How to Make Your Video Look Like Film

How to Make Your Video Look Like Film

All video professionals and filmmakers put their heart and soul into their final products, but despite similar amounts of work and dedication, audiences deem film more professional, serious and noteworthy than video. Why is that? A lot of it has to do with that pinnacle of video nirvana known as the “film look.” Chances are, even if you can’t put your finger on why, you’ve noticed that there’s a subtle but noticeable difference between the way a film looks and the way a video looks. Many video professionals go to great lengths to tweak their videos to look more like film.

What is it about that film look?
In the training video “How to: Make Video Look Like Film,” we discuss what the “film look,” is, so you can get some of that Hollywood prestige. Learn why film and video look so different in the first place and how you too can achieve a more cinematic feel in your next project. It may be a small detail but you’ll instantly see the difference in the way people react to your work. Audiences may appreciate your hard work, skill and talent when they see your video work, but they’ll really know you’re part of the “big time” when they see your “film” work.

How to: Make Video Look Like Film includes:

  • Defining the Film Look – You instantly know when you’re watching film as opposed to video. What’s the big difference? Something in the grain and flicker, the way the visuals just look too clean and crisp? You know the look when you see it, even if you don’t exactly know why. Learn what traits make film look the way it does, why video looks different, and ways to help your video emulate the film look.
  • Choosing a Camera – There’s more than one way to turn a good video into a great “film.” One of the easiest ways to tweak the look of your final product is to start with the camera. The right camera can help you achieve the film look. In this segment, the expert Videomaker editors discuss camera components and types, including camcorders, DSLRs, and digital cinema cameras.
  • Frame Rates and Interlacing – Here’s the real meat of the issue: Frame rate. The differing frame rates of film and video are primarily responsible for the vast difference in looks. But frame rate isn’t something you can control — or is it? In this segment, learn how you can set up your frame rate to affect the look of your footage. You’ll learn and understand the difference between interlaced and progressive footage.
  • Lighting – Great lighting is a primary factor in achieving the film look. Flat lighting gives your project that dull “Soap Opera” look that all videographers dread. In fact, it’s that association that makes some people look down on the video look as opposed to the film look. The last thing you want is for your audience to associate your work with the cheesy, amateur TV productions of the 80s. Learn about different light sources, lighting instruments, and lighting styles and how they can add an aura of professionalism to your latest project.
  • Color Correction – In an ideal world, every shot you brought into the edit room would be perfect. But the reality is that sometimes shots you’re editing aren’t white balanced perfectly, or the look of one shot might not match another. In this segment, Videomaker talks about primary color correction and shows you how to adjust the tonality and color of a clip. A little color correction can go a long way and help make your video look like film.
  • Color Grading and Shot Matching – Everyone can instantly picture the look and feel of films like Saving Private Ryan, with its raw, gritty footage, or the Matrix, with its green-tinged digital world. Color Grading and color matching are two major components that enhance films and separate them from the look of video. Using some basic techniques, your next project can stand out with its own unique look and feel.

You know that your videos are professional grade. You’ve worked your hardest to make sure that every aspect — from the lighting to the sound to the actors’ performances — is absolutely impeccable. There’s no reason that an audience shouldn’t respect your work for its quality and professionalism, but why not give your project that extra little shot in the arm to put it over the top? Jaded viewers are always looking for any excuse to walk out of a movie and sometimes something as small as the look of the project can set them off. As a dedicated filmmaker or videographer, you don’t want to give those viewers any help in looking for perceived flaws. When you get that film look, you’re telling every viewer: This is a professional production. Sit up and take notice.