As a filmmaker and cinematographer, having great talent and unique creative vision seem to be paramount prerequisites for building a meaningful career as a successful artist, but unfortunately, these are not enough. Knowing the ins and outs of the tools you plan to use is another essential aspect of the craft. On the other hand, nothing should stop you from creating stunning visuals these days, even if you don’t have an ARRI Alexa or RED Dragon camera at your disposal.
Seasoned director Matt Alonzo is a firm believer that you simply need the right tool for the job, whether it’s an entry-level DSLR or a full-fledged, pro-level motion camera. In the next video, he gives his tips and tricks on how he made the Sony A6500 look like a RED camera with a few excellent practical examples referring to some of his latest projects.
As Alonzo suggests, if your shot allows for it, you should try to add as much light into your scene as you can. Even though the A6500 is known for having decent low-light performance comparable to the A7S II, it’s still not a perfect camera and there will be noticeable noise if your shot is too dark. To tackle this issue, try to find any light source you could utilize in your scene.
For example, Alonzo used a lamp he stumbled upon in a studio as the key light for his subject standing in a recording booth. Also, he had a crew member flicking the light switch on and off to create a strobe-like effect. Lastly, he took his iPhone and used the flashlight, shining it onto the lens to create a stylistic lens flare.
If you are in a situation where you can’t turn up the lights to avoid noise in your footage, consider adding some artificial grain in post to sell the effect as part of a stylistic decision rather than an unfortunate accident.
Secondly, try using higher shutter speed and dynamic camera moves to hide the rolling shutter artifacts in your footage. This technique could be extremely beneficial if you’re doing work such as filming a music video wherein the camera is handheld and focused on the artist.
Lastly, in post-production, pay close attention not only to your editing and color grading but also to the effects you tend to use. For instance, in one of his music videos, Alonso utilized the Echo filter in Premiere Pro CC to create an appealing “ghost-like” aesthetic to his shots – a simple, yet an extremely effective solution that worked a treat.
Not only that, he spent a reasonable amount of time in post-production to properly grade his footage and create the exact aesthetics he envisioned for the project. In fact, his experience as a cinematographer and director would be totally wasted if he hadn’t had the patience to focus on every detail in his workflow that otherwise could easily ruin the entire production.