⭐️ Buy the SL2 (200d): Body only (UPDATED): http://geni.us/tgtcanonsl2
What’s up guys, Sagi here and welcome to another Tech Gear Talk. Today I’m going to show you how to get your Canon SL2 or 2 footage to go from meh to cinematic! We’ll cover what you need to do to get that cinematic look everyone wants for their video, using the SL2.
But like I said, today we’re going to take a look at how you can get the cinematic look that everyone loves.
The most popular options are 24, 30 and 60 because the majority of people are using NTSC. With 25 and 50 options for those who are using PAL. Without going too deep into this, 60fps will provide a sharper and more crips look, sort of what you get when you’re watching the news or soap operas. Motion pictures on the other hand are shot at 24fps which provides the softer cinematic look we’re going for. The 24fps look is part of what you’re used to and what your mind equates with the “cinematic” style.
So in your SL2, make sure you’re in movie mode, then click on MENU->SHOOT1->MOVIE REC. SIZE and select FHD, or 1080P, 23.98 which is what we’ll call 24fps. If you’re using PAL, go ahead and select 25fps.
The only exception to this rule is if you want to shoot slow-motion. In that case, go ahead and select FHD 59.94 (or what we’ll call 60fps)That means that we’ll be slowing 60fps footage down to 24fps later in our editor and get slow motion by 2.5 times. That means we will stretch 1 second of recording time into 2.5 seconds of play time.
For filmmaking, this may sound confusing because you might be thinking “I’m not taking a picture I’m shooting a continuous video”. But remember that our video is actually comprised of 24 individual frames for each second of video, and the shutterspeed determines how long the shutter records for each frame.
In this video I’m not going to get into the “why” of the 180 degree rule and I’m going to keep it super simple, you’re going to always have your shutterspeed be twice, or about twice, your framerate.
So if you’re shooting at 24fps you’re going to use a shutterspeed of 1/50. If you’re shooting at 60fps for slowmotion, you’re going to use a shutterspeed of 125. These aren’t exactly twice our framerate but they are close enough.
You can find your shutterspeed down on the bottom left and you can either use the touchscreen to change it, or use the top dial next to the shutter. Unlike in photography, we don’t want to control exposure by changing the shutter speed, we’ll have to use ISO and Aperture for that.
We can reduce this noise in post production, but it’s always a good idea to get the best footage we can to start with, so as a general rule, work with the lowest ISO that works for your situation.
The SL2 has an ISO range between 100 – 12,800 and I almost always select my ISO manually rather than having it on AUTO. This means that since I set my shutterspeed, aperture and ISO manually, my exposure is not going to change on its own. So again, shoot at the lowest possible ISO to get the exposure you need and this will give you the cleanest image possible to start working with.
If you get confused, think of it as a fraction. Think of f/2 as 1 over 2 or ½. Think of f/8 as 1 over 8 or 1/8th. This isn’t the correct formula at all, but it will help you remember the relationship between the number value and the size of the opening.
Now, the larger the opening, the more light hits the sensor and the brighter the exposure. This also means that we can turn down our ISO on our SL2 and get a cleaner picture.
The next thing affected by the f-stop is depth of field.This could be a topic in and of itself but for the purposes of this video, we mostly relate shallow depth of field with the cinematic look. Shallow depth of field means that our subject is in focus, but things in front or behind the subject are out of focus. So the smaller the f-stop number, the shallower the depth of field. So if we look at the same scene at f/2, f/11 and f/22 we can see how much more of the scene is in focus at f/22.
Now, using a wide open f-stop like f2 is great because it lets more light in and we are able to shoot with less available light or low-light situations. However, it does present a challenge when shooting outside in bright daylight. In this situation we are faced with the fact that there is too much light when we open the lens up.
If this was photography, we could simply shorten the shutterspeed but we don’t have that option here, since if you remember, we said the shutterspeed has to stay at double our framerate. This is where something like a variable Neutral density filter helps by reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens. That means that we can have the lens wide open, get that shallow depth of field and still get a great exposure.
Here are some of my favorite Variable ND filters and remember to get one that fits the diameter of your lens.
There are two ways to select the white balance on the SL2.
From left to right, the first option is AWB for auto white balance, this lets the camera try to figure out on its own what the correct white balance should be.
Next we have a setting for daylight, which should be used outdoors under clear skies. Next we have a setting for shooting in the shade, the next option is for cloudy days or sunset, then incandescent or tungsten light, followed by white fluorescent light, flash photography and finally a custom white balance option which is beyond the scope of this article.
