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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 October 13th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #1
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High Contrast Preset Needed

I often shoot outdoors in high contrast environments and I end up blowing out the sky to get the detail in the ground right. Is it possible to create a preset that raise and possibly expand the range of the dark end of the spectrum or effectively raise the gamma? Is this even possible or am I pursuing the untamed ornathoid? Also, is this something you even want to do in the camera or should you cook it in post?

I may be looking at this a bit myopically and there may be better ways to solve the problem. A gradient filter is an option but I'm often not shooting where sky and ground are bisected by a relatively straight horizontal line. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Since the XH preset thread is closed, I'll make the request here.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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You’ll need to find a happy medium in manual exposure for each instance. A polarizer will help, as will shooting with the sun to your back. You could also use a reflector to bring in more light to the subject and make it pop even more in an already bright environment. If you are doing landscapes, use a tripod and take different exposures, then composite (overlay, blend, crop) until you get it just right.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 06:32 PM   #3
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I'm doing that (polarizer, middle exposure) but it's not giving me what I'm looking for. Compositing won't work as the shots are generally moving. They're also long shots so bouncing light won't work either.

I'm still searching.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 07:18 PM   #4
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I would use post productions filters and adjustments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
I'm doing that (polarizer, middle exposure) but it's not giving me what I'm looking for. Compositing won't work as the shots are generally moving. They're also long shots so bouncing light won't work either.

I'm still searching.
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Old October 14th, 2008, 07:53 AM   #5
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Lou... That's one of the more viable options. A gradient filter would help but my concern is that often the dividing line between bright and dark is fairly sharp and a gradient is, well, graduated. Better, but not perfect.

I have to think that there has to be a preset that would help. Perhaps a preset/filter combination would be even more effective.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 07:22 PM   #6
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Hi Tripp. If I have to shoot in scene that has high contrast, I normally use the normal gamma curve and set the black knee point to medium or even high. Then I use the zebras to expose for the highlights, trying to avoid too much blow-out. This will make the mids and lows a bit dark, so in post I apply an inverted S-curve to bring them up again. Obviously there is a limit on how much you can do this without seeing artifacts, so you might have to compromise during the shoot between how much blow-out to accept vs. how dark the mids and lows can be.

The default camera setting is a great starting point for this, with maybe an adjustment to the white knee point.

Richard
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Old October 16th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #7
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Richard... What you suggest makes sense. As you do, I play close attention to the zebras too keep from blowing out the whites. If you blow out a white puffy cloud, you're dead.

Since I've just shot a lot of high contrast material, I'm going to work with it in post. The reverse S curve is likely the best starting point. I'll work with it and perhaps learn some things there that might translate into some of the settings in an appropriate preset.
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Old October 18th, 2008, 04:12 PM   #8
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set Black to Stretch and bump up pedestal and set-up.

if you are going to color grade try setting gamma to cine and knee to low - this will give you more headroom if you increase gain in post.

If you have a matte box you can tweak grad filters to follow the horizon
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Old October 19th, 2008, 06:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
if you are going to color grade try setting gamma to cine and knee to low - this will give you more headroom if you increase gain in post.
Hi Peter. I find that setting gamma to cine and knee to low will just make the lows and mids even darker relative to the highlights. And wouldn't applying gain in post blow the highlights out even more? Are we talking about the same thing here?

Richard
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Old October 20th, 2008, 12:05 PM   #10
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Richard - yes the white and black points won't be changed but all the greys will be darker. Bringing down the brightest greys and bringing up the darkest greys creates a lower contrast image. I then bring contrast back up in post where I have far greater precision. In most color grading apps you are able to adjust gain in specified ranges within the image - so bumping up the lows and mids doesn't mean blowing out more of the highs.

All the presets I use assume color grading is in the chain -

Last edited by Peter Ralph; October 20th, 2008 at 01:03 PM.
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