October 19, 2015

Make Your Footage Trippy & Dreamy by Giving It the Infrared Look in Post

Are you shooting a dream sequence or a scene in which your character is tripping balls? Then you might want to go infrared on this one.

There are countless ways to make your footage look weird and trippy, but if you're particularly drawn to the look of infrared -- and don't have the cash to drop on a camera that is capable of capturing infrared in-camera, like the ARRI Alexa XT B+W -- our buddies at Film Riot have shared a tutorial that walks you through pretty simple process of creating this look in post.

Technically, the look in the video isn't completely IR (as they point out, it's a mixture of IR and lomochrome), but chances are you're just looking for something that looks otherworldly and dreamlike -- something that'll communicate to your audience that, "No, this isn't reality, guys."

All you're going to need to follow along with the tutorial are color correction tools that include curves, diffusion, a 4-way color tool that allows you to modify the highlights, mids, and shadows, and master image. Film Riot uses Magic Bullet's Colorista plugin to control specific colors, as well Adobe Premiere's "in-phase chrominance" option.

Certain steps might be different depending on which programs you use, but the basic process is the same: 

  • Invert your image by cranking shadows up and highlights down, adjusting saturation, and pulling curves to the bottom
  • Adjust exposure
  • Add diffusion if you want to make it more dreamlike
  • Adjust specific colors to preference (if you want your skintones to look more normal and less smurf-like)

Granted, this is a very specific look that you probably are not going to use very often, but if you do want to use it, this is one way to do it.     

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3 Comments

I remember a video series from GameSpot on the game No Man's Sky where they used an effect similar to this, only they also changed the color of the flora (leaves, moss, plants) more flexibly, with one video having it blue, another purple, and another orange.
Here's an example: https://youtu.be/_g15ANx5T7s?t=1m15s
I'm actually not sure whether they just used a chroma key or not (the skin tones look a bit off in GS's videos), but the effect was interesting nonetheless.

October 19, 2015 at 11:27PM

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Yeah, your YouTube link shows a cool visual for sure. Looks similar in result to what Ryan Connolly does here.

October 27, 2015 at 3:28PM

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Suzie Park
Director & DP
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Or, there are tons of infra-red modified cameras on eBay, opening up a much broader range of cinematography (I'm selling one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/281835908892?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649).

October 22, 2015 at 2:04PM

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