ETHICS: My ethics are what makes my site tick, and they are what make me tick. They have shaped my career and my life.
FilmConvert becoming an affiliate for my site was unexpected. I was late to the party, again, in my talking about it. It’s something I have already been quietly using for some time, but I have been more and more vocal about it recently. So a deal where my readers get 10% off and I get a small percentage if they use the discount code “bloom” (at of course less additional cost to people buying it, it costs less, but helps keep the site running) makes total sense and is hopefully the start of a terrific relationship with Rubber Monkey. For more on my ethics please read my ethics statement here.
Before we go any further…for the FilmConvert film completion please go right to the bottom of the page!!! AMAZING COMPO! AMAZING PRIZES! BUT…more importantly another excuse to go out and shoot!!
EDIT: Here is my new short film shot on the Sony F55 called “La Tamise” I did all colour correction with Magic Bullet Colorista II (discount code in banner below) and finished within the standalone FilmConvert app using Fuji 8567 L with added blue in the shadow and grain set to 45. Make sure you export to H264 with a very high bit rate to cope with the grain. I used MP4 H264 at 20 Mb/S
EDIT: 20TH AUGUST 2013
V2 of the NLE plug in for Premiere brings all the controls of the standalone but within the NLE. It’s brilliant and now support hardware rendering. This is how I now use Filmconvert
The “film look”…what defines the film look? I can tell you straight away what it’s not…shallow depth of field! That can contribute at times, but it’s a great deal more than that. Progressive recording of 24/ 25p, composition, lighting, colours…there are so many things that define film. One of the biggest is the organic look to it which is far away from the harsh reality of video.
The grain, the colours, the way it flatters, the richness, the beauty. So many aspects of film are just so gorgeous. Why? Is it nostalgia? I don’t think so, it’s way more fundamental than that…film looks more beautiful to my eyes and also looks way more expensive (and of course is) than traditional video. Film is what I have been trying to make my video look like for all my career. Yet I have never shot movie film professionally! I shoot a lot of still photography on film. Just not movie film!
Why not? Well after spending 17 years in a staff job working in broadcast TV news solidly using Beta, there was no opportunity and certainly no need. By the time I went freelance 7 years ago, I was looking at getting a DigiBetacam but instead came across things called depth of field adaptors and when I coupled them with HD video cameras like the Z1, EX1 etc, I had a really lovely organic looking image. The most film-like image I had ever shot, and without the very costly outlay that shooting on film unfortunately gives you. That is the direction I took and also how this whole site started, sharing my experiences with them. This is not to say I won’t shoot film professionally ever…it’s just these days, what with the prohibitive cost, coupled with the pain in the arse nature of it and of course, most importantly, cameras today are outperforming film in dynamic range…more or less…there seems to be little point, professionally…there is a definite argument with doing it just for experience and there is nothing wrong with that. I always recommend going back to basics for many things, as technology takes away a lot of discipline from us.
HD video cameras are harsh and unflattering generally. 4K? I would say roughly 4 times harsher! The detail that HD gave us on many cameras, and now 4K, is mind blowing…it also shows up everything and most generally that is not a good thing!
Of course, it depends on what you are shooting. There are some genres where things looking “real” is a good thing! Sport, nature docs and news for example. Could you imagine all the news looking filmic? (even though in the old old days all location stuff was shot on film) Today it’s video. Harsh video and good. I want news to look real. I don’t want it to look all pretty and filmic.
In fact many cameras today look very filmic straight from the files. The ARRI Alexa being one of them, the C300 to a degree and the BlackMagic cinema camera. DSLRs, for me, don’t look anywhere near as filmic as the old depth of field adaptors, they look way more digital…and that is where “film look” plug-ins come in.
I have used many of them over the past 8-9 years. None of them have ever done what I want: make my video truly look like film…until now. FilmConvert does. I have taken the harshest, mode video like stuff I have and ran it through FilmConvert and have been blown away by it.
Yes, I know the software isn’t new. Vince blogged about it late last year. I bought it earlier this year and have not stopped using it since.
What makes filmconvert special? Many things. Yes you can add grain, size, type, look depends on what stock you use both in size and brand. The key thing is that they have taken a scientific approach. As film is scanned digitally these days anyway to be used, they simply shot using different Kodak and Fuji film stock and also with video cameras (not just video cameras but all the different profiles out there) and worked out what exactly needs to be done to the colours. In an example on their site, they have a shot on Fuji Pro 160s and the 5DmkII and worked out exactly what needs to be done to the colours of the mk2 footage to make it look like that stock.
