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Old August 26th, 2010, 09:21 PM   #1
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truly flat settings for 5d?

So it seems the general consensus is to shoot flat and do your color polishing in post. I've seen advice to use the neutral picture profile setting, with sharpness all the way down, and I've also come across this crooked path setting (contrast and saturation all the way down, color tone 1, sharpness 1 -meaning one notch from the very lowest setting). So who's right?


And how does this affect ones lighting? For instance, we're planning to shoot what should be a pretty contrasty movie set mostly at night. So do we, even though we're working with a flatter picture profile, light as contrasty as we want, and plan to take it further in post, or light flatter that we really want, knowing we can push it later?
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Old August 26th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #2
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Ok, research with google pulls up a variety of results that keep claiming

sharpness - 0
contrast - -4 (all the way left)
Sat - 2 (2 notches left of center)

is the way to go.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 12:55 AM   #3
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See this tutorial, and try Superflat...go to the actual Vimeo page and you will have a link for download.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 01:18 AM   #4
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Thanks. I took a look at that, and unless he does it in the last 30-45 seconds, he never actually tells you HOW to set up the cam.

Also, I keep reading the superflat is a bad idea (several threads on here, for instance), that it even its original creator said so.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
Ok, research with google pulls up a variety of results that keep claiming

sharpness - 0
contrast - -4 (all the way left)
Sat - 2 (2 notches left of center)

is the way to go.
I've never bothered with super, ultra, mega, flat custom picture profiles. I know they have their advocates but I get what I need from the above settings. Although I am now working with saturation at -1. I prefer to de-saturate a little in post if necessary. Contrast all the way down is a no-brainer for me. Post will give you the flexibility of tweaking highlights and/OR blacks whereas in-camera-contrast will blow out highlights and crush-blacks. -4 contrast is an absolute must in situations where you have high dynamic range. As for sharpness minimising moire seems to be the logic behind the 0 value.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #6
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Doesn't cost anything to try the various Picture Styles floating around out there, and see what works for you in your situation. I grade virtually everything and find it much easier with the flat setting.

The whole idea of these flat settings is to preserve as much information as you can, so you can stylize to your hearts desire in post. When someone says they don't like the idea of using a flat setting, what they are doing is locking their image into a specific look that will not stand up as well to post alterations. You should be able to shoot flat, and then get the same image the other shooter gets, and also get an image that you could take other directions too.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 12:48 PM   #7
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right and thats what im trying to do...find the flattest setting that preserves the most dynamic range without throwing anything away. superflat is allegedly somewhat destructutive. i wonder what setting the saturation lower is supposed to accomplish? the contrast and sharpness i understand
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Old August 27th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
When someone says they don't like the idea of using a flat setting, what they are doing is locking their image into a specific look that will not stand up as well to post alterations. You should be able to shoot flat, and then get the same image the other shooter gets, and also get an image that you could take other directions too.
Absolutely - except that most of these profiles that have additional flattening done through the canon profile software don't give you a linear flattening of the image due to the way the control works. You end up with uneven patches of excessively flattened dynamic range which can't be recovered well in post and seem to particularly screw up skintones - skin looks plasticky gray/pink. You definitely want to go as flat as possible in camera for the reasons you mentioned, but it's best to stick to using the camera's contrast control rather than the picture profile editor.

Personally I'd recommend sharpening all the way off as well, not just due to aliasing/moire. I tried it at one step up from the bottom on my last project and found that faces/skin texture looked artificially sharpened even at that low setting.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 02:31 PM   #9
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Evan:

I have to say I have seen the plasticy thing occasionally. The pink/grey sounds more like a color balance setting, but I am going to check out the straight settings you recommend in my next shoot.

I am attaching two examples of before and after from two scenes in the last film I shot... an entry into the Canon Beyond the Still Competition.
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truly flat settings for 5d?-image4.jpg   truly flat settings for 5d?-image5.jpg  

truly flat settings for 5d?-image6.jpg   truly flat settings for 5d?-image7.jpg  

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Old August 27th, 2010, 05:01 PM   #10
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Plasticy thing seems to be a canon issue. . .I have an XL2 and certain settings will give you the mushy pink/grey skin tones.


Yeah. . .I didn't even realize that picture profile editor thing existed till yesterday. . .I thought all these profiles were a simple combination of contrast/sharpness/sat/color tone.

I was not planning on messing with the ppe. . .just messing with the in cam controls.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:57 PM   #11
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How have users approached camera settings when using Cineform as the editing codec? Have you still kept sharpness and color settings flat? I have yet to spend anytime with my 5D mkII doing video as it was bought with still photography in mind, but I have a shoot coming up that I' like to have the 5D available. I've picked up a follow focus and a nice external monitor to help take care of that aspect (plus some practice!!!).

Thanks.
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Old August 28th, 2010, 12:29 AM   #12
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ON a related note, I was doing some informal testing with available light night shooting using a 50mm 1.8 prime, the settings described above (neutral pp with -4 sharpness, -4 contrast, -2 sat), at ISOs 1250 and 1600.

I can definitely get a picture, but, I also get grain/noise in the areas that are about to fall off into black (roof or street barely registering, hit by streetlights). Is this just the way it is at that high of an ISO in that low light of a condition, or am I doing something wrong?
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Old August 28th, 2010, 12:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Stuart Brontman View Post
How have users approached camera settings when using Cineform as the editing codec? Have you still kept sharpness and color settings flat? I have yet to spend anytime with my 5D mkII doing video as it was bought with still photography in mind, but I have a shoot coming up that I' like to have the 5D available. I've picked up a follow focus and a nice external monitor to help take care of that aspect (plus some practice!!!).

Thanks.
Actually Stuart, that is all I use... I edit Cineform with Vegas. There are some specific things you need to do get an accurate preview, but I have long been using Cineform and love the benefits it provides.
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