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Old May 10th, 2011, 02:57 PM   #1
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Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Hi all, my friend and I shot this music video for the Moby, Saatchi & Saatchi and Vimeo "Hello, Future" challenge. I was cinematographer on this one, and went with the new Technicolor picture style while shooting. It was great in the daylight, and when shooting at night showed tons of detail on the LCD.

I did however have problems with an incredible amount of noise in some shots in post. Nearly impossible to remove with levels adjustments of crushing the blacks and adjusting the curves. I did my color correction in Synthetic Aperture 3.

Any suggestions or tips on how to shoot with less noise on this picture style? I used a nice degrain filter (NeatVideo) to get rid of the noise in spots where my color correction couldn't do the job, but I don't like using anything that softens the image if I can help it:

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Old May 11th, 2011, 07:52 AM   #2
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

I liked your video, and wanted to thank you for posting it. I enjoy seeing the work others are doing with these amazing cameras.

Jeff
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Old May 11th, 2011, 10:33 AM   #3
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Thanks Jeff! We just about broke ourselves making this in a week and a half for the contest deadline.

I had a really difficult time getting rid of the banding at the end (there's still some in there) when compressing out. I think it's because the color doesn't have enough variation? Not really sure, anyone know how to fix that kind of banding on the final export? It's not showing up in the AE window.

We're pretty amazed at what we're able to do on this camera. We shot some scenes on the 7D at 60fps so we could have a slow mo feel. All the parts where people are mouthing the lyrics we filmed at 60fps, and had them sing to a version of the song that we sped up to 200%.

In post we cut the frame rate to 30fps and they matched the song in real time, and it gave the scenes where they're singing along that floating feeling.

Most of this was shot on the 5D MKII, about 80% of it, especially the night and low light stuff.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 12:16 AM   #4
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Great work on the video, very well planned and executed. Good luck in the challenge.

Regarding the banding, I'm actually starting to think CineStyle may be too flat. I did a lot of shooting in bright sunlight the other day, and it really helped get proper exposure in the bright areas while retaining details in the shade & shadows. Problem is looking at the footage in Color it seems like all of the picture information is compressed into roughly the middle 60% of the histogram. This wouldn't be an issue with a 10 bit or higher capture format, but since we're stuck with a total of 8 bits it means there's only about 7 bits of actual picture data retained. Thus it doesn't surprise me that it would result in noticeable banding with large gradient areas. I haven't had time to do further tests, I'd like to see what happens when you adjust the contrast setting in camera to maximize the distribution across the histogram based on the actual contrast in the scene, rather than just running it at -4 all the time.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 12:20 AM   #5
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Great work on the video. I really enjoyed it. The banding wasn't distracting at all. So I don't think you need to worry about it. Good luck on the Moby challenge!
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Old May 12th, 2011, 11:36 AM   #6
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Evan: Thanks, I'm keeping my fingers crossed : )

Regarding the banding, I'm thinking it might be too flat as well. There's nearly zero variation in solid colors in low light, making it hard to get a good varied gradient that an export to .mp4 can handle. It's even worse in .mov h.264.

I think I might matte those shots to a 4-color gradient mask underneath and drop the opacity to about 94% to see if it breaks up the color just enough to get rid of the problem.

Thanks for breaking down the problems with the CineStyle on a technical level. It really helps to know the mechanics of what's going on under the hood. I noticed the concentrated histogram as well - night and day. I did some tests back and forth between Neutral at -2 Saturation -4 Contrast and CineStyle at -2 Saturation -4 Contrast and could see the histogram expanding out across the spectrum more evenly in Neutral and then bunching back up as you describe in CineStyle.

I think I'm going to shoot in Neutral from now on. It doesn't preserve the shadows and light areas as well, but if you work at it you can put your footage in the can the way you want it. I'm moving toward a "Put it in the can as close to the way you want to see it in post as possible" attitude rather than "Film flat and create your style later" mentality. I've realized the closer you get it to the way you want it while filming, the less color correction you have to do later, and the less color correction, the less noise.

Osman: Thanks! I was really worried about the banding, so to hear it doesn't diminish the final scenes from a set of fresh eyes is relieving.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 02:21 PM   #7
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

I think the "shooting close to the end goal" thing depends on the intended grade. I'll be shooting a series of interviews late next week. I'll do a test shoot beforehand with both neutral and CineStyle and see what works best for my conditions and grade. Since I'll use controlled lighting and will be getting things close with minimal grading required, I bet neutral will be the way to go.

In fact, I'll be mainly grading with lights. I'll use three tungsten lights on the subject while lighting the background with 1/4, 1/2, or 1/1 CTO gels to give a taste of the orange/cyan look.

Were I shooting outdoors with nothing but a reflector, I'd bet on CineStyle.

In any case, I'll test both and figure out which works best for me in this particular case.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 07:44 PM   #8
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Were I shooting outdoors with nothing but a reflector, I'd bet on CineStyle.

In any case, I'll test both and figure out which works best for me in this particular case.
Definitely wisdom in that : ) It'd be foolish to just go with one picture style no matter what. Adapt and overcome.

