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Old January 19th, 2013, 06:50 PM   #1
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Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

Greetings,

I have done searches of various websites regarding how to get the most out of this camera. My findings have been slim.

I was hoping someone who has used this camera extensively could chime in and share what settings allows one to get the most out of this camera.

There is much discussion about picture profiles for the 5D Mk II -- do the findings for this camera apply to the III as well?

Vincent Laforet has a post about setting up the Canon 5D Mk II & III where he states:

"Make sure that "Sharpness" is turned all the way down. Set "Contrast" to a setting of "-4," and "Saturation" to a setting of "-2."

Is this an ideal setting for the 5D Mk III? I notice this was the setting used on the 5D Mk III in the comparison to the BMCC video.

How far to push the flat picture styles on the 5D Mk III? Flaat_10, 11, 12? Techniocolor Cinestyle?

Then I find on another forum a member stating:

-----

I’ve done a bit of testing with the 5D3. To get the best results:

1. Turn off in-camera sharpening (set to 0).
2. Use IBP mode. I-frame does not get deblocked in PPro CS5.5 and FCP (or there is some other issue).
3. Batch rename clips from MOV to MPG to work around a PPro CS5.5 bug, or use CS5. Clips will then play real-time. This will likely be fixed with CS6.
4. Sharpen clips using a convolution sharpen: GPU accelerated “Sharpen” in PPro. I have found Sharpen 30-48 looks good. This will allow trading off low low-aliasing for increased sharpness, depending on the shot.

-----

And then I notice a debate debate about the IPB versus the I codecs, depending on how much motion you have in your short.

Regarding the codec's I've seen several people make this statement:

"As for ISO & noise: that's only with ALL-I. IPB looks excellent. From what I can see, ALL-I provides more noise but not more detail or resolution'

I also own a Panasonic GH2 which I acquired around the same time as my 5D Mk III and someone on a GH2 forum told me the following was the settings they used to mix their 5D Mk III with the GH2:

"Best thing to do is use the smooth setting -2 -2 -1 -2 on the GH2. For the 5D, I use the flaat_10p profile and then I just colour grade in post until I get my desired effect!"

Then there is of course the process of adding sharpening and denoise-ing in post.

I would be grateful to hear from any members who have had a chance to test out this camera.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 01:19 AM   #2
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

Hi
You'll get, probably one different answer from everyone. But what I find working well for me is using the Cinestyle PP (aperently it should work better with 5DIII then with generation 1 DSLR's).
I like to CC and grade in editing (most because I like to learn) to make it look the way I like.
I do put sharpening on in editing, around 20 (I use EDIUS).
I do like this camera more and more and I'm looking forward to the upgrade coming in April.
To get the picture best exposed I got and monitor with false colour that helps me to judge if I keep the shadow and/or highlight.
Why I like this camera is because it is a really god still camera and when handeled right it can shoot some really nice video.

I too read a lot of opinion on how to set up the camera and after reading I do some test's. Above is the way I shoot now. So this is just one more opinion for you to judge.

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Old January 20th, 2013, 10:42 AM   #3
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

And to support Markus' point I like the opposite, I don't want to grade in post, I want it looking the way I want out of the camera and on the LCD. So I bring all of the those settings up a tick except sharpness which is up 2. I have found that compensates well for the natural softness of this camera. So, to recap, it's sharpness down a tick from 0, saturation and contrast down 2.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 04:35 PM   #4
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

Thank you for the replies. It's good to hear about different approaches.

Some addendum's:

I've noticed some people proposing using the Prolost Flat settings ( Prolost - Blog - ProlostFlat ) instead of picture profiles:

"For shooting video, Iíve set up every Canon HDSLR Iíve owned the same way since the very beginning, and the 5D Mark III is no different.

Start with the Neutral Picture Style
Set Sharpness to zeroóall the way to the left
Set Contrast all the way to the left
Set Saturation two notches to the left

Thatís it. Thatís Prolost Flatóthe Picture Style of choice for Vincent Laforet, Philip Bloom, Jason Wingrove, and many others."

Also on the Prolost site is a mention of the tools used to match the 5D MkIII with the BMCC:

"Thereís also one 5D Mark III shot. Magic Bullet Denoiser and Colorista II were essential in getting it to match with the BMC footage."

I found a reference elsewhere to the following settings used for a project:

"Filmed using the Cinestyle Picture Profile, Sharpness: 0, Contrast: -4, Saturation: -2, Color Tone: 0, ISO: 160, Shutter set at 1/50th for entire film."

Some general comments I found:

-----

"Now that you say, "grain" again, it made me wonder whether you have Highlight Tone Priority set to "on"? I played around with this once and found that it added significant noise to my shots, even at low ISO. From that limited amount of playing around, I adopted the rule to always have Highlight Tone Priority set to OFF. Perhaps this isn't what is happening with your footage, but I thought I'd mention it on the chance that it was.

I've had no issues with sharpening in post with the 5D3, even at high ISO."

----

Poster 1: "Faithful, +1 Sharpness, -2 Contrast and -2 Saturation. I think cinestyle works a bit better on the 5D3 than it did on the 2, but if I'm not trying to do alot of grading the previously mentioned settings work great and I've used them for literally hundreds of videos."

Poster 2: "I prefer neutral (and possibly visioncolor, check it out) to faithful, which has some weird color quirks, but the above is a fine recommendation. Prolost has a good recommended look, but it looks a bit softer since there's no sharpening.

