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HeyAndy
07-25-2010, 12:03 PM
In terms of aesthetics, what is the difference between these two similar shots?

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b26/Andysw/DSC00893.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b26/Andysw/DSC00871.jpg

Even though they look identical, howcome they still look different? Does this have something to do the kind of camera used?

Jeff Anderson
07-25-2010, 02:23 PM
I think it has little to nothing to do with cameras used here. Your footage looks sharper in these particular grabs. The depth of field looks a bit shallower in the original grab, but I wouldn't really call that "shallow".

Makeup/Wardrobe and exposure are the two biggest things that stand out to me here. Your colors are much more vibrant and the clothing looks brand new. The original has a nice weathered look to the wardrobe as well as the makeup. The wrinkles in his face give lots of definition where yours just looks flat and doesn't really say much. The originals makeup just says so much.

Exposure seems really low in the original - no highlights. Your starting to lose detail on the camera-left side of your actors nose. The green cast of the original is also a big factor. Probably also why his hair and vest don't seem to pop in the original. The wall is also heavily treated and quite nasty looking.

Other factors - Camera angle and field of view. While the original is definitely looking down to the actor as is yours, they appear to be using a longer lens. Notice how the lines of the tiles in the original grab aren't converging to rapidly as they travel to the back/left. You also aren't seeing much to the left or right of the actor. In your shot you can see quite a bit to the left and a decent amount of convergence of the bricks in the wall. A tighter shot would also probably get rid of the floor in the frame.

Your actor also could give a little more of the mood that Ledger gives with his head tilted down. See the whites in his eyes (Ledger's)? He has that intimidating, pissed off, inquisitive, look that is absolutely menacing. You don't have that in your actor.

Those are what really stand out to me. But camera differences, not really.

Ad FYI I think you mean aesthetics, instead of anesthetics.

edit - failed to mention composition. The position of the large swath of empty space behind your actor vs the empty space position in front of the original makes a difference. Can make or break a connection with off-screen characters.

thekeygun
07-25-2010, 02:26 PM
The brick wall in the 2nd photo looks like it was just painted. dirtttty it up a bit.

maranfilms
07-25-2010, 02:36 PM
Your actor needs to have his hair sprayed with water, to give it a darker wet look, the color grading is a bit different, brick size is different, wardrobe is different, I would cruch your blacks a bit. Also your actor looks almost like he's smirking, he should have that crazy look like the above poster mentioned.

Fahad
07-25-2010, 02:41 PM
what Jeff said.

J Davis
07-25-2010, 02:48 PM
... and aspect ratio

Noel Evans
07-25-2010, 02:55 PM
Makeup, composition, lighting, engaging actor, set design (yep, see the edges of the bricks on the wall have been messed up and dirtied), professional colour grade. Picture A has all these right. Picture B lacks a lot of these elements. I would go as far to say that the actor in B is one of the main issues. Even with perfect makeup, his facial structure just couldnt have that messed up, Im going to eat your children look to it.

Dave
07-25-2010, 03:12 PM
I think Jeff hit it on the head and Noel hit the nail as well. Also, notice that the only shadow is very subtle and it's not coming from above. If you lose the overhead light and add a very soft light from the left, you'll get a more subtle shadow on the wall and better lighting on your actor. Doing that would also make the actor's hair darker to help set the mood better.

AndrewGentle
07-25-2010, 04:47 PM
There are a lot of things you could do with your shot to make it more faithful to the original but I think that the one which will have the biggest impact is colour grading. Here's three minutes of messing around with RGB curves:

http://andrewgentle.com/content/dark_night_grade.jpg

And, for comparison

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b26/Andysw/DSC00893.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b26/Andysw/DSC00871.jpg

-Andrew

HeyAndy
07-26-2010, 08:40 AM
If the camera shot was shot again with an SD camera and colour grading was applied would this make the shot looky grainy?

cranston
07-28-2010, 07:14 AM
Work on your makeup and lighting, and see if you can't make that wall a little dirtier..

iHartVideo
07-29-2010, 12:11 PM
As Jeff mentioned the angle is quite different.
I agree that the original is using a longer lens, plus it was shot at a higher angle. The camera is definitely aiming down much more in the orig.

