Another great talented Frenchman Julien Taillez has shot this beautiful piece on the Canon 550D or T2i and has provided a great behind the scenes write-up. Fashion and wedding videographers should take note.
Behind the scenes:
first of all, it was shot with the new 550D T2i and not the 5D. I was able to shoot in slow motion.
Let’s have some technical specs to begin :
Canon 50 mm 1.4 & Canon 100 mm 2.8 are the lens I used. Shot in 50fps. I used an Extraflat style (it’s a picture style that you install on the dslr via the eos utility software. You will find many answer here eugenia.gnomefiles.org/2010/01/25/flatting-the-flat-look/
I edited with Premiere and graded in After Effects. Grain added in post. I will talk about my workflow just below. The camera was fixed with a shoulder pad. As I wanted an hand held look, for this one, a shoulder pad was more than welcome. though the 100 mm is a stabilized optic, it was more comfortable with the shoulder pad.
About the lighting. I had 2 or 3 kino if I remember correctly. I like it a lot. It gives you a very soft light. The key and the main light was coming from a lot of windows. On the location there were also a lot of mirrors. and the 50 mm, wide open, is very bright. So it’s cool. I didn’t used any filter for the lenses. just set the ISO at 100, it’s dark enough. As we were on a restaurant there was also a lot and a lot of wine glasses. And a thing I love to do is to shoot through one of these glasses and play with the flare, the glow and blurry effect, as a filter or a second lens. I like the blowing effect on the light. Like if was some dreamy pictures, souvenir, that you can cut with a beauty shot. but this effect is to use with economy. As we like to say, the less is more.
About the direction and the shooting. The clip purpose is to announce a private sale and present the brand for the customers. I haven’t sketch-up any storyboard of mood board. The brand had a print advertising campaign which was very cool; in their photos, there were some girls, dressed up like these ladies in the 1920′ in a smoky bar.. The typical French mood we would love.. So images speaks more than words, I though didn’t have to script the shooting, and just ask the model to play with emotions, make sensual moves, to give me the look (so I could sync it with the music later), I like also to catch some moments, as when she look herself in the mirror with her lips. I knew that I would tell the story when I edit the clip, and with the music. I had talk several days before the shooting with the musician, about what kind of mood we could build. We talked about cello, piano, rhythm.. maybe a voice ? But I didn’t wanted to be trapped by a voice and a real story. Let’s let the shots talk for themselves. But just like a voice in the song that could be what the model was thinking. “Some lost lover.. waiting..” I don’t know. The audience makes also her own story. I just give her some way.
for the shooting I’ve always my laptop, a 15 inch macbook pro, so I could easily and check very fast if the shots were not too grainy, or good. and also transfer all data. by the way, I use 2 battery for the camera and 3 x 4Go SD cards. it seems to be enough for a day of shooting.
About the post production. I had a raw music with only the base rhythm and a piano loop to start the editing in Premiere;
here a simple 3 step workflow : proxies, edit, grading, you can say ‘peg’ if you like by the way, the quick-view on Snowleopard is a real benefice : you can always watch your videos right when you want, so I can quickly begin to choose and imagine where I will cut there, and there.. it’s a crucial step, watch and watch your shots. So I did proxies version in after effects with a very hard compression like quicktime jpeg 10% of quality, in 680×360 that way it’s very smooth for playing and editing. I imported the resulting videos in Premiere and started editing.
Then I import the project in AE. I get the cuts in the timeline. but I have to replace the layers one by one by the actual HD footage that are linked with the SD footage. (because when I imported the Pr project, it also import copies of the SD footage. no link is made) I may be stupid but it’s cool because I haven’t cut many shots, about 30 on the edit.
About the grading. I’ve shoot with an extra-flat style. So I had a grayish and a bit yellow picture, but the contrast where just fine.
I proceed the same way on every project for each shots :
layer 1 :: the grain
layer 2 :: adjustment layer with a curve for the color look, in the shadows and hi-lights, and a tint to desaturated a bit, maybe a final contrast
layer 3 :: an adjustment layer with a curve and a tint for adjusting the natural colors and skin tone
layer 4 :: an adjustment layer with a curve for the light and contrast
layer 5 :: video
Why I use several layers as I could put the effect on one single layer ? because I can play with the opacity of the layer. imagine I’ve a setting who is cool but I want 10 or 20% less ? I say let’s pull down the opacity..
I think that’s the way I achieve my looks.
I don’t look the exact value of the whites, or the blacks, I just watch carefully they are not crushed, and try to be the less destructive possible. What matters is the look and the feel.