Great Resources on Creating Film Look Using HD-SLR Cameras

What are the best free online-resources to help you create a film look with a digital camera (even a $500 HD-SLR camera will do the trick). While writing my last post about how to create film-like effects using an HDSLR camera within a budget, I realized there’s loads of great articles, blogs, video tutorials, discussion boards and other forums to the free exchange of what people learn in the trenches. So here’s the beginning of a list of some very useful posts — some new and some old. See my last post for tips like using depth of field (with decent lens), 24-frames-per-second, panoramic display, decent lighting and audio.

Now for some free online-resources to help further…


The "bleach bypass" effect is seen here, where black and white (toned silver) sit over a more subtle color.
  1. Curated Articles on Making Video Look Like Film: Urban Fox curated some articles on making video look like film, and is well worth a glance. I especially liked Christina Fox’s article that sums up selecting an HD-SLR camera, using 24-frames-per-second setting, using depth of field, and lighting. He also mentions sound quality, and FilmRiot has a segment devoted to surround sound.
  2. Softweigh Multimedia has some detailed tutorials for building some clever video camera gear at nickles on the dollar. Note that what you’re purchasing is not the device, with supply estimates usually in the 10 or 20 dollars. You’re buying instructions.
  3. DIY Lighting Hacks: You know lighting can turn an amateur video into something quasi-pro, but you don’t know that you can make dramatic improvements to your lighting without spending a fortune. Got a coffee can? A milk-bottle jug, or a ? Want to make an affordable light tent to give your photos or video that catalog-like professional look? Check out Darren Rowse’s “DIY Lighting Hacks for Digital Photographers” at Digital Photography School.
  4. [/caption]Bleach Bypass: There’s a very cool video software effect that comes with some editing packages called the “bleach bypass” (also called skipped bleach or silver retention) look that I used in this Fringe parody. It creates bold colors and a really cinematic look. I constantly search how-to videos before applying this effect, and often mistake “bleach bypass” with “bleach bypass” for reasons that are obvious at least to me. Here’s a nice how-to on creating bleach/beach bypass using Final Cut Pro. I typically use Final Cut Express to fetch this effect, but only after I’ve edited the video using my antiquated iMovie 6.
  5. iJustine Blog: The top YouTuber provides a list of her production equipment in a post titled “How to Make a Video.” Couple that with the VideoFilmMaker’s contrast/zebra effects and you’re in good shape.
  6. Software You Didn’t Know You Needed: Rocketboom has a post about video-making software that I visit every once in a while to remind myself the name of software that I probably already own but can’t find.
  7. Videomaker’s Forum: Lots of smart vid production die-hards peruse the Videomaker forum (see home, which has search) to provide great answers to the curious. As an example, here’s on about HDSLRs.
  8. My little homemade Amazon store features some of the best-reviewed HD-SLR cameras. Buy 'em here and maybe I'll finally make some Amazon Affiliate money to offset my obsessive purchases of gear.

    Howcast Quick Videos: This short, instructional video site was founded by Google Video alumni, and offers a sleuth of simple instruction videos across a wide range of topics. You may want to search Google and Howcast” when seeking a video how-to. The search engine has a difficult time finding just the video production clips, and as you can see in the Howcast search results for “video production,” A refined search for videocamera did somewhat better. Some stink like “How to Get Great Video Production,” which is simply an air. The “How to Get Your Video Noticed on YouTube,” which is somewhat painfully remedial but useful as a primer.

  9. Picking a Semi-Pro Video Camera (in case the increasingly popular HD-SLR still cameras with video aren’t cutting it): VideoMaker’s blog (August 2011) has a nice post on the leading semi-pro (or professional) video cameras available, and here’s the WillVideoForFood Amazon store for these brads, which range from $2K to $5K.
  10. Shirtless Apprentice: While this For Your Imagination show was cancelled in 2008, its archive of production tips are somewhat evergreen, and the format is fun and simple.