Best V1U Settings For Post-Production Color Correction at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
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Old February 15th, 2007, 01:11 PM   #1
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Best V1U Settings For Post-Production Color Correction

Hello

I'm shooting with the V1, producing a documentary, and I do like a lot of the aspects of the camera. We're shooting in 60i. The documentary will have a lot of outdoor natural light shots and some indoor with available lighting along with some studio-lit interviews. The outdoor shots are the most challenging, with a mixture of full-on sunlight and shadows, some in dappled forest, or subjects backlit with sky, and other contrasty scenes. I would like to be able to bring out detail in the shadows if we need to without blowing out the highlights.

I know that the V1 can be tweaked to produce great looking images, but I plan to do color correction in post, and I don't necessarily want to just have great appearing images straight from camera to a monitor, but to have the most versatile video so the expert color correction people for example, with DaVinci systems, have the most available source images to work from.

I've seen some production dailies of film and HD projects, and they don't look all that good: they are very low contrast, colors are not saturated and are not very sharp. After being tweaked by color experts in post, they look wonderful, and the result of this color correction is what we see in released films all the time.

I realize that in some situations, the contrast ratio is just too large and it will not 'fit' into the HDV space without fill lighting, reflectors, etc, but the V1 is supposed to excel in the 'lattitude' area, so maybe there are more options here.

Anyway, I've done some experimenting on my own, but I'd like some opinions from some experts that have the V1U (or other variants of the V1) to chime in with your opinions.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

-Keith
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Old February 15th, 2007, 01:39 PM   #2
 
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There is an uncorrected image here that I've only scaled and added an arrow to. It should give you an idea of what happens when you shoot with color slightly pumped
Yes, the river really is that turquoise blue color.
super highlights on the rocks, white stripes in main subject, dark background.
The shot is slightly overexposed for later use in C/C suite, but it will work just fine.
Under expose the shot a little bit, and you'll be fine. Be sure that you capture or immediately convert the m2t to another format 4:2:2, preferably 10bit if you plan on grossly pushing the color around. Most of our shots on this location are slightly underexposed, simply for this reason, we'll be matching a lot of locations, the reds of the Grand Canyon to meet the greens of Norway, and the snow colors will be matched as well. Calibrate your viewfinder, that'll help a lot.
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Old February 15th, 2007, 04:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Calibrate your viewfinder, that'll help a lot.
how best to do that?

leslie
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Old February 16th, 2007, 08:47 AM   #4
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There isn't that much tweakability to the settings on the V1U. I think the main thing you have to worry about is whether or not to use the CineGamma and Cinecolor modes. There is also Black adjustment (stretch, compress, or normal). As for the Blacks, I'd shoot stretch so you can get more detail in the dark areas, you can always crush them in color correction if you need to.

As far as CineGamma or Cinecolor, that's a judgement call. I like the way Cinegamma looks, but it might make it more difficult to tweak later. CineGamma has the effect of lowering the midtones and compressing the dark areas, so you might loose some dark detail. I try to offset it with the Black stretch. Some of it also depends on what you are shooting. As for color settings, I shoot with +1. The V1U tends to shoot very saturated colors. But my theory is it's easier to reduce saturation than increase it. So I tend to shoot slightly oversaturated.

I'd probably speak with a color correction professional and see what they might suggest. The reason some film dailies look bad is because they are not the highest quality transfers. They are called "One Light" transfers and are not tweaked to the level of the final transfer.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Yes, the river really is that turquoise blue color.
DSE, it seems the river banks are having a blue tone. Is that correct? I doubt the scene looks the same in real life.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 03:58 PM   #6
 
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Find other pictures of that river, yes, that is the exact color of the river. It's tinged turquoise by mineral deposits in the earth. You can see from the color of the canopies, rocks, etc that no color correction has been done, unless you're thinking that the blues have been enhanced, which they have not.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 12:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses. I guess what I was really after were specifics on getting the most out of the settings.

So here's what I've gotten so far:

-Underexpose a little (from DSE)
-Use black stretch and +1 color (possibly) from Brett, use cine-tone or cine-gamma at your risk
-Get the advice of a colorist

I'd like to know what I should set for: Sharpness, Kneepoint, Black Compensation, CineGamma, Cinecolor. For example, I too like the CineGamma and Cinecolor, but maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot here because probaby those things can be tweaked in the CC suite and I'm just throwing information away at the camera when I should be preserving it. I've read (I think in the manual) that the Cinegamma can compress highlights and provide better lattitude, is this true?

Also, I've heard that larger iris results in better sharpness, (I think from Steve Mullen) I think I've observed this to be true, so I try to keep it around 5 or 6 fstops, but really where is the limit, for example once I get below 6 does it matter?

Thanks again to everybody who's given their advice, I'd really like to get more advice and benefit from all the knowledge out there from the pros, so keep it coming!
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Old March 15th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #8
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How about Knee Point, using full 110IRE

Is "Auto" Knee Point my best bet for the most latitude or would "Low" be a better overall choice? What exactly is "Auto" doing?

Can I push highlights past 100IRE, go all the way up to 110 (as Steve Mullen has mentioned in some of his reviews of the V1U) and bring it back down to 100 in the CC software (I'm using FCP which can support "Super Whites"-110IRE).