Nathyn
07-29-2010, 03:04 PM
The make up is fine, but the clothes are too new. Did you shoot in 1080i or 24p? It looks a bit like interlaced video, but I don't know why. Someone hit a huge nail on the head when they said color grading. Most indy productions, including my first two, do not color grade at all. "Wages of Sin" came out okay as it "looked like" a movie" and we did some color grading in camera. The scene in the drug dealer's apartment. Here, watch the whole thing. Let it be a guide for some indy do's and don'ts. It works better viewing it on line as some of the don't aren't so in your face. But check it out. Pay attention to the scene in the drug dealers house, in fact the image below is from that very scene. I may try to get it as a sticky as a what to and what not to do.

2692704

HeyAndy
08-03-2010, 04:20 AM
The make up is fine, but the clothes are too new. Did you shoot in 1080i or 24p? It looks a bit like interlaced video, but I don't know why. Someone hit a huge nail on the head when they said color grading. Most indy productions, including my first two, do not color grade at all. "Wages of Sin" came out okay as it "looked like" a movie" and we did some color grading in camera. The scene in the drug dealer's apartment. Here, watch the whole thing. Let it be a guide for some indy do's and don'ts. It works better viewing it on line as some of the don't aren't so in your face. But check it out. Pay attention to the scene in the drug dealers house, in fact the image below is from that very scene. I may try to get it as a sticky as a what to and what not to do.

2692704

I don't know because I didn't film it. I got it from a youtube video.

I will look at your trailer.

stejahen
08-19-2010, 12:10 PM
Great thread, interesting question, and good exercise to figure it out. I agree with Jeff and Noel. I would disagree mostly with Andrew and Nathyn. Christopher Nolan hardly uses color grading as far as I know, he didn't in Inception, not sure about Dark Knight. He gets the look in camera.

What you did does help simulate the look, but I think it is in no way the biggest factor, I would say it's low on the list compared to what Jeff and Noel said.

Also, I would say cinder block just feels pretty different from that brick.

CallaghanFilms
08-19-2010, 12:24 PM
...engaging actor...I love* how this ever-so-crucial element is ignored in almost all these "How Do I Make XYZ More Film-Like" threads...


Either the camera likes you or it doesn't.



*And by love, I mean cannot bloody understand

AndrewGentle
08-22-2010, 09:21 PM
I would disagree mostly with Andrew and Nathyn. Christopher Nolan hardly uses color grading as far as I know, he didn't in Inception, not sure about Dark Knight. He gets the look in camera.

I would be extremely surprised if absolutely zero colour correction was used on The Dark Knight or Inception. Even if it's not heavily stylised, colour timing and correctional grading must be applied when the film is developed and scanned for the digital intermediate. Even just matching one shot with the next. The director's vision would naturally be kept in mind when these changes were made.

Erich Ocean
08-22-2010, 10:45 PM
Christopher Nolan hardly uses color grading as far as I know, he didn't in Inception, not sure about Dark Knight. He gets the look in camera.

No.

stejahen
08-23-2010, 08:45 AM
Look it up, they didn't use a digital intermediate on Inception:
http://www.cinematical.com/2010/06/24/interview-inception-cinematographer-wally-pfister/

Crazy, I know, but nonetheless true.

Zacatac
08-23-2010, 10:05 AM
And the bricks, angling towards the upper left of the frame, makes my eyes want to follow it into the blank space

MichaelP
08-23-2010, 10:31 AM
There is a still a color correction process that happens even if a DI was not done. Films have been color timed for decades - There are basically two parts to color correction; was is truly correction - to meet the needs of a broadcast deliverable and matching shots from scene to scene due to different cameras, different stock different time of day, compensate for lights that change color temps over time, etc. The second one is the creative look and feel such as the "greenish" Matrix look or whatever.

Michael

HeyAndy
08-25-2010, 05:36 AM
What about filter lens?

Nathyn
08-28-2010, 08:37 AM
I think color grading has a lot to do with why a lot of films look ametuer versus Hollywood stuff.

