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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 April 7th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Richard View Post
who buys a $4000 camera and shoots full auto?
Michael, please read what I said. I indicated I wanted a camera that's accurate in the auto mode, but is capable of being tweaked from that point. I don't think a camera should 'have to' be tweaked just to get relatively accurate colors in most situations.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 02:08 PM   #77
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Try this. I used the grey blocks of a MacBeth Chart to calibrate the preset this time. (All I changed was the green gain value) Someone please try this in sunny weather with lots of colors and post. Doesn't look like it's going to be sunny anytime soon here in Seattle.

Gamma: Cine1
Color Matrix: Normal
Color Gain: 40
Color Phase: 0
Knee: Low
Black: Middle
Master Ped: -5
Setup Level: 0
HDF: High
H/V Detail: 0
Sharpness: 3
NR1: Off
NR2: Off
Coring: 0
Red Gain: -2
Green Gain: -2
Blue Gain: -3
RG Matrix: 0
RB Matrix: 0
GR Matrix: 0
GB Matrix: 10
BR Matrix: 0
BG Matrix: -13
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Old April 7th, 2007, 05:02 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Michael, please read what I said. I indicated I wanted a camera that's accurate in the auto mode, but is capable of being tweaked from that point. I don't think a camera should 'have to' be tweaked just to get relatively accurate colors in most situations.
I don't think any camera actually has truely "accurate" colour. No sensor responds to light in the same way the human eye does, so camera manufacturers have to make a choice about how their DSPs render the voltages being received from the CCDs/CMOSs. What we think of as "natural" or "accurate" tends to change over time as particular approaches to colour come or go from fashion.

That said, I agree that Canon went for a particularly strange "native" setup. It barely sells the camera given the current trend for very vibrant looking images. And, as we've established, doesn't look terribly accurate (though I can't really make a judgement 'cause my monitor is on vacation at the moment). And the Canon Cine Gammas are a bit of a joke compared to Panasonic and (to a lesser extent) Sony's.

I would guess that the way to accurately dispatch any colour cast or weirdness in the image would be for someone with a colour meter and an accurate colour chart to test under controlled lighting. That way we could be sure that white is white, and all the other colours are technically where they should be on the scope.

Unfortunately I don't have a colour meter, and I don't trust my lights to be particularly accurate CT-wise, and, er, oh yes... I don't have a macbeth chart.... Otherwise I'd do this myself! ;-D
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Old April 7th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #79
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Hey Steven –

Check these out.

1. Steven vivid-wht bal.jpg: I white balanced to the available light.

2. Steven vivid-wht bal-less sun.jpg: Same white balance setting, less sunlight (sun went partially behind the clouds)

3. Steven vivid 5500k.jpg: White balance set to 5500K – and – ND 1/32, App – F2.8

I wanted to turn the preset off to the factory settings and shoot the same thing (and post a .jepg of it), but the sun disappeared for the rest of the afternoon – just as I was getting ready to do so.

I’d still like to do this – and think it would be valuable to do so in order to have some sort of visual baseline.

The preset is definitely vivid – and seems to work well with still life, nature, plants -- but I’d still like to see what it looks like on people/skin tones and other ‘real life’ scenarios where our brain tells us what looks right and what doesn’t.

Nice work – thanks…

Note -- the highlights are blown out a bit...sorry
Attached Thumbnails
Feedback needed for new preset-steven-vivid-wht-bal.jpg   Feedback needed for new preset-steven-vivid-wht-bal-less-sun.jpg  

Feedback needed for new preset-steven-vivid-5500k.jpg  
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Old April 7th, 2007, 07:36 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Leith View Post
I don't think any camera actually has truely "accurate" colour. No sensor responds to light in the same way the human eye does, so camera manufacturers have to make a choice about how their DSPs render the voltages being received from the CCDs/CMOSs. What we think of as "natural" or "accurate" tends to change over time as particular approaches to colour come or go from fashion.

That said, I agree that Canon went for a particularly strange "native" setup. It barely sells the camera given the current trend for very vibrant looking images. And, as we've established, doesn't look terribly accurate (though I can't really make a judgement 'cause my monitor is on vacation at the moment). And the Canon Cine Gammas are a bit of a joke compared to Panasonic and (to a lesser extent) Sony's.

I would guess that the way to accurately dispatch any colour cast or weirdness in the image would be for someone with a colour meter and an accurate colour chart to test under controlled lighting. That way we could be sure that white is white, and all the other colours are technically where they should be on the scope.

Unfortunately I don't have a colour meter, and I don't trust my lights to be particularly accurate CT-wise, and, er, oh yes... I don't have a macbeth chart.... Otherwise I'd do this myself! ;-D
Alex,

The purpose of this thread to evaluate a preset for the Canon camera submitted by Steven. Not to determine what camera has the BEST color.

Each manufacturer decides what they want for their base color. Some decide to have the colors more intense and to "pop!" Some have made other decisions. Pany likes the color to POP, Sony may be in the middle and Canon has mostly been in the lower or natural color range.

Canon for one, has decided to leave the colors at what I would call very normal, you may call them flat! If you want more vibrant colors, you can change the settings and get them as the camera has a vast number of adjustments! This is a matter of personal preference and some want one and some want another.

During one of my entries for the DV Challange, I left the colors "normal on my XL2," and I was criticized for it. The day I filmed at the beach it was cloudy and overcast and I thought the video looked very natural as captured by my XL2. Others thought it was bland and needed to be punched up. It may have cost me the win, and I later changed the footage in post to pump it up. But, the truth is that it was not "natural," it was changed from what was natural.