I'm looking to get the most versatile picture I can so I can adjust it in post.

Thanks again for any advice.

-Keith
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Old March 15th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #9
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I do believe there is still information past 100ire, so you should be able to use that data in your color correction.

What I have read is that most lenses look best in the middle. As far as I can tell from test images. You probably just need to try avoiding the very extremes.

Cinegamma and cinecolor should be something you can do in post. I think it might be best for your situation to stay away from at least cinegamma. It kills about 2 f-stops of light sensitivity and perhaps even some latitude by crushing the blacks. You can always apply an s-curve in post to provide an appearance of greater latitude.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #10
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Thanks Marcus, this makes sense to me. I did some more shooting, using the histogram on the V1U and yes there is still some lattitude above 100. There is an orange line in the histogram when Zebras are set to 100IRE I can see some extra space (lattitude) beyond the orange line.

On the cinegamma and cinecolor I really like the look (less videoish) but I agree it's throwing away potentially valuable luma and chroma information that can never be recovered, therefore I've stopped using it. Hopefully it isn't also doing some magic that is not reproducible with color correction or software like Magic Bullet or Natress.

I'm still wondering if the Knee Point should remain on Auto or set to Low for greatest lattitude. Does anybody have more info on this?
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #11
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Be sure that you capture or immediately convert the m2t to another format 4:2:2, preferably10 bit

how you do that after recording on hdv?
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Old March 16th, 2007, 01:24 AM   #12
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Well today I experimented with pushing past 100IRE and I was quite pleased with the results. I never 'clipped' but I got close but I felt like the there was just that much more depth and less noise to the image.

Frankly one of the weak points of the V1U (and perhaps other detailed HD level camcorders) is the amount of seemingly random noise in mid to dark light levels. With cheaper HDV camcorders like my trusty old HC1 I think the lower levels are pushed down and compressed and therefore the perceived level of noise is lower, but this is just a guess.

Of course as you push everything higher those mids and low levels get pushed up and it seems then the V1U produces less noise. At least it seemed to me this was the case in my viewing today.

I didn't change the 'knee' setting from Automatic, but I think I'm going to set the "knee" to low and check out those results. If anybody has any answers about what "auto" vs manual Knee is please let me know.

As far as immediately capturing it into a 4:2:2 format, I'm not necessarily going to do that. I was planning to do the capture as HDV into FCP as well as the color correction with FCP and/or a plugin like Red Giant or Natress. I think keeping all in HDV in FCP and then exporting out to a 4:2:2 for the final edit will work well. If people don't think this a good idea, please chime in.

Regards,

-Keith
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Old March 17th, 2007, 06:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Moreau View Post
Well today I experimented with pushing past 100IRE and I was quite pleased with the results. I never 'clipped' but I got close but I felt like the there was just that much more depth and less noise to the image.

Frankly one of the weak points of the V1U (and perhaps other detailed HD level camcorders) is the amount of seemingly random noise in mid to dark light levels. With cheaper HDV camcorders like my trusty old HC1 I think the lower levels are pushed down and compressed and therefore the perceived level of noise is lower, but this is just a guess.

Of course as you push everything higher those mids and low levels get pushed up and it seems then the V1U produces less noise. At least it seemed to me this was the case in my viewing today.

I didn't change the 'knee' setting from Automatic, but I think I'm going to set the "knee" to low and check out those results. If anybody has any answers about what "auto" vs manual Knee is please let me know.

As far as immediately capturing it into a 4:2:2 format, I'm not necessarily going to do that. I was planning to do the capture as HDV into FCP as well as the color correction with FCP and/or a plugin like Red Giant or Natress. I think keeping all in HDV in FCP and then exporting out to a 4:2:2 for the final edit will work well. If people don't think this a good idea, please chime in.

Regards,

-Keith
how you export to 4:2:2?
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Old March 19th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #14
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I personally have not done it but once the HDV stream has been captured from the V1 into your computer, in my case it would be a Mac, then it could be converted into a 4:2:2 file format, possibly an interframe format like DVCPro HD if a lower res and smaller filesize was required or a less compressed format like Component Y’CbCr format. Then it could be processed with less fear of 'clipping' luma or chorma information. I think this is why DSE suggested it. I'm going to try to keep all the processing within the Final Cut Pro environment and try to use it's basic color correction functionality so I don't have to move convert or move out of the HDV space or perform conversions which would result in some degradation.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 04:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Keith Moreau View Post
I personally have not done it but once the HDV stream has been captured from the V1 into your computer, in my case it would be a Mac, then it could be converted into a 4:2:2 file format, possibly an interframe format like DVCPro HD if a lower res and smaller filesize was required or a less compressed format like Component Y’CbCr format. Then it could be processed with less fear of 'clipping' luma or chorma information. I think this is why DSE suggested it. I'm going to try to keep all the processing within the Final Cut Pro environment and try to use it's basic color correction functionality so I don't have to move convert or move out of the HDV space or perform conversions which would result in some degradation.
If you want quality all the way to the final output, this is a pretty good outfit...especially if you could capture directly out of the V1 to the BlackMagic Intensity card:

http://www.cineform.com/products/MacOS-Beta.htm

Quote from their page: The good news is that our CineForm Intermediate QT files are cross-platform compatible and work the same on both Windows and MacOS (in native mode).
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