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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 June 22nd, 2008, 07:33 AM   #1
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Pedestal vs. Setup

What is the difference between Pedestal (PED) and Setup (SET)?

Does one just shift the black levels and the other shift all colors or what?

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Old June 22nd, 2008, 08:54 AM   #2
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Pedestal and Setup refer to the same thing - that is to say the level of black - the darkest part of the picture. Luminance levels are metered in "IRE," which is short for "Institute of Radio Engineers" Units.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:18 AM   #3
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If they are the same, why are their two different settings?

Why do some of the custom presets set them at different levels?

For instance the built-in "Video.C" preset has them both set at -2, but the "Truecolor" preset has PED at -7 and SET at -9.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 10:02 AM   #4
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Pedestal and Setup refer to the same thing.
That's not true. Pedestal and Setup are related, but they definitely are *not* synonymous terms. My friend Matt Irving, a cinematographer currently working in Hollywood, wrote these descriptions for the original XL H1 back in 2006 but they apply also to the XH series camcorders:

MASTER PEDESTAL raises and lowers only the bottom portion of the Gamma Curve, thus changing the actual shape of the curve. Lowering the Master Pedestal can give a little more richness to the overall image, while raising it will allow more detail in the shadows, but may tend to wash out the image. Unlike the Setup Level (see below), manipulation of the Master Pedestal will not affect the brighter objects in the frame (the upper portion of the Gamma Curve).

The Master Pedestal is helpful when used (carefully) in tandem with the Setup Level. For example, adjusting the shape of the Gamma Curve with the Master Pedestal determines how much latitude you can capture between full white and full black. You can then use the Setup Level to move that newly shaped curve up or down to achieve just the look you need. When you use these two options together, along with the KNEE and BLACK settings, you’re effectively creating your own film stock.

SETUP LEVEL basically raises and lowers the Gamma Curve while maintaining the same shape of that curve. A lower setup level can help the image look a little more rich, as long as you’re not in danger of crushing the shadow detail below broadcast standards. Higher setup levels will bring more detail into the shadows, but may also wash out the image. Be careful not to shift the curve so far that you cannot deliver a product that is considered broadcast safe under NTSC guidelines. It is highly recommended that you use a Waveform Monitor (such as the one included with the Canon Console software) when making adjustments to the Setup Level and the Master Pedestal, so you’ll know where your levels are falling.

Note the warning in the XL / XH camcorder owner's manual: Depending on the value set for the master pedestal, the setup level may not be able to take a negative value. In that case, adjusting the setup value within a certain value range will have no effect.

You'll need to understand the relationships not only between Pedestal and Setup, but also Knee and Black in order to effectively shape a Gamma Curve to your liking. You can read more about these terms in detail which goes beyond the owner's manual by downloading and reading Matt's complete document, which is attached below.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf XL H1 Guide 2006.pdf (172.4 KB, 422 views)
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 10:16 AM   #5
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Thanks, Chris.
That's the explanation I was hoping for.
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