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Picture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot

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ryan loetscherPicture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:06:33 pm

So, by now we all know that these cameras aren't magical, they are tools like anything else with advantages and drawbacks. I have been very pleased with my 5D for my cinema stuff and have my workflow well researched, tested and covered... HOWEVER, I got so excited by the footage that I convinced my work (nature videography) to let me use it there and buy a second camera... and I'm having some issues that are inconsistent in tests. Since I put myself on the line a bit, thought I'd get suggestions.

CU's, awesome! Wide shots, expansive vistas, not so much. I've shot with the different picture presets and got a lot of noise and artifacts in the shadows that didn't hold up during mpeg 2 compression for broadcast. So I switched to my user settings for cinema where I take contrast and sharpness all the way down, saturation 1 notch from all the way down to save pixels and the codec... but that seems a bit too flat. For cinema functions i'm able to manipulate the colors a bit better and add sharpness back in, but in this instance it just seems soft, undefined, muddy. The images are even still a little too contrasty! On a sunny day I have a ton of issues between highlights and shadow, its almost impossible not lose the shadows. My boss's XL-A1 outperformed my camera!

I'm hoping its just my setup... maybe the lenses (70-105 F/4L IS USM for wide shots)... In theory I could see such shots just not being the cameras forte, and I'm hoping that's not the case, cause then I look like an ass!



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Jason JenkinsRe: Picture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:16:25 pm

Have you seen/played with the Technicolor profile? More info and links here: http://philipbloom.net/2011/04/30/technicolor/

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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ryan loetscherRe: Picture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:49:40 pm

Awesome! I'll check that out! I've also realized that I've overlooked a few things... The midday shooting I think causes a lot of issue with the dynamic range of highlight to shadow... but I'm also shooting at 24mm with the 24-105 at F/11 on full frame... that's going to cause some softness and chromatic aberration issues. I'll have to get to know my lenses better than ever before and just really be on top of it!



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ryan loetscherRe: Picture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:59:43 pm

... Also, on an opposing viewpoint. I was talking to the Black Magic guys at NAB and also had a chance to talk to the colorist from The Social Network, and they all seemed to be of the opinion that you should bake in your look with these cameras... the colorist actually said "I can't believe I'm saying this but..." They just felt there wasn't enough room on these codec to play with to go that flat with it... any thoughts about that?



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Jason JenkinsRe: Picture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot
by on May 4, 2011 at 5:08:53 pm

[ryan loetscher] "... Also, on an opposing viewpoint. I was talking to the Black Magic guys at NAB and also had a chance to talk to the colorist from The Social Network, and they all seemed to be of the opinion that you should bake in your look with these cameras... the colorist actually said "I can't believe I'm saying this but..." They just felt there wasn't enough room on these codec to play with to go that flat with it... any thoughts about that?"

Keep in mind that this is a professional colorist that likely has much higher standards than we do. That being said, I think it really depends on the project and on how much time you want to spend in post. I often want to spend less time in post, so I take more care while shooting so I don't have much color timing to do.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Ryan MastRe: Picture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot
by on May 5, 2011 at 10:52:34 pm

[ryan loetscher] "My boss's XL-A1 outperformed my camera!"

It absolutely will. The latitude on the Canon DSLR video is notoriously awful, and you'll lose a lot of color information in the highlights very quickly.

Try playing with the Technicolor profile -- its color reproduction is actually quite good; I've been much happier with that than some of the other wonky color profiles out there like Superflat, etc. It doesn't give much more usable latitude than some of the built-in profiles with the contrast down, but the color is more trustworthy.

I've rarely hit the breaking point of the codec on the 5D/7D/T2i, actually -- shadow noise, harsh highlights, and moire are usually the first problems I'll get in an image. I have an old LOMO FOTON zoom that I love using for exterior shots because it produces such a flat, milky image. It's slow and a little soft, but I can get a touch more latitude out of it, and it naturally softens the image enough to reduce moire issues.

Certain ISOs give you better s/n ratio, too. This explains why.

--
Meteor makes pretty.


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ryan loetscherRe: Picture setting and lens suggestions for specific use shoot
by on May 13, 2011 at 4:08:49 pm

I appreciate your feedback, though it is a little disappointing to come to some of these realizations. I got this camera very excited about my cinema work because it looks so incredibly superior in controlled environments to anything else I can get... in my excitement I sold the idea of using it at work and convinced my boss to replace the Canon XL-A1, and now I've got to make these things look better. I do think getting some lower contrast lenses would help the situation, but I can't afford any. CU of thing on these cameras still look superior, but the expansive vistas and bright sunny days are killing me.

I did notice I was losing a lot of color in the highlights, which seems counter-intuitive for me since more information is stored there. I'll try out the technicolor settings, and will have to really work around the limitations. No going back now.



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