-Nate

Knoxworth
08-29-2010, 10:57 AM
Way too many things to list. But notice how your eyes focus on Heath Ledger's eyes? They're in focus while the rest of the shot is in soft focus.

Your shot looks like standard video footage. And the color contrasts too much. (particular between the actor and the wall)

offwhite/white walls tend to suck.

astrozombie
07-05-2011, 06:10 PM
This is a fascinating thread, one of the best Ive ever seen here, because it cuts right to the nitty gritty of the film/cinema look question. Some of the replies are way off tho- The actor ? The perspective? C'mon now.

My vote:

Its mostly Art Direction, which has largely to do with A COLOR SCHEME, which starts with the location/costumes, the lighting, and ends with the grading.

Your wall is a yellowy, peachy, pink. How do purple, green, and pink/peach relate on the color wheel? An art director should know.

Notice the bank scene here--

ITS ONLY YELLOW, BLUE, AND GREY (with the old ladys red scarf as contrast/accent for obvious reasons). .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUZTybLlWKI

That's not (just) color grading, folks- the art director intentionally choose yellowish-brown woods for the furniture, the costume designer found variations of greys and blues for the costumes, and they all knew that the blonde hair of the actress would factor in. The most incredible part of all this is that the audience doesn't notice that everyone just happened to wear harmonious colors while hanging out in matching surroundings. It just "looks like a movie" to us.

My next short Im working VERY HARD to control the color, as Im convinced art direction/control of color is the biggest "film look secret" that many of use have been pecking away at the internet for years trying to find.


http://www.austinartandglamourphotography.com/?page_id=478

deltoidjohn
07-06-2011, 02:39 AM
Astrozombie, I agree art direction is a big factor (as others have said by mentioning set design and costume) but you can't so easily dismiss the perspective.

Take a look again at the actual film grab - the way it's shot with a long lens to compress the background and give a boxed-in, claustrophobic look, The use of the rule of 3rds, the angle looking downwards (which gets subtly disguised by the longer focal length), the way the bricks lead the way to his eyes, the diagonal lines of the wall which give the composition depth, the critical focus on his eyes. By saying "C'mon now!" are you just suggesting all this happened by accident?

The real difference between the two frames is not any single thing - it is the combination of the production designers, wardrobe, make-up artists, set designers, DP, lighting crew, storyboarder, director, actor, and colorist all doing thier part and working together towards a common vision.

astrozombie
07-06-2011, 07:24 AM
Oh, I definitely agree with you that the first is better composed.

I'm saying art direction is the biggest thing that makes the first one look like a movie and the second a bit more like home video. Composition (aided by short depth of field, which creates a center of interest) is the big second of course.

Didn't mean to be rude.

TonyT
08-01-2011, 10:34 AM
In the amateur pic, the actor is practically centered in frame which makes it look generic.

Patricia de la Garza
08-16-2011, 11:31 AM
In terms of aesthetics, what is the difference between these two similar shots?

Even though they look identical, howcome they still look different? Does this have something to do the kind of camera used?


As a Makeup Artist I can't comment on camera/lighting; however, I can provide feedback from a purely aesthetic standpoint.

COMPOSITION/TALENT POSITIONING/LOCATION:
* Tension is created by the tight cropping of Ledger's head - notice how much less hair is revealed
* Ledger's position is on the left side of the frame, not the right - the viewer's eyes follow the white tile right into Ledger's menacing eyes
* Ledger's head is upright (not leaning on the wall in a relaxed manner) and he is leaning forward in an active state, adding to the tension
* As previously mentioned, Ledger's head is tilted further down - showing more of the whites of his eyes below the pupils
* The wall in the original is white and smooth (not textured) similar to bathroom tile with dirty grout, making the image even more daunting

WARDROBE/MAKEUP/HAIR:
* Ledger's monotone/dark wardrobe colors are not a point of focus and instead allow the white of his makeup (and more importantly that of his eyes) and the red of his snarled mouth to stand out
* Ledger's makeup is more defined, with the darkness around his eyes more contained. The creases of his face (wrinkles) are accentuated with dark pigment and the overall feel is smudged, dripping, and melted.
* Ledger's hair is very dark in this scene (almost appearing black) again allowing the focus to be his eyes and mouth

CHARACTER MOOD
* Although Ledger's shoulder is touching the wall, his head/face are active in delivering an intent and sinister message. Make sure that you direct/guide your talent to be thinking and projecting the thoughts that this character is having. Your talent should practice in advance and perhaps take some still shots to nail the mood/look and become comfortable returning to that "mental place" when actually filming.

