A1 Colors a little flat; Adust in Cam or Software? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old May 17th, 2008, 05:50 PM   #1
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A1 Colors a little flat; Adust in Cam or Software?

I'm new to the A1, love the camera but the default colors seem flat. Is it best to go in and adjust the color presets in the camera or leave them flat and adjust in the editing software?

If others have faced this same problem and have adjusted the camera's color settings, is it fairly stable or do you need to correct for each shoot?
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Old May 17th, 2008, 07:08 PM   #2
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The colors in the A1 are intentionally set flat.

There are a number of custom presets that you can download and use in your A1, intended to produce different looks, posted in this forum thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=81071

Some users feel it is better to get the look you want in the camera with custom presets, other prefer to do all of the color grading in post. And still others, like me, do both. For example I use the PANLOOK2 preset in the camera and then just boost the color a bit in post.
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Old May 17th, 2008, 10:30 PM   #3
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If you know the look you want you may be able to get higher quality results by tweaking the settings in-camera, before HDV/DV compression has it's way with the image. On the other hand if you want to play it safe, shoot with the default "flat" look.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 06:13 AM   #4
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Thanks; I need to play a bit and understand the differences in pre vs post adjustments. I just noticed on my initial run on some outside shoots that I had to boost the greens and reds in post to make the colors pop. Also added a little sharpness to better show the grain of the fauna.

Do you keep a Circular Polarizer on your camera much of the time or only if shooting a highly reflective seen?
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Old May 19th, 2008, 10:22 AM   #5
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I've had some issues with color in the camera. I've documented them in my blog post over at Exposureroom.

http://exposureroom.com/members/Will...blogs/post/211

I shot a car show (with muscle cars and super-bright paint jobs) and was unhappy with the colors that came from the camera. Admittedly, I was using the flat PANALOOK preset found on these boards.

You can see in my blog post how I had really muted colors and was quite unhappy with the footage - until I started correcting it in post. I'm really happy with the images now. I advise you to read the post and get some insight from a noob(me) on this very same subject. I've got pictures and examples.

Also, I did not use a polarizer because I had on the wide-angle adaptor and they can't be used together. But for some of the shots I wish I had used it to kill some of the reflections. You live and you learn.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 07:02 PM   #6
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Roger... I've been grappling with that same dilemma since I got my A1 last fall and I've come to the following conclusion. If your shooting location has muted colors that you want to pump up then select a preset like PANALOOK or VIVIDRGB that kicks up the colors. But if you're shooting colorful subject matter you're better off keeping things flat, lest you'll be spending too much time squinting at a vectorscope trying to wrangle your colors back into the realm of the legal.

Just ask Will.

In practical application, I shot winter scenes using VIVIDRGB and was fairly pleased except where it turned the snow a little pink. I shoot races at a local short track and shoot flat so the wild car colors don't send the v-scope into orbit.

The nice thing about the A1 is that the settings are easy to change so you can switch while shooting. You might want to settle on two or three settings you like then shoot the same scene using each setting. When you change the setting, say it out loud so the mic picks it up. That way you'll know what you did.

Hope that helps, and have fun. I certainly have.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #7
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We have more or less both cameras set to PANALOOK preset all the time, that seems to give most natural, or natural enough, results. VIVIDRGB is often too vivid for my taste.

It is much easier and safer to tone the colors down in the post than try to make them stronger. The ideal of course would be perfect colors straight from the shoot...
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Old May 20th, 2008, 04:19 AM   #8
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My preference is to shoot flat and colour correct in post. Even with my XL2 I would shoot flat and colour correct in post.

Having said that I haven't spent much time playing around with the presets on either cam. It's something that I'd like to spend more time playing around with but I tend to find I stay safe and fall back on what I know.

Here's a few videos that I've shot flat on the A1 and CCd in post - http://www.vimeo.com/ebenezer/videos

I'm pretty happy with the results.

Cheers,

Matthew.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 07:52 AM   #9
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I'm using Vegas Pro 8 and I've got to learn how to get the blacks you guys are getting on your videos. I notice Matt saying he dials the gain down to -3. Any tips for great blacks in Vegas?


Also, Matt, why do you choose 50 versus 60i?
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Old May 20th, 2008, 08:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shealy View Post
Also, Matt, why do you choose 50 versus 60i?
Austrailia is PAL.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 08:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shealy View Post
I'm using Vegas Pro 8 and I've got to learn how to get the blacks you guys are getting on your videos. I notice Matt saying he dials the gain down to -3. Any tips for great blacks in Vegas?


Also, Matt, why do you choose 50 versus 60i?
Yep, like John said ... Australia is in PAL-land - hence the 50i.

Dialing the gain down to -3 is more to control the amount of grain. I've found the A1 to be a bit noisier at 0+- than my old XL2.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 09:14 PM   #12
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I'm very new to videography but have an extremely strong background in photoshop and color correction of still images. I've been rather disappointed with the muted and flat image the A1 produced with the stock settings. Even though I know exactly what to do to get the look I want... the compressed nature of HDV shows its weak tolerance for post-processing. Simple curves adjustments and shadow/highlights bring out massive amounts of noise due to the lack of color space. I have not yet tried a preset such as VividRGB or PANALOOK, but definitely want to give them a go.

The thing is... there is nothing I love more than doing any post-color work on images. But what I HATE is using my talents and knowledge in the color correction world is futile if pushing the stock look of the A1 gets you unacceptable noise at the slightest turn of the knob (I only use -3dB gain).

So I'm probably a good candidate for VIVIDRGB preset.

Has anyone ever fooled around with setting custom color settings and attempting to make their own presets? I would love to fool around with that, but don't know how involved, risky (don't know if you can mess up your camera doing this stuff), etc etc.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 06:33 AM   #13
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Deke, you can certainly tweak the custom preset parameters in you camera but I think you are asking a harder question like can you change the firmware to add new correction parameters options or perhaps more graduations. I'm not aware of such options but there seems to be tremendous latitude in the parameters provided in the preset programming to do a lot of great things. I'm about to dive in and test many of the presets gathered by Chris Hurd. Just looking at the examples (not my own tests) I'm liking Reality, EOSphoto, Panalook2, ACPref1, and VIVIDRGB the best.

You may have already seen it, but Gert's movie showing the presets in action is quite helpful:

http://www.vimeo.com/846830
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Old May 21st, 2008, 07:49 AM   #14
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Might I suggest, that before you start cranking up the chroma, in-camera or in post, that you make sure your monitor is properly calibrated, and you have a peak at your vector scope to keep colors legal.

Good Luck!
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