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Untold
cine alta
on Sep 9, 2006 at 7:20:09 pm

Hi,

I am looking in the manual for more specific info about the characteristic curve of the Cine Alta 1-4 but it does not seem to be there. Does anyone know anything about these settings?

We are possibly going to make a print of my shoot but I still want something good for broadcast. If I had my way I would mess with the black stretch and gamma but there appears to be no black stretch. Any ideas?

Basically I am just looking for the most film like look.

Best,
jared


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john sharaf
Re: cine alta
on Sep 9, 2006 at 8:20:36 pm

Jarred,

Are you asking about the /3 or the "R" version?

I'm more familiar with the /3. There are five "Gamma Tables"; number 5 is the most "film like" and 3 and 4 are more universal. Black stretch in Sony-speak is known as Black Gamma.

In the "R" version there are four additional Gamma presets known as "Hyper Gamma", these seize control of the knee function (much like the Varicam's Dynamic Level control) and compress the highlights in a predictable fashion. This is also a characteristic of film, namely extended dynamic range. Be careful of the "Auto Knee" function as it has been known to visably "seek" like other auto functions like iris does.

Also you should consider the color pallet; the 709 setting is considered by some to be too garish for filmout.

Finally you should also minimize the detail to eliminate an enhanced sharpness that is particular to video. Most folks I know run the detail at -60 or 70 if not turn it off completely.

These are just some guidelines, I recommend hiring or consulting with a qualified DIT before your shoot.

Good luck,

JS


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untold
Re: cine alta
on Sep 10, 2006 at 10:30:36 pm

Hi John,

Thanks so much for the advice.

Unfortunately, I am not sure if I am shooting with the /3 or r version. This is the first time I used this camera. i mostly shoot panasonic. Anyway, the camera that i am using is Sony xdcam hd f350. I might of left that important piece of info out in the first post.

On this camera it does not look like there is hyper gamma which would have been great nor are there 5 gamma settings. There are only 4: std/ cine 1/ cine 2/ cine 3/ cine 4. In this case is cine 4 the most film like?

Also, where do I find the 709 setting that you were referring to?

Thanks for the warning on the detail level and also the black stretch that I was looking for.

Best,
Jared


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john sharaf
Re: cine alta
on Sep 11, 2006 at 1:19:40 am

If it's true that there is no info in the manual regarding the Gamma tables, you'll have to figure it out yourself! I'd recommend the use if a DSC Chroma de Monde chart and a waveform vectorscope. Light the chart evenly and obseve the effects of switching between the four settings. The 709 setting should be on the Matrix page of the menu.

JS


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Steve Wargo
Re: cine alta
on Sep 11, 2006 at 5:42:23 am

Jared,

Not to nit pick but telling us that it is an F-350 is the most important detail you can supply. This forum was created for the Sony F-900 camera and the F-350 is a brand new baby. Because neither John nor I own a 350, we have to depend on others for answers that rely on owbership level experience.

Also, when I add std,/cine1/cine2/cine3/cine4 together, I get 5 settings. But that's probably because I got straight Cs in grade school math until I took algebra in the fifth grade. Then, it got interesting. Funny how a challenge can make one rise to the occasion.



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Simon Wyndham
Re: cine alta
on Sep 12, 2006 at 3:15:22 pm

Cine 2 has the widest contrast range but a very flat picture as a result.

You need to clarify what you mean by a 'filmlook'. Do you mean a filmlook similar to graded film, or do you mean a filmlook in terms of a film neg that needs grading etc?

If the latter, turn the detail OFF and use Cine 2. You will need to grade though. As the others mentioned, the detail setting is important and I would thoroughly recommend turning it off completely. There isn't a negative detail setting to my knowledge on the 350 and 330 that there is on the 750 etc.

Back to lurk mode.


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untold
Re: cine alta
on Sep 13, 2006 at 3:05:18 am

Thanks Symon,

I have shot for the past 2 days doing just as you suggested. I turned the detail off and shot in cine 2. I definitely notice that the picture looks a little flat.

How do I make it more dynamic through grading? Can you explain this process a bit.

Thanks for the help!

Jared


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untold
Re: cine alta
on Sep 13, 2006 at 3:47:23 am

Hi Symon,

One more question regarding color grading. if i turn the detail off and shoot in cine 2 and underexpose a 1/2 stop does the colorist have all the info on the digital video to brighten it 1/2 stop and mess around with the image?

is this the process that you'd reccomend?