Phil1076
08-22-2011, 12:17 PM
The green tint aside, for me the biggest thing that stands out is the makeup on the actor. In the original, Ledger looks crazy and you see his scars...he looks like a psycho..

In the second shot, all I see is an emo kid with a painted face contemplating suicide because the world is against him -- he doesn't scare me one bit.

thisisapocalypse
09-18-2011, 09:38 PM
Ledger = The Joker.

Actor in the OP's still = A Joker.

I don't get a sense of anything from the actor's facial expression. The art direction, camerawork, post processing are all factors to a degree but even if the two actors were in the same wardrobe, shot in the same location, same lensing, same point of critical focus, etc., it wouldn't make that much of a difference. Ledger beats this guy every time (under the assumption that they were both trying to accomplish the same thing here from an acting standpoint.)

The actor in the OP's still has a very different presence than Ledger. Now, this might work for whatever project it is that the OP is making, but the actor here is just not communicating the same thing that Ledger is communicating, and that's the number one factor here, that's why they don't look the same...that's what we really notice, even if it's subconscious and hard to put a finger on.

Had the OP been working with Ledger rather than this other actor, and had been able to direct Ledger sufficiently well so that he demonstrated the same expression as exhibited in the still from The Dark Knight, the OP's shot would be just about as powerful (in the ways that really matter) even though the composition and overall aesthetic of this still isn't quite as good as The Dark Knight's.

It's the talent. It's the talent. It's the talent. Talent is your film. Talent is your film. Talent is your film. You have no film without talent.

bwwd
09-22-2011, 01:09 PM
lol, how about lens choice, wide angle closeup screams "IM AMATEUR DUDES" also overexposed face and sharp background without shallow DOF doesnt help.
Most important factor is lack of DOF here and wrong (too wide) lens choice, no matter what others say.
Color correction isnt as important as some suggest cause without it, it still looks like a movie
And NO, having Ledger in your wide angle closeup overexposed shot *would NOT make it look like a movie.
http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/2794/ghsdfh.jpg

thisisapocalypse
09-22-2011, 11:58 PM
lol, how about lens choice, wide angle closeup screams "IM AMATEUR DUDES" also overexposed face and sharp background without shallow DOF doesnt help.
Most important factor is lack of DOF here and wrong (too wide) lens choice, no matter what others say.
Color correction isnt as important as some suggest cause without it, it still looks like a movie
And NO, having Ledger in your wide angle closeup overexposed shot *would NOT make it look like a movie.
http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/2794/ghsdfh.jpg

Wide angle closeups can work very well, ever seen a Wes Anderson film? The problem here is shot design and camera positioning, not so much the focal length.

The OP's shot wasn't overexposed, the shot of Ledger in the original is underexposed. The OP's shot has basically proper exposure although it is close to clipping on the actor's nose...still, the overall exposure is okay and it could be graded and underexposed in post to reflect the tone one wants for the shot. The OPs shot also is lacking tremendously in three-dimensionality, color, contrast, the lighting isn't as good, etc., not to mention the makeup and the wardrobe which are critical in creating contrast and separating of the actor from his surroundings.

An actor's presence has a great deal to do with making a movie look like a movie, by boosting the exposure of still from The Dark Knight you make that point well, it still looks like a movie...it's got a different feel, but it still looks like a movie. You don't have to be underexposed + teal + orange in order to have an image that looks like it came from a "movie."

