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Old May 10th, 2012, 12:57 AM   #1
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GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

Hi Guys

I have a friend who has a question before buying a GH2 and he has asked me for some comments from existing users : He sent me this message :

Hey Chris, hope you don't mind the pm but I was wondering whether your friends who have the gh2 have had any problems with color banding, particularly sky banding. I am very keen on the gh2, was close to a purchase but sfound numerous threads about that problem. Perhaps it's a problem with most dslrs and even other cams but was curious what your friends think. I guess I could just not shoot the sky, but I'm kinda bummed about that.

Any advice ????? I'm sure Jeff Harper would know about this??

Many Thanks

Chris
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Old May 10th, 2012, 03:28 AM   #2
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

For your friend:

It's not a "problem" - more of a technical reality.

It's an 8 Bit codec - as is the 5D MkII's codec and everything else at this end of the price spectrum. You've got 255 binary representations between black and white.

Also, most people considering this kind of lower cost technology are mainly going to distribute it via the web - and that will automatically screw any graduated greyscale presentation and make it far worse.

If you want to avoid "banding" (similar to solarisation) - ie the camera's inability resolve minor graduations in greyscale across a sky (or white wall etc etc), then buy a 10 bit video camera and record it uncompressed and run it through an uncompressed workflow.

But then, if you were considering that, you wouldn't be tinkering around with the low cost technology we're using... :-)

On the other hand, there's nothing like getting the camera out, pointing it at various flavours of sky and seeing what you think - better to forget all the lazy BS that's flying around the web and get your own answers.

FWIW, I come from a background of high-end broadcast and film, where technology like this raises a wry smile and the conversation moves on quickly. However, I'm managing to make a living using this lower cost technology and my clients are delighted with the results (and I get to see my wife and kids every day, unlike my bad old days of broadcast TV.)

Here's something we just produced for Cathay Pacific. We shot it on a 5DMkII and GH2. We did get a couple of greyscale issues with the sky and a couple of moments where the sky was completely overcast and we wanted to match a blue sky throughout the bloke fuelling the plane sequence - so I just keyed the original out and added a new one simply in FCP. I was cutting on a 10 bit ProRes422 timeline - which is more forgiving:


The DSLR movement reminds me a lot of motorcyclists - full of newbies who talk a good story, based on poring over magazine and web articles, convincing themselves that this or that new shiny thing will make them faster and somehow "better." That is, until some old fart rides past confidently and safely on his Pan European, smoking a pipe, listening to Radio 4 and leaving them for dust.

There's nowt like experience - and that comes from trying stuff out for yourself, making mistakes and the passage of time.

In conclusion, I'd say greyscale "banding" isn't a major issue with the GH2 in my experience so far - no more than any other sub $10K camera - and I just work around it on the very rare moments it becomes an issue (and then it all comes back as soon as you view it on Vimeo anyway...)

Ben.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #3
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

That's a great answer, Ben. Bottom line: pretty much every 8 bit camera has banding, and YouTube compression makes it worse.

Chris - if your friend can't fix the sky in post, as Ben did, I have found that an http://www.amazon.com/Zeikos-ZE-CPL62-Multi-Coated-Circular-Polarizer/dp/B001UE6N7Y helps both with banding and with "washed-out" skies. So does turning the contrast setting on the camera down to -2.

If your friend has decided that the GH2 is the right camera for his budget, shooting style and video quality needs, this concern should not stop him from buying it.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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Old May 10th, 2012, 08:32 AM   #4
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

Thanks so much guys!!

Elmer will really appreciate the advice!! I have given him the thread link so he can read, digest and make a purchase decision

Most Appreciated!!

Chris
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Old May 10th, 2012, 10:12 AM   #5
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

I've heard the banding issue come up before and it has always mystified me. As Bill points out, a polarizing lens filter is a commonsense solution that will address most day to day issues with skies, I believe.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 12:03 PM   #6
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

A pola to fix banding?
How does this work?
I thought banding was (as detailed above) due to the 8bit inability to render all the steps in a gradation. Adding a polarizer wouldn't change the amount of gray-scale gradation would it?
I don't understand the science behind this concept.

And... man... I sure wish one size fit all lenses. Getting a pola for each lens is a serious financial challenge. But they sure do help with making skies look more blue and reflections look less ... reflective...
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Old May 10th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #7
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

I buy all my filters in 77mm and just use step up adapters. 77 is my largest lens,
The adapters are a pain but beat the devil out of buying filters by the dozen.

As to banding...what Ben and everyone else said. It's just one of the things....like green tint, you have to work around.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Litten View Post
It's just one of the things....like green tint, you have to work around.
Don - I got rid of the evil Panasonic green tint by adjusting the AWB towards magenta. Works like a champ. I used to have to adjust WB on every shot - I now use AWB exclusively and haven't touched the WB in months.

The folks at Panasonic are great engineers, but I think they're red/green colorblind.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old May 10th, 2012, 08:03 PM   #9
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

I used to do the same thing Bill, but after I started using GHears, I just hit it with the preset when I grade.
Takes less than a second.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #10
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

What is GHears?
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Old May 11th, 2012, 02:20 PM   #11
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

ColorGHears... IIRC, it's a plugin for After Effects
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Old May 11th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #12
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

Yep!

I flat love it.
I replaced Magic Bullet with it and it's the Swiss Army knife of correction/grading tools.
The best part is it's still only $50.00.

You also get access to a batch of very good tutorials.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 02:35 PM   #13
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Roddy View Post
What is GHears?
ColorGHear

14 pages of discussion here
http://www.personal-view.com/talks/d...stem-for-ae/p1
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Old May 12th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #14
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

It sounds great, Don. Is there any way to use it without having to spend ~$1000 for http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007PMNSL4?

Thanks,

Bill
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Old May 12th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #15
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Re: GH2 Colour Banding -especially sky??

Not yet. The programmers claim that they are developing Premier and Final Cut plug-ins.
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