Nov 8, 2022
Looking to reignite some of your filmmaking passion? Ready to challenge yourself to see if you have the cinematography skills to go shot-for-shot with the best? Well, we have an interesting challenge to lay down for you here today.
By using one of our favorite filmmaking apps ShotDeck (which includes the largest library of high-definition and fully-searchable movie images in the world) and taking inspiration from some of our favorite film and streaming shows, we’re trying to master the art of recreating our favorite looks and scenes.
After all, they say imitation is the best form of flattery, right?
Let’s go over how this shot-matching app works to see how you can use it to recreate your own shots and looks — as well as provide some advice for improving your cinematography skills overall.
Now, before we dive into the exact methods used in the video above which focus on the plethora of information provided by ShotDeck, we should go over some basics for shot recreation. And, truth be told, these shot recreation basics should really be how you approach your planning and pre-production for shoots of any type (not just recreations).
So, like any shot setup, the art of shot recreation should utilize these three methods and tools:
Many filmmakers and cinematographers like to create a mood board before they begin a project, which is honestly what ShotDeck offers at a base level. You can either create these mood boards from scratch or search out images from sources online, in magazines, or in your favorite film and television shows.
From there you’ll want to work off your script to create a shot list and storyboard. With the storyboard in particular you’ll want to begin thinking about your shot framing, blocking, and lighting.
Finally the color palette is a tool many DPs like to use to help define their lighting colors and temperatures. Much of this work will be done later in post-production and color grading, but it’s helpful to have a color palette in mind as you begin to set up your shots and scenes.
Now, moving on to working with ShotDeck in particular, you’ll find that many of the above tools are included. From serving as a base mood board and inspiration for your own shots and setups, ShotDeck also provides plenty of storyboard and color palette elements as well as even more advanced info on cameras and lenses used plus insights into lighting.
Designed for a wide array of creatives including directors, cinematographers, designers, advertisers, film students, and visual artists, ShotDeck has become a critical part of the creative process for so many as it can exponentially enhance your ability to communicate your vision with the rest of your team.
ShotDeck has been used by big name directors like Joe & Anthony Russo (aka the Russo Brothers), and allows users to build “decks” of your favorite images which can be shared with all of your collaborators.
You can also search for different images using an impressive tagging system with more than 50 keywords which also includes essential background info on crew, genre, cameras, lenses, framing, lighting, color, composition, location, and even emotion on the actors’ faces.
Taking what we now know about ShotDeck and how it can fit into a pre-production process, you can see why our YouTube crew was so excited to take on the challenge of recreating some of the icon shots from Stranger Things.
In general, building your mood boards, storyboards, and color palettes is a great way to plan your setups and decide on what you want your shots to look like. However, for this challenge and with the use of ShotDeck, the guys are taking it a step further in trying to create exact replications by even using different picture profiles and LUTs to make specific cameras (in this case the Canon C300 Mark II) look like even higher-end productions.
Still, the biggest trick for these recreation setups might simply be to focus on what you can control and to have fun with how you cheat it. No one is going to be able to truly recreate a scene shot-for-shot. However, with some creative solutions you can make some fun decisions into how you might approach creating the uncreatable.
If you liked this article and the video above, be sure to subscribe to our Soundstripe YouTube channel to keep up with the latest videos. If you’d like to keep reading about different film and video tricks and hacks, check out these additional articles from the Soundstripe blog below.