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Flat picture profiles and noise

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Bojan Bojović
Flat picture profiles and noise
on Aug 23, 2015 at 6:05:06 pm

Hello everyone,

I have some problems with Flat picture control presets and my Nikon D7100. This camera is known for horrible banding when lifting shadows too much, and it shows banding always, even at ISO100 when using any of the Flat picture profiles I have.
It is somehow confusing for me, because it is logical that presets do not interfere with sensor and it can not amplify noise or signal, it just reveals it because of the curve applied in the profile, but still my footage is horrible even in the studio with good light.

Here is some example:

http://we.tl/FM7QEKDMJL

I always expose for the highlights, and here some deep shadows and blacks can be solved by applying S curve, but noise and banding is everywhere so it is impossible to mask everything with contrast, even if I make it very strong.

Is there some general rule about Flat picture profiles, where to use them, and where not to use them, I am very confused now?


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Aaron Star
Re: Flat picture profiles and noise
on Aug 24, 2015 at 1:42:26 am
Last Edited By Aaron Star on Aug 24, 2015 at 1:52:18 am

I looked at your sample, and I assume you are referring to the banding in the gradients of the background? The shadows/blacks around her cheek and hair looks ok to me. My monitor on the laptop I am reading on is not that great, so I might be missing something.

Normally on my D5100, I pretty much stick to Portrait and Landscape for most shooting conditions. The Flat profiles I have loaded custom are not much better than shooting in a profile. Reducing Saturation and sharpening for a new profile has been the best I have found. You can add these back into the image in post.

You might want to try recording the HDMI interface as long as you can get a clean HDMI output. Then record to a ninja or Blackmagic intensity card to a 10-bit codec. Assuming the d7100 outputs 10-bit clean video pre-encoder to the HMDI. The 8-bit AVC codec in the Nikon, even with the high bitrate hacks, can cause a lot of banding and blocking in gradient darks. 8-bit only has so many steps between light and dark, and add on top of that compression artifacts.

You may be better off with a newer video device like a C100-300, Sony F-series, or an old RED ONE w/ Nikon mount. These devices will allow you to shoot in a s-log mode, and or codecs which will preserve your studio elegant gradients. Even RAW mode video from one of the Canon DSLRs would give you 12-14bit color gradients, but at the cost of greater post processing times.

Shooting in a Log mode you actually overexpose and then bring down similar to the way we used to shoot film.

Your editing application could be some of the problem too. Make sure all processing is done in an editor capable of 32-bit floating point mode, and not just 8-bit. Transfer all camera original to an intermediate codec like HDCAM SR/SR-lite, XAVC-HD, ProRes, or DNxHD/R. Then do your tweeking in 32-bit mode.

Nikon Profiles - http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/gu5zwt9w/Picture-Contr...


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