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Old October 5th, 2008, 10:05 AM   #1
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EX3 Picture profiles for wildlife

Hi all,

I know this was discussed in here but I can't find exactly what I need.
Can anyone please specify PP for the following three situations:

1. Full perfect morning light. (before it gets harsh)
2. Same conditions when shooting in shaded areas (in a forest).
3. Cloudy day.

Thanks in advance!

Ofer Levy Nature Photographer
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Old October 5th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #2
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Hi Ofer,
Personally I'd just choose one set of PP in leave it the same for all of those conditions. Just the one that gives you the widest dynamic range, not too sharpened and decent colour balance. Then you'll have the greatest amount of info ready for your grade.
Steve
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Old October 5th, 2008, 04:54 PM   #3
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I've been trying to figure out some PP's for myself, too. I'd like to create individual ones for:
1. outdoor in full sun (which we have TONS of here on Fla.)
2. overcast lighting
3. indoor lighting
4. night shooting

Mostly, I want to build the profiles that will expand (or contract) the contrast range to fit those shooting situations. I'm not as concerned with trying to tweak the color range as I can do some of that in post.....plus I wouldn't trust the VF or the LED screen anyway.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 06:19 AM   #4
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I'm in the same situation Ofer was in last year with regard to picture profiles.

I'm a complete novice to video with only a couple of years experience in Wildlife Photography - not Pro and unlikely to become one at my age :)

If there are any other Wildlife people in this forum I would appreciate any help you could give with regard to profiles for different situations.

Thanks
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Old July 14th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #5
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The problem in part is that there is no right way or wrong way to brew up a picture profile. What one person thinks is the best may not be to the taste of the next person. Also do you intend to grade the pictures or are you looking to get pictures that look good without grading?
If you don't want to grade what would you regard as a good looking image. Deep almost crushed blacks giving a hard high contrast look or smooth blacks that look less harsh but give an image with less contrast. What do you want to happen to your high lights? Do you want to keep the maximum latitude by compressing the highlights which can lead to a flat looking picture or do you want to allow the highlights to clip which can give a brighter looking image. Where do you want mid-tones to sit, do you want them down in the most linear part of the gamma curve or higher up the curve where they look brighter but are starting to get compressed.
There are so many variable that it is impossible to hand out a set of picture profiles for all scenarios and all tastes.
As a general guide I recommend that Cinegammas are only used if you want to grade, they can look quite flat without grading, but they grade well and give the maximum lattitude.
Standard gammas tend be harder to grade and unless you carefully set the knee for each scene won't give as much latitude as the Cinegammas. But the images straight out the camera without grading tend to look richer. Std Gamma 1 is the noisiest of all the gammas and produces a quite grainy image. Cinegamma 2 is broadcast safe, while the other cinegammas are not.
Cinegamma 1 is designed to give maximum highlight handling, so should work well with bright sky. Cinegamma 3 trades off a small amount of highlight handling to give brighter mid tones so should work well on overcast days and Cinegamma 4 lifts the entire image brightness, again at the expense of a little highlight handling so should work well with indoor scenes.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 10:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
The problem in part is that there is no right way or wrong way to brew up a picture profile. What one person thinks is the best may not be to the taste of the next person. Also do you intend to grade the pictures or are you looking to get pictures that look good without grading?
If you don't want to grade what would you regard as a good looking image. Deep almost crushed blacks giving a hard high contrast look or smooth blacks that look less harsh but give an image with less contrast. What do you want to happen to your high lights? Do you want to keep the maximum latitude by compressing the highlights which can lead to a flat looking picture or do you want to allow the highlights to clip which can give a brighter looking image. Where do you want mid-tones to sit, do you want them down in the most linear part of the gamma curve or higher up the curve where they look brighter but are starting to get compressed.
There are so many variable that it is impossible to hand out a set of picture profiles for all scenarios and all tastes.
As a general guide I recommend that Cinegammas are only used if you want to grade, they can look quite flat without grading, but they grade well and give the maximum lattitude.
Standard gammas tend be harder to grade and unless you carefully set the knee for each scene won't give as much latitude as the Cinegammas. But the images straight out the camera without grading tend to look richer. Std Gamma 1 is the noisiest of all the gammas and produces a quite grainy image. Cinegamma 2 is broadcast safe, while the other cinegammas are not.
Cinegamma 1 is designed to give maximum highlight handling, so should work well with bright sky. Cinegamma 3 trades off a small amount of highlight handling to give brighter mid tones so should work well on overcast days and Cinegamma 4 lifts the entire image brightness, again at the expense of a little highlight handling so should work well with indoor scenes.
Something like the pics below is the level I would like to achieve in video. I understand that time of day/lighting is important and there may be trade-offs. I also expect I would need to do some grading regardless. I don't want blown highlights or darks with no detail and colours should be reasonably saturated. The first pic was taken in overcast rainy conditions, so I would need a profile to get it to that level. Obviously I would like to do as much as possible in camera.

Flickr Photo Download: Puffin Portrait

Flickr Photo Download: Misty Sunset

Flickr Photo Download: Flying Fox

Flickr Photo Download: Black Winged Kite

In photoshop it's possible to do selective adjustments on an area of the photograph e.g. the foreground flowers in the "Misty" pic were brightened selectively. Is this also possible to do this in video clips?

