On The Road - New Zealand, GH4, Filmconvert

Here's another compilation from a recent road trip up to visit family. We stopped off in chilly Matamata to see a friend's market stall, then spent an absurd amount of money at Tart Bakery (it's not just any regular kiwi bakery).

I didn't have any real plan for taking this footage so I made a demo of one of my favourite tools, Filmconvert. I've tried many "cinematic" LUTs and very few of them have any use outside of some specific purpose. Filmconvert, on the other hand, just gives you a straight up nice looking image with little effort - but still gives a lot of control. You can dial in the colour and the contrast separately (whereas LUTs do both at once - so if you want the colour but not the contrast - you have to do extra adjustments to counteract it)

And their clever grain generation is... clever. It generates it true to the film stock and is also responsive to the actual footage, as opposed to just an overlay. So the grain will vary dependent on the luminance and colour underneath. 

My process is to put the Filmconvert plugin in an adjustment layer, and then tweak each individual shot BEFORE the plugin. And those tweaks are usually limited to the lift/gamma/gain controls, and occasionally a white balance adjustment when it's really needed. I don't like to fuss around with it too much. Most of the time the imperfection is where the gold is found. Or where the magic lives. I'm not great with metaphors.

One day I'll get a smaller gimbal and shoot something like this again. But regardless I'm a big fan of the handheld look. Check out Y Tu Mamá También where I don't think they used a tripod even once and that's a damn fine piece of cinema.