STEP 1: Create your project and preferences
Director Nick Vallelonga wanted a dark, mysterious night interior. Unfortunately, time and money dictated this scene be shot in the day. And the location had nothing but white walls. You can use paint settings on your camera to add depth to less-than perfect location shots. DP Vladimir Van Maule captured the HD footage with the Panasonic VariCam at 720p into the Panasonic 1200A deck, which removes pulldown and upconverts to uncompressed 1080/23.976 PsF on the fly. He used the VariCam’s paint settings to record the scene with a rich cobalt hue.
STEP 2: Make it moody
Once inside FCP, we exaggerated all available highlights to get a more
moody look. The ambient daylight and white walls made this scene
dangerously flat-not mysterious at all. Though you could use Final
Cut’s array of shape and gradient generators with transfer modes to
create a vignette effect, you tend to get banding in subtle shades of
gray, which often translate to your picture. To get around this, use
the Stylize/Diffuse Filter set to Non-Directional, repeat edges On and
set a very low radius.
STEP 3: Emphasize the highlights
For something like the "Stairwell Shot," shown below, use a
diffused diagonal Highlight generator with a Multiply composite mode to
emphasize the Highlights along the banister and create a shadow along
the white wall on frame right. In this case, Final Cut’s Shapes and
Gradients can be a useful tool-it’s a good way to brighten or darken
areas of the frame.
STEP 4: Create a high-contrast look
To create the high-contrast de-saturated look we decided on, we used
Apple’s Color Corrector 3-way Filter. To do this, raise the Whites
level control while lowering the mids, blacks and saturation level.
STEP 5: Welcome to the night
The final clip is a dark, mysterious, complex day-for-night scene created on a very tight budget.
Ian Vertovec, Online Editor/Colorist, PlasterCITY Digital Post
Choker, an HD Indie thriller
16 x 9 uncompressed 1080p HD
Panasonic VariCam; Blackmagic DeckLink HD; Huge MediaVault 320R
6500 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028