Film Look or “Filmizing”: What Is It?

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Film look or “filmizing” is a term that usually refers to the process of producing a video with a film-like look. The idea behind “filmizing” is to capture an images style and quality similar to you would find in a movie or television show, yet still be suitable for use in digital or traditional media applications.

The term “filmizing” has become so widespread that it can describe any visual style that is informed by movies and television – whether capturing the same aesthetic of a classic movie, or even something as simple as achieving the traditional color palette found in television shows.

This article will provide an overview of film look, its advantages over standard footage capturing techniques, and how you can apply it to your own projects. Here are the topics that will be discussed:

  1. What is Film Look?
  2. Advantages of Film Look
  3. How to Apply Film Look
What is a film look

What is Film Look?

Film Look or Filmizing is a technique used in digital cinematography that aims to replicate the look and feel of traditional film-based cinematography. It is achieved by matching digital images to the characteristics of film and creating a “filmized” digital video. This process can be very time consuming, but is well worth the effort for creating stunning, cinematic-like images. Let’s look at the process of Film Look in more detail.

  • Matching digital images to the characteristics of film
  • Creating a “filmized” digital video
  • Producing stunning, cinematic-like images

Origins of Film Look

The term “film look” refers to the process of making a digitally produced video look more like film. This is accomplished through a combination of techniques, most notably by controlling and adding light to the video footage. Other factors such as color correction, use of specific lenses and camera angles, film grain simulation and other post-production effects are used as well.


The concept originated when filmmakers began experimenting with digital photography and attempting to replicate cinematic looks on small digital cameras. The goal was to make what some viewed as an unrefined digital image look more “cinematic” or “filmic” by closely mimicking film stock, lighting techniques, lenses and other characteristics associated with the traditional motion picture format.

Through careful manipulation and adjustment of various elements, filmmakers sought to produce images that closely resembled those coming off of film cameras while still taking advantage of digital technology’s speed and cost efficiency.

  • Control and add light to the video footage
  • Color correction
  • Use of specific lenses and camera angles
  • Film grain simulation
  • Other post-production effects

Over time, numerous tools were developed specifically for accomplishing this style or changing video images into something more wooden or “filmized.” These tools are now being adapted for television programs, commercials, documentaries and all types other film projects looking for a certain aesthetic quality not found in standard video production techniques. Even today some filmmakers still prefer shooting digitally but applying post-production filters that make it appear as though it had been shot on celluloid instead.

Different Types of Film Look

Film look is a term used to describe an aesthetic style used when filming video and movies that gives the footage a certain “look”. The term derives from the fact that it looks like the footage has been shot on film. It is characterized by exposure, color, contrast and texture that are different from what would be obtained if the same footage were shot with a digital camera.

The look of each type of film look can vary widely depending on the film stock used and how it has been processed. Some of the more common types include:

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  • Saturated colors (as in early Technicolor films)
  • Desaturated colors (as in many modern films)
  • High key lighting (where all or most of the scene is brightly lit)
  • Low key lighting (where shadows play an integral part)
  • High contrast, where there are big differences between light and dark portions of an image

Film look can achieve better depth in wide shots and closer shots as well as more convincing outdoor lighting when compared to other shots captured with digital cameras. Depending on how these different kinds of film look have been implemented into a movie or video project, they can add realism or create a surreal atmosphere overall.

How to Achieve a Film Look

Film look, or “filmizing” as it is also known, is a cinematography technique that aims to make digital footage look more like traditional film. This can be achieved through a variety of techniques, and has become increasingly popular over the past few years.

In this article, we’ll explore how to achieve a film look, and the various techniques and equipment used to achieve it.

  • Understand what a film look is and why it is used.
  • Learn about the different techniques used to achieve a film look.
  • Discover some of the equipment used to create a film look.


Creating a truly cinematic look to your film is no small feat and requires a keen attention to art direction, cinematography, and post-production. Every step of the filmmaking process contributes to the overall “look” of the film, but it’s hard to overlook the importance of lighting. Using different types of lighting techniques and intensities can help create dramatic visuals that give viewers that classic ‘movie feel’.

