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Canon XF Series HD Camcorders
Canon XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).


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Old October 15th, 2013, 01:22 PM   #1
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canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

hello all,

i recently bought a canon xf300. it is my first high def tapeless camera... and it is my first time working with the 4:2:2 colorspace. first off, let me say that i edit using FCP 6.0.6 and that this is the first time i've used the color-corrector with 4:2:2 video and what a dream!!! it works so much better than with SD.

so i shot some video using the "CineV" setting. and i noticed it was a very flat picture as compared to the "standard" setting. i shot with that setting anyway, but when i went to edit, i wound up using color corrector to bring out the contrast because the picture was too flat.

so my question is... what is the point of using a "Cine" color profile setting if i'm going to process it with the color corrector to pull out the full range of contrast? is this "lossy" video"? and if so, doesn't processing it make it lose information? and if i use a setting that includes the whole contrast range and doesn't require processing, wouldn't that be better?

or am i missing something here? any and all answers and explanations welcomed

-byron
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Old October 15th, 2013, 02:30 PM   #2
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

Hi Bryon,

This is a situation where it can go both ways. If you want quicker turnaround and less need for color correction, setting it up in camera is a good way to go. But, this will bake in a look which might not be the best for certain filming situations. In my experience, you never have issues adding contrast in the final image where if you try to remove contrast the noise level can increase in the shadows.

In my working with the XF300 I have found the camera has a pretty "open" gamma or closer to flat profile in the mids and shadows. To me this is great as it gives you options on setup, either in-camera or in post. I have also found the image from the XF300 tends to be on the under saturated side, but like contrast, it is better to add saturation than take it away.

The best thing you can do is get a hold of a proper broadcast monitor, light up a scene and tweak all of the settings. This is the only way to really learn what the camera is capable of and it will get you to a picture profile that you enjoy.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 03:57 PM   #3
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

thanks, that clears up some of my confusion.

-byron
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Old October 15th, 2013, 11:06 PM   #4
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

Tim gave an excellent reply. When I first got my XF100, I really got into trying a lot of Custom Picture settings files that I found on the web, but ultimately found my best results with my own settings. And now I only have 2 CP settings - one that is pretty flat, and one that is more "graded."

I mainly just use the flat in more extreme settings - bright sunlight or low light - so that later I can put the highs and lows where I want them (and retain more of both). My graded look has more contrast, blacker blacks, and higher saturation. Both of my CP files use Cine 1 - I just find it gives more dynamic range and more subtlety, even on my Graded CP.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 03:24 PM   #5
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

David,

so you augment a preset with your own settings? like, taking a preset and then taking it a little farther?

another question: so are the flat "cine" settings deliberately flat so that one can draw out the values, or is film really that much flatter? i just remember from my old photography classes that one usually wants the full gray scale from white (100%) to black (0%- or 7.5%ire on the waveform monitor) in their picture.

thanks always!
-b
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Old October 16th, 2013, 04:15 PM   #6
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

Mr. Dixon..could you share your settings (particularly the flat one)
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Old October 16th, 2013, 05:25 PM   #7
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

Byron, yes, you can do it either way. You can edit one of the presets, but there is also the capability to create new ones yourself. There is storage space for 9 CP settings but it only comes with 4 or 5 and the rest are blank for you to use. You can even name them yourself. But further, you can use an SD card (not CF) to store additional ones.

Like most digital cameras, it has "Video" gammas that attempt to get a traditional camcorder look and "cine 1" and "Cine 2" gammas that attempt to emulate the slghtly flatter, wider dynamic range of film.

Yes, shooting flat helps retain details in the dark to near black tones and also helps prevent blown out highlights. The XF cameras have waveform monitors so you can see exactly what ranges you are getting before you shoot. Then in post you can view the waveforms in your editing software as a guide to move the blacks to 0 and the highlights to no more than 100 - or to break those rules for more creative looks.

Roy, no time to do settings info at the moment, but I'll post back later tonight.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 10:22 PM   #8
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

CP settings...

I'm using two CPs that I've named FLAT (requires more exposure and saturation adjustment in post) and GRADED (a more finished look that requires much less adjustment - but still some). These are based on my preferences and you may not like them. Use this info to create your own CPs that suit your taste.

You still have to color balance first, and the exposure you use will of course affect where highlights and shadows fall. But the main settings are:

Gamma: Cine1 for both FLAT and GRADED
Cine2 soaks up too much light and I find the Video gammas just not as subtle a look.

