What does cinematic mean?
If you’re on YouTube on the go and looking for a review, short film or similar, you’ll come across the term “cinematic”. If you watch one of these videos, you’ll quickly realize that the production looks high-quality and have a more dramatic impact on the viewer. If you want to produce a “cinematic video”, you’ll want to enhance to a high, cinema-level quality. You’ll want to get a film look, tell a story or draw attention to a product that is being reviewed. A cinematic video can have a dramatic effect, but doesn’t necessarily have to. It relies on typical stylistic devices that can be used and applied without having to use expensive, heavy equipment.
Which stylistic devices are typically used?
“Color grading”, as it’s called, is often used. This is when a film scene is given a color tone which emphasizes and reinforces the current setting and emotions. For example, a red tint can either come across as aggressive and angry, or loving and warm. A blue background tint is often used in horror films to create a cold, anxious atmosphere. Deciding on the best colour tint always depends on your desired effect. Here you can see the difference that such a graduation can produce. On the left, you can see the flat shot (in my case FZ1000) and on the right the same shot with color grading. This creates a different effect that is significantly more intense.
A slow motion effect will often be used for dramatic effect. Here, a scene will be purposely drawn out, in order to keep the tension high and captivate the viewer.
Another stylistic device is image section and focus. With this, it’s important to know: What do I want to emphasize with this scene? What should be brought to the foreground and pushed back to the background? As an example, if you want to capture emotions, you can choose a close up, which brings facial expressions to center stage. This will have the maximum effect if the facial expressions are in focus while the background is kept out of focus. The same can be applied to a product review. If I want to draw attention to a specific sound, then I do this with a close up and make the rest in the background out of focus. If I want to emphasize another person or another area, I don’t necessarily have to change the image detail. This is usually possible with a shift of focus. In the following image, you can see a scene that is similar to a close up that is within the golden ratio, because the object is lying on the cross point.
The golden ratio is one of many possibilities of emphasizing something. In the previous example image, the person has been placed in the center in order to highlight them more strongly, since the overall image runs off into a vanishing point. This is known as the vanishing point perspective.
Regardless of genre, a movie in a cinema is displayed in an unusual aspect ratio – i.e. 21:9. The typical aspect ratio is 16:9. This is now the standard for monitors, smartphones and televisions. The 21:9 format gives a wide image and is the closest image to the human field of vision, which is why it’s used for movies, allowing the viewer to become even more immersed in the film. Here’s an example for the 21:9 format. With this, we get the typical black bars on our screens.
How do I implement this stylistic device?
When recording a video, it’s always important to develop your own creative ideas, discover new perspectives and just try out your ideas. There’s no clear-cut set of rules that have to be followed for videography. There are different methods possible like the ones mentioned above, but these are just suggestions. Since the setting, surroundings, and the situation can all vary a lot, videography and photography are art forms that characteristically give you the freedom to play about with your creativity and let your ideas run free.
With so-called color grading, less in more. If you don’t want to present something over-the-top, you should be subtle when using color grading. You can’t and also shouldn’t give exact tonal values, because it always depends on the specific image that you’ve taken, so use your creativity and try things out. In Movie Edit Pro, you can find the option “Color correction” under ” Effects” and “Video Effects”. Here, you can color the image by moving the circle in the color palate. You’ll find the saturation, brightness and contrast next to the color correction in the same tab. These values can also be adjusted.
Tip: For more leeway when editing, it’s worth setting a separate image profile in the camera and keeping the contrast and saturation low.
Slow motion effect
Unless you want to a hectic scene, it’s better to make slower camera movements or record the video in 50p or 60fps instead of in 25p or 30fps, and then slow this down afterwards in MAGIX Movie Edit Pro. You can do this in Movie Edit Pro by selecting “Effects”, “Video Effects” and then the tab “Speed” and setting the speed to 0.5 with the slider. You may have to move previous objects in the timeline, otherwise, two or more recordings could be overlapped from stretching the video.
Tipp: When recording, the shutter speed should be at 1/100 at 50p or 1/120 at 60fps, so that you obtain a smooth slow motion effect without any shaking. This can be changed in the camera, e.g. in manual mode (M).
Close up/golden ratio
A close up is one of many examples: You should set your camera to manual focus with the smallest shutter size.You can get the widest shutters by setting the lens to the smallest focal distance. You can either change to the camera’s manual mode (M) or set it to aperture (A). Here, you can set the shutter and ISO yourself, and the camera will select the shutter speed However, this preferably shouldn’t be under 1/50. If necessary, you can change the ISO value. Now you can set the desired object in focus and place the object as close as possible, making the background out of focus.
Tip: You can bring an object closer during recording. It’s up to you where the object is positioned in the image and how much of the display section you want it to take up. In this case, it also falls into the golden ratio, as it lies on the cross point.
Last but not least, the 21:9 format. This can easily be changed in Movie Edit Pro after filming. The movie format has a different image height to the standard 16:9 format. This has to be changed in Movie Edit Pro. Generally, this means the 21:9 ratio of 2.35:1, in order to now calculate the necessary height for out film, we must split the width by a factor of 2.35. In exact terms, this means 1920/(2.35) = 817 for a 1920 x 1080p (full HD) video. We’ll replace this calculated value in MAGIX Movie Edit Pro with the standard width (1080 for full HD). This option can be found under “Effects” and then under the tab “View/Animation” and “Section”. For this, we’ll change just two properties. For one of them, we’ll select the “Free Proportions” and change the value from 1080 to 817 and confirm this by pressing “Enter”. Normally, the program centers the section correctly. In case it doesn’t, you can easily change this under “Position/Size” by clicking on the “Center” button.
These are a few stylistic devices that come up especially often in movies, which can really raise the quality of every video, without having to buy expensive equipment. The most important thing is still above all is the creative composition and I hope that I could give you a little help and inspiration here.
Want to get started yourself with cinematic videos? Then download the Movie Edit Pro Plus free test versions from our website and edit your own cinema-quality movie!
About Florian Niemczyk: Student, photography enthusiast und filmmaker Florian Niemczyk has different video formats on his YouTube channel “Floriny”, among others MAGIX tutorials, comedy and tech product reviews. In addition to YouTube, you can also find him with the same name on Twitter, where he keeps his community informed about future projects, channel updates and helps others with questions concerning Movie Edit Pro , videography and photography.
YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/c/FlorinyEnt
Twitter channel: https://twitter.com/Floriny_