What does Cine Mode correspond to in terms of actual setting? at DVinfo.net

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Old September 25th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #1
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What does Cine Mode correspond to in terms of actual setting?

Hi, I've recently gotten a HF11, and after experimenting with it I decided that the best setting for me is to keep it in Cine mode and 50i (PF25 is too sluggish to me), but these types of consumer camcorders don't explain anything about what each of the modes actually correspond to in terms of actual setting. For example, in Cine Mode, the ISO never seems to get jacked up like in the other modes, no matter how dark the scene gets. I also cannot use the Back Lighting Compensation when in Cine Mode--what does that mean? I just want to know what each of the specialized modes (Cine, Beach, Night, Snow..etc) actually correspond to in terms of setting so I can get a better insight into them. I have a pretty good idea how each one achieves their specialty, but I want some definite numbers to be more clear about them. Anyone know this information?
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Old September 25th, 2009, 11:02 PM   #2
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Cinemode emulates the Canon XL A1's preset #8. This gives more detail in shadows and highlights, creating a flatter looking image. There was some speculation on the HV20 forum a while back that it also introduces some sort of noise filtering, given how soft the image is. This is, of course, unconfirmed but I suspect it may be true. Some people like it and some don't.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

I would assume there's also a cap on the ISO as well, since the exposure does not automatically jack itself up when shooting much darker scenes like it does in other modes.

Is there a way to get the same vivid and saturated look as in the other modes but keep the highlight and shadow details (and the low noise level) of the Cine mode? I have my HF11 also set to Vivid in Image Effects for the Cine Mode, but it's still not as vibrant as in other modes without Vivid effects.

I guess one can only expect so much from a consumer product? I'm pretty new to camcorders and I'm used to the deep controls I have with my Canon 1D Mark II. so it's hard to get used to not having that much control. But of course, the 1D MKII is a professional camera.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #4
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In a nutshell, cine mode uses a different gamma curve, so out of the camera the image looks flatter and as such needs more colour/levels correction in your editor. It is the most "natural-looking" mode however.

Whether it has less detail or not is a hotly debated topic. My experiments concluded that under good lighting conditions, it has the same level of detail as TV mode, except the default TV mode is aggressively sharpened, making it appear to have more detail.

You cannot disable the automatic gain control in cine mode, the gain is always active, but unlike the other modes the camera applies temporal smoothing to hide the noise it introduces. If you switch to TV mode, set 25/s for the shutter speed and AGC off, then find somewhere dark enough that the camera tells you the scene will be under-exposed, when you switch to cine mode you'll see the scene get much lighter, which is the effect of the gain.

In cine mode, you don't have any control over shutter speed or aperture, and while it was once thought that the mode tried to keep the shutter as close to 50/s as possible by varying the aperture and gain, that doesn't seem to be the case. On the HF S100 at least, the shutter speed varies greatly, in fact the camera appears to aim for a wide aperture, which means high shutter speeds under good light.

Personally, I use cine mode whenever shooting 50i, unless conditions are extremely bright and the camera pushes the shutter speed above 100/s. If you try shooting 25p in cine mode, you will often see horrible judder due to the tendency towards high shutter speeds. You might be pleasantly surprised if you switch to TV mode and shoot 25p with a 50/s shutter speed (and of course adhere to the rules about speed of pans etc. and avoid trying to shoot sport this way).

Whenever I shoot in cine mode I use a custom preset with color -1 and sharpening +1, in TV mode I use colour -1 and sharpening -1. I actually think colour has less smear if the value is reduced, and you can always add more saturation in post.

The HF S's do afford a lot of flexibility, but you have to be familiar with all their foibles. Full manual controls in cine mode would be lovely, but Canon need a reason to sell more expensive models.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart Robinson View Post
in TV mode I use colour -1 and sharpening -1. I actually think colour has less smear if the value is reduced, and you can always add more saturation in post.
I use those same settings on my HF S100. Most of my shooting is done at 24p in TV mode with the shutter locked at 1/48. I'm in NTSC land. ;)
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Old September 26th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart Robinson View Post

Whenever I shoot in TV mode I use colour -1 and sharpening -1. I actually think colour has less smear if the value is reduced, and you can always add more saturation in post.
I tend to set Contrast to -1, Colour to -1 and leave Sharpness in the middle.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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Sharpness and contrast are definitely cumulative, contrast at 0 (default) makes the sharpening halos far more obvious, whereas they're less noticeable with a -1 contrast setting.

