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Old June 13th, 2007, 10:30 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
But the biggest improvement I noticed when using CineMode (while looking at the TV) was how much more detail was uncovered in the darker/shadow areas of the image. With CineMode OFF (and trying some of the other settings), there were areas of shadow that looked very dark with no discernable details - details that I could clearly see with my own eyes that the camera could not see. But when I switched to CineMode, I could suddenly see into those shadow/dark areas, there was much more viewable detail in those shadows.

I think I like CineMode after all because it seems like it creates a safer, easier to work with in post image that may initially appear somewhat bland or very neutral looking, but at least you could easily alter that neutral look into something more. So I think it might be good for others to hook the HV20 up to their TV/HDTV and play around with the settings to get a better idea of how they can affect the captured image.
This is what I suspected in my own footage, and why I shoot in CINE. I shoot for post! :D Dull = safe image. I always colour correct to 'perfection' - I'm glad you and others are seeing results of this latitude range. What a wonderful little camera - thank you Canon.

And thank you Ian, for posting those stills.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
I think I like CineMode after all because it seems like it creates a safer, easier to work with in post image that may initially appear somewhat bland or very neutral looking, but at least you could easily alter that neutral look into something more. So I think it might be good for others to hook the HV20 up to their TV/HDTV and play around with the settings to get a better idea of how they can affect the captured image.
For me, after extensive tests, the best image quality from the HV20 is to use CineMode (and 24p) and then bump up the parameters in the custom functions such that sharpness is +1, contrast +1 and color depth and brightness are either 0 or +1 depending on what I'm shooting. BUT I still won't use CineMode because unless I lock exposure (which isn't always practical) it can change my shutter speed above or below 1/48th to compensate.. So I'm using Tv mode, contrast -1, brightness -1, color depth 0 or +1, sharpness 0. It's not as good as CineMode with bumped sharpness and contrast, but I don't have to worry about a variable shutter speed. (If you have a scene where the exposure doesn't vary, CineMode could be the way to go.)
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Old June 13th, 2007, 02:45 PM   #33
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I spoke to Canon in person yesterday and they are willing to get a rep. on our BB to help us out......let's see.


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Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
Well, I just emailed Canon customer support asking if they could provide a white-paper or some sort of technical explanation as to what takes place technically with Cine Mode. I'd be pleased if they actually do answer my question, guess we'll see.

Chris, you mentioned about the possibility of it being a ported preset from the Canon A1, which preset are you talking about?

Elmer, I agree with you that is seems like Cinemode is a bit softer image, but perhaps it is our imagination. Since this camera is so new to me, I'm still experimenting with settings to see which footage looks best to my eyes.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 06:24 PM   #34
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For me, after extensive tests, the best image quality from the HV20 is to use CineMode (and 24p) and then bump up the parameters in the custom functions such that sharpness is +1, contrast +1 and color depth and brightness are either 0 or +1 depending on what I'm shooting. BUT I still won't use CineMode because unless I lock exposure (which isn't always practical) it can change my shutter speed above or below 1/48th to compensate.. So I'm using Tv mode, contrast -1, brightness -1, color depth 0 or +1, sharpness 0. It's not as good as CineMode with bumped sharpness and contrast, but I don't have to worry about a variable shutter speed. (If you have a scene where the exposure doesn't vary, CineMode could be the way to go.)
I don't think the sharpness function even works when in Cinemode. You might be able to toggle it + or - but it does nothing to the video. The only way would be in post.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 06:30 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
Hey Iain, thanks for posting those comparison pics. That's something I had thought about doing to prove my point about CineMode, but you did a great job and those pics clearly show how much of an improvement that CineMode can have upon the image overall.

Now I've just got to convince myself that 24p is as equally as good running alongside CineMode. LOL!!!
Straying off topic, but... ah well. :)

I'm using progressive all the time, but that's because I'm in the happy-go-lucky 25P of PAL-land. No pulldown, no post-processing, and it looks great. Final Cut just treats it as a 50i stream.