- Increase the amount of Red by 20%
- Increase the amount of Green by 15%
- Increase the amount of Blue by 7%
- Increase the saturation from 38% to 50%
- and voila 5Dmk2, you now look like Fuji Pro 160s
This would be different with Cinestyle, Prolost, Marvels etc. They have done all the work for you and analysed it exactly. This is a pretty amazing thing. Currently as of Sunday the 28th of July 2013, they have support for the below cameras with their respective profiles, and with all the profiles out there, that is a lot of options!
- Arri Alexa
- Blackmagic Cinema camera
- Canon 5D Mk II
- Canon 5D Mk III
- Canon 6D
- Canon 550D / T2i
- Canon 600D / T3i
- Canon 7D / 60D
- Canon C100
- Canon C300
- Canon XF300
- GoPro Hero
- Nikon D800
- Nikon D7000
- Panasonic GH2
- Panasonic GH3
- RED one
- RED one MX
- RED EPIC / Scarlet
- Sony EX3 / EX1
Where it works best of course is raw. There is raw support for the cameras above that shoot raw and also up to 4k. But it still works brilliantly in “non raw”…in fact I have yet to use it with raw!
The grain is also not just a layered “film” of it. It complete changes depending on the shot and is also very helpful in hiding nasty 8-bit banding!
The software works within your NLE or as a standalone software. The standalone is a lovely interface, very visual. Great for putting those big film look washes over things, but you cannot cut it up within. If you need to make tweaks per shot, use the NLE plug in. I have both and it’s worthwhile. $299 for all plugins + standalone (that is before the discount) versus $199 (before discount) for either standalone or one of the NLE plug-ins…
Which to use? Filmconvert for me is like car polish (Bloom analogy time!) You still need to clean your car before applying the polish, So colour correct and get it to how you like it to look then add FilmConvert with the standalone. This is a very cool piece of software but you cannot add cuts in it. It grades clips that are already broken up, like rushes and stuff brought in via XML or EDL, of course they will need re-exporting afterwards.
If you did run all your rushes or the XML through FilmConvert that’s where the presets shine. As I normally bring in a colour corrected version the presets are often not applicable for me anymore as I have fiddled with my rushes. Not a problem. Pick a preset that you like, one that was close to your original footage and work from that.
There are tools for colour correction in here and you can add saved presets. It’s not super flexible. It might make more sense to use it within the NLE in junction with something like Colorista II for fine colour correction and grading. Less back and forth with XMLs that way….am sure a pro colourist would totally disagree!!
Over the past few months, I have been using it on more and more new projects and also going back and tweaking old work (I know it’s best to leave things as they were!) with it! There are some example of my new grades with FilmConvert below!
Rubber Monkey saw my rather prolific use of it and suggested some sort of partnership as I was so enamored. Hence I am now an affiliate where you can now get around 10% off! I also, like all affiliate set ups, get a small percentage, which naturally doesn’t affect you in the slightest cost-wise…but it really helps me keep the site going both in running costs and my time I need to spend on it, as it’s just me and the cats here, and their computer skills are poor!
Filmconvert/ Rubber Monkey now join a small and elite list of affiliates on my site…I absolutely will never take on any form of partnership or advertising with any product I don’t stand 100% behind and use myself. Goes back to my ethics at the top.
So there we go. I love it. Truly. Best plug-in to come along in donkey’s years!!!
NOW ONTO THE COMPETITION!!!
This is going to be great. I have already watched half of dozen of the entries, and they are great! Also the other two judges, Vince and Tom are good friends of mine. A great panel of judges (and me!).
- Process a video using any FilmConvert software – either the full version or trial version
- Include the word ‘FilmConvert’ somewhere in the video title
- Upload your video to Youtube or Vimeo
- 10 Finalists will be selected by counting a combination of video views, Facebook likes, tweets, and votes on FilmConvert.com
- The winners will be chosen by FilmConvert developers, and guest celebrity judges Philip Bloom, Vincent Laforet, and Tom Lowe
- You can enter more than once
- The competition ends on August 31st, 2013
- You need to own the copyright to the footage
- You retain all rights to your video and footage
- You grant FilmConvert the right to use the footage for marketing purpose – e.g. we will embed the competition winners on our website, use still frames as examples etc.
- Our decisions are final, no discussions
- 1st place – $1,000 USD
- 2nd place – $500 USD
- 3rd place – $250 USD
- 4th to 11th place: A copy of FilmConvert Pro, with lifetime free upgrades
- Total prize pool: $5,000