We often get asked to produce videos with a vintage look. Some hark back to the golden age of home cine films or the 80’s VHS years. I’ve always been a fan of old films and I also own a few old cine cameras and lenses. Using actual cine film is great but it does take time and developing can be very costly. It’s harder to find places who can do this in UK now and you may find you have to post overseas .
Which Camera works best?
The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) is the best way for me to get the hand held feel of cine film or VHS cameras. It produces a high-quality flat picture that can then be graded and distressed later in the edit. It’s small but powerful.
I first used the BMPCC like this last December in this Christmas video for Love Me Do Hair Salon. Using a Kern Paillard 16mm 1.8 Switar lens, originally used on 16mm film cameras like the Bolex in 1956, helps reduce the work you have to do in post.
Tips and tricks
Adding a pistol grip to the camera also gives the home movie style when you handle the camera. Filming some whip pans and fast camera shakes is useful as you can cut this in later to emulate splicing errors. I also like to cut in some “film leader” I’ve borrowed from our cine transfer archives. With this film though, it’s the subject matter that really sells it, old building, old car with vintage fashion and hair styling:
I used the same set up to film my own wedding in Burgh Island and we were so lucky to have such fantastic sunshine for the exteriors. The other great thing about this old lens is it has a built-in iris which is really handy in bright sunshine. The lens flares you get with this style of lens also adds to that vintage cine film look:
Rewind to the 80’s
This year we decided to try a 1980’s VHS feel with the popularity of shows like Stranger Things and Red Oaks. In the 80’s tape was cheap. Home movie operators tended to hold shots a bit longer as they weren’t restricted to 3 minute reels of the cine days. Adding in tape damage also helps the feel of the home VHS days. This often happened when you edited the rushes tape to the master tape :
The VHS look is easier to obtain as it was always a flatter image than film and more washed out. Although I used the BMPCC for this video too, I think you can get the same effect with any HD camera with some grading and cropping to the square 4.3 aspect ratio. I used a fix lens but really 1980’s home movie cameras had slow motorised zoom lenses. I had fun with this film as my Gran worked at the great toy factory Palitoy in the 70s and 80’s. Out of the two styles, I still prefer the cine film style even though my first film experience at the cinema was Ghostbusters: what a movie!
These fun side projects help us experiment and develop different techniques or styles that we might not get chance to explore in our typical branded content work
Our latest vintage cine film style video is for a Vintage Stylist and Gramphone DJ Claire Shell , a real skill in the iTunes age.
It’s often said that a company reflects the personality of it’s owner. You will certainly pick up a theme of nostalgia in some of our blog posts. From Classic Hollywood of Laurel & Hardy, to our work with luxury brands and even the design of our logo.