The progressive look is just what I want, most of the way to a film look and very solid. I had a progressive camcorder years ago, with Canon's MV20i. It shot progressive at some slight resolution cost, but the picture looked solid. The picture (of course!) looks bad by today's standards, so I'm very glad to see progressive arrive in consumer HD.

Straying further off-topic, because the data rate is the same for 30 and 25 fps HDV, I'd have to suspect the picture quality is slightly better in PAL, too. I'll guess that this applies to 60i's 24P as well, because of the space wasted in encoding for pulldown.

Oh, I should probably stray back on-topic to say that Cine mode is not always appropriate if you're *not* going to post-process your footage. In a forest under dappled sunlight, everything looked pretty mushy in Cine mode. Difficult environment, sure, but bear that in mind.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:13 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Ian G. Thompson View Post
I don't think the sharpness function even works when in Cinemode. You might be able to toggle it + or - but it does nothing to the video. The only way would be in post.

That is also my experience. there was a discernable difference puting sharpness to +1 in TV mode but not (sadly) in cine
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #37
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Oh, I should probably stray back on-topic to say that Cine mode is not always appropriate if you're *not* going to post-process your footage. In a forest under dappled sunlight, everything looked pretty mushy in Cine mode. Difficult environment, sure, but bear that in mind.
I find that cine gives me more dynamic range so I actually prefer to use it in those type of shots. I recently took some test footage in the New Forest and the cine footage looked much better with the demands of a patchy sun soaked forest. It managed to not blow out highlights while not adding gain to see the lowlights
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Old June 14th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #38
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There is no free lunch in this game of trying to get more dynamic range/contrast. With very limited dynamic range of only 6-7 stops on these DVs (probably more limited on HD sensors) vs 11 stops in real cinematography you have a very small budget in dynamic range. You can choose to spend in mid-tone or more spreadout at both ends. The result is trading detail in midtone for more of that in highlight and dark area.

As an example you can think of a scene with bright midday sun light and deep shadow which has about 10 stops of dynamic range. Now you are trying to capture this scene of 1024 greyscale with a device that has only 64 greyscale. You can either try to map midrange more accurately but clipping at both ends or more evenly map all the 1024 onto 64 levels but losing the resolution in mid range. I think what Cine is doing in principle is simply getting rid off the dreaded DV lightlight blownout at the expense of losing some details in midtone. You can ramp up the contrast in post but you can not recover the greyscale resolution loss in the middle for all three colors. So in the end the limits of the sensor really force us to pick our poison here.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #39
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The more I work with the HV20, using its LCD or my TV to monitor what kinds of visual changes take place with changing all the different parameters, the more I'm inclined to think that there is no such thing as "the perfect setting" on this camera (perhaps any camera) that will capture the image "exactly" as I see it with my naked eye in terms of color, white balance, contrast, etc.

But I think I am finally starting to get a better grasp of making things look much better with changing the parameters. But...I do have to say this, I've gotten in the habit of switching the camera back to AUTO for comparison purposes, and AUTO really does look very good indeed. In fact, there have been times where I'm very pleased with the manual settings I've dialed in indoors, then move that switch to AUTO and suddenly see an even better result. So I guess you can't really have it all in one camera at all times. There is always some kind of compromise in doing things one way or the other.

