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Old May 13th, 2006, 11:50 PM   #1
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TrueColor V3.0 available on-line

Hi all.

This is not news since I talked about V3.0 for a couple of weeks but I finally managed to have a short page writtent about it with the complete "recipe" written down. This is, IMHO, the most accurate configuration that I can define. Given the real life situation in which we used it, shooting 3 commercials with lots of vivid colors, skin tones and dark/bright spots, I find this configuration to be one of the most flexible available for our camera. Give it a try and let me know.

The description is "Part 3" at the top of http://www.paolociccone.com

Oh, and take a look at the "Stilt World" pictures if you have a couple of minutes :)
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Old May 13th, 2006, 11:53 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing! :)
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Old May 14th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #3
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Very good Paolo. Thanks for doing the work.

PS The settings are very close to PanaMatch now with a couple of extra tweaks.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 12:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mark Silva
Thanks for sharing! :)
You're very welcome
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Old May 14th, 2006, 01:08 AM   #5
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Thanks...for TC3
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Old May 14th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
PS The settings are very close to PanaMatch now with a couple of extra tweaks.
Great minds think alike ;)
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Old May 14th, 2006, 08:02 AM   #7
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Thank You!

Hi Paolo,

Thank you very much for all of your efforts!

I will send you a private message later with a link to some of the stuff we have been shooting with your settings.

Your hard work is very much appreciated.

Tom Chaney

www.tomchaney.com

PS When you say Black Stretch off, do you mean "Normal"?

Last edited by Tom Chaney; May 14th, 2006 at 12:43 PM.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 01:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
This is, IMHO, the most accurate configuration that I can define.
Great work!

1) Your goal of providing the "most bits into post" is exactly the same approach I describe in my HD100 Handbook. We both use histograms to indicate how well one is doing this.

However, unlike Sony's A1, the HD100 has no histogram display. So how are you setting exposure?

I think that even if folks get convinced they should use an "engineering approach" -- actually setting exposure in the real world is not easy.

I present the "Zone System" in my Handbook, but that doesn't mean much to young videographers.

2) Panasonic talks of the dangers of a knee causing color shifts. I'm wondering if you checked this. Did this lead to your use of 90IRE rather than the 80IRE that Tim and I have suggested?

3) In V3 you switched BS from 1 to OFF. It's clear, by looking at a histogram, that 2 (and especially 3) really alter the mid-levels way too much. But, I'm wondering why you switched BS off. I trust your lab tests -- so I'm wondering why "on location" you made the change.

By the way, your DSC colors are spot on. There appears to be no true yellow in any of the other settings! (Again, we both agree that we want to go to post with an exact recording of what the real world looks like.)

Folks should look at the shade of the DSC grayscale in Part 1. Your DSC grayscale goes from true white to real black.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 02:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
Great work!
Thank you Steve. I followed your posts in the past months and I'm impressed by your knowledge of HDV. Recognition coming from someone like you is greatly appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
1) Your goal of providing the "most bits into post" is exactly the same approach I describe in my HD100 Handbook. We both use histograms to indicate how well one is doing this.
I took the hint about histos from Scott Billups. He mentioned that in his book and I thought it was a great idea to have a more objective analysis of the picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
However, unlike Sony's A1, the HD100 has no histogram display. So how are you setting exposure?
Mostly via the Waveform monitor. I look at the zebras too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
I think that even if folks get convinced they should use an "engineering approach" -- actually setting exposure in the real world is not easy.
Agree if we are talking about outdoor, short time for setup, kind of situation. Indoor, controlled environment is a lot easier. For the commeriacials that I helped shoot with Image Line (Ben Jehoshua) the DP used an on-camera LCD display by Astro with built-in WFM. He kept the level generally just above 80%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
I present the "Zone System" in my Handbook, but that doesn't mean much to young videographers.
Ansel Adams, I looked into it but I didn't grasp it at first. Thank you for the reminder, I wanted to go back and understand it, it's gonna be my proposition for the next week :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
2) Panasonic talks of the dangers of a knee causing color shifts. I'm wondering if you checked this. Did this lead to your use of 90IRE rather than the 80IRE that Tim and I have suggested?
That's correct. If I remember well, I pretty much spent a day switching between knee levels and examining the WFM and VScope. I don't know much about color shift but the WFM shift was modest but more visible at more aggressive knee settings. I just believe that the camera can hold the highlights nicely with that amount of knee, without risking to alter the digital signal more than that. Ben and I were actually examining some nice bright reflections on plastic toys during the commercial that we shot. The highlights, with knee 90% rendered very nicely. Here are a couple of pictures of the lighting on the set. The second picture is about the light at the far right of the scene. As you can see we were using tons of light :)

