HV20: Cinemode Softness (loss of image detail) Pic - Page 12 at DVinfo.net

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Old September 13th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by Sam DeWitt View Post
Just to fan the embers, or probably more like the ash at this point, I think the above quote has it exactly backwards. Depth of field is a subjective choice in shooting. It is the other things, especially the 24 fps with whole frames (24p) that help distinguish film as film. All theatrical films run at 24 fps, period. Their is no deviation from this excpet with some specialty venue films (some IMAX and others).

Douglas Trumbull, no slouch when it comes to knowing a thing or two about film engineering, pushed for years to make a 60 fps camera and projector system that, to his eye, was inherently better than the 24fps standard. This did not exactly take the industry by storm. When folks think "film" one of the biggest aspects they are thinking of is 24fps.

Edging back from the cliff of what ALWAYS constitutes a film look is the 1/48th shutter speed. Most film is shot at this shutter speed and this creates a temporal feel that says film to our eyes.

To try and make a long post end - the notion that a shallow depth of field is a signature look of FILM is just wrong (sorry Stu)!

It is certainly a powerful creative shoice, but I would imagine that not too many folks would argue with the statement "Citizen Kane is a very cinematic film". It did win an Oscar for cinematogrpahy, and is pretty much at the top, or very near, of every list of "greatest films ever made" etc.
Well, Greg Toland and Orson Welles put a LOT of work into getting very sharp focus for both near and far objects in their film. It was something truly unique for it's time. That look has been emulated and improved upon ever since. Shallow DOF is a creative choice, but by no means a defining one for what makes film "filmic".

I just had to get that off my chest. sorry.

Oh - and I agree that cinemode is so the way to go with the HV20, nothing about legacy looks or anything like that. Simply about having the most picture latitude to play with after shooting. As stated before, the RED camera's frames, straight from the camera with no tweaking, also look flat and soft. This is what you want if you care about controlling the look of your footage. If not, then auto everything is the way to go. Sharp video edges are certainly not "the look of the future", they are the look of the bad home video past.

R.I.P.

Sam DeWitt
couldnt have said it better
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Old September 13th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #167
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Double well said! Michael Mann is a modern director that shoots a lot of deep DOF in his features and IMHO his movies look amazing. I'd say shutter speed is more important to matching features than DOF.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #168
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Double well said! Michael Mann is a modern director that shoots a lot of deep DOF in his features and IMHO his movies look amazing. I'd say shutter speed is more important to matching features than DOF.
Great example! And on the other end is David Fincher using very similar technology (without tape though!!!!)in The Zodiac, and getting a look that harks back to the classic films of the 70's in terms of DOF but especially in terms of the use of shadows and letting detail fall off in the shadows. Both are really beautiful examples of what this new technology can do in the hands of artists.

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Old September 13th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #169
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Shallow depth of field an obsession...

My hat is completely off to you Sam for telling the crowd that the emperor has no clothes. Talk about a herd instinct -- this shallow depth of field mania.

I have long harped against the obsession with shallow depth of field. I remember having dinner with DP and HDCAM owner who brought up your same Citizen Kane example and I couldn't have agreed more with him.

What I don't like about shallow depth of field is that it is often used to eliminate the viewer's choice about what to look at. I consider the viewer to be the final part of the creative chain, a participant whose viewing choices ultimately define his or her experience. In Citizen Kane your eye can range over the frame, perhaps enjoying a background element for a beat, then returning to an actor, then the other actors reaction and so forth. But with a shallow depth of field you are stuck in one focal plane, and it is not of your choosing as a viewer.

And worse, what I think has been done to death is using rack focus to shift attention from one actor downframe to the other who is in closer. And back and forth, back and forth. This completely makes me aware of process and takes me out of the dream, let alone completely stripping me of any creative choices as a viewer.

I remember working on a crew where the DP set a camera about 40 feet from an interview subject so he could go to the long end of the lens to get shallow depth of field. He didn't care that he was foreshortening and flattening the person's features. In other words, how the subject looked -- much worse -- was subordinate to having the background blurred. Arrrrggghhhh!

