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Old October 27th, 2008, 12:15 AM   #1
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Color Settings NFL and College Football

I've been shooting high school football games in HD with an XH A1 and an HV30 in 30p. I have noticed how much better the colors look then what I am getting. Along the same lines, I was at a college game yesterday and while looking at the big screen noticed how vivid the greens and reds were...looked down at the field and the screen looked much better than the real field. (grass was greener reds were vivid there was a nice cinema black feel as well). I know they are using better equipment, but does anyone have any experience with the color settings that networks use for NFL or NCAA games? I you have any related experience can you give me any suggestions on what I might try. I've been using manual gain and white balance settings. I've tried a few adjustments with custom settings but nothing that looks close to what I'm seeing on FOX or other networks.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #2
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Three things I can think of: lights, pushing color saturation and the monitor.

Better lights will give you better pictures and potentially brighter colors. I doubt that your high school had more than a fraction of the budget for lights as the NFL or college teams.

Although I have no direct experience here, they could be pushing up the color saturation. You can do the same in post. It might give you what you're looking for.

Finally, the jumbotrons are probably not very color accurate. As with the broadcast video, they may boost the color saturation to make it look more vivid.

I shoot motor races using an XH A1, HV30 and HV10 and I use the factory preset in the A1, whilst I drop the brightness and contrast on both the HVs to minimum. That seems to match up the three cameras best. The races start at 6:30PM and can go until as late as midnight. The track's lighting is, well, rubbish so I have to CC the footage from all three cameras to get it to pop.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 08:40 PM   #3
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Pretty much everything the Fox network transmits as far as sports go is tuned for the viewer experience for example look at the fabric the players outfit is made of - in addition to Tripp's pertinent observation about video gear and lights, your high school guys have only pennies to NFLs dollars for outfits. Unfortunately sports is not what used to be, it is no longer played for the pleasure of the game itself, it's just a big bucks circus... but that's another story.

What I would suggest is to shoot as flat as possible (turn down sharpness, chroma), turn on black stretch, and keep your main subject at max ~70% white. In my editing experience this is what gives you the best options to push contrast and chroma to the limits for a "fox-like" picture.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 11:03 PM   #4
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Thanks again Tripp and thanks Ervin. I've just been putting together an offensive reel this week for coaches and I get to see the difference between each game, different lighting, different grass..... Tripp I'm sure you have the issue with going from day to night. Each field has different lighting and you have to deal with the change from day to night. I'm up in the Press Box (often more like a tree fort) and a few times have not had anything white to fill the screen to readjust white balance so have had several ugly periods color wise. I finally learned to drape a white towel off the back of the bleachers in front of me.

I've attached a url with one of the first videos I did for the team: Maclay Football - THIS is The Time - 2008 Preseason on Vimeo (It is only the second year of football for the program and they are 6 and 1 so far this season. They have several talented kids on the team but were not expected to do this well so soon. My son is freshman QB #12 on the Blue team ...in Game II.) I used some custom settings that I got from this website, but lost them when I sent my camera away for a new board last week. Now that I see what the flat settings are I appreciate the custom ones.

I plan to put up a few different stills up from the games to get help on settings. The problem is that once the game starts I don't have time to experiment.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 04:02 AM   #5
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Hey Mark I usually suggest doing any color grading in post and shooting as flat as possible also, however sometimes when it comes to something with a quick turn around (like a college game or something like that where you have to get it to the client days maybe hours later) you may want to do some internal tweaks the best thing would be to adjust your color gain and your color matrix. I would dial up the green gain and maybe the red only half as much. Of course if you have the time by all means shoot it flat and just dial it up in post but sometimes that's not an option.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Scott View Post
Thanks again Tripp and thanks Ervin. I've just been putting together an offensive reel this week for coaches and I get to see the difference between each game, different lighting, different grass..... Tripp I'm sure you have the issue with going from day to night. Each field has different lighting and you have to deal with the change from day to night. I'm up in the Press Box (often more like a tree fort) and a few times have not had anything white to fill the screen to readjust white balance so have had several ugly periods color wise. I finally learned to drape a white towel off the back of the bleachers in front of me.
Brilliant idea. I used to WB on a mostly white billboard near the finishing line until they took it down. Now that I use three cameras to cover the action, but only one operator, between races during twilight I'll just hit the WB "buttons" on the two HVs whilst their still in their locked off positions, then frame a shot with the A1 that's similar to the HV30 and punch its WB button. That works very well virtually every time.

Your life will be simpler on fields where they keep the color temperature of the all of the bulbs the same, or at least similar. Then your towel trick can work. The speedway has a mish-mosh of bulbs that run the gamut so I can't narrow it down to one temperature. I have to settle for somewhere near the middle of a range.
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