I agree, it pays to practice and do little test runs so you know what you'll get in different conditions with different settings too. I didn't do enough prep on this one and dove in head first. Filmed a whole major project on the new CineStyle after only a day of testing, and didn't put it through the full range of conditions we'd be filming under.

But I gotta say, CineStyle did treat me nice in broad daylight.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

I just updated my Marshall V-LCD70XP-HDMI monitor's firmware. The false colors now work properly. This should be a big help in deciding when to go from Neutral to Cinestyle. If I can set up a shot where almost nothing is magenta (crushed black) or orange (overblown white), I probably don't need CineStyle. On the other hand, if I want detail in those magenta/orange areas and changing exposure just squeezes the balloon from one to the other, I'll use CineStyle for sure.

It's nice to have options!
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Old May 12th, 2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

I'm going to post this here as well in the other thread about the technocolor profile.

On a site I read, in their weekly news letter, they had an article discussing what a LUT is. It was written by a professional colorist. Basically he was saying a LUT used to make you flat video look nice for editing, but should be removed, so that the flat picture could be the base for coloring.

I found it interesting, cause I was wondering about that myself.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 12:06 AM   #11
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
I just updated my Marshall V-LCD70XP-HDMI monitor's firmware. The false colors now work properly. This should be a big help in deciding when to go from Neutral to Cinestyle. If I can set up a shot where almost nothing is magenta (crushed black) or orange (overblown white), I probably don't need CineStyle. On the other hand, if I want detail in those magenta/orange areas and changing exposure just squeezes the balloon from one to the other, I'll use CineStyle for sure.

It's nice to have options!
Jon:

Where do you get it and how doyou do the firmware update ??
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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:29 AM   #12
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Hi Chris,

I got the update information by e-mailing customer service. You need a PC with a serial port and a serial to mini-USB cable. Marshall can provide the cable. Just call sales.

I have e-mailed you the details.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #13
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Ah! False colors. I completely forgot, if you have a T2i (550D) with the latest release of the Magic Lantern firmware, it has false colors now.

(My personal camera is a 550D, and I use my friend's 5D MK II to film with when it's available as it was with this music video.)

It might be a useful gauge to bring into the field if you're filming on a 5D Mark II. Different sensor sizes, so it wouldn't be perfect. But if you got the exposure looking close on both LCDs with the same picture style loaded up, you could flip over to false colors on the 550D and use it as another tool to dial in on the right settings.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 11:52 AM   #14
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

Actually, the first Magic Lantern false colors were incorporated in a version of Magic Lantern being developed by AJ Newman. Alex ported AJ Newman's false color concept to the Magic Lantern for the Canon 5D. If you are going to try the Magic Lantern 5D firmware by AJ Newman, you need to look for this download the AJ5.5 download. He prosted it as a test version under test.zip, but if anyone wants to try it, I can try to get more information. I have been testing, and it is spectacular, and appears to mimic the Marshall monitor color scheme. This Magic Lantern version also has the typical sound control. It is great for shooting off the shoulder and using a loupe in particular, or in very quick set ups. However, it only operates on Canon firmware version 2.04, which I downgraded back to, in order to use it. I do not miss the higher version of firmware.

The way it is set up is you turn it on in the Magic Lantern internal menu, then simple click the "joy stick" button to toggle on and off.

Menus are pretty too. See pic below.
Attached Thumbnails
Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle-ajmenulook.bmp  
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Old May 13th, 2011, 07:43 PM   #15
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Re: Music video shot using Technicolor CineStyle

I just did some casual tests using CineStyle and Neutral where I had a high contrast background and filmed some skin tones. It was a bit odd for a DSLR shot as the background was in focus and the skin tones weren't. This made for smooth tones that are easier to evaluate.

I put both through Colorista II and went for blue mids and shadows and orange highlights. I lowered the overall saturation to look pleasing. I left the color curve of Neutral flat and adjusted the color curve of CineStyle to a similar contrast feel.

As expected, CineStyle wins when it comes to taming the lows and highs. I could keep detail in both areas where I could not with the Neutral style. The tradeoff is that the CineStyle image has more quantization error (not as many bits) in the skin tones. This isn't at all surprising. When increasing contrast, we're increasing gain in the mid tones, and we get noise.

One nice surprise is that I was able to grade more of a blue hue into the shadows with CineStyle. I guess I could lift the blacks in Neutral to give myself some room for the blue hue, but this would have resulted in flat, blue surfaces, which would look bad. With CineStyle, I can still get a deep blue hue, but the very darkest areas are still black.

For my shoot under controlled lights, I will almost certainly go with Neutral. These are interviews. The faces matter the most. I don't need an aggressive grade. I can give the background a blue tint with gels. If I get some shadows on a jacket or some blown out reflections in the background, I can live with it. I can't live with compromised skin tones though.

Another issue is that CineStyle lifts the blacks so much that the Marshall's false colors don't give you much of an indication as to how shallow it's getting down there. With Standard, it's really clear where you've reached the end of the scale.

My approach will be to start with Neutral, light and expose, look at the false colors, and then decide if I need CineStyle. It really depends on the contrast of the scene and the target look. If I want a heavier grade and will add film noise for a gritty output, CineStyle would be perfect.

As always, know your tools - and know your vision!
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