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Old February 21st, 2007, 12:08 PM   #1
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Bleached, washed out, blue footage :(

Hi folks,

I'm having some real trouble with footage I'm currently producing.
I shot a little outdoor footage (construction) yesterday in one of those overcast but bright days. Aside from not being particularly sharp (I'm testing the back focus again tomorrow) the footage looks, according to my girlfriend, like an old VHS copy of eastern european documentary (and not kieslowski at that). The sky is so bleached it almost hurts your eyes and the reflections on white concrete the same. There is no warmth there at all, pretty much a blue hue dominates.
I had to use a the 2 on board ND filters whilst keeping the iris at 4 - 8 mark depending.
Scene was CAM scene 1 - I'm going to play with Tim and Paulo's (et al) recipe scenes tomorrow, though I had used panamatch before and although the colour was far superior I still had this bleaching...which leads me to believe I am doing something fundamentally wrong.
Will this scene files suit PAL and SD setups (rather than NTSC HDV)?

If someone can give me a little direction I'd be most grateful. I have to get some more footage over the next few days and I really want this to work...and I'm starting to panic!
It doesn't seem right that I'm getting sharper, more colourful footage from my old panasonic NV GS120 camcorder!

Many thanks.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 12:22 PM   #2
 
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Hi david...

Fundamental question...did u white balance? what was the color temp?
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Old February 21st, 2007, 12:37 PM   #3
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I figured I wouldn't need to on this. It was pretty much one building under construction from various angles/rooftops/ground etc.
It was set at preset 3200k. I read from someone that white balances were not as necessary as made out to be and perhaps a warm card (or kodak grey?) may be better. Of all the things I was doing to get to grips with this camera (and the FCP suite for that matter) white balance has sadly been neglected. If you have a recommended linkie to white balancing then that would certainly help.
It's early days for me at the moment (I haven't as yet produced a show reel etc) and I sometimes think I'm going to collapse under the weight of it all...but I'll keep on plowing on become confident.

I'll try and post a jpeg frame just as an example...be warned - it's not nice viewing!
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Old February 21st, 2007, 12:49 PM   #4
 
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well, that's certainly your problem with blue coloration. once you capture, there's only so much you can do in post to correct the color balance.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 12:50 PM   #5
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David,

For an overcast sky you're about 4000k out. It's not the end of the world. You need to reset reset the WB by using your 3-way colour correcter. Using the small eye dropper is the fastest way to do this.

Hope that helps.

Liam.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 12:51 PM   #6
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First thing -- if you're outside start at 5200 or 5600 depending on what the camera has-3200 is basically an indoor setting under incandesant bulbs, not always but as a general rule of thumb.
In you're NLE you should be able to color correct MOST of the blue out but it probably still won't look quite right but at least it won't look like you used a blue filter to shoot.The basics of WB are quite simple-find something white under the lighting you're going to shoot under and set the camera to that-outdoors 5200 indoors 3200 zoom in on the white object and set the switch - once the camera reads that you're good to go. You might subsitute a gray or warm card in place of white depending on the look you want to achieve.
Not owning the particular camera in question this is just a general rule of thumb-some cams have a setting up to 6400-I'm not familar enough to be able to say exactly on you cam.
HTHs
Don
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Old February 21st, 2007, 01:03 PM   #7
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That might explain pretty much all this pain then folks.
Yes the camera has a 3200k (set to...which will explain why the indoors shots looked good, though I feel the back focus has slipped a little since then) whereas the outdoors is pretty rum. I'm fairly certain the highest setting on this camera is 5600k.
There is a preset temp and and A and B for storing (I presume you can set increments of these temps on the HD100?)
I'll white balance first thing tomorrow...I have to film again over the next few days and can't really afford to make any more errors like this.
I just really need the shots to be sharp and colourful - lifelike really in this particular job.
Reset in FCP Liam? I'll give it a whirl - it might not be perfect but at least I'll have backup (this will be used in sharply edited 'funky' video so might get away with it...?).
Aside from the 'blueness', would this explain the over bleached look also then?
Many, many thanks.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 01:04 PM   #8
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2800K - Incandescent "household" bulbs

3200K - Tungsten balance (most professional lighting)

5600K (aka 5500K) - Daylight balance (sunny day or HMI source)

8000+K - Cloudy/shade
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Old February 21st, 2007, 01:09 PM   #9
 
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David...

You need to read the owner's manual. There are 2 WB presets, 3200 and 5600K, plus 2 user definable white balance settings. read the manual to find out how to set a custom white balance. In my own experience, the 5600K preset will give you a pretty warm outdoor color.

As for exposure, I have several ND(neutral density) filters that I use outdoors, ontop of the in-camera ND filters. I use the external ND's whenever I can't hold f/4-f/5.6, which is pretty normal in bright sunlight. One of the best exposure tools you have are the zebra stripes, which will show up whenever the highlights exceed a certain IRE value. The HD100 will let you select when to illuminate the zebra stripes. If you see them, you know you're blowing the highlights. Again, read the manual to find out how to set these up.

Hope this helps,
Bill
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Old February 21st, 2007, 01:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Scattergood
Aside from the 'blueness', would this explain the over bleached look also then?
Simple overexposure.

On bright days you will barely have enough control with ND position #2 and 1/48th or 1/50th shutter speed. You can always stop down (as you mentioned you were in the F4/F5.6/F8 range. However, try not to stop down past F8 because you will risk diffraction, which will make everythink a little out of focus. The sweet spot to aim for is F4.

You could increase shutter speed to reduce exposure, but then you will be invoking the "strobe" effect used in films like "Saving Private Ryan."