So Sam, your post is so important as it says something that needed so badly to be said.

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Old September 13th, 2007, 11:18 PM   #170
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I think you guys are missing something else about the 35mm adapter. In a good many shots, with such an adapter, your not looking so much for shallow depth of field. Rather the intent is to impart a more organic feel to the footage. If done right, the grain and slightly out of focus background will remove that "electronic" video feel from the footage. If that is what you are shooting for, then you don't need a 35mm adapter. Razor sharp focus through out the frame will definitely, in my view, distract the viewer in many shots. If you want the viewer to be concentrating on whether the lamp in the background is like the one he or she bought at Target last week, then go for it. You'll get what you want without the adapter. The point is, however, that this is another tool to paint the screen, and if you don't want to learn this particular tool, then your arsenal of tools will be less than the guy that does.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #171
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I'm with Chris on this one - I just shot a project with my 35mm adapter, and I think the adapter can only help. Video is so sharp, the adapter helps mold the image to something we're more comfortable with on a larger screen. Also, different lenses.

But nothing wrong with DOF! And, I agree with Sam, the film look is far more than just DOF, which is what someone else suggested.

Latitude cannot be overlooked!

Regardless, long live the HV20.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 07:51 AM   #172
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People continually want to reduce the "film-look" to one single technique, to a filter in a NLE. You can't push a button, or buy a certain camera, and have the "film-look."

- 24F: Every big-budget "quality" film that every viewer for the last 100 years has watched on the big screen has been 24F. If you don't think this has an incredibly powerful sumblininal effect, you're just being silly/belligerent/stupid.

- Shutter speed: There is no magic shutter speed that works for every instance, but in general, 48/sec matches the average shutter angle. Unless you are doing something creative (Private Ryan, Gladiator, slow motion,) that's where you stay.

- CONTROLLABLE DOF: Not SHALLOW DOF. Everybody always says SHALLOW, but that's not always what you need. What makes DOF cinematic, narrative, is the ability to control it to help tell the story. Get rid of the background to focus on an actor, rack focus between the actor's face and the hidden object, show the entirety a bustling market in Marakesh, etc.

- PROPER exposure: Lattitude is nice, but most people look to it as a crutch so as to not have to properly light and expose a scene. A huge part of the "film" look is good lighting by talented professionals.

- Lack of RGB noise: Not organic noise ... film grain, especially fast films and/or low light is noise ... but rather RGB noise: pure red, green and blue sparklies. If you can't avoid it, remove it in post. It's easy to get rid of color noise (leaving monochromtic noise) even in the noisiest of footage.

- Lack of artifical edge sharpening: Not to be confused with a lack of detail.

- etc., etc., etc.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 09:18 AM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
People continually want to reduce the "film-look" to one single technique, to a filter in a NLE. You can't push a button, or buy a certain camera, and have the "film-look."


- PROPER exposure: Lattitude is nice, but most people look to it as a crutch so as to not have to properly light and expose a scene. A huge part of the "film" look is good lighting by talented professionals.

I agree with this whole-heartedly, there is an excellent article in the April 2007 American Cinematographer where Harris Savides, the cinematographer, talks about working with the viper digital camera. Here is a quote where he is talking about how he lit for this camera -

"I was impressed, but I was still concerned about the Viper in terms of the contrast it could deal with and especially the shoulder, because it did not perform as well with overexposure as it did in low-light situations. To gain more control, I could have dumbed the process down, lit everything very flat and gone into the post suite and played around with the RAW files, similar to what is going on in digital still photography now. In the end, I was happy with the images we were getting with our RAW files at TDI with Stephen Nakamura."

