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How to Create a Cinematic Look

Learn to Create a Cinematic Look
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Have you ever worked on a project or toyed around yourself with a camera and realized that the footage just doesn’t have the look and feel you were going for? The mythical film look is one of the things that most filmmakers strive to achieve, but few manage to get right from the start. There is much more than just visual elements behind making a film feel like a film, reason for which we will go over some of the aspects that influence the final look of a project. Here are 5 things that play a massive role on getting a cinematic look and feel on your film.

How to Create a Cinematic Look

Cinematic Composition

First things first: you won’t get a cinematic look and feel without properly shot footage. How you frame your shots and your subjects within them can clearly mark the difference between something that looks like a straightforward TV ad and something that has a more complex, true film look.

Part of the composition process also involves playing with wardrobe, decorations, props, and the mise en scène. All of these elements combined will help you elevate the level of your production, which in turn will help your audience feel more engaged with the film and perceive it as more cinematic than other works.

Cinematic Lighting

Lighting is one of the most difficult things to get right on a film, and rightly so. Lighting is a huge factor when it comes to defining the depth, texture, and mood of the scenes you plan on shooting. It is almost quite literally painting with light, which explains why cinematographers and directors spend so much time researching and setting up everything just right.

To get that cinematic look you are going after, you need to make sure the lighting matches your intentions and the tone of the film. As long as it is coherent and aesthetically pleasing, you don’t need to be afraid of dark shadows or hard lights.

Cinematic Blocking

Scene blocking is an art in and of itself. It guarantees the camera movements will be carried out properly, and in a way, it also ensures the shots will later flow smoothly with one another.

Proper camera placement and choreography within each shot help create that cinematic feel when the audience is immersed in the film and how it transitions seamlessly from one shot to the next.

Cinematic Editing

Most things people consider to be “cinematic” can be done in post production. However, you are not going anywhere with your footage if you don’t do the things listed prior to this point on the list.

Your material needs to be shot somewhat neutrally if possible to color grade and correct the way you want it. Adding grain and celluloid look to your shots can be done in post to an extent if that’s what you consider cinematic, but really most of it depends on your original footage. Even throwing aspect bars on top of your shots depends on their original aspect.

Cinematic Montage

Your cuts won’t flow seamlessly without some properly shot footage. It all goes back to where we started, and if you don’t take the time to compose and block your scenes correctly, there is a chance that your montage will suffer for it further down the line.

Part of the cinematic look and feel of movies is the illusion of continuity perceived by the audience through montage, something that is only noticeable when it’s done wrong or purposely noticeable for added effect. Ideally, the flow and rhythm of your film should vary and fluctuate according to your vision, but it should never be an element that pops out on its own unless that’s your intention.

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