Really, there's no way to win with the 5d. The footage is always soft and noisy and the tonality is pretty poor. There are ways to make it worse by going too compressed and sharpened (standard) or too soft and flat (cinestyle) in which case you lose DR or tonality, but any decent look (such as the above or prolost flat or visioncolor) can capture all the available dynamic range and resolution, it's kind of just a choice of if you want in-camera sharpening (more halos, less mosquito noise) and a less tweakable look with decent tonality out of camera or you want more adjustability (so you can intercut, but you'll need to do more work in post). For the money the footage is amazing and lighting and composition trump camera system, but you can only put so much lipstick on a pig. Compared with a video-specific system the mark III is weak... So just embrace it for what it is.

Prolost flat is nice, though. Google it. Vision color is not bad if you don't want to grade. Great colors."

-----
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Old January 20th, 2013, 06:04 PM   #5
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

It's very interesting how quickly we forget the "revolution" that these cameras caused when they first came out. If this is too soft and flat and lifeless for you(or whoever) that just makes me feel sad for them. I am still jumping backflips happy over the image I get from the mkIII and will never forget the mushy lifeless image I used to get from real video cameras like the Canon A1.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 01:40 PM   #6
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

The "grade in the camera or in post" question depends on your intended look. If you want a stylized look, this must be done in post. (Think about the green/silver Matrix look, orange/teal Transformers look, or a burnt umber Western look.) If you want a more natural presentation for documentaries and interviews, you can often get this in-camera.

That said, there might be challenging shots, like a backlit interview, where you want a natural look but you want to avoid clipping and don't want a silhouette. In that case, use something flat to extend the dynamic range. You might get lucky and nail the levels, but to get the ideal look, you might want to apply a tone curve in post to get the right balance.

And don't forget about conformance. While you might get a collection of great looking shots, they might not edit together cleanly without some grading to achieve consistency. If you shot for a punchy, high-contrast look, you might find that you've run out of room at the toe or shoulder to really get things to match.

In the end, we need a collection of best practices to deal with various situations.

BTW, in the case that you plan to grade, consider shooting at a higher saturation level than seems comfortable. You definitely don't want to clip, but you don't want to starve the bits in the chroma channels either. This is especially true for greenscreen work. If you can push the greenscreen saturation as high as possible without clipping/oversaturating, you can get the best results. And, if you're shooting in front of a greenscreen, one can always assume that you will do grading to match foreground and background. In this case, it's about best capturing the range of the image rather than capturing a specific look. Rather than going for a "look", concentrate on good lighting.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 04:46 AM   #7
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Capowski View Post
Really, there's no way to win with the 5d.
Mathew, what do you plan to shoot with the 5D Mark III? Why did you decide to use this camera over others?

My preferred look is Neutral. I tried Cinestyle, and could find no difference, as I've mentioned here: Technicolor Cinestyle vs Neutral | wolfcrow

Why neutral? Because I like the colors, not because someone told me that's the way to 'maximize' what I can get. On the C300, I prefer the log setting, but don't shoot with it because I don't have the time for extensive grading (or sometimes, any grading at all). I put effort into what's in front of the camera. Who cares about gamma?

The same goes for every other setting. If there were a sweet spot, the manufacturer might as well have limited the settings to within that range.

And about sharpening, most people don't know that sharpening isn't a constant. The sharpening that needs to be applied varies with screen type (projected vs lcd vs led vs plasma vs crt) as well as size. There are many sharpening algorithms, and many theories on how to apply these algorithms. When it comes to video, everything's a compromise - or a unique opportunity - depending on which internet guru you're willing to follow.

Hope this helps.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 04:22 PM   #8
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

Thank you all for the replies.

Bill: I am happy with my 5D Mk III. For creative dialogue I find it useful to have both views -- that it's good, and that it's not good. A more accurate picture will surface inbetween. The 5D was the best fit for what I wanted to do.

Jon, thank you for the comments -- they were helpful and will assist in planning workflow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
Mathew, what do you plan to shoot with the 5D Mark III? Why did you decide to use this camera over others?

My preferred look is Neutral. I tried Cinestyle, and could find no difference, as I've mentioned here: Technicolor Cinestyle vs Neutral | wolfcrow

Why neutral? Because I like the colors, not because someone told me that's the way to 'maximize' what I can get. On the C300, I prefer the log setting, but don't shoot with it because I don't have the time for extensive grading (or sometimes, any grading at all). I put effort into what's in front of the camera. Who cares about gamma?

The same goes for every other setting. If there were a sweet spot, the manufacturer might as well have limited the settings to within that range.

And about sharpening, most people don't know that sharpening isn't a constant. The sharpening that needs to be applied varies with screen type (projected vs lcd vs led vs plasma vs crt) as well as size. There are many sharpening algorithms, and many theories on how to apply these algorithms. When it comes to video, everything's a compromise - or a unique opportunity - depending on which internet guru you're willing to follow.

Hope this helps.
I am working on a documentary and some fictional pieces. I needed something that would handle low light well and I prefer the FF aesthetic.

Thanks for the link and the additional information.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 01:15 PM   #9
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Re: Canon 5D Mk III Best Practices

For a combination of documentary and fictional pieces, this might be the best approach:

* For a documentary piece, try getting "the look" in camera when the lighting is good.
* When the lighting is extreme (light a backlit subject), use a flat style and grade these scenes in post.
* For narrative work, always expect to grade as you might want a stylized look and will always want good scene to scene conformance to keep your audience in the story.
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