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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS100 CineAlta
An interchangeable lens AVCHD camcorder using E-Mount lenses.


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Old September 6th, 2014, 03:09 PM   #1
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Picture Profile suggestions

I do a lot of filming for theater (dance, music and stage) and like to use the FS100 as a unmanned wide shot camera while having two other cameras (PMW200) for operated cameras. One of the reason I like to use the FS100 for the wide shot is because of its wide dynamic range. Unfortunately these types of performances usually have wildly different lighting (both per scene as well as the stage lighting itself) and even the FS100 has trouble keeping up with the dynamic range

I am trying to find a good PP which can better accommodate these wide contrast differences better particularly on the bright highlights.

Did I mention that the background curtain of these theaters are frequently stark black?
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Old September 13th, 2014, 09:33 PM   #2
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

There aren't any picture profile settings that can increase the dynamic range of the camera. It is what it is.
If you are properly exposing for faces and highlights, it shouldn't even matter how dark the background is.
Are you setting exposure manually? If not, that is probably why you aren't getting good results. Just a guess. Explain how you are setting exposure and maybe we can provide some tips.

MASTERING THE SONY NEX-FS100 CAMCORDER

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Old September 14th, 2014, 10:04 AM   #3
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Hi Doug. Yes I am doing everything manually. I know that dynamic range of the camera cannot be increased however working with PP can give more detail in the dark areas and hence manage the overall look of the high contrast of stage productions. I have been lowing the contrast in the PP for stage work however I am just checking to see if other people have any good PP for this type of shoot. Do you know if lowering the saturation would be useful in these situations?
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Old September 14th, 2014, 03:16 PM   #4
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Lowering the saturation can make noise less visible, so that might help, but not necessarily.
In this sort of situation I like to push the exposure of white highlights as far as they can go without clipping and that will thus bring up all the rest of the image up along with the highlights. It's also important to cap the lens and check to be sure your master black level is right at zero on a waveform monitor. If it's not, blacks will never be true black and the picture will have a washed out appearance. So, basically push the highlights as far as they can go, keep the blacks at zero (but not crushed) and there's not a whole lot more you can do. The FS100 is a great camera in low light but the Hypergamma modes of the XDCAM products makes shooting this kind of subject matter easier. I guess you can't have everything with a camera under $3K.
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Old September 14th, 2014, 03:18 PM   #5
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Forman View Post
Did I mention that the background curtain of these theaters are frequently stark black?
If you're exposing proprly for the people, scenery, costumes, etc. the black curtain in the background should actually be a benefit.
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Old September 15th, 2014, 05:22 AM   #6
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Don't worry.

PP do influence the DR of your footage, but not the general DR of your camera.

I did my own tests here and you can have up to 2 stops of highlights pressed into
your footage with a proper PP instead of standard.

PP are a science of it's own and if you win on one side, you'll loose on another.
Me personally like to have a pp that fits my specific scene. Basicly you'll have to
adjust at least one value at every shooting.

I prefer Frank Glencairns last PP:
G-Log Ultimate 1.0 Picture Profile for the Sony FS100 | Frank Glencairn

I tried several and adjusted some values to my own liking.
My footage looks much less "videoish". It's not so sharp anymore, the highlight rolloff is nicer
and it's not so much saturated.

But you have to expose properly - that's the most important thing. Use your histogramm more
than your display.

And don't forget, that the FS100 is only 8bit AVCHD - it doesn't like heavy grading. So any log-style
PP doesn't make much sense. You need to "burn in" your look as much as possible...
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Old September 15th, 2014, 05:51 AM   #7
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Here's an example:

Shot during the night with very hard lights for an outside theater.
The girl wears black leather and has white makeup and the pic
shows some direct lights in the background. Pretty much what you
never want...

a) direct out of cam with Frank's PP (without either highlights would have been burnt out or the dress would have been totally black)

b) quick cc in FCPX

c) quick grading with filmconvert
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Old September 15th, 2014, 02:08 PM   #8
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Thank you Erik and Doug. I am going to try that PP on my next theatrical performance video. I know that the camera has some limitations and I keep looking at the new Sony A7s but a 2nd PMW200 would probably be more useful to me (or the new PXW-X200). I generally only use the FS100 for interviews and b-roll and occasionally for wide shots in theater because of its superior low-light ability
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Old September 15th, 2014, 09:39 PM   #9
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Keith, a couple of suggestions.
First - try to position the camera close enough to where you're shooting your closer coverage that you can physically reach over and adjust the iris a bit as needed. If the shows are anything like the Broadway and Off-Broadway shows I shoot, then exposure may change as much as 4 or 5 f/stops during the show. If you're exposing to protect your highlights in the brightest scenes and don't adjust for the dim ones, then that kind of range will severely compromise how the dark scenes look.
Second - analyze what you know and can find out about the show -- do they use spots / are the spots at 5600K while everything else is at 3200K? If so, can you convince them to put a piece of half cto on the spots to bring down the color difference?
Third - If there are spots and you need to preset an exposure, do so based on the spots. Spots are a place where a hyper-gamma type profile will help -
Fourth - often there are so many different colors, that you may want to manually dial in a color temperature rather than trying to fine a white balance target.
Speaking of colors, watch out for those deep blues coming from vari-lights and cyber-lights. They can often overload the sensor. For shows that feature a lot of (possibly illegal)colors it may be better to reduce the chroma a little when shooting, and then fix it in Post.
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Old September 16th, 2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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Re: Picture Profile suggestions

Dave. Yes. light color (gels) are an issue I too always have to deal with. I do set up my FS100 (wide shot) to my right so that I can easily access the controls and see the monitor. Of course the iris control on the FS100 is slow and not very responsive.

I always set the color temp to 3200k which it the temperature of theatrical bulbs. Sometime there is a spot or special in the 5600k range but I have not had any problems with that (see photo from Cabaret).

The problem which I tend to have are with hot spots on the stage in the wide shots (see dance photo). Thought this photo is not to extreme you can see the dancers on the right and left are a bit blown out. I would lower the iris however then the opposite will happen and I will have the majority of the shot underexposed.

When I work with amateur light designers that is when over saturation really happens. Not only does the video look like crap but from an audience member's perspective the lighting looks bad as well--however I can only capture what I am presented with.
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