Advantage of camera presets vs. Post ?? at DVinfo.net

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Old March 19th, 2009, 07:07 PM   #1
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Advantage of camera presets vs. Post ??

I know this has probably been discussed here before, but what is the advantage of using presets during filming vs. filming "flat" using default settings and then tweaking in your editing program using the various plugins/presets there?

My gut reaction is to have a "clean" original clip and fiddle afterwards, as I assume it is difficult to "undo" a clip filmed using a camera preset.

Any thoughts?
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Old March 19th, 2009, 07:31 PM   #2
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I've always been a fan of getting the look you want in-camera, using not only presets, but exposure (iris) and white balance (warmer or cooler look). I find compressed video footage cannot be messed with much in post before it falls apart or you get colors that are blown out. Everyone always crushes the blacks in post anyway, so why not press the blacks in your camera? Color is a horse of a different color (huh?).... Depending on your project, you may want super-saturated colors or under-saturated colors. Most people forget that dramatic films are usually under-saturated. Most people want rich, vivid colors, but for dramatic feature films, it's usually the opposite. Action and comedy are usually over-saturated. But again, this is totally subjective and varies on a case-by-case basis.

I think the best thing to do is to think about it before the shoot (otherwise known as pre-production), make a decision and stay consistent during the shoot. Not enough directors and DP's really think about the artistic aspects of a shoot beforehand, and this is sad. Most don't even storyboard or come up with a shooting script beforehand, which is unforgivable. Remember, filmmaking/videography is an art, and each project is different. There must be some level of artistic preparation before you begin each project, otherwise you're just messing around with a camera, right...?

By the by, the makers of Crank 2, probably the highest-budget production to be shot on an A1, got their look in-camera. They did not want to mess with it too much in post. Simply put, HDV is too compressed to do much with it in post, let alone major color corrections or even chroma key work.

Last edited by Gabe Spangler; March 19th, 2009 at 07:35 PM. Reason: grammar correction
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Old March 19th, 2009, 08:38 PM   #3
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Interesting points of views, both. There are advantages with either, however the limitations of HDV make it more advantageous to get it right in the camera.

If you transcode to an intermediate codec, especially a 10-bit, you could go neutral in the camera and have more room in post but you will eventually run into the HDV limitations again.

The problem with doing it primarily in the cam is that creating custom looks with presets is time consuming, laborious and (to me) counter intuitive. It's the ADD. No patience for it. However, it'll likely provide the best results.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 12:25 AM   #4
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Interesting, Tripp. To me, it's the intuitive way to do it, not the counter intuitive way. That's the beauty of digital, right? There are less standards than traditional film - the process is more flexible. Good results can come a variety of different techniques.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 02:07 AM   #5
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From the technical point of view it is better to start with too much (good saturation and dynamic range in-cam) and tune it down in post than doing the opposite (stretching colors and dynamic range, basically like stretching material which is too thin to start with).

It would be totally different if the camera could shoot and record RAW, but with HDV there is barely enough data for unprocessed video as is. Trying to manipulate it is more or less doomed (compared to better systems, that is). For that reason the only prudent way is to try to get the look right when shooting and trying to avoid post manipulation as much as possible.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 02:45 AM   #6
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I couldn't agree more.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petri Kaipiainen View Post
From the technical point of view it is better to start with too much (good saturation and dynamic range in-cam) and tune it down in post than doing the opposite (stretching colors and dynamic range, basically like stretching material which is too thin to start with).

It would be totally different if the camera could shoot and record RAW, but with HDV there is barely enough data for unprocessed video as is. Trying to manipulate it is more or less doomed (compared to better systems, that is). For that reason the only prudent way is to try to get the look right when shooting and trying to avoid post manipulation as much as possible.
Excellent point.
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