothing of actors are softer pastels and what not, instead of harsh ones.  try to shoot in a room where the colors are the same "tone" or "range" as the clothes you have your actors wear.  notice how the green plant is illuminated by itself in one scene?  not alongside the actors?  putting it in the same scene with them would break that creamy effect you're going for, I bet.


      2. use lots of light, but soft light.  use softboxes, diffuser panels, and maybe an umbrella.  notice how the actor stands out at the end when faced with the "bright" sunlight?  it changes the look of that one scene substantially.  you need a lot of light to do this, because any shadows are going to add to those "harsh lines" you don't want, and keep things from blending together.


      3. I'm not familiar with your camera but by the sounds of it, it appears to me that (a) you understand it well, and (b) it's capable of the adjustments necessary to do the job.  perhaps others can comment on the specifics of that camera.


      4. effects in post: color correction, color grading, levels and curves.  not sure WHAT you do with them to get this effect, though. you'd have to play around with it.  there might even be a gaussian blur/negative clarity filter applied.  if you shoot with enough definition, you can blur it a bit to smooth things out without losing too much quality, I bet.  this strikes me as the opposite of what you typically see the video tutorials focus on–usually, we want to "crush the blacks" and make the subject stand out.  here, you kinda want them to blend in more.


      One more thought on actors.  You should look for actors with smooth skin and plan on using makeup to smooth out any blemishes if you really want to get that look, especially in any closeups.


      These are just my thoughts. I hope it helps some.

    • #205428

      "  I've been having a hard time trying to replicate the soft Korean commercial film look. "


      There have been a rash of US commercials recently which for lack of a better term look very " washed out ". My opinion is that there is very flat lighting, lotsa natural pastels . . .  but some impressive color DE-saturation in post. I think it's a hideous look . . .  BUT! . . . . it does draw attention.


      I don't think you can get all the way to that Korean look with camera techniques only.


      Rick Crampton

    • #205429

      Most of the look appears to come from soft lighting. There's not a single shadow, anywhere and virtually no separation between subject and background — no backlighting and no key. In essence it's all fill.


      It's also possible that there is a diffusion filter of some kind on the lens. Film cinematographers used to shoot female talent through a gauze diffusion filter to get a very soft, dreamy effect, or apply a very thin coat of vasoline directly to the lens. Messy, but it worked!


    • #205450

      Good advice here – bags of softlight – which also disguises skin blemishes – BUT also the model has really good makeup, done by somebody who knows their stuff. HD makeup is an absolute essential, but beginners always spend money on cameras and lights and forget makeup!



      Plus adding vaseline onto the screw in UV filter, never the lens. Wiping vaseline off can also remove the front coating very, very, easily!

    • #205455

      Good point, Paul. Personally, I wouldn't come closer to my camera with a jar of vaseline than about 10 feet, but the old time DPs used it to great effect.


      Technicolor recently came out with a software color correction product for the Mac and Avid that approximates this soft dreamy look. Cost is about $100 and it has quite a few very useful "looks" built into the software. You might take a look at the demo, Mirir, if you use one of these systems.


    • #205460

      " . . .   the old time DPs used it to great effect. "


      I just watched a very interesting documentary called: " Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff ". Cardiff defined cinematography as art.


      Rick Crampton


    • #205474

      Every bit as much an art as photography or painting. Unfortunately artistry has pretty much fled the scene today. Take a look at You Tube to see what I refer to. Anyone with a few hundred dollars can shoot video now; very few have a clue about video as an art.



    • #205483

      Thanks to everyone who chimed in with their great ideas. They really helped and led me in the right direction. I actually learned that the original commercial was filmed with an ARRI camera (despite the horrid quality of the Youtube video) so that would explain the detailed yet soft DOF very typical of ARRI cameras. I'm not going to ask how to make my videos look like footage from an 80,000 dollar camera, because that would be like comparing a Honda to a Ferrari. But I did find that I can get a similar look with a hacked Panasonic GH2 and an old Jupiter 8 lens, which make everything look soft, hazy and contrasty. Definitely thinking of buying a GH2, because once the firmware is hacked, it's capabilities are very impressive. And as for lighting, I got a hold of a behind-the-scenes still shot:




      The file is too big to attach here. Anyway, I don't know if this is actual footage from the ARRI as it's just behind-the-scenes. But as for lighting, I'm guessing the key is definitely sunlight diffused with white curtains, then there's lights coming in from the top (fluorescent?), and probably bounce boards in the front. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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