Thanks again,
Jared


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john sharaf
Re: cine alta
on Sep 13, 2006 at 3:52:46 am

Untold,

Once you turn off the detail that's all she wrote in that regard, you can't sharpen it in post, only defocus!

With the compression of the XDCAM (that is what you're shooting?) I'd recommend you expose it as best you can, trying to "turn it up" later might reveal dark compression artifacts. Treat it like reversal or slide film; expose for the highlights. It's better to turn it down rather than turn it up. That doesn't mean overexpose it either!

JS


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Simon Wyndham
Re: cine alta
on Sep 13, 2006 at 5:51:57 pm

John, turning the detail off is essential for filmlook. Remember, turning the detail off does not actually reduce the detail in the picture. It just gets rid of artificial edge enhancement. And yes, you can add it back in post since the sharpening tools in an NLE are basically just doing what the edge enhancement in the camera would have been doing.

But you don't want to do this for a filmlook. Just leave the detail off (actually I shoot with the detail off no matter what I am doing. I'd much have a natural, smooth image, than a digital looking one which having the detail turned on gives at all amplitudes). Modern cameras are plenty sharp enough not to need extra digital enhancement IMHO. Especially high def ones.

Anothe reason I abhore detail enhancement in the camera is because of modern television sets. This is the factor many people never take into account. A grade one production monitor is free from any fancy electronic jiggery pokery to interfere with the image, so that it can display it as purely as possible. The average home television set is a different matter however. Most televisions come factory set with silly amounts of digital edge enhancement, AI enhancement, and all the rest of it. Most viewers never adjust their sets after they buy them. Some sets don't allow these functions to be turned off.

Now imagine, you have your digital enhancement turned on in the camera, and then your final footage is viewed on a modern set. What happens? The digital edge enhancement that was applied in-camera, is now extra digitally edge enhanced by the television set that it is finally viewed on!

This is one reason British Digital Television can look so bad. Watch the BBC News on a normal modern TV set. You can see white edge ringing around the black edge ringing and vice versa!

Lastly, with the lower bitrate codecs at least, having the detail turned on gives the compression scheme a really hard time. Turning the detail off allows the compression to deal with the important real detail rather than having all its bandwidth taken away by all those cartoon outlines. :-)

Untold, as a very basic way of bringing back the picture in post to look more dynamic I would recommend either a Levels filter or Curves. Levels is the simplest way, but Curves give you more control. Let the waveform display be your guide. The trick is to bring it back without crushing any of the detail in either the highlights or the lowlights. More than I can describe in a simple forum post.

As for underexposing, I don't think there is any hard and fast rule. You have to be careful with the Cine 2 gamma curve because it already darkens the picture somewhat as a result of its very shallow curve. Cine 2 only ever reaches 100%, even with the knee turned off. In fact there is no point using the knee with Cine 2 AFAIAC. DCC is also made rather redundant from what I can tell because it has 100% output for around 450% input, which AFAIK is the limit of DCC in Fix mode on this camera anyway.

So the best thing would be to use a damn good monitor, and if you can, a waveform display for critical evaluation. I would err on the side of saying to be careful of underexposing with Cine 2.

Something else I would say to be careful of is banding. Cine 2 captures a huge contrast range. But it does so at the expense of tonal range. I have found that I can push it a decent degree in post. But all the same, be careful with the grading.



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untold
Re: cine alta
on Sep 14, 2006 at 3:15:08 am

Hi Symon,

Thanks for the advice. I am definitely not shooting with the detail on and i will be careful with underexposing in Cine 2. If this is your best suggestion for the film look with this camera than I will continue with it. It seems to me that it captures the most info and from there in post I will have the most leeway to manipulate it, right?

One last thought/ worry. Can you brighten the image about a stop with out adding artifacts etc in post.


Thanks again for the help.

Jared


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Michael Brennan
Re: cine alta
on Sep 17, 2006 at 8:42:17 am



SInce the f350 does not have a progressve ccd and incamera processing converts it to progressive there is a real loss of resolution in progressive mode as well as a slight delay in viewfinder.

This is not the best camera for filmout because of this.
May I suggest you test shooting interlace then deinterlace in post, this may be better than shooting progresive in camera (probably not but worth a try)

Also if you have a lot of static wide shots of landscapes city scapes ect consider shooting these in interlace mode as interlace movement is not noticible in a static frame with small movements happening within frame.




Doing any of the above needs agreement with post house!
Get the best lens possible.
Let us know if you try any of the above.
I would think a true progressive digital SD camera with HD lens or the 720p cameras from Panasonic would deliver a more pleasing result (for similar money?)




Mike Brennan


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