July 31, 2016

Watch: What's the Key for Creating High-Quality Films and Videos?

How do you ensure that your work will look professional?

Every filmmaker is out trying to shoot the best images they can with what they have, but one thing they may not realize is that they have so much more than a powerful camera and sweet color grading software to work with. Filmmaker Simon Cade explores the challenges of trying to capture footage that looks professional, as well as the tools he uses to do it, in the video below:

When I first started going to film school, my friends and I, who were also new to the culture, would talk about how excited we were to get started on our first film projects. But I remember one thing in particular that was always the focal point of our conversations: the camera. Some, who had never operated a prosumer camera before, were delighted to learn that our film department rented out Panasonic AG-HMC150s, while others (me) scoffed and turned our noses up, drove to downtown Portland, and spent our entire allotment for the semester on something more flashy—something that would scream, "Yo! I'm totally a filmmaker and not some silly schmuck with zero clues." (And then do the same thing the next semester, only this time, buying up a 35mm adapter.)

You can't just hit record and get the film look—you have to earn it.

But you know, as you get older you start to mature and realize that expensive cameras don't bottle the "film look". You can't just hit record and get the film look—you have to earn it. I mean, how many of us asked which cameras made stuff look like a "real movie" when we first started out? I know I sure as hell did. I had no idea that it took more than a good camera to make a movie look beautiful.

That's the whole point of Cade's video. Professional-looking, high-quality images come from having high standards, patience, and a carefully and dutifully honed taste for what superior images look like. In the beginning, you make tons of mistakes. You under or overexpose shots constantly. You shoot entire scenes against a blank white backdrop. Sometimes it doesn't even occur to you that you should light anything!

But once you mature in your craft, you start to take you time to capture the images you think look good. You prepare. You plan. You don't rely on the features of your camera or your color grading software to make things look "film-like." Remember, you have to earn that.      

Your Comment

14 Comments

Gear is your enemy.

August 1, 2016 at 4:17AM, Edited August 1, 4:17AM

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Stelrad Two Machine Doulton
Editor by choice, film maker by necessity.
222

I so needed to hear this this morning! Thank you, Simon! I really appreciate your videos. :)

August 1, 2016 at 4:24AM, Edited August 1, 4:24AM

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I miss the days when nofilmschool had relevant content. Now it just repost of terrible disinformation made by some teenager playing with his camera.

August 1, 2016 at 5:28AM

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Martin Brewer
Director, DOP
202

There's always one...

Creating 100% original content (for free, mind you) is not only unsustainable, it's silly — there's so much great learning content out there (Film Riot, Slanted Lens, and of course DSLR Guide, plus dozens more, and that's just YouTube) that combining it with original content (which NFS publishes every frigging day) makes more than sense: not doing it would be suicide for a news/blog site. Everyone does it, and there is no shame in aggregation – I come here for it.

Disinformation you say? "Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth." Really?

Simon makes incredible video content (especially for his age) and not only pours a tonne of time and effort into it, but also generously shares it with the world, for nothing. A positive contribution for the world at large. Why anyone could possibly take offence at this is beyond me...

If you don't like it, go troll elsewhere.

August 1, 2016 at 6:03AM, Edited August 1, 6:03AM

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Guido Gautsch
Education Person
95

Guido, your words mean a lot and are pretty spot on. Thanks!

August 1, 2016 at 10:15AM

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Liz Nord
Editor-in-Chief & Lead Producer
Documentary Filmmaker/Multi-platform Producer

Hey Liz :)

No probs! I usually don't engage with haters, but after taking a look at Martin's 'contributions' to this community (not a single positive or productive comment - 100% negative, non-constructive criticism), I felt compelled to say something.

Constructive criticism (pointing out factual errors, offering alternative approaches, etc) is always welcome, but putting down for putting down's sake is trolling and breeds a shitty atmosphere.

I prefer a positive atmosphere personally, and I doubt I'm alone here. If you don't like something, offer ways for improvement and do so in civil manner or STFU.

August 2, 2016 at 1:48AM, Edited August 2, 1:53AM

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Guido Gautsch
Education Person
95

You like losing your time mate. Go ahead! Then dont be surprised when you end up working for free like your mentors. Or wondering why what you produce don't sell. Enjoy life in your fantasy world buddy.

August 1, 2016 at 11:09AM, Edited August 1, 11:11AM

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Martin Brewer
Director, DOP
202

Working free like your mentors? Products that don't sell? Making fun of someone for living in a fantasy world?
These do not sound like the words of a filmmaker. It's about having fun and challenging yourself. It's a privilege to have a mentor. And guess what, if that "mentor" is asking for money. It's probably because they desperately need the money and they don't have a career to rely on.
Products that don't sell? Why don't you go back to business school because it sounds like you're not having fun doing whatever you're doing.
By the way I hope I never leave my fantasy world or else I will not be a good filmmaker. How else are you supposed to have an imagination. NoFilmSchool was there when I needed it most. These authors are just trying to spread knowledge. If you don't support that, then don't visit this site.

August 1, 2016 at 4:36PM

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Julian Terry
Writer/Director
363

Those are the words of a filmaker that actually makes films for a living. In the real world u know... I dont get it folks. You're ready to gorge yourself with the ignorant voice of a teenager that is obviously as in the dark as you, and yet you call it knowledge. Okay tell me what did you learn except he's terrible at drawing and imagination. So what in his video is suppposed to be the KEY of HIGH QUALITY films & videos?
Huh? So now you know, really ? ..really??
Have you opened your eyes to what he calls photography ?
Oh my, what a laugh. No wonder why most people are strugling to make a living. But Go ahead guys! Get in the magical choo choo train friends! Jump on you pink poneys and grab your magic book spell and on to fantasy land! Ill sit there and have a smoke while you smack your face down back to reality. Film is a business, and only the guys who seek true knowledge from the right source get a chance.and its only the start. But don't believe me hey. Why learn from the likes of Roger Deakins when a teenage vblogger lights the path for you ? lol. Yep... Have fun picking up your teeth. Make a nice necklace while ure at it.

August 1, 2016 at 8:09PM, Edited August 1, 8:26PM

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Martin Brewer
Director, DOP
202

"Why learn from the likes of Roger Deakins when a teenage vblogger lights the path for you?"

Have you ever considered that there could be lessons to be learned from both? Apparently you haven't.

August 2, 2016 at 10:00PM

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How is it bad info? The kid says to put more time and effort into planning and location scouting.

August 2, 2016 at 9:07AM

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RJ Roman
Director
29

Perhaps you could share with us mere mortals some of your work.

You know, denigrating others to pump yourself up is really kind of counterproductive and in the long run only makes you look like a petty twit to your potential clients and colleagues. Who would want to work with you knowing you might say something mean-spirited behind their back?

August 2, 2016 at 9:59PM, Edited August 2, 9:59PM

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Hey Brewer, I can't find ANYTHING about you online other than what you've posted on No Film School, and judging from what you've posted you seem to be a bit of a sociopath. I'd REALLY like to see some of your work, even stills from what you've shot.

Tell the truth little one, are you REALLY a cinematographer?

August 2, 2016 at 10:07PM, Edited August 2, 10:07PM

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Elitism much Martin? If you dont like this site simply leave. Criticizing, discriminating, acting like a douchebag and looking down your nose at other fellow filmmakers wow..that's real professional and I'm sure that anyone reading any of your negative comments will really want to work with you in the future. I sure wouldn't.

August 16, 2016 at 4:36AM, Edited August 16, 4:38AM

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LJ Mills
Filmmaker; Cinematographer; Visual Storyteller etc
22