Main scene
Right side

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
3) In V3 you switched BS from 1 to OFF. It's clear, by looking at a histogram, that 2 (and especially 3) really alter the mid-levels way too much. But, I'm wondering why you switched BS off. I trust your lab tests -- so I'm wondering why "on location" you made the change.
Well, when I did that I was also looking at the WFM and I noticed that MB normal with BS off leads to the same rendering of blacks while affecting the midtones less. My first approach, when I started V1.0, was to drop the MB until I reached the 0IRE level. It seems to me that V3.0 achieves the same but without stretch. I still map the User1-3 buttons to BS 1-3, just in case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
By the way, your DSC colors are spot on.
Cool! Thanks for the verification. That's what this forum is all about. I love that we can validate this kind of test from multiple sources. It makes it much more useful for everybody.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
One wonders how JVC setup the camera so differently. (Again, we both agree that we want to go to post with an exact recording of what the real world looks like.) Folks should look at the shade of the DSC grayscale in Part 1. Your DSC grayscale goes from true white to real black.
Yeah, it's kinda strange that the JVC settings are not better. To me the inspiration to calibrate the camera was created by the disappointment I had with the colors from the default settings. I didn't know much about HDV but what I got out of the box was less exciting than my $1000 Optura DV camcorder, colorwise. With TC I'm finally getting the exciting colors that I expected.
I believe tha this is truly a confirmation of the value of this camera, that we can tweak and personalize so much at this price point. I believe that, in a few years, we will see the HD100 mentioned in books as a milestone in the evolution of digital film making.

Thank very much for the excellent feedback!
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Old May 15th, 2006, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
Mostly via the Waveform monitor. I look at the zebras too.

For the commeriacials that I helped shoot with Image Line (Ben Jehoshua) the DP used an on-camera LCD display by Astro with built-in WFM. He kept the level generally just above 80%.
Thank you for your very kind comments!

All my explanations, here and in my book, break down at the point of actually setting exposure. It seems one needs to do three things at once:

1) Get the real blacks under 5IRE.

2) Get the brightest white above 105IRE.

3) Confirm that faces -- which must be exposed correctly -- are correctly exposed.

And one must be able to do this in three different types of situations:

A) High contrast -- 8 or more stops of light.

B) Medium contrast -- 4 to 7 stops of light.

C) Low contrast -- under 4 stops of light.

To add to this problem, LCD monitors (even an external monitor) are not good at displaying true blacks. So, we really can trust our minitors to set blacks to black.

Let's assume we use zebra to monitor face levels. Now we depend on LCD monitors to judge how bright whites are. Once again, LCD monitors tend to be very bad at displaying bright whites.

For those who aren't using a WFM or have no way to display a histogram -- we only have zerba to set exposure. Worse, we only have one zebra.

I realize with your rig these are not your problems, but they are problems for those of us who shoot alone.

I do have one idea -- a tiny box fed by the composite video cable. Logic would light two Green LEDs when "some" of the signal was under 5 IRE and "some" of the signal was above 105IRE.

