Cinematic look/effect how?

I am new to shotcut i was wondering how to achieve the cinematic effect i know the basic like the crop percentage of 140 top and 140 bottom, but what and where can you set the colours and rest of the things, a detailed explanation would be much appreciated,

Thanks for the help

like if you want to get the cinematic effect in to your normal videos, also i want o process the video and upload on youtube

I think the poster is alluding to Cinematic LUTs you can apply to the footage, such as are available here:

as well as other filters you can use to increase contrast, color-saturation etc. These video filters exist in Shotcut, so it shouldn’t be a problem with a bit of experimenting for the poster to achieve what he wants. As an example of the sort of transformations to apply (using Premier Pro in this case) I would point to:

1 Like

I see what you’re wanting to do, but the issue is that there’s no such thing as the “cinematic effect”. Some movies are dark and gritty while others are bright and airy. There are many factors that make a cinema-produced movie look better than home video, and all of these factors are specifically chosen to support the storyline above all else. Here are some examples (color tools are at the end of the list):

  • Frame rate / shutter angle: Let’s get the biggest misconception out of the way first. Lots of people think video needs to be shot at 24 frames per second to look cinematic, but this is not true. 24fps has been around for decades (long before the “cinematic look” was a thing) and its popularity has much more to do with technical issues than artistic preference. In fact, if you are not trained as a director of photography or cameraman and if you don’t have access to insanely stabilized equipment, you are very unlikely to make 24fps look good. A DoP gets paid major dollars to understand just how fast a camera can be moved before the background starts shearing and tearing because 24fps is right on the edge of making terrible-looking judder in high-action sequences. Lots of hackery is done to get around the limitations of 24fps, like filling half the frame with the subject so nobody notices the moving background going by faster than 24fps can keep up. The background is also blurred to make it extra difficult to notice the strobe-like effect of objects jumping so far between frames. It’s a lot of work to make 24fps look clean. If you’re using consumer gear and uncontrolled open-air locations, you will be much better served shooting at 30fps (if you are in an NTSC country) but keeping your shutter speed at 1/50th instead of 1/60. Lots of people talk about 180-degree shutter angle, but that’s an old and restrictive idea. Shutter angle as a math theory means nothing to the human visual system. What matters is whether a video’s motion blur matches what the human eye is used to seeing. The most comfortable blur amount is at 1/48s, which just happened to be twice the common 24fps frame rate back in the day, so everybody got fixated on shutter angle as an important thing to do. It isn’t on its own. Maintaining 1/48s (or 1/50s if you use a DSLR) is what’s important to preserve the length of motion blur streaks that the eye is used to seeing. Using 30fps gives you more latitude than 24fps when it comes to fast or unstabilized movement. (Caveat: If you are targeting a digital cinema package, then yeah, you’re stuck at 24fps and ignore everything I just said.)

  • Actors: So, if 24fps isn’t the key to dramatic looking movement, what is? The actors are. Actors are trained to have slower, highly controlled movements for the specific purpose of looking more dramatic. The camera isn’t doing the magic, the humans are. Now we get down to why I recommended shooting at 30fps earlier… if you are working with untrained actors who are a little too twitchy for the “cinematic look”, you can slow them down to 80% in post-production and still have perfectly fluid movement. 30fps becomes 24fps with no interpolation or optical flow needed, and if you captured at 1/50s, you even get your 180-degree shutter angle back. (In Shotcut, speed is controlled on the clip Properties page.) Obviously, this only works if the video isn’t being lip-synced to a dialog track. My point is that if you captured twitchy actors at 24fps, that footage cannot be dramatically slowed down in a smooth way without using interpolation techniques, and those never look as good as the real thing.

  • Camera: Speaking of cameras and actors, the camera angles contribute greatly to the cinematic look. Watch a well-produced movie and concentrate on just how zoomed-in the camera is most of the time. Compare it to your own footage. Cinema face shots are often so tight that we lose the top part of people’s foreheads. The basic principle here is to eliminate anything and everything from the screen that doesn’t support the immediate point. Any extra objects just add clutter, confusion, and distraction. Be intentional about every last single thing seen on screen. This often means not using full-body shots because we usually don’t care what shoes a person is wearing, so why clutter the audience’s vision with it? Be that relentless at cutting clutter. Keep the focus on what matters.

  • Lighting: The human eye is quickly drawn to high-contrast areas because it uses those sharp edges as a focusing aid. Unfortunately, bad lighting with harsh shadows creates “focus opportunities” for the eye that pull it away from the action. So, make the lighting as even and soft as the storyline allows so the eye doesn’t follow the edges of shadows as an uncontrollable urge to focus itself.

  • Aspect ratio: As you already mentioned, movies tend to use specific aspect ratios that look letterboxed when played back on consumer TVs. The Digital Cinema Package standard only supports six resolutions. The two most common for the cinematic look are 2K Scope at 2048x858 and 4K Scope at 4096x1716. If you are targeting Blu-ray, then 2K Scope is 1920x800 and 4K Scope is 3840x1600. Do whatever crop or scale you need to do to hit one of those targets.

  • Color: This will depend entirely on the content of your film. For more dramatic looks, colorists will often reduce the color palette down to two or three colors to reduce distractions. This is often coordinated with the set designer so that unrelated flashy colors don’t get into the shot to begin with. Once the film gets to post-production, the tools in Shotcut that will help you out are Color Grading, LUT 3D, and Hue/Brightness/Saturation. The color wheels in the grading filter let you adjust overall color casts and brightness levels in the shadows, midtones, and highlights. Movies often use the “orange and teal” look by pushing highlights towards orange and shadows towards blue. These are complement colors and therefore increase contrast. You can also lower or raise the midtone brightness to change your contrast to taste. (This can also be done with the Levels or Contrast filters.) You can also add the Saturation filter to make colors more vibrant or more muted, depending on the mood you want. Lastly, if you need even more color control, use the LUT 3D filter to apply a .CUBE file you can download from a number of sources on the internet like RocketStock. A LUT is like a set of color transformation instructions that has been created by a colorist and saved as a .CUBE file for anyone to use. LUTs are almost unlimited in their power to alter colors, and can do selective pushes like “preserve skin tones but wash out everything else”. The trick is finding a LUT that creates the look you want. If you want big color shifts, you’ll probably have to apply the LUT first then tweak the result with the Color Grading and Saturation filters. Shotcut is not able to create LUTs on its own.

Sorry for the long explanation. The point I tried to make is that the “cinematic look” is a combination of many factors. It isn’t a single mouse click in post-production that makes everything magical. So, if your current project doesn’t turn out as cinematic as you like, don’t give up! See if you can work some of the other ideas into your next film. When all of these factors are baked into the production shoot from the start, the raw footage will already look pretty cinematic on its own before you even touch the color tools. If it doesn’t, you have a long day ahead of you. :slight_smile:

Best of luck to you.


Great treatise on “Cinematic Effect”. I’ll definitely extract this text for me to use in future.

thank you

ok thank you soo much

Thanks for the time in providing this information, @Austin. Very useful.

I’m glad you found it useful! Consider it repayment since I used one of your transition PNG files in a project this last weekend. Very nice transition pack!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 90 days. New replies are no longer allowed.