bwwd
09-23-2011, 06:56 AM
Even though they look identical, howcome they still look different? Does this have something to do the kind of camera used?
Yes it does have something to do with it, some people lied to you here but i dont know whats their motive to do this, you need camera with bigger CCD/CMOS sensor.You wont achieve such DOF with camcorder like yours.
*I wish people would just leave artistic babble and just gave him straight technical answer, it has nothing to do with actor, i can paste LEdgers face onto OP frame and guess how it would look like ?
***If he would have his camera and was on the set of Dark Knight, then this shot framed like he did it would still look like cheapo camcorder.Ever seen "Behind The Scenes" from some movies ? And does this footage from behind the scenes looks like actual movie ? HEy its on th same set with the same lights and actors and everything so.... ? Something IS missing - right camera, thats all.
*different color of wardrobe and scratched up wall does add some grittyness but its not like its automatically making it look like a movie, there is quite a lot of shallow DOF actually, not possible to achieve on handycam.

thisisapocalypse
09-23-2011, 11:02 AM
artistic babble

...right

Cameras just don't matter that much - a handycam in the hands of a good DP can still look great, and a 5D/7D/GH2/RED/ALEXA can all look terrible in the hands of a bad DP.

What you are shooting and how you design your shot (and I'm not ruling out the proper, controlled use of shallow dof under the right circumstances) is way more important than what camera you shoot it on. Content always rules.The OP does need technical help but that's not the biggest problem here and shallow DOF is not the answer to all of life's problems nor the magic-bullet for making a movie look like a movie...whereas good direction (and all that entails: good dp, good art director and properly cast talent) is. I'm constantly amused by how much folks are willing to disregard these elements since they are not strictly speaking "technical."


If he would have his camera and was on the set of Dark Knight, then this shot framed like he did it would still look like cheapo camcorder.Ever seen "Behind The Scenes" from some movies ? And does this footage from behind the scenes looks like actual movie ? HEy its on th same set with the same lights and actors and everything so.... ? Something IS missing - right camera, thats all.

Sorry, fully disagree here because you are throwing out shot-design entirely, and that stuff is usually shot fairly carelessly and is further missing exposure and a color grade that matches the end-result shot on the A-Cam, if you lined up both the handycam alongside the main shooting camera so that they had as close to identical shots as possible and graded them similarly, they'd look damn similar aside from the handycam's greater DOF and limited dynamic-range/resolution. Hell, when you watch deleted scenes on DVDs that haven't had a proper grade/correction they often look just about as crummy.

The fact that the OPs actor is also looking in a strange direction doesn't help matters either - we're not connecting with the actor in part due to this reason.

Now this comp is BEYOND imperfect -- and Ledger wouldn't have looked quite like this given the OPs original shooting angle, but still my point stands that the Ledger + Art Direction + Lighting is the biggest difference here and when you combine the OP's shot, then insert Ledger, and grade it so that it's similar to the shot the TDK had, well...anyways it's a lot closer:

Original:
.40603
TDK:
40604
Combined + Grade + Reframing to more closely match TDK:
40602

bwwd
09-23-2011, 12:48 PM
This is not what i meant, perspective on face and too much area in focus is what ruins his shot and you pasted whole Ledger onto his frame.I dont think that wide angle background and telephoto foreground is even possible physically.
I dont discard set design and clothing but he wasnt THAT different from original.What hit me the most is use of different lens choice.
Shallow DOF is just natural part of cinematography when shooting on film and im not making it autofilmlook cure or something, its just first thing that looks different on his shot IMO.
He should of zoom in.

Cameras just don't matter that much
So thats why people dream about having Alexa or Epic, cause they dont matter.

a handycam in the hands of a good DP can still look great, and a 5D/7D/GH2/RED/ALEXA can all look terrible in the hands of a bad DP. How about handycam in hands of good DP and great cam in hands of good DP, would footage look similar? I dont think so.
No.. seriously, dont say that, camera is important, you know it, i know it, i think every DP would want to shoot on serious camera not on camcorder.Camera matters, its just it does not make you automatically better DP but you are closer to having cinematic quality footage when you have for example some DSLR instead of small sensor camcorder, that is if your skills are exactly the same and you start learning how to light and what lens is good for particular shot.
Ive seen bad looking RED and film footage and i know what you mean.Anyway i would like to see some small sensor camera cinematic footage, im just not willing to believe that some DP would choose camcorder over RED or film cause "it doesnt make big difference".It makes a difference, thats why people are waiting all the time for better cams.Expensive camera wont improve your amateur skills overnight if ever if you dont want to take into consideration lighting, lens choice and set design.

thisisapocalypse
09-23-2011, 03:40 PM
So thats why people dream about having Alexa or Epic, cause they dont matter.