Let's see if we can figure this out.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
For those who aren't using a WFM or have no way to display a histogram -- we only have zerba to set exposure. Worse, we only have one zebra.
This can be solved by using DVRack. It has zebras for both highlights and dark tones.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
I realize with your rig these are not your problems, but they are problems for those of us who shoot alone.
I hope you don't refer to the shoot with Ben & Co. as "my rig" :) I can't even touch that. I decided for DVRack exactly because I can run it on a laptop, using the battery, and so it becomes a very portable solution for one-two people shoot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
I do have one idea -- a tiny box fed by the composite video cable. Logic would light two Green LEDs when "some" of the signal was under 5 IRE and "some" of the signal was above 105IRE.
That would be cool if we can make something like that at a very affordable price point (~$200). I don't know the cost of the Astro LCD, on-camera display but it was really useful, with it's WFM superimposed over the image. It has component input.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 07:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
This can be solved by using DVRack. It has zebras for both highlights and dark tones.
HDVRack really isn't practical for gun&run or even solo shoots.

IF the HD100 had a constant ASA sensitivity, it would be really easy to use a lightmeter.

But, one might be able to use Zebra -- since it indicates what the camera is registering -- and from it -- know what the low and high foot-candles should measure to ensure all the bits are used.

For example, if the Zebra indicated 70IRE on a face, the brightest area on the light meter should be almost 2 stops hotter (110IRE). The darkest area, should be about 3.5 stops lower. (This isn't exactly right because a stop isn't always 20IRE.)
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Old May 15th, 2006, 08:18 PM   #13
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Hi Paolo,

Do you mean Black Stretch "normal"?

I can't seem to find "off."

Thanks,

Tom
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Old May 15th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #14
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Given that HDV is not great for brightening in post due to compression artifacts, I try to get fairly bright without clipping (depending on the subject). But I was wondering what are some good numbers for exposing different subjects at. For instance would you say that the upper limit for skin tones is around 70 IRE? I really wish that there was a waveform monitor or histogram available in the camera, but given the zebra function that we have, what's a good strategy for shooting with them in "the real world" without external equipment?
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Old May 15th, 2006, 09:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
Hi all.

This is not news since I talked about V3.0 for a couple of weeks but I finally managed to have a short page writtent about it with the complete "recipe" written down. This is, IMHO, the most accurate configuration that I can define. Given the real life situation in which we used it, shooting 3 commercials with lots of vivid colors, skin tones and dark/bright spots, I find this configuration to be one of the most flexible available for our camera. Give it a try and let me know.

The description is "Part 3" at the top of http://www.paolociccone.com

Oh, and take a look at the "Stilt World" pictures if you have a couple of minutes :)
Ciao Paolo.

And Grazie!

I wish I had found your tests before doing my own. Sort of like coming up with the Theory of Relativity anew, only to find out someone already did it :)

I also calibrate to the DSC chart (DSC makes a lot of handy charts, I use them all the time), and my HD-100 "broadcast settings" just about mirror your true color settings.

Where they differ is: detail (-5), black stretch (stretch1), color gain (-1), and red gain (2) - these are my adjustments based on "after editing" ATSC broadcast ready segs. I also have the skin adjust set to on, and the range set to -2.

Turning on the skin adjust feature changes the overall color matrix of the cam somewhat which may also account for the differences.

While my "standard" setting is as above, I do adjust the settings as the situation calls for. No one setting is correct for every shooting situation, but your settings are a excellent starting point, and will hold a solid picture in most situations. Thanks for making them available.

I'm taking two NTSC HD-100 cams to Cannes tomorrow, we are shooting PAL Digibeta for the most part, but I am shooting some festival atmosphere with the HD-100s for the US domestic broadcast market. We are also taking two Pana NTSC HVX200 cams and a Steadicam Flyer for one of the HD-100 units. I'm curious to see how the Mediterranean and added range of festival colors mix with my standard color settings.

Full report when I return.
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