June 21, 2018 at 12:57AM, Edited June 21, 1:08AM

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What would be the best way to replicate the 16mm look with an APS-C DSLR?

Hypothetically, I have a Canon APS-C camera (7D, 50D, etc.) with Magic Lantern installed, but I’m not interested in the generic “Super 35mm” look that the sensor creates. Instead, I would like to mimic the appearance of 16mm film with vintage Nikkor lenses. What would be the best method to achieve a passable look? Do I stick to lenses with a smaller focal length, go in tight and maintain a deep DOF or should I go a bit further by playing with the crop factor and then go with the aforementioned method?

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I'd watch as much 16mm and super16 film you can find. Pay attention to the way they light it, the composition, depth of field, wide or telephoto shots, color. The more you watch the easier it will be able to replicate it on set. Get as much in camera as possible.

June 23, 2018 at 5:42AM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
530

What if I find a shot from that 16mm film that I like, but realize that I can’t exactly mimic that with a wide-sensor DSLR?

June 24, 2018 at 1:53PM

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Generally speaking, the major difference with 16mm and 35mm film is depth of field. It is easy to mimic the 16mm depth of field with a super35mm sensor by simply stopping the lens down. You can fix the aspect ratio in post and add artificial or real grain (from stock footage available online) to it to get the film look you want. If you find it difficult to replicate the film stock colors itself, I'd look into plug ins that have film stock emulators, that will get you pretty close.

What is it you are concerned with emulating?

June 24, 2018 at 7:10PM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
530

I’m mainly concerned about mimicking DOF and the field of view; I just have this feeling that it would be inauthentic if I tried to mimic the smaller field of view with a bigger sensor

June 25, 2018 at 3:10AM, Edited June 25, 3:10AM

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I don't think mimicking the DOF will look inauthentic. As long as the viewing format is the same (like 16:9, for example) as it would be otherwise, no one would be able to tell based only on DOF. It will be other things that give it away.

June 25, 2018 at 3:35PM

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Nick LaRovere
Director and Producer
81

While in my experience it is harder to get shallow DOF shots with 16mm, it is possible, and I did it fairly often in my recent film (I shot on 16mm Kodak Vision3 film): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLOf-0GoV5E&t=26s

I think that one of the biggest things you can do is to use older lenses, filters (such as Black Diffusion FX, Black Promist, Soft, Glimmerglass, Pearlescent, etc.) and some post-processing (adding some grain in post) to get a film-like look, in addition to the kind of lighting and shots you use.

Something worth trying is the film emulation plugin FilmConvert. I use the Premiere Pro version and it does a good job of emulating various film stocks. One of the things is does when it emulates 16mm is actually lessen the sharpness of the image a good amount, as well as introduce film grain, etc.

June 25, 2018 at 3:34PM

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Nick LaRovere
Director and Producer
81

Here's a great place to check out various filters and their effects on your image. https://tiffen.com/diffusion/

June 25, 2018 at 3:36PM

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Nick LaRovere
Director and Producer
81

I’ve seen these in action before, especially on Kids R Evil’s clips over on Vimeo. His work (and his new LUTs) mimic the film look much better than anyone I’ve seen!

Which filter do you believe would achieve the look best?

June 25, 2018 at 5:35PM, Edited June 25, 5:35PM

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White or black Pro-Mist are your best and cheapest bets. 1/8 or 1/4 Black pro mist does a decent job creating the classic film look whereas white pro mist adds a bit of desaturation to the image that may help get a look from a certain time period like the early '80's.

As far as 16mm is concerned, you might try shooting in a cropped mode on your camera.

June 26, 2018 at 4:35PM

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Casey Preston
Videographer
171

In this case, I’d probably have to go 6.2x in crop mode with Magic Lantern.

June 27, 2018 at 1:54PM

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The Film Convert plugins are nice, but are very render intensive. If you're on FCP X, the built in Super 8mm filter actually does a pretty good job for this and it's free. There are sliders you can use on the filter to dial in the amount of grain and vintage colouring you want. And it plays in realtime on any decent system.

June 28, 2018 at 10:57AM, Edited June 28, 10:57AM

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Batutta
109

Have you tried looking into buying a used Blackmagic Pocket (version-1). People are now selling them for about 500-800 on Craigslist or OFFERUP app. Some come with adapters for canon EF or Nikon lens. You most definitely will get a Super16 look and feel, especially if your using old Nikkors. Yes, I also agree with getting a Tiffen Black Pro mist 1/2. If you ever get a chance to read some of the old ASC cinematographer articles from the early 2000. You will see that many of the OG cinematographers from the past (70's,80',90's.) Used filters on their lens because they didn't want the sharpness. If you can, I strongly suggest trying to get a used Blackmagic pocket or even a Blackmagic 2.5k.
Read this!

https://www.thehurlblog.com/cinematography-bmcc-training-ground-for-cinematographers/

June 28, 2018 at 1:30AM

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