I watched the trailers to a couple of Christian films, I want to say something about a subject that can make or break the success of any film. We are competing with Hollywood and their high quality movies (cameras, cinematography, acting, storyline, etc.). Christian films, outside of Hollywood, are immediately typecast before anyone watches the trailer. They’re viewed as being sub-standard on acting, screenplay, special effects, etc.
“American Sniper” was filmed digitally, while effects were added to the film in post production. One of the trailers I saw recently was also about war, but it looked like it was filmed in someone’s backyard because the picture looked so good. It was high definition with barely any color grading (if at all).
There’s a lot of Christian movies being filmed with DSLR’s nowadays, so you need to utilize everything in your tool belt to counter that crisp, clear HD look that your 24 MP camera is creating. For example, if you’re filming a movie about the Iraq war, remember what you’re filming about. Is war pretty? You’re using a $3000 DSLR to film the movie; will your viewers think it’s real when the picture looks so good? They might be watching a movie that was filmed with the same DSLR they have at home! So what have you done in post production with that DSLR footage?
In the case of a war movie, make it black and white and gritty. If not black and white, then simply add a gritty look to it. About color grading, you can use the color green because military uniforms and tanks are green.
Are you filming a drama? When we go through drama in our personal lives, does it feel good? No, so make the movie dark and contrast in post production. Don’t leave it in beautiful HD!
If you’re filming a violent car accident and the sun is shining on filming day, get rid of the colors in post. Darken it. Contrast it. The color brown can represent dread, so utilize that in post-production.
“The Matrix” – When the main character was in the matrix, it was greenish. If one of us filmed that movie, would we have done the same thing, or just release the film to the theaters?
Filming is an art, and it takes strenuous work (or it should) to get it right. But that’s what’s great about directing a movie. Most people wake up every the morning to go work on what someone else invented, but a movie director gets to invent every day while shooting a film.
What are good Christian movies? Answer: Our films will always be based on the fact that we’re competing with Hollywood.