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How do I use RE:Vision Effects plugins to help make video look more like film?

For this discussion, we assume you will be starting with video (interlaced at 29.97fps) and ending up with interlaced 29.97fps video with a “film look.” This discussion does not particularly cover the details of transferring from actual film to video media, or vice-versa.

The discussion here presents some of the problems when trying to create a film look using a video source. In particular, we present some discussion of the film look issues below as related to RE:Vision Effects products.

You might want to read the “How to Make Video Look Like Film” article by John Jackman in the December 2002 issue of DV magazine. In order to get a better grasp of our Twixtor and FieldsKit products, you might want to read the review of those products available on the Creative Cow (click to read article). In addition, we discuss how ReelSmart Motion Blur might be helpful in the process.

Some considerations:

We will focus on the timing issues related to making video look like film and will not be addressing color correction or grain considerations.

We assume that you are starting with NSTC video which is interlaced at 29.97 fps (which we will notate as “60i” below). We will use the term “30p” for full-frame progressive-scan sequences at 29.97 fps (that is, non-interlaced), and “24p” for 23.976 fps full-frame sequences (it is more convenient to use 23.976 fps results instead of 24fps sequences when transforiming 29.97 interlaced video into something that looks more like film).

Options when creating a “film look”

  1. With respect to timing issues, we have Twixtor, which can convert 60i to 24p very well. It creates new inbetween frames by using motion estimation, and can significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary studder that can be seen when converting 60i to 24p (of course there is even more studder introduced when converting from 24p back to 60i using 3:2 pulldown, so eliminating as much as possible before the addition of 3:2 pulldown can really boost the quality of the end result). Twixtor also adds the appropriate amount of motion blur to simulate the effects of the shutter being open longer. And with Twixtor you can actually control whether or not the motion blur is added, and how much.

  2. When using Twixtor to convert from 60i to 24p, you should really use our deinterlacer of our FieldsKit product first, then use Twixtor. This is because Twixtor’s internal deinterlacer simply does scanline blending, just like AE. If you use our FieldsKit deinterlacer first (to get better deinterlaced results), then you’ll get better 60i to 24p. In AE, the process goes like this:

    1. Drop your 29.97 interlaced footage (with AE’s Interpret Footage->Separate Fields set to “Off”) into a 59.94 comp. Convert your footage from 29.97 interlaced to 59.94 fps using the FieldsKit deinterlacer. This gives you one frame for each field of the input sequence
    2. Drop the 59.94 comp into a 23.976 comp and use Twixtor to convert
    3. Output 23.976fps (or 29.97 using 3:2 pulldown).
    4. Voila! You are done.

  3. Sometimes you’ll see artifacts when converting 60i to 24p that are unacceptable (whether you are using Twixtor, or some other frame rate conversion process). As such, you might be interested in just using the deinterlacer we have in our FieldsKit product, which converts fields to frames while attempting to retain important edge information (it does a *much* better job than standard deinterlacers on almost all footage). Furthermore, if you have a locked-off camera shot, you can have our deinterlacer perform deinterlacing only where there is motion (and our motion detector is much better than AE’s built in motion detector, and has user-settable sensitivity controls).

    Just converting 60i to 30p can significantly improve the “film-look-ness” of your footage without introducing the motion artifacts that can happen when converting 60i to 24p. Of course, then you don’t get the 3:2 pulldown studder of the telecine process (which, in some people’s religious convictions say “YOU MUST HAVE” in order for it to look like film… I leave this decision to you.

    sometimes you’ll want to convert 60i to 30p using upper fields, and 60i to 30p using lower fields and blend the results together at 50%. By using both fields you can often improve the results of the conversion to progressive frames by capturing information of fast-moving objects that can be lost when using only 1 field.

  4. If you decide to convert 60i to 30p using a deinterlacing process (using ours or someone else’s) instead of 60i to 24p, then you’ll want to consider applying our ReelSmart Motion Blur to the 30p footage… To help simulate the camera’s shutter being open longer. I argue that some of what we consider a “film look,” is simply the softness (motion-blur-ness) that film has because the film camera’s shutter is open somewhat longer…. Giving a other-worldliness, or dreaminess, to the result. Video, when compared to film, has much more definition on moving edges that can be softened with our motion blur plugin.