Lots of people on these forums dream about having an Alexa or Epic (cameras they are never likely to use...although almost any one could rent one if they really, really wanted to do so...but those folks don't talk about that, they just "dream" and talk about how they'll never be able to afford one -- and these are the same folks who are always waiting for the next camera and then choose not to buy that one when it does come out because the specs still aren't good enough -- it's not perfect) because it allows them to focus on something besides improving their skill. It's fun to daydream and play the "well, if I only had X,Y,Z camera....then I could really make something great." Please keep in mind I said that the camera doesn't matter that much, not that it doesn't matter at all. But yeah, give a good DP a Super8 camera, a good actor, good director and good art director and it's gonna look "cinematic."

The camera should match the budget and the style of the film, plenty of great films have been shot on a whole lot less than Red EPICs or Alexas...most great films, in fact, were not shot on these cameras -- yet nobody really joneses after an Arri II series 35mm camera even though those have probably been used on more great films than any other camera. There are good reasons to want to use these new cameras, lots of good reasons, but the people who are going to use them are going to use them because they are the best tool for the project, not because they are "dreaming" about using them. They want to use these in large part because they will save the production time and money. I don't know what the exceptions would be, though I'll stipulate that some may exist, but it's hard for me to imagine anything that could be shot on a RED or ALEXA that couldn't be shot on an Arri and look just about identical, and if not identical, certainly within the margin such that an audience wouldn't be able to pick out the difference...although the film would probably look more classically "cinematic."

Workflow is really what makes the new cameras attractive -- everything else is cool -- and it's totally novel what these cameras can do...incredible even, but they aren't necessary for creating great films or even great looking films. It's fun to talk specs, and if you're in the business, it's fun to use the tools, but that is all they are...tools, and you are either good with them or not, but so long as you've got a decent serviceable camera that can accomplish the job satisfactorily (this of course is subjective) the particular camera model just doesn't matter that much -- a bleeding edge camera is not going to make your movie better just because you used it, the camera itself is almost always (and it really should be) the least important factor in a production...if it's the most important factor, I'm quite sure I am not going to enjoy the film in most cases.

That doesn't mean good cameras aren't worthwhile...they are, but they are no magic bullet -- it's a box with an imager, it can do very little on its own...nothing, in fact.



How about handycam in hands of good DP and great cam in hands of good DP, would footage look similar?

It depends, sometimes working within limitations is what really brings out creativity -- so a good DP is going to approach the shot differently depending on what the camera can and cannot do...one image is probably going to be better than another, and in most cases if the DP has more control he or she may deliver the best image on a camera that allows that...but not always and it's not an absolute given.

So no I don't think a good DP working with a Red + Zeiss Superspeeds is going to try to accomplish the same shot with a handycam, but I have no doubt that such a DP could compose a good shot with the handycam, it'd just be different -- neither intrinsically better or worse (artistically, not technically -- a Red image is going to be way more robust than a handycam image...it's just that the audience (who matters) doesn't care -- they care about what hits them, the audience will forgive technical shortfalls but never artistic ones) and there's really no way to know which will be better until you see them.

a_atias
10-18-2011, 12:43 PM
I think the OP Jokers white make up bleeds a little onto the wall hes in front of. With better make up and detail, this wouldn't be a problem.

paulears
10-18-2011, 01:04 PM
The biggest problem, now the grading has been done, is simply the makeup - to be very honest, it's just bad. Too thick, too layered and applied in am amateurish way - in fact it looks like a student's first attempt at a makeup. The other thing is the actor has the eye line wrong, making him look coy, not malevolent. In the other image we have the whites of the eyes clearly shown as he is looking up, in your's he's looking sideways. Depth of field is quite narrow on the original throwing the bricks, not blocks out of focus. The bricks could even be tiles, having a shiny surface, not painted matt. The scowl creates natural lines which have been darkened to emphasise them. I don't think the issue is HD v SD it's just clarity.