Like Lee has rightly said above...we're forced to pick our poison. But at least the HV20 is an awesome camera, that's a given!
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Old June 14th, 2007, 11:41 PM   #40
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...with very limited dynamic range of only 6-7 stops on these DVs (probably more limited on HD sensors)..
Um, I've seen some impressive HD sensors. With greater dynamic range. Than most DV cameras I've used. Sure, limited, but 8 stops isn't poor by any means IMO.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 12:02 AM   #41
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I backup the opinion that states that if you are gonna color correct in post you want the least digital edge enhancement (artificial digital sharpness, wider black edges on your footage) and the best possible dynamic range (more image latitude, being able to have detail in the bright and dark parts of the image).
Both sharpness (with "unsharp mask filter") and a more contrasty-punchy look (with color curves or levels effect) can be achieved in post.
On the other hand, it is almost impossible to get rid of that fake video-looking edges on video without softening the whole image, and the detail lost on the blacks or the highlight cannot be brought back in post.
I always use cinemode and try to stay in the 1/48 zone of the exposure (I check exposure with the half-pressed photo button trick and dial down exposure until I get the 1/48 shutter). In really low light situations this isn't possible because cinemode keeps going to 1/40, 1/34, 1/30 or 1/24. The good thing is it tries not to use gain. Sometimes I prefer a 1/34 shutter and no gain (using cinemode) than 1/48 with gain (using tv mode), specially because of the increased dynamic range of cinemode that gives me more to play with on post.
I just want to emphasize that I ALWAYS capture my hv20 footage using cineform Neo, remove 3-2 pulldown, color correct in vegas and then render to 24p mpeg2 files for DVD. A lot of work but WONDERFULL results. If you are just going to capture your footage and use it "as is" cinemode might not always be the way to go (even though I would suggest cinemode with contrast set to +1 and color depth to 0 or +1 if no color correction is gonna be done in post)
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Old June 15th, 2007, 09:21 AM   #42
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I agree about having a flat image to start with as well.

I am a compositor and even film footage looks kind of crappy before it gets enhanced and color corrected. Have any of you ever watched a DVD that had deleted scenes and those scene looked really washed out? Well that is because to save money they just puyt thsoe scenes on the DVD as is without color timing since that would cost a lot of money.

If you plan on doing any FX work or keying you want to avoid cinemode and create as clean and flat of a image as you can.

Cinemode is really designed to fake the look of color correcting the footage so consumers can shoot video right out of the camera that looks like it has been enhanced and has a nice pleasing polished look.

Color correction with HDV isn't all that bad on most of todays systems since it can be realtime. At the end of your project you will end up either encoding back to a single HDV stream to go to tape or convert to some other format for disk or web distribution so the entire timeline is going to get rendered anyways. If the entire timeline gets rendered then it isn't going to hurt the footage to color correct it. The 2nd generation is going to happen no matter what you do.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 10:09 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Daniel Moreno View Post
I always use cinemode and try to stay in the 1/48 zone of the exposure (I check exposure with the half-pressed photo button trick and dial down exposure until I get the 1/48 shutter). In really low light situations this isn't possible because cinemode keeps going to 1/40, 1/34, 1/30 or 1/24. The good thing is it tries not to use gain. Sometimes I prefer a 1/34 shutter and no gain (using cinemode) than 1/48 with gain (using tv mode), specially because of the increased dynamic range of cinemode that gives me more to play with on post.
Daniel is right about the constantly changing shutter and f/stop in cinemode dependent upon the lighting. Setup your camera for HDV24p and Cinemode, then just point your camera around the room at different areas of light a dark and check using the half-pressed photo button. You will indeed see many combinations of shutter and f/stop.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #44
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Okay guys, doing a 48 Hour Film Festival this weekend, and I am waiting for the ultimate word :). We are shooting the HV20 with the Letus35A, With 4 primes, and maybe a zoom.

Director and I had kind of arrived at using Cinemode, because of the apparent wider latitude, recognizing we may be giving up a bit of shutter control, and also would come out with a bit flatter image. We don't anticipate a lot of time for post.

My one issue with the Cinemode was that it appears a bit flat, in my eyes, and if we weren't doing a lot in post, we may not get the "pop" we might be looking for.

Thoughts on this approach ?
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Old June 15th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #45
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Don't know why I didn't recall this previously, but here's camcorderinfo's mention about the Cinema Mode.

"The other selling point on the Canon HV20 is the Cinema, or CINE, Mode. Independent of 24P, you can also use this color setting with 1080i or 60i shooting modes. The HV20ís CINE mode corresponds to the XH A1ís Cine V mode (Custom Preset #8). This shifts the gamma curve to respond to a greater dynamic range in the lower end, decreases sharpness, and generally reduces saturation."
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