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Varicam settings

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simon Morgan
Varicam settings
on May 5, 2008 at 3:30:46 am

Looking at setting up an HPX3000 to match the look and feel of the varicam.

I know there are so many ways to set up the camera that will give it a great look, but just wondered if anyone would post their preferred set up for the camera. I have heard that I can match that in the HPX3000 and get a great image out of it.

I guess since I'm new to the HPX3000 I'm just looking for some help in getting started on a great 'film type' look for the camera... Mostly concerned about gamma, paint, black level settings etc. Would love to get a nice rich look right out of the camera.


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Jesse Rosen
Re: Varicam settings
on May 8, 2008 at 12:45:18 am

Without knowing how your Varicam is set up, it's really impossible to answer this question.

That said, pretty much all of the settings that affect the general look of the image in the Varicam are available in the HPX3000. If you use the Varicam in FILM REC mode, put the HPX3000 in FILM REC to match. For VIDEO REC, choose one of the FILMLIKE gamma modes. I would keep detail very low or off. Matrix settings won't translate exactly - to match a particular look you'd want to put up both cameras pointed at a ChromaDuMonde chart and look at the outputs on a Vectorscope.

If you don't have a particular look that you're trying to match, a little more info on how you intend to use the camera would help. It sounds like you want a real "look" coming out of the camera - perhaps to minimize the amount of correction needed in post. If so, I'd use one of the FILMLIKE gamma modes. 1 & 2 will need the least amount of correction (2 will preserve a bit more highlight detail), though 3 will give you a bit more correction range by giving you a flatter image (though not as flat as FILMREC gamma). I'd leave pedestal at 0. If you want to crush the blacks a bit, use a bit of negative black gamma. You could also raise master gamma a bit, perhaps to .50 or a bit higher if you want a contrastier look.




--
Jesse Rosen
Director of Technical Development
Abel Cine Tech, Inc.
http://www.bustedskull.com


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simon Morgan
Re: Varicam settings
on May 9, 2008 at 4:21:35 am

thanks for the response... Looking at getting a very 'rich' film look right out of the camera.

I'd love nice rich colour, nice high contrast, darker blacks (which I know I can do in post). I guess I'd love to get my picture looking good right out of the camera to save time in post, and to be able to have clients walk away amazed.

Any more suggestions, or just the ones you already gave?

I heard you can paint the camera a million different ways.



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Bob Hayes
Re: Varicam settings
on Jan 31, 2009 at 12:51:26 am

That is the same issue I am dealing with now. I am shooting a television series with the VariCam. I started shooting at .45 Gamma and 500 Dynamic Level. I feel when looking at the monitors it seems washed out with no flesh tones. When I went to color correct the image again looked washed out and flat. I was worried. The color timer was not. With minor tweaks he dialed in exactly the look I wanted. The color timing session took half the time I thought it would. He felt the flat image I was giving him gave him the most latitude to dial it in.

I guess I’m the kind of guy who can’t leave well enough alone. I want the show to look great which it does. I want the color timer to have the best chance to get the maximum out of my footage which he does. But I also feel the closer I get to what the final product will look like the better the final product. I have changed my set ups to .50 Gamma and a 400 Dynamic level to try to get more color depth in the Gamma. I felt like that was the kind of tweaks he was doing in the bay. This doesn’t seem to be a problem until I get into high contrast exteriors. How are you VariCam shooters setting up your cameras when you don’t plan to have high end tape to tape correction?




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john sharaf
Re: Varicam settings
on Jan 31, 2009 at 1:01:42 am

Hi Bob,

You're right about the washed out, desaturated look at high Dynamic range settings. One option is to use the Gamma Correction setting on your Panasonic monitors to preview what it will look like after color correction (or even just Panasonic Gamma Correction on playout from the 1400 deck which has this feature).

For a more what-you-see-is-what-you-get look, your instinct is again correct; reduce the dynamic range to what is appropriate for the scene. That is only use aggressive settings when you need to crush the highlights, and crush the gamma (higher numbers) to make better blacks and a "chrunchier" look. Finally you'll want to paint a matrix from a Chroma du Monde chart that puts the vectors in the boxes and the in-betweens in a straight line between the vectors and evenly spaced at 2.0x gain on the vectorscope.

This is the beauty of this camera, you can create a low contract master for color correction or use the Dynamic range controls for a WYSIWYG look, which is more often the case in TV production where the additional expense of CC is not often budgeted or desired.

JS



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Bob Hayes
Re: Varicam settings
on Jan 31, 2009 at 1:10:00 am

John

Thanks for the quick response. Since I have you on the line. I have been setting my DSC chart up at 1.85 x in Video Rec with knee off. When I go to Film Rec the dsc numbers really crush. So I have been wondering if I go to 2x will I get high color saturation? Will I get noise? Can I get away with using the DSC chart with the camera in Film Rec? Which VariCamp says is a really no no?




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john sharaf
Re: Varicam settings
on Jan 31, 2009 at 1:22:29 am

Bob,

Of course you can use the CDM in Film Rec. I believe there is nomenclature on all the CDM charts stating the correct "blow up" or gain setting. I know on earlier charts it was 1.875, but later and current charts are 2x.

The one weak link is that the color saturation does decrease as you crush the gamma (higher number) and there is no "overall" saturation control in the Varicam to compensate, so this must be left to post. I therefore paint my matrix at 200 dynamic range knowing that that will be the maximum color and I'm aware that as I crush the gamma, the color will decrease. Don't be scared that some of the matrix settings (especially Red) are near or at the max limit, especially if you like a colorful look.

JS





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Bob Hayes
Re: Varicam settings
on Jan 31, 2009 at 1:52:55 am

Thanks again. Funny the VariCamp people say to do it in Video rec. I think I miss posted one element. I have been uusing the CDM at 1.85x but what would happen if I set the magnification at 1.65% would forcing the the matrix wider give me more color?

Also I when I switch from Video rec to Film rec the colors that were nailed in the boxes at 1.85% are now half way to the boxes. If I understand corectly you say it is OK to push the Mtrix wider if I can still maintain symetry.



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john sharaf
Re: Varicam settings
on Jan 31, 2009 at 2:04:08 am

Whenever I gave presentations at Varicamps I always used Film Rec and 2x on the vectorscope with CDM charts. I think you'll find that you're already at the end of the matrix's range at 2x (+31), and there's always the danger of too much or "illegal" color, especially with broadcast. I've also found on ocassions that this setting is too aggressive if there are really rich chroma elements in the scene. Here again the lack of overall saturation control can make your life difficult. When I'm confronted with this I'll often raise the gamma (lower number) to desaturate if I'm forced to.



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