I recommend investing in some ND filters to attach to the front of the lens. ND filter factors are hard to understand for beginners (unless you understand logarithmic functions) but the basic idea is that every "N.3" is one stop of exposure reduction.
Therefore a N.3 filter will cut the exposure in half (1 stop), a N.6 will cut the exposure to (2 stops) N.9 = 3 stops (1/8th), N1.2 = 4 stops (1/16th), etc. You can add ND filters as well, so a N.3 + N.6 = N.9 (3 stops.) I usually keep a N.3 and N.6 in my box.

If you want to maintain the rich "blue" of the sky, invest in a polarizer (NOT a circular polarizer) and a matte box with a rotatable filter stage. Polarizers can cut your exposure as much as 2 stops and the effect is controllable. The versatility of a polarizer for controlling reflections in glass/water as well as the "blueness" of the sky means I never leave home without it.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 01:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Scattergood
Will this scene files suit PAL and SD setups (rather than NTSC HDV)?
David,

HDV isn't PAL or NTSC it's HDV. The colour space and resolution are the same whatever the frame rate.

If I were you I'd use Tim's wide latitude setting and stick the zebra's on 100%. Then at least you'll always know when things are going pear-shaped.

Cheers,

Liam.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 02:21 PM   #12
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David,
The A/B on the WB is for setting a "preset" WB-in other words, once you have set the switch for the appropriate type of lighting in this case 5600 then focus in on something white or again use a gray or warm card your choice for the desired look you want -hit th eWB switch in either A or B setting. This will now be stored in the camera until you change it. If you WB using a white card on the A side you can WB using a warm card on the B side as an example. You can of course only use 1 setting at a time but it can be a big time saver IF you need to shoot say the same thing but have 2 different colorations.
Again, by reading the manual and practicing with the camera you will find all sorts of amazing things you can do with color, exposure and DO learn how to proper use the zebra settings. They can save your bacon.

Don
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Old February 21st, 2007, 02:45 PM   #13
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Thanks folks - all the above is an absolute wealth of information for me.
I had a good route through the manual at the time (several months back) but unfortunately neglected the white balance ???? I'll destroy that article which suggests WB is not really that important (though thinking back it still maintained setting the correct temp for indoors/outdoors).

I have had my eye on some screw in ND filters for some time...now's certainly the time to invest. Matt box and french flag...unless I can find a good price for one that may have to wait.

Tim - I will look into the polariser, but I guess that's tied in with the investment of a matt box. I do in fact have one (circular) for an old SLR camera, so makes sense to employ one for this camera....ebay might be called up over the next few days!
8000k - cloudy and shade - tis no wonder that my WB set at 3200k pretty much killed my footage. Bright overcast sky and having the camera sat on top of a building - 360 degrees of this horrible light. After 2 x ND filters and the iris being pushed far enough I realised something was missing...not much chanc of fixing it in the mix (though I'll try Liam's suggestion of colour correction). I really didn't want to play with the shutter (set at 1/50th). The footage has to be pretty 'straight'...in fact sometimes interlaced camcorder shots are preferred to progressive. If I get this right over the next few days then the former won't be asked for again!

Bill - I did start to use the zebra when I first started using the camera, but I've mostly done indoors stuff recently and it seemed ok (I know now that the WB would've been correct). But yes - time to deploy the zebra again. Thanks.

Liam - Yes...we had this conversation yesterday on these boards - quite a relevation (or not if I thought about it). I suppose then I should've asked whether using HDV scene settings would translate ok in PAL or NTSC. But I guess this should be fine. I'll dig round for Tim's wide settings tomorrow (will try other scenes out also).

Well - what a crash course this has been. Really, really appreciated folks.
I'll let you know how I get on...thanks again.

...meanwhile the client wants some day/night sped up/time lapse footage...that will be for another thread :)

Last edited by David Scattergood; February 21st, 2007 at 03:29 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 03:01 PM   #14
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Hi David,

A quick guide to WB.

1. There are three buttons that determine white balance; 'B', 'A' and 'PRST'.

PRST (preset) can be set to either 3300k (tungsten) or 5500k or auto white balance via the menu. I'd avoid auto white balance, and even then I'd avoid it.

2. 'B' and 'A' are where you store your manual white balance readings. These are what you should use for setting the white balance.

3. To set white balance. Choose 'A' or 'B'. Fill the centre part of the frame with something gray or white. Hit the auto exposure button (it's not necessary to focus but it's very important to set your exposure correctly.

4. Press and hold the 'AWB' button. A message will appear telling you the recorded value.

5. That recorded value will remain stored at either 'A' or 'B' until you record a new value.

That's all there is to it.

There are a lot of tricks that you can do to fool the white balance to create different looks, but I think you need to get a handle on the fundamentals first.

Hope that helps.

Liam.

Sorry Don I didn't mean to shoot you down. Should have refreshed my browser.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 03:26 PM   #15
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The more the merrier Liam!
I'll be doing these tests first thing in the morning (before taking them out live)...unless it's raining of course...rain cover - something else to invest in :(

The exposure is a bit of a worry though - I'll struggle to research and either afford/purchase extra filters or even matt boxes & french flags although I'm sure these pretty much essential. As I mentioned before, the on-board ND filters barely touched the light and any extra iris tweeking would harm the footage in another manner.
I took some digital photo's on a fairly basic Sony cyber shot over the weekend - similar sky to as the day I shot this footage on the HD100. The shot's are perfectly balanced/exposed/focused etc. Increasinly getting the impression that there's a wealth of difference between digital camera's, digital camcorders and (may I suggest professional?) camera's such as the HD100. It's been said here a few times that the camera really makes you work for that fantastic footage...which isn't really a bad thing in the end.

Curious about the eye dropper and colour correction in FCP. Worth a try certainly if not to rescue a few vital shots. Pretty new to FCP also, so another learning curve awaits me.
Cheers.
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