Making brand new video show with the latest in digital video equipment look like something shot by one of Thomas Edison’s dupes is easier than ever thanks to sophisticated computer editing software.
To understand the vintage look in film, you have to understand what vintage constitutes a vintage look in photography.
Film is simply 24 photos per second. So if you can get the vintage look in one photo, you can certainly do it for video.
The vintage look in photography is a photograph that looks old, like it was shot from a camera from early to mid 20th century. The photos are desaturated and has a grainy image.
Thus, a vintage video would look like it was shot from a camera like this:
With anything video, it all comes down to the power of post production and the editing process.
Before you can know what to do with that video editing software to make the new video look like old film, however, you have to know exactly what you are going for.
A few distinct effects can take the video you shot with an HD camcorder yesterday way back to the days when a nickel could allow you to spend practically all day at the cinema without watching the same thing twice.
One of the best things about computer video editing software is the ability to “Photoshop” out all those components you don’t want.
Learn to use the abilities of your editing software to erase anything from the scene that doesn’t belong to that period when Iran was merely the answer to a question like —
“What did you do when the bear started chasing you?”
Look for any elements in the footage you shot that give hint to the fact that it was shot recently and use the erasing tools to rid your masterpiece of these telltale signs.
Common items likely to need erasing include jet trails in the sky, satellite dishes on the roofs of houses, cell phone hanging on the waistband of pants, contemporary eyewear and the like.
Modern video footage that is meant to look old won’t be in color.
You can choose to shoot the video in the black and white mode offered by today’s video cameras, but chances are it will look exactly like videotape shot in black and white.
Instead, shoot in color and then use the video editing software to create your black and white film footage.
Best results are accomplished by getting to know your software personally, but things to look for are Saturation Levels and Color Balance.
The key is learning to adjust the grayscale settings of your video footage to more accurately reflect the manner in which old black and white film cameras responded to lighting.
Black and white isn’t enough to make modern day video footage resemble old fashioned film footage actually shot with black and white film.
Film weathers and ages over time; the worse the conditions in which it was preserved, the more extreme the aging and weathering.
Deterioration in this sense is something you wish to achieve through effective simulation. Experiment with the settings that come with your particular video editing software to learn how it deals with aging.
Things to look for are jumps in the frames, scratches, blurring, graininess and a little effect commonly referred to as Noise.
The older the film footage, the faster the subjects are likely to move.
When older film footage is played on newer projection equipment, the result tends toward sped up motion.
Depending on how far back you intend your video footage shot yesterday to resemble, you may need to speed up the action considerably.
You can also speed it up for comic effect, but that isn’t always the aim.
Look for something in your video editing software program along the lines of Clip Speed or Duration and fiddle around with the settings to get an effective speed within the footage itself.
If old enough, your new video transformed to look like old film will not need any sound because silence was the rule of the day.
If your film doesn’t go back beyond the sound barrier, you want to spend as much attention on getting the audio right as you spend on the video.
Look for ways to avoid having your old movie use 16 bit sound or anything better than that.
The most effective way to fiddle with the audio of your new video so that it resembles an old film is to look for controls that allow you to reduce the sampling rate of your audio.
Adjust the sampling rate until you achieve a kind of sound that doesn’t seem as though it were recorded yesterday.
Other means of aging audio in your video is to insert crackling and popping effects.
Experiment with muting some or all of the video for a few seconds at a time.
And, lastly, make sure that if you are attempting to create a film that looks and sounds as though it was made in 1930 that you don’t use rap as part of your soundtrack.
It’s interesting how there’s a growing trend towards achieving that vintage look. In fact, adding grain in post production is something really trendy now.
Today’s cameras are so good now that it seems too unreal. To get that realistic, real world effect, sometimes it’s good to take that vintage route when it comes to editing your modern videos.
With these steps, you can start doing just that. And add a little bit of old school nostalgia to your next video project.
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