Indie Filmmakers Achieve the Illusive 'Film Look'
Over the years independent filmmakers shooting on video tried to emulate the magic qualities of film. In 2011 digital cinema cameras as well as post production editing suites are on par with 35mm film, that's been the workhorse of the film industry for decades.
Now independent filmmakers can produce films of the same technical quality as the major studios for a fraction of the price.
The biggest problem for video recording has been a limited latitude-camera's ability to "see" highlights as well as shadows in the same scene. The magic quality of film has always been wide latitude as well as rich deep warm color palette. It's the inherent quality of film. Digital cinema camera manufacturers have attempted to create a sensor that would be able to capture wide latitude as well as rich colors, and to some extent succeeded with a Genesis camera. But Genesis is way out of indie filmmakers' league price-wise.
Camera manufacturers realized that there's a huge indie market that needs a camera that can have a large sensor, shallow depth of field, and a recording codec that holds up under extensive post production workflow. Red cameras have been the industry standard for indie productions for several years now. Today, other major camera manufacturers started to develop cameras that are technically on par with the 35mm film cameras.
Arri Alexa is a great digital cinema camera that is affordable for indie filmmakers. On the lower indie tier, DSLRs have been making progress with the video function that allows filmmakers to achieve shallow depth of field, but the recording codec is not perfected yet.
We are used to the 'film look', because we've been seeing it for decades. And we also "know" the video look: blue tones, high contrast, harsh shadows, and washed out highlights. But in 2010-2011 I was surprised to find out that a lot of today's movie blockbusters have been produced using digital cinema cameras like Genesis. "The Social Network" has been produced using Red cameras. The list goes on.
Finally, the independent filmmaker has a choice of affordable video (digital cinema) cameras to use as a tool for great storytelling!