Cinematography is truly an art form, one that takes years, even a lifetime, to master. Buying an HV20 and a 35mm lens adapter will not do much for you if you have no notion how all the things COMBINED in Joseph's post conspire to create a great image, and more importantly, conspire to help tell a story. The greatest achievements in cinematography are the ones that the audience is not even aware of, because they are helping to immerse the audience in the story, not distracting them from it.

For the record, I love the shallow DOF look, just when it is used for a reason, not so that "now my video looks like film".

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Old September 17th, 2007, 12:41 AM   #174
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I've been using cinemode for increased - or should I say unaltered - latitude. I do see the low frequency detail being chewed up by HDV compression in cinemode, and I also see highlight clipping worsening when I switch to Tv mode.

Unless you are capturing live HDMI feed you always have to make a trade between low frequency detail and latitude, neither of which is recovable. I chose latitude because it weighs more when it comes to picture quality I prefer, and I am ever so grateful to Canon's film-geek who pursuaded his company to create a consumer camera with 24p and cinemode. ;)
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:15 PM   #175
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if anyone is interested, im doing some tests with my hv20 regarding sharpness and latitude in tv and cine modes. i shot some charts and ran them through imatest and without going into too much detail, im getting mtf50 numbers around 590 for cine and 670 for tv, but when sharpening is normalized the cine jumps to 650 and tv doesnt change much. so what this seems to say is that cine mode is that cinemode does seem to lose real sharpness, but not nearly as much as it appears to. im no pro at these tests, but it looks about right and im trrying to keep it very simple. now to see how the latitude/response curves come out (i did some quick latitude tests a while back but this will be a comparison between tv and cine and hopefully more carefully performed). i shot in a lot of different modes with various sharpening and contrast settings and those were just preliminary tests in both modes with -1 sharpening and -1 contrast.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #176
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What's the point?

I don't see what's the point in Cinemode anyway. It is unusable. You cannot combine it with Shutter Priority, thus you cannot lock shutter speed and have cine gamma. Canon: bad, bad, bad design.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by Wes Vasher View Post
Double well said! Michael Mann is a modern director that shoots a lot of deep DOF in his features and IMHO his movies look amazing. I'd say shutter speed is more important to matching features than DOF.
Many scenes in Ronin were shot with wide angle lens and deep DOF. Still does not look like video.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:30 PM   #178
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It's not bad design since this isn't what the camera was designed for! We're all abusing it do do our bidding, trying to turn it into a semi-pro camera, so we shouldn't really be surprised when doing so isn't as straight-forward as we would like.

That said Tv mode, with all of the adjustments turned down is relatively close to CINE mode, so I think that they both have their place in an indie toolkit.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #179
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I'm a fan of a lot of Mann's work, but "Miami Vice"s infinite DOF video look blows for dramatic storytelling. (Conversely, the low light ability of HD really helped "Colateral.") Miami Vice looked plain lazy. The extra walking down the street 50 feet away, and the boat in the harbor 500 feet away, aren't as important to the story as the actor 5 feet away. Controllable DOF is all about creative choice, and the ability to direct the viewers eye, to filter the scene and focus attention where it matters. That's the difference between a CINEMATOGRAPHER and a guy with a camera.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
It's not bad design since this isn't what the camera was designed for! We're all abusing it do do our bidding, trying to turn it into a semi-pro camera, so we shouldn't really be surprised when doing so isn't as straight-forward as we would like.
It is bad design because Cinemode is orthogonal to Av or Tv and nothing should prevent from using Cinemode (image enhancement setting) with either Av or Tv. In computer-speak, instead of a checkbox group Canon created a radio group. Bad user interface. Canon either deliberately crippled the camera settings or haven't given a good thought to it at all. Both is equally bad. Don't even get me started about its two-layer menu.

They did everything else right: the lens, the tape transport, the codec, the price. The menu is the simplest and cheapest thing to design, it does not add features, it simply allows using existing features ergonomically and flexibly. But Canon screwed it up.

I'll wait till next model, hopefully they fix it. If not, and they will start taking out features like they did with DV cameras, I will buy one of the last HV20 left.
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