I'd rather not have any halos, which is the reason why I'm using TV mode with those settings the other way around. It's possible to increase contrast in post, but nothing can be done to remove the sharpening artefacts.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Messerschmidt View Post
There was some speculation on the HV20 forum a while back that it also introduces some sort of noise filtering, given how soft the image is. This is, of course, unconfirmed ....
Actually it was confirmed, here
Quote:
"The Canon HV20 CineMode is a Gaussian Algorithm applied to the raw CMOS image who's function is to give the impression of a longer dynamic range (thus reduced contrast). Because the algorithm is 'agnostic' is compresses data and with it, detail uniformly across the frame."
What that most-likely means is that the high-precision "raw" data is mixed in-camera with a blurred image of the same data before being quantized (to 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 etc). This is an old, not-unusual image-processing trick. It's "agnostic" in that it's applied uniformly, it doesn't seek edges or bright regions or anything like that.

You can try it yourself in AE or Photoshop -- mix a pic with a blurred image of the same pic. The precise mixing scheme can vary; I like multiplying, though that requires a gamma correction first: e.g.
Code:
final_color = (original_color^x) * (blurred_color^(1-x))
for x ranging from 0 to 1. You can do this in photoshop by copying a layer, blurring it, change the blend mode to "multiply" and use the "levels" command on each of both layers to change the gamma (that is, raise the color value to a power) to (1/x).
Here's a quick over-done sample with x set to 0.5 (gamma 2.0) and the blur very wide. Note that the visible noise is mostly in the original un-blurred layer, so noise seems to get suppressed, too.

Why not do it in post? Well, you can, but the quality of the unblurred, pre-quantized signal in-camera will be better -- especially if they step on the gamma very hard (for a simple 8-bit image, gamma 2 is a pretty strong step).

(edit postscript: probably, what Canon does is use x=0.5 and rearrange the terms -- multiply the un-gamma-corrected images, and then raise the gamma of the result afterwards. Fewer operations and if the image is high-precision you won't notice that part of the quality loss. There is quality loss, in that we are mixing with a gaussian-processed image -- the good part is that you might pick up some detail in the extreme shadow/highlight ranges. So it depends on your subjective definition of "quality")

Last edited by Kevin Bjorke; September 26th, 2009 at 07:14 PM. Reason: trying to make this as clear as possible
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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #9
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I dug around a bit and found more information (second post in the thread):
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-vi...ode-not-2.html
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Old September 27th, 2009, 02:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Bjorke View Post
Actually it was confirmed, hereWhat that most-likely means is that the high-precision "raw" data is mixed in-camera with a blurred image of the same data before being quantized (to 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 etc).
Nope, i'm pretty certain that is not the case. What you perceive as blurring the image is actually just a lack of artificial in-camera sharpening and lower contrast.

When this lower contrast image is compressed to mpeg2, and probably pushed through noise reduction in the process, some actual detail DOES get lost, but only in areas which are of a very low contrast. The noise reduction is likely the same in all modes, but low contrast in cine makes it appear stronger. The rest of the apparent loss is easily compensated with post-production sharpening.

I personally prefer Cinemode's low contrast non-sharpened image: it gives much more to work with in post (brighter midtones / shadows before clipping highlights to white) and no sharpening artifacts (these can be seen as "ringing" or "outlines" on some subjects in other modes).

I prefer to sharpen my images in post, if at all, as then i'm free to choose the best algorithm for the job, as well as exactly dial in the amount of sharpening i use.

Last edited by Eki Halkka; September 27th, 2009 at 02:59 AM.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #11
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Why would I want some sort of in camera noise reduction applied to my footage? Many reviews mention blue splotching in low light situations under Cine Mode. Is this a result of compression or could it be caused by this noise reduction?

Last edited by Xian Messerschmidt; September 27th, 2009 at 12:04 PM.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Messerschmidt View Post
blue splotching in low light situations under Cine Mode
lower contrast == less precision and blue usually gets the fewest bits in any compression scheme.

the most common place to see precision errors in in blues -- the classic example is strong banding in evening sky vistas: where values from, say, 5% blue down to black are spread in a gradient across the entire frame.
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