"Film look" on a budget: in-camera vs post production

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Has anybody experimented with different film look techniques? I'm not looking to transfer to film in post, but remain on digital.

The Panasonic AG DVX 100 offers the option of shooting in 25fps (here in Europe - 24fps in the US) and adjusting gamma settings in-camera, but it shoots on mini-DV. In that case, wouldn't I be better off using something like the Sony PD150, which would allow me to shoot on higher quality mini-DVCam, then deinterlacing and adjusting the frame rate and gamma settings in post? Am I mistaken in thinking that the ONLY advantage of shooting 'film look' using the Panasonic DVX 100 is that, effectively, it allows you to apply the process in-camera, saving you rendering time in post production?

Secondly, what's the advantage of film look packages like Cinelook and Magic Bullet over adjusting settings in an editing package like Final Cut Pro? Has anyone used them? They primarily seem to be based on deinterlacing and adjusting the frame rate, plus tweeking gamma, colour, contrast, etc to imitate a range of film stocks and grading effects. Given that Final Cut Pro can do those things (albeit manually, without the benefit of presets), are there any advantages to looking at something like Magic Bullet as well? I'm a little bit sceptical about the presets that the film look packages offer - since so much depends on the way your footage looks, wouldn't you be better off inventing your own settings by experiementing in post production, as opposed to applying one of Magic Bullet's pre-defined 'looks'?

-- Chris (chris-london@ntlworld.com), November 09, 2003

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