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Making HD Picture "Pretty"

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W. Lawrence Stevens
Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 17, 2010 at 4:49:56 pm

We are shooting the new PMW-350 Excam and this is our first experience with true 1080 HD. We shoot glamour for pay per view television and are known for a very polished and attractive production value. My previous rig was a Betacam DXC-637 and I was using a Tiffen SoftFX2 for diffusion. The output was beautiful.

The new rig is amazing but the output is just a bit harsh and stark for our taste. We are looking for a more painted and dare I say, "organic" look shooting 60i. The SoftFX filter does not seem to be working as it just makes the picture "milky" now.

What are people using these days for HD diffusion to make HD output look pretty? There are so many filter options and I wonder what the consensus is, if any? Trying them one by one could get expensive obviously. Any clear winners?

What about reducing the "detail" parameter in the camera menu? If so, what are people typically doing? Thanks for any input!


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john sharaf
Re: Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 17, 2010 at 4:54:41 pm

Lawrence,

First off, I'd run the detail level down about 25%. Most cameras come with detail too high, and it's only to be expected as the manufacturer wants to give you a "sharp" picture. As regards filtration, in HD, I recommend using half the strength that you're used to using in SD. For example if you're used to a #2, then use a #1 instead. I think you'll be a lot happier with these adjustments.

JS



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Todd Terry
Re: Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 17, 2010 at 5:05:40 pm

John is right, as usual. You might even turn the detail level just a SMIDGE more than that, as an experiment.

I'd probably not filter too much on location, and try to soften the look in post. Have you attempted to reduce the harshness at the post stage? Alternately, you might play with some rear-of-lens filtration (black nylon, etc,), but I'm not sure that would give you exactly what you are looking for either.

And.... "glamour photography"... is that what the kids are calling it these days? Haha... :)

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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W. Lawrence Stevens
Re: Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 17, 2010 at 6:46:03 pm

Thanks Todd. Good advice. We have not tried to post anything yet but that is coming very soon. I am assuming there are alot of software/post options to achive the look I am after as well.

Re: Glamour, that's what I call it most often. I'm published in Penthouse every month (for my still photography work) and I often say I'm a "nature" photographer :)


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W. Lawrence Stevens
Re: Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 17, 2010 at 6:40:21 pm

John: thank you so much for our quick reply. I have tried a SoftFX1 recently and its pretty decent but not quite right. When using that filter, I increased the detail by 3 clicks out of 100 (very minor) because I was doing a similar thing on the Betacam. I am thinking this is going to be a long process of trial and error :)

Thank you again.


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John Fishback
Re: Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 17, 2010 at 8:03:30 pm

There are many post options. If you edit with Final Cut, Apple Color which comes with the suite is an amazing grading tool. It comes with a variety of presets, but many others are available from 3rd parties. With Color (or any post option) you can always change your mind. Also checkout Red Giant/Magic Bullet for a variety of tools - Colorista II and Looks.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.3, Motion 4.0.3, Comp 3.5.3, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.3)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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todd mcmullen
Re: Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 19, 2010 at 2:00:15 am

I am using a classic soft efx on a show I am shooting on a panavised f35
Never more than a 1 but sometimes highlights are a little blown out for my taste
But it cuts the edge fairly well


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Mark Suszko
Re: Making HD Picture "Pretty"
on Sep 20, 2010 at 4:48:35 pm

Magic Bullet fan here, but also check out the electronic makeup filter plug-in made by Sheffield Softworks; basically adds diffusion only to skin details.


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