Lighting can be used to establish mood, tone, emotion and action within a scene. It’s extremely important when striving for a distinct film look that ushers in immersive scenes and captivating moments. While recreating the techniques used in traditional 35mm movies is not essential for aspiring filmmakers, understanding which techniques lead to dynamic results can have an immense impact on the overall production values of any independent project.

The most important aspect when creating ‘film looks’ is creating balance. Whether you’re using natural or artificial light sources, balanced lighting will create richer textures in both your characters and settings within your film.

  • Key light (intense source)
  • Fill light (dim light used to fill shadows)
  • Rim light (backlight outlining objects)

Many Hollywood films employ cinematic lighting with three ‘point’ lights, as well as using different approaches depending on the desired results specific scenes require;

  1. Soft light vs Hard Light
  2. Broadcast Lighting vs Natural Lighting etc..

There are many more technical aspects which play an integral role when striving for that quintessential “filmizing look”, including camera filters/lens such as diffusion filters/matters lens etc., framing decisions such as shooting ratios etc., but having strong foundational knowledge regarding basic lighting theory will act as building blocks towards achieving great visual storytelling at its finest!

Camera Settings

One of the main elements of achieving a film look is your camera settings. When it comes to getting a cinematic look, one of the most important decisions you have to make is the frame rate in which you shoot. The standard in the motion picture industry is 24 frames per second (fps), and if you’re aiming for that classic film look, that’s what you should go for.

When shooting video for a film look, some would advise that shooting in 24fps will get you closer to the filmic look than shooting in any other frame rate. However, some filmmakers may also opt to shoot at higher speeds such as 30 or 60 fps depending on their filming technique. Generally speaking, it’s best practice to shoot at the highest resolution your camera can support with 24fps or 30fps being ideal.

In addition to changing your low fps settings, changing your shutter speed should also be considered when achieving a filmization effect. To create movement and motion blur—which are key components of a cinematic shot—aim for a shutter speed of

  • 1/48th or 1/50th of a second when shooting at 24fps
  • 1/60th or 1/125th when shooting at 60 fps

For other frame rates, use this calculator:

This method has been used by professionals since the advent of digital cameras and has been proven effective time and again. Play around with different shutter speeds and frame rates to find what works best for you!

Color Grading

Color Grading is the process of changing and enhancing the colors of a specific shot or scene. Through color grading, filmmakers are able to achieve the desired look of their film or create an appropriate visual reaction to any onscreen action by manipulating the color and lighting in a given frame.

Color correction can involve sparse changes like tweaking white balance and exposure, while more advanced techniques may be used to create a stylized effect, such as using split toning turn a black-and-white image into something warmer or colder, amplifying contrast in order to create more drama on the frame. More extreme approaches involve changing the entire color palette of a scene which could lead to more vibrant colors found in science fiction films, or muted shades found in horror films.

In addition to creating specific looks for each scene within the movie, color grading is also important for creating continuity across all scenes and establishing an overall filmmaking style. For example, if one sequence takes place indoors with warm light and all others take place outdoors with cold light then adjusting several shots via grading can have them appear much like they took place under similar lighting conditions. This helps all scenes blend together better no matter what conditions were actually filmed under.


In conclusion, filmizing a video can give it the “cinematic” feel found in feature films. Whether you want to create an artistic look or emulate a classic movie style, film look or “filmizing” is the perfect way to achieve your desired effect.

By following the simple steps listed below, you can give even the most amateur photographed scenes an experienced, polished look.

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3

Don’t be intimidated by the jargon — after all, everyone has access to technology that can help them produce professional-looking video in no time!

Hi, I'm Kim, a mom and a stop-motion enthusiast with a background in media creation and web development. I've got a huge passion for drawing and animation, and now I'm diving headfirst into the stop-motion world. With my blog, I'm sharing my learnings with you guys.