Color Level setting vs. dynamic range at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old March 17th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #1
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Color Level setting vs. dynamic range

I encountered not-so-optimal dynamic range behavior with my FX7. The truth is, those were unusually difficult light conditions: locations near the equator with hard summer sunlight mixed with shades of city buildings, outdoors vs. indoors... But still, the results were slightly disappointing compared to other summer light situations I had lived with the very same camcorder. A bit odd.

Then I realized I had set a custom picture profile with Color Level +1 (out of personal preference for stronger, more saturated colors). I understand there's a link between saturation and channel levels / dynamic range, so I wondered if maybe I just shot myself in the foot by increasing in-cam saturation.

Any insights from the experienced videographers out there? Anybody who purposely took care of keeping Color Level at the default 0 or maybe even decreasing it to -1 or -2, just for the purpose of preserving dynamic range? Or did you find that negligible consideration in practice?

Thanks.

PS: just a reminder the FX7 has no Knee or Black Stretch adjustment for high-contrast situations. Only the V1 has that.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 06:28 PM   #2
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Another guy I really respect on another board says he keeps his color at 0 or -1 for just the reasons you describe.

Last edited by Adam Gold; March 18th, 2009 at 11:39 AM.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #3
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Well, that person has actually been advising for WB Shift -1 / Color Level +1 instead I believe.

I wonder if this is all speculation (maybe the light really was just unusually strong), or whether anybody actually thought about all this within this humble camcorder range. I could probably count on one single hand the people who regularly write about those things on the Web (like PVC or ProLost), but unfortunately they're more in the RED or Panavision leagues. Those guys shoot with low color saturation, but for some other reasons as it seemed to me (film look and heavy color correction in post).

Last edited by Stephan Stryhanyn; March 18th, 2009 at 01:35 AM.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 01:54 AM   #4
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Well, I checked again some footage I had taken with various values for Color Level. The differences in perceived contrast are negligible or non-existent, so I guess Color Level really is inconsequential here.

Forget it, must have been the strong light. Check field news on TV for instance, they sometimes have so much trouble exposing correctly in the street - even with multi-10K$ broadcast cameras.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #5
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ND filters help reduce the contrast as well. Even if you need to add another one on the lens in addition to the internal filters.
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