Black: Master Pedestal: FLAT +6, GRADED 0
The higher the number the lighter the blacks will be. Note that even with GRADED at 0 I usually lower the blacks in post a bit. As mentioned in an earlier message, in post it's better to have to lower them than to raise them.

I'll come back to Black Gamma and Knee - these are more subtle

Sharpness: FLAT 0, GRADED +4
Some dial this way back to negative numbers. I like a sharper look and sometimes add even more sharpening in post. But don't use Coring to sharpen up fine details - leave it at 0. Minus numbers give too much noise and positive values soften the look too much for me.

Color Matrix: Select: Cine1
This is a color gamma setting, and I learned the hard way that this MUST match the earlier Gamma choice or you get weird skin tones that can't be easily corrected.

Color Matrix: Gain: FLAT 0, GRADED +35 (using Cine1 gamma)
This is color saturation and is VERY personal. I like a colorful image - test to see what you like.

Setup Level should be 0

The rest can be left at factory settings.

I find I have to really limit exposure Gain to +6 and I keep it less than that if I can. I leave Noise Reduction on Auto, but you can up that manually if you need to (at the expense of softening)

Back to Black Gamma and Knee - I found one CP file that created a softer rolloff in shadows and another that did the same for highlights. I use these in BOTH of my CPs:

for a softer shadow rolloff:
Black Gamma: Level +23
Black Gamma: Range +4
Black Gamma: Point +29

for highlight control:
Knee Enable: On
Knee Automatic: Off
Knee Slope: +12
Knee Point: +70
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Old October 17th, 2013, 11:24 AM   #9
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

dear david,

thanks for the input and i'll experiment with those settings.

as i went to bed last night i was thinking about this discussion and it occurred to me that maybe the camera operator wants to choose one's color profile based on the lighting conditions... i.e.- if shooting outdoors on a gray cloudy day, one might prefer the more dynamic video settings; but if shooting on a bright, sunny, contrasty day, one might want to use the flatter cine settings to avoid going to the extremes of color capability.

in retrospect, i just started this conversation because i was confused by the flat nature of the cine settings and the need to adjust them in post. with the need to adjust the video to a more dynamic contrast, i felt like i was just re-setting the color back to something approximating the video settings, a step that should not have been necessary. after all, i can't help but think that the closer one gets to what one wants in the actual picture, the better off one is. in other words, i like to avoid the reframe... "ah, we'll fix it in post."
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Old October 17th, 2013, 12:11 PM   #10
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

Yes, on your first paragraph - that's the way I use them. I use flatter settings to tame contrastier scenes.

On the other part, yes, the more control you have over of your shooting environment the easier it is to go for a more finished look in-camera. Or, if you have a short turnaround deadline for post. But the other factor is real color grading, where you don't want a strictly realistic look. Many films have scenes where it's very moody and there are no real highlights anywhere. Another current trend is a high key look for fashion or commercials where there are no true blacks. Then there is the whole "blockbuster" color look that has warm skin tones but blue/teal shadows. There is an entire cottage industry that has sprung up around "looks" packages for various NLEs.

So, if you're going for a look that attempts to set a creative mood rather than straight reality, you really need to shoot flat to have options for all that customization. Most films are shot this way, and most cameras beyond the consumer level shoot pretty flat by default. I enjoy playing with this, and even use "looks" sometimes on family vacation videos :-) So, I don't think of it as fixing it in post, but creating or enhancing a look in post.

The XF series assumes this as well. They come from the factory with pretty flat settings, to the point that some new users are underwhelmed by the cameras until they figure out how to get the look they want.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 05:02 PM   #11
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

thanx dave,

this opens up a whole new aspect of video production that i had never really considered before. you see, i started during the 3/4" days before betacam sp, when none of that was even an option. Consequently, i never really thought of it.

now i know what to use the "color" program that comes bundled with Final Cut Studio (FCP6) for!

Best Regards,
-Byron
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Old October 21st, 2013, 06:57 AM   #12
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

Mr. Dixon
I have loaded your flat profile and will try it this afternoon, albeit in a XF100, I hope it translates well, thank you for sharing.
BTW: worked for years in radio with a guy named Dave Dixon, he wrote most of the hits for Peter Paul and Mary (Leaving on a Jet Plane, Great Mandella)
Unfortunately he currently has reached room temperature.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 07:42 AM   #13
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Re: canon xf300, color profiles and color correction

Roy - hope it works for you and I assume you've tested it around the house at least to see if you like it for your needs - you may want to go even flatter.

I've never heard that before - reached room temperature. I turn 60 next week, but I hope I have many more years at 98.6!

Oh, and an XF100 is what I have also, so no worries there.
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