The makeup in the first has almost certainly been airbrushed - hence the fineness of the lines and the blending.

Doc Bernard
10-18-2011, 07:52 PM
I think it has little to nothing to do with cameras used here. Your footage looks sharper in these particular grabs. The depth of field looks a bit shallower in the original grab, but I wouldn't really call that "shallow".

Makeup/Wardrobe and exposure are the two biggest things that stand out to me here. Your colors are much more vibrant and the clothing looks brand new. The original has a nice weathered look to the wardrobe as well as the makeup. The wrinkles in his face give lots of definition where yours just looks flat and doesn't really say much. The originals makeup just says so much.

Exposure seems really low in the original - no highlights. Your starting to lose detail on the camera-left side of your actors nose. The green cast of the original is also a big factor. Probably also why his hair and vest don't seem to pop in the original. The wall is also heavily treated and quite nasty looking.

Other factors - Camera angle and field of view. While the original is definitely looking down to the actor as is yours, they appear to be using a longer lens. Notice how the lines of the tiles in the original grab aren't converging to rapidly as they travel to the back/left. You also aren't seeing much to the left or right of the actor. In your shot you can see quite a bit to the left and a decent amount of convergence of the bricks in the wall. A tighter shot would also probably get rid of the floor in the frame.

Your actor also could give a little more of the mood that Ledger gives with his head tilted down. See the whites in his eyes (Ledger's)? He has that intimidating, pissed off, inquisitive, look that is absolutely menacing. You don't have that in your actor.

Those are what really stand out to me. But camera differences, not really.

Ad FYI I think you mean aesthetics, instead of anesthetics.

edit - failed to mention composition. The position of the large swath of empty space behind your actor vs the empty space position in front of the original makes a difference. Can make or break a connection with off-screen characters.
Ledger = The Joker.

Actor in the OP's still = A Joker.

I don't get a sense of anything from the actor's facial expression. The art direction, camerawork, post processing are all factors to a degree but even if the two actors were in the same wardrobe, shot in the same location, same lensing, same point of critical focus, etc., it wouldn't make that much of a difference. Ledger beats this guy every time (under the assumption that they were both trying to accomplish the same thing here from an acting standpoint.)

The actor in the OP's still has a very different presence than Ledger. Now, this might work for whatever project it is that the OP is making, but the actor here is just not communicating the same thing that Ledger is communicating, and that's the number one factor here, that's why they don't look the same...that's what we really notice, even if it's subconscious and hard to put a finger on.

Had the OP been working with Ledger rather than this other actor, and had been able to direct Ledger sufficiently well so that he demonstrated the same expression as exhibited in the still from The Dark Knight, the OP's shot would be just about as powerful (in the ways that really matter) even though the composition and overall aesthetic of this still isn't quite as good as The Dark Knight's.

It's the talent. It's the talent. It's the talent. Talent is your film. Talent is your film. Talent is your film. You have no film without talentAgreed. In the first, I am focused on the actor. I wanna know his thought process right now. He steals the scene with his expression and persona. And I didn't care for Batman: Whatever. But I do give credit to the actors in it. In this one, I don't care about anything else going on. Framing, angles, filters, I don't care. I am sucked into the actor's eyes and expression.

In the second, all of the other aspects come into play....background, framing, etc. The actor is just there, no personality or attitude. I feel like he is just there as a stand-in so you can frame the shot. Now I am looking at all the differences. That shouldn't occur. Your actor needs to own the scene and be it's focal point.

Sorry. I just can't get into the scene in the second pic. For me, that is the biggest difference despite the issues with grading.

sonofaresiii
11-02-2011, 05:21 PM
...right

Cameras just don't matter that much - a handycam in the hands of a good DP can still look great, and a 5D/7D/GH2/RED/ALEXA can all look terrible in the hands of a bad DP.

What you are shooting and how you design your shot (and I'm not ruling out the proper, controlled use of shallow dof under the right circumstances) is way more important than what camera you shoot it on. Content always rules.The OP does need technical help but that's not the biggest problem here and shallow DOF is not the answer to all of life's problems nor the magic-bullet for making a movie look like a movie...whereas good direction (and all that entails: good dp, good art director and properly cast talent) is. I'm constantly amused by how much folks are willing to disregard these elements since they are not strictly speaking "technical."