I suggest that you select the option that best fits the light you have and only use AWB as a last resort. The reason is that auto white balance may change your white balance settings while you’re shooting as different colors enter the frame. So if someone with a bright red shirt walks in, the camera may get tricked and change the white balance for the whole scene which is going to look terrible. The important part here is to capture colors as close as possible to how they appear to the naked eye.
This histogram represents the pixels exposed in your scene and this one is set to show brightness. The way to read a histogram is that the left side of the graph represents the blacks or shadows in your scene and the right side represents the white or highlights. So anything that is all the way to the left is going to be pure black, and anything that bumps against the right will be pure white.
Here is a scene that is well exposed, and you can see that we have details in the shadows and the highlights are not blown out.
If you have to choose between overexposing and underexposing your scene, always set your SL2 to slightly underexpose – meaning make things look a little darker than they actually are. It’s easier to brighten up the footage in post production and bring out details out of the shadows. If a portion of your footage is completely blown out and is pure white, there is nothing you can do in post production to bring it back. And finally, having properly exposed footage, will also help us with color grading later on.
It doesn’t have the best dynamic range but it gives me a much faster workflow. For photography and video, dynamic range is a measurement between the brightest and the darkest parts of your image. It can also refer to the sensor’s capabilities in terms of how much of a difference between the shadows and the highlights of your image it can capture, without the highlights being blown out or the shadows going to pure black.
So while Standard picture profile works well in some cases, when we try to get a more cinematic look, we need to do something different, we want to use a flat picture profile. If you remember the histogram, a flat picture profile is going to push you shadows and your highlights into the center of the graph. It’s easier to see why it’s called flat when editing in Premiere Pro for example where the luma waveform graph is displayed vertically and you can see that a flat image is literally represented by a flat waveform.
So essentially what we’re doing is creating an image that is very gray. We’re eliminating black and white and trying to move everything into some shade of gray. Now this is also a very ugly image, it lacks color and contrast but the important point is that the SL2 captured details in the the shadows and highlights. This gives us a lot of room to play with in post production and get that cinematic look we’re looking for.
I’ll do another tutorial about color grading so if you’re interested, make sure to hit that Subscribe button. There are many great flat picture styles when it comes to the SL2 but today I’m going to use 2 examples, the first is Technicolor Cinestyle and the second is Prolost.
I prefer Technicolor Cinestyle because it is even more flat than Prolost, but it does require a free download and installation whereas prolost can be set up if a few seconds on any Canon DSLR or mirrorless camera that offers user-defined picture profiles. Here is my tutorial about how to install Cinestyle and Prolost on Canon DSLR and Mirrorless cameras so either head over to check it out or watch it at the end of this article.
Here is a scene in Standard picture profile you can see it’s pretty sharp, contrasty and saturated but we do lose some detail in the shadows and the highlights.
To do this, you simply change the resolution in your project file. In Premiere Pro, go to SEQUENCE->SEQUENCE SETTINGS, and change the horizontal value to 816.
In addition to getting a wide-angle video, you also have the added benefit of being able to re-frame your shot since you can move the footage up or down within the new frame.
Here is some sample footage with no film grain, and you can see that it’s pretty clean and clear. I’m going to go ahead and add some 35mm film grain on top of it and then adjust the blend mode to OVERLAY. Now there is a stylistic choice of how much grain you want to actually add to your footage. I think 50% looks good in this case and let me zoom in to 100% to show you the difference, so without grain and then with grain. And then let’s play this clip and look at how it looks when it’s rendered.
Click here for some great FREE 1080p and 4k film grain.
There are a ton of film luts and color grading plugins out there and they are an excellent way to give your footage a more cinematic look and feel. They are also a great way to save yourself some time when you’re editing by starting with a preset. I’ll include some great options in the description, and as I mentioned, this is going to be a creative choice.
I will do a dedicated tutorial about color grading SL2 footage because it should definitely be its own standalone topic and I want to cover it in more detail. Again, if you’re interested or have any specific questions let me know in the comment section.
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You know what I always say, buy it nice or buy it twice!
Good luck and see you soon.
I recently tried shooting in Cinestyle but once I put a lut on it that converts it to REC.709 I can tell the footage is pushed way too hard and it looks extremely noisy, any advice?
Hi Jerry, thanks for reaching out. Can you try applying the lut at less than 100% and see if the results are better? Let me know.
Thanks. That was very useful.
Glad it was helpful Davor!