Some want one thing and some want another! It is just a matter of personal preference.

Let's just look at Steven's preset.

Mike
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Old April 7th, 2007, 08:01 PM   #81
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James, looking good. Thanks for your test.

A caveat for this setting: stay away from fire engine reds and neon orange colors like those found on some street signs. You will definitely experience a pulsing from them. But if you can control your environment to exclude these extremes, I think it is quite nice.

Okay, here are some tests I just did with the latest preset settings - post #77 (I can't tell if there is magenta in these because my eye sees magenta now whether it's there or not. This preset has damaged me psychologically):
Attached Thumbnails
Feedback needed for new preset-wbnew1.jpg   Feedback needed for new preset-wbnew2.jpg  

Feedback needed for new preset-wbnew3.jpg   Feedback needed for new preset-wbnew4.jpg  

Feedback needed for new preset-wbnew5.jpg   Feedback needed for new preset-wbnew6.jpg  

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Last edited by Steven Dempsey; April 7th, 2007 at 09:33 PM.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 08:03 PM   #82
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I like those!

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Old April 7th, 2007, 08:56 PM   #83
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Those look like wonderfully natural colors to me. I don't see a magenta cast at all.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 01:47 AM   #84
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These settings show no color cast on my A1, so now you have a preset that works across platforms.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 04:05 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch View Post
Alex,

The purpose of this thread to evaluate a preset for the Canon camera submitted by Steven. Not to determine what camera has the BEST color...

...Let's just look at Steven's preset.
I think you misunderstood where I was coming from. As I understand it Steve is looking to create a nice punchy preset that had a neutral colour cast. I was suggesting a methodology that could be tried to achieve that.

The other point I made was to respond to Ken Ross, who felt that a camera shouldn't have to be tweaked to get accurate colour. I was suggesting that "accurate" colour might be a subjective thing.

I wasn't makeing any comparative comments between the A1 and other cameras, other than to note (as you have) that Canon goes for a more muted pallette. And I certainly wasn't suggesting any sort of shoot-out!

Anyway, to my eyes the preset that has been created looks good. I've loaded it up, and I'm going to see if it works with my kids in the garden! :-D
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Old April 8th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #86
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Thanks everyone for comments and participation. This was a real learning experience but the lessons learned were very useful and will enable me to create other presets in a matter of minutes.

The key (assuming a preset with a neutral cast) was to shoot a neutral grey color (MacBeth Chart or Grey Card for absolute accuracy). Once I had the color intensity I liked, I simply balanced the RGB values by sampling the grey color in the shot and ensuring it had equal RGB values. There was some trial and error involved in this but I soon got a feel for what an incremental adjustment in camera would do. Of course there are much more scientific ways of doing this but I worked with what I had.

The reason it wasn't working before was I was trying to calibrate according to what my eye was seeing. I was thinking that the asphalt in my shot was close to neutral grey but, of course, that was absurd and it kept giving me erroneous results.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Dempsey View Post
The key (assuming a preset with a neutral cast) was to shoot a neutral grey color (MacBeth Chart or Grey Card for absolute accuracy). Once I had the color intensity I liked, I simply balanced the RGB values by sampling the grey color in the shot and ensuring it had equal RGB values.
I wonder if you would care to share any specifics in regard to your method mentioned above? Perhaps a step by step explanation for those just digging into this like me!? Undoubtedly, you create beautiful images with your videography, and I sure many here would love to learn more from someone such as yourself.

I would like to follow your lead, but honestly don’t understand (based on your explanation above) how to calibrate the camera as you did. Any guidance would be very appreciated. Thanks again for all of your great input.

BTW -- the latest stills of your preset look great. I was curious about skin tones... very nice. And I love the Bokeh in the first image...
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Old April 8th, 2007, 01:35 PM   #88
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I want to keep the wonderful flesh tones of the above presets. It's very overcast and the light is flat in Denver on Easter morning. While it's expected that most people will adjust these settings to suit their intended application, an observation I'm seeing from the high color gain setting is noise. I think at color gain=40, from the signal to noise ratio there is less new color being added and the noise floor is raised. On the 50 inch 1080p plasma, I can see blooming of the colors and grain within the colors. By turning the color gain down to 25-28, there doesn't appear to be much real loss in saturation, but there's less overall noise everywhere in the picture. The noise that I see at high color gain also has the effect of negating sharpness.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 01:40 PM   #89
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Interesting Tom, I'll try it and maybe further experimentation changing the matrix settings may have less of a noise effect.

Anyway, like Tom says, this is a starting point and can be adjusted to taste. It would be great if those that use it as is and in a changed state posted some stills with info.

Thanks for the support,

Steven
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Old April 8th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #90
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More tests

I reduced the color level to 25 as Tom suggested and he is right, there is no discernible difference in the vibrancy but the noise level is reduced.

I wanted to test the preset's response to red so here are some more tests including another skin tone test with color gain at 25. While this is an intense red and it did fairly well, there are all kinds of reds that may look better or worse:
Attached Thumbnails
Feedback needed for new preset-color1.jpg   Feedback needed for new preset-color2.jpg  

Feedback needed for new preset-color3.jpg   Feedback needed for new preset-color4.jpg  

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Last edited by Steven Dempsey; April 8th, 2007 at 07:53 PM.
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