Sorry, fully disagree here because you are throwing out shot-design entirely, and that stuff is usually shot fairly carelessly and is further missing exposure and a color grade that matches the end-result shot on the A-Cam, if you lined up both the handycam alongside the main shooting camera so that they had as close to identical shots as possible and graded them similarly, they'd look damn similar aside from the handycam's greater DOF and limited dynamic-range/resolution. Hell, when you watch deleted scenes on DVDs that haven't had a proper grade/correction they often look just about as crummy.

The fact that the OPs actor is also looking in a strange direction doesn't help matters either - we're not connecting with the actor in part due to this reason.

Now this comp is BEYOND imperfect -- and Ledger wouldn't have looked quite like this given the OPs original shooting angle, but still my point stands that the Ledger + Art Direction + Lighting is the biggest difference here and when you combine the OP's shot, then insert Ledger, and grade it so that it's similar to the shot the TDK had, well...anyways it's a lot closer:

Original:
.40603
TDK:
40604
Combined + Grade + Reframing to more closely match TDK:
40602

besides pasting ledger's face onto the actor's, care to share what your grading process was? I'm super interested in grading, but don't know much about it (yet)

Inprogress
11-21-2011, 11:49 AM
The mock Joker seems to me like he is sad...dejected....sitting against a wall and staring into the distance, not looking at anything particular and busy thinking about something. The composition of tells me it is an important moment for the Joker and we will find out in the next sequence or two or possibly act why he is feeling this way and what made him feel this way - considering the lighting and the way the clothes looks rented and not worn often, the clean wall in the background that seems almost governmental I'd say, if I'd had to suggest a story based on this scene: He just realized that his girlfriend is actually leaving town for Europe and no matter how hard they try, there relationship is over and it seems like this is infact the end, it also seems like he hasn't quite accepted it yet although his now ex-girlfriend has.

Looking at just the scene and what I see (Ledger): He is angry and he is planning. He is possibly looking at someone walking away from him after that person just told them something which give them the one up over Ledger. Ledger is watching this person walking away, seriously p***ed off at him, however, given the persona he portrays with this mask, he is a smart villain who knows when he was beat in a battle, and hence he is planning to win the war. You could say Ledger is watching his adversary walking away, however to keep his evolving plan secret he keeps his mouth shut cause he wants to say in an almost victorious voice: Savor this moment. The composition gives him enough looking room, plus its a bit flat which does create a bit of tension suggesting I could almost expect him to get up and start fighting. The dirty tiled wall in the background suggests a subway station possibly, maybe some abandoned place where cleanliness use to be an important factor - a butchery or veterinary hospital maybe. His clothes also suggests that this isn't a one time thing - he goes about looking like this.

My feeling about the two shots.

Fukurou
11-23-2011, 07:57 PM
I don't understand how some persons here are fighting about what matters the most.
Sure, maybe we could sort them in some order, but in the end, every point makes the whole thing.
It's like saying, in a rock band, the guitarist makes the whole thing. Sure people pay more attention to him. But it doesn't work like that. It combines with the bass grooves, drums and such, it's the arrangement of the whole thing that makes it work.
Now, I have to admit the actor, and particularly Ledger, could make a scene work, if the team is not totally messing anything else.
But in the end everything helps setting the mood.
When people that are not interested in the production say something "looks like a movie", they don't analyze why (aside from the obvious like someone who really can't play) but every detail gives them this "movie feel". I mean, substract any of them, and sure it could work in a way but someone would say it doesn't look professional. Record the sound with some bad, non-directionnal mic ? No color correction, no grading ? Bad use of the music, cheesy music ?...etc

But actually this thread is very interesting.
Comparing pro and amateur stills/vids is very worthwile.


besides pasting ledger's face onto the actor's, care to share what your grading process was? I'm super interested in grading, but don't know much about it (yet)
I couldn't say much but obviously, there are some color wheels at work here, and they are pointing toward green.
...
Yeah, I'm Captain Obvious.
(maybe some kind of S-curve too but I'm not really sure, I'm a real beginner at this)