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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 03:00 AM   #1
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black stretch and cinematone

The Sony Z1U manual p.35-36 description of black stretch and cinematone - is this info accurate? summarizing:blackstretch=gradation of dark parts produced better. cinematone 2 ...extremely precise description of the entire exposure zone from shadowed parts to highlighted parts, which enables reproduction of a deeper black. Do they mean more detail in black?

What's the downside? I can't accurately evaluate the look because I don't have the proper monitor. Sure, I know there's creative look preferences, but the manual says cinematone gives a better tone scale than standard video and black stretch sounds like a plus. Should you not use blackstretch if you're using cinematone? So, wouldn't black and or cinematone always be a good choice, offering greater latitude. Are either or both of these a bad choice if going to hd broadcast t.v. after editing?

Please comment on the pros and cons.
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 05:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Chris Gorman View Post
What's the downside? Please comment on the pros and cons.
Noah Kadner did a great demo of cine-like gamma vs video gamma - abeit between a DVX100 and a PD150:

http://www.lafcpug.org/reviews/review_dvx_pd150.html - scroll down to the Conclusions section, click on the second (lower) image.

But on the Z1 I try to emulate the DVX100 gama by use of careful exposure, black stretch and grading in post.

I use black stretch all the time to get a wider range of tones in the shadow areas at shoot time, then effectively doing what CineTone does by using Colorista in Final Cut: e.g. pulling down the mids, which gives a nice boost to the finished image.

The downside is that Black Stretch introduces a little more noise to the shadow areas, but I'm willing to take the hit for a more controlable tonality at grading time.

I'm a little cautious about creating 'looks' in-camera. If you shoot with CineTone, it's fixed - and if you have to drop in other footage from a different camera or a different day, it'll be a pain to match. If you shoot to get the best 'negative' (range of tones) and create the look in post, there's more control. Only NDs, Grads, polarisers and just maybe a promist at shoot time. :)

The biggest thing, though, is to get the exposure right - leaning towards under rather than over. I now use Zebras at 95% and treat it as 100% IYSWM. With black stretch ON and CineTone OFF, it's a sort of policy that by looking after the highlights, the shadows will look after themselves. ;)

Please note that I'm mostly run & gun and lit interviews, and stuff is screened on Plasma/DVD and web. Not drama or film out. YMMV :)

Last edited by Matt Davis; April 2nd, 2007 at 10:16 AM.
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 10:44 AM   #3
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One downside of the cinematone settings is that you will need to open up the iris about 1 more f-stop when using them, so they aren't a good idea if you're working in a dark place.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 02:50 PM   #4
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black stretch and cinematone

In order to properly evaluate these settings you have to monitor the taped output on an accurate hd production monitor (whatever that is, nowadays). eg., how do you know the noisy blacks are in your footage or just the limitations of your monitor?

Please describe what monitor and card you're using for production monitoring. I don't have an hd production monitor of any sort, so I'm limited in what I can evaluate, other than just looking at the "relative" difference comparing various settings on my computer and ntsc sd production monitor. Even if you can't get 100% accurate color, it would help to get feedback on the blacks and highlights.
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