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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old May 25th, 2005, 12:03 AM   #1
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"Cinematic" Look

On the XL2 what is the ideal setting for the gamma, toe and shoulder of the curve in order to get a "cinematic" look? I hope I'm asking this question the right way!
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Old May 25th, 2005, 01:18 AM   #2
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"Ideal" is a highly subjective term. I'm sure different people will define it in different ways. Why not share your own favorite settings for achieving this?
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Old May 25th, 2005, 09:48 AM   #3
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Chris is right. Different looks with different film stocks, so this is highly subjective.

I can give a setting I like which I feel is pretty cinematic (or which cinematic look I like might be a better way to put it). Of course, those settings aren't the holy grail all by themselves. Think about the way you light and move for better results. And you might also want to tweak the color setings.

Knee set to low
Black set to press
Cine gamma
Cine color matrix
Setup and M. Pedestal set to default

Again, extremely subjective. You can also try to flatten the gamma curve a bit more in post to approach the look you're looking for.

I also try to use the zebra level at 95 an will very rarely expose over that threshold (unless overexposure is a desired effect). You can have a bit of small hot spots, but highlight clipping is an ugly giveway of the video medium, so avoid 'em like the plague. Underexposure of shadowed spots isn't as critical, especially with the XL2 which remains very clean in dark areas.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #4
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Zebra Level

What should the zebra level be set at ? I normally set up at 85 (in the theory that when I see stripes appearing I still have a little headroom).

Anyone got any guidance on this ?
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Old May 25th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #5
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I like to set at about 80% most of the time it gives me a bit of warning for a posible problem.

On the cine question it all depends so take a tape go to the local and start playing with setting and see what happens.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 06:10 PM   #6
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Ben, how do you manage at 80 IRE? I always felt this low a value was more suited for skin tone setup. If you're exposing for 80 IRE, you're not taking advantage of quite a bit of head rooom and since video has such a limited dynamic range to begin with, I always prefer to squeeze every bit of it out of the cam. 20 IRE is a lot and I feel it would be hard after 80 IRE to tell just how much room is left.

At 95 IRE, I know that I've pretty much topped the limits and can only afford some very minimal hot spots above that point. 100 IRE is an absolute limit above which everything else will clip (unless you're going to film or digital projection, since I beleive 110 IRE is the clipping limit in digital, 100 IRE is for analog video. Don't take my word for it though, I recall reading about this, but could not confirm this being 100% accurate. It might only be for uncompressed video, as compression also affects dynamic range).
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Old May 25th, 2005, 06:35 PM   #7
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I think the penny has dropped. Working at 95IRE gets the highest dynamic range as long as you tolerate very few zebras. Why have the lower settings ? At the end of the day, isn't this function to help you avoid (or create if that's the effect you want) over exposure ?

As for the cine look, I have tried the following: low knee, stretch black, sharpness down 2 notches, skin detail medium (hue etc set to a subjects skin), 16:9, 25P, shutter 50FPS, cine gamma & matrix, gain -3db. Admittedly I haven't tried these against all lighting conditions, just outdoor daylight shots.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 04:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Declan Smith
I think the penny has dropped. Working at 95IRE gets the highest dynamic range as long as you tolerate very few zebras. Why have the lower settings ? At the end of the day, isn't this function to help you avoid (or create if that's the effect you want) over exposure ?
David said it - 80 IRE is for skin-tones. If you don't see a few little patches of zebra on faces at 80 IRE, you're underexposed. I guess that the same idea (that you should see the zebras) basically applies for all of the other settings between 80 and 100, depending on what you're shooting. Maybe somebody knows differently.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 11:16 AM   #9
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Is there anyway to easily switch between 80 and 95 IRE? It would seem to be good to expose for skintones, but also to make sure that other lighting in the scene doesn't clip.

Or at this point are you better off using a light meter?
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Old May 26th, 2005, 11:22 AM   #10
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I like to use 80% because I overexpose a little bit because I work on a XL1s and it has a problem with low light. Also it gives me good indicator for where I want the lights and you can see all of the spots that are greater then 80 anyway because they are outlined in zebra.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 02:33 AM   #11
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I've recently gotten an XL-2 and have spent some time trying out different settings and experimenting with different looks. I have a problem though. Even shooting in bright sunlight, I can only get decent exposure in wide open apetures. I've shot in clearsky noon sunlight and have never needed an ND filter. Anything past f2.8 is too dark. Is there something wrong with my camera?

Thanks

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Old May 27th, 2005, 05:45 AM   #12
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Hi Jason. You didn't say, so I have to ask the obvious question.

What setting are you using on the camera? Fully auto, Tv, Av or what? The thing to check is that your shutter speed is not faster than you need. You should get good results at 1/48s or so and this will give more than enough light when shooting outdoors. If you don't need to stop down or apply ND with 1/48s shutter speed I would get the camera checked.

Another thought. Is the video dark when you play it back on a TV, or just in the LCD viewfinder? The viewfinder brightness might be set too low, so it's worth checking that too. (Again, sorry if this is too obvious.)

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Old May 27th, 2005, 08:53 AM   #13
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Jason,

I agree with Richard. Check the basics and if it doesn't work, have the camera checked. If you're shooting with a shutter of 1/60th or less and have no NDs, outside on a sunny day, normally you would have MUCH higher aperture values than F2.8. I shot something outside 2 days ago with the 14x manual lens and was barely able to get by at a little above the max aperture value of F11 (not recommended by the way). Anything more and the iris would have been completely closed. So indeed, if everything else is properly setup, it is not normal.

Last edited by David Lach; May 27th, 2005 at 09:09 AM.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 02:02 PM   #14
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I'm planning a whole day of testing tomorrow. To answer your question, I was shooting in full manual mode, 24p with a 1/48th shutter speed. I'm hoping for some bright conditions to confirm this, but it's raining right now! Thanks for the help.

-jason
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Old May 27th, 2005, 05:15 PM   #15
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Good idea Jason you do that, best way to get the bottom line. I just took the camera out for a sec and pointed it out the window. Raining here too and it's 6:00PM. Without NDs, I got a nice exposure at about F9.5 in 24p & 1/48th, 20x stock lens. If you're not able to get that high iris value even on a sunny day, something is not right.

Good luck.
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