I’ve had my Canon DSLR for almost a year now and I’m embarrassed to say how little I still know about how to use it properly.
So much of what I do is run and gun stuff; interviews, B roll, etc. The kind of stuff that doesn’t always lend itself to sitting down and really creating a look in-camera. That’s how I’m rationalizing how bad some of my stuff has looked lately, anyway…
Today, though, between other projects, I was able to sit down and spend some time with my camera. Specifically, I took it outside (in preparation for a project I’m shooting for our Christmas Eve service at Crossroads) and really focused on shooting in sunlight.
The first thing I did was put a polarizer on the lens. From there, I spent some time on white balance and setting my ISO and shutter speed properly. All of this time spent tinkering in the camera was also helped along by downloading and installing Technicolor’s Cinestyle color preset, so that when I did start shooting, I’d end up with a nice flat image that would give me a lot of latitude for color grading.
Here’s a shot I took of my friend Tim:
Totally flat. Now, here it is after I’ve gone in and done some color grading:
The look of the second picture is pretty close to what I’ll be going for in my Christmas Eve project (and yes, it’s purposefully dark and un-Christmasy. You’ll just have to trust me on this one). Starting with a really solid, flat image gave me tons of room when it came to grading.
Nothing groundbreaking happened today and I definitely didn’t do anything I shouldn’t always do when starting a project - but when you finally do take the time to take steps towards doing something right, it feels good. So I’m putting this here to remind me; the next time I hit record without taking the time to properly set up a shot, I’m ultimately undermining what I’m trying to do.