Thanks...your help is appreciated !
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Old July 14th, 2009, 10:59 AM   #7
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You will struggle to get those kinds of images from an 8 bit or even 10 bit video camera. One of the reasons is that the maximum gamut (colour/brightness palette) is confined to a narrower range than a digital still to guarantee that all TV's and monitors will be able to reproduce the image with some accuracy.

If you have the time you can use tools like Color or Baselight to selectively tweak different parts of an image and I'm sure you could get very close, but certainly the reds in the puffins beak would be regarded as "illegal" and many applications would simply crop or cut off any excess in an abrupt and perhaps nasty looking manner.

I would suggest simply using Cinegamma 1 with the black level set to -3 for outdoor daytime and then Cinegamma 4, black level -3 for indoor or low contrast shooting. The cinegammas are deigned to give maximum latitude and to grade well. If you start messing around with black gamma and some of the other settings you may find that while the images out of the camera may look higher contrast you have in fact ended up crushing the blacks and thus cannot ever retrieve that information when you grade. You may also want to look at using the cinema color matrix with the level set to +30 for a more natural color reproduction than the standard matrix.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 02:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
You will struggle to get those kinds of images from an 8 bit or even 10 bit video camera. One of the reasons is that the maximum gamut (colour/brightness palette) is confined to a narrower range than a digital still to guarantee that all TV's and monitors will be able to reproduce the image with some accuracy.

If you have the time you can use tools like Color or Baselight to selectively tweak different parts of an image and I'm sure you could get very close, but certainly the reds in the puffins beak would be regarded as "illegal" and many applications would simply crop or cut off any excess in an abrupt and perhaps nasty looking manner.

I would suggest simply using Cinegamma 1 with the black level set to -3 for outdoor daytime and then Cinegamma 4, black level -3 for indoor or low contrast shooting. The cinegammas are deigned to give maximum latitude and to grade well. If you start messing around with black gamma and some of the other settings you may find that while the images out of the camera may look higher contrast you have in fact ended up crushing the blacks and thus cannot ever retrieve that information when you grade. You may also want to look at using the cinema color matrix with the level set to +30 for a more natural color reproduction than the standard matrix.
Thanks Alister...as soon as I get my tripod I'll get out and do some testing using the settings you suggested.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
The problem in part is that there is no right way or wrong way to brew up a picture profile. What one person thinks is the best may not be to the taste of the next person. Also do you intend to grade the pictures or are you looking to get pictures that look good without grading?
If you don't want to grade what would you regard as a good looking image. Deep almost crushed blacks giving a hard high contrast look or smooth blacks that look less harsh but give an image with less contrast. What do you want to happen to your high lights? Do you want to keep the maximum latitude by compressing the highlights which can lead to a flat looking picture or do you want to allow the highlights to clip which can give a brighter looking image. Where do you want mid-tones to sit, do you want them down in the most linear part of the gamma curve or higher up the curve where they look brighter but are starting to get compressed.
There are so many variable that it is impossible to hand out a set of picture profiles for all scenarios and all tastes.
As a general guide I recommend that Cinegammas are only used if you want to grade, they can look quite flat without grading, but they grade well and give the maximum lattitude.
Standard gammas tend be harder to grade and unless you carefully set the knee for each scene won't give as much latitude as the Cinegammas. But the images straight out the camera without grading tend to look richer. Std Gamma 1 is the noisiest of all the gammas and produces a quite grainy image. Cinegamma 2 is broadcast safe, while the other cinegammas are not.
Cinegamma 1 is designed to give maximum highlight handling, so should work well with bright sky. Cinegamma 3 trades off a small amount of highlight handling to give brighter mid tones so should work well on overcast days and Cinegamma 4 lifts the entire image brightness, again at the expense of a little highlight handling so should work well with indoor scenes.
Dear Alister,

Hope to get some more information on this subject. I am relatively new in this field. Shooting wildlife/nature. First footage got attention from broadcasters and producers, is even broadcasted. I intend to shoot for broadcasting purpose mainly. Have no idea yet about the post production processes. Suffer to find the right PP/Cinegamma settings, there is too much information about this subject in the regarding PP thread. Looked at the BBC recommendated setting. They advice STD3 for video look and CINE2 for filmic look. Is it best to stick to one of these choices (with broadcast in mind), or can I safely play with other options too. You talk in this thread about the other CINE's as well (1, 4). What would you recommend.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 03:49 AM   #10
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Alas this thread died after my last post. I apologize for maybe asking dumb questions, but it is the gammasettings and post production process where I still have to learn a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Cinegamma 2 is broadcast safe, while the other cinegammas are not.
Does this mean that when choosing cinegamma and shooting for broadcasting purposes one should choose Cinegamma 2, or does it just mean that the other Cinegammas need more attention or specific grading in post, when broadcasting is intended?
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Old January 11th, 2011, 08:25 AM   #11
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Cees,
the latter.

Recording the superwhites gives you more latitude to play with in post. Clipping the highlights (cine2) is a good thing only if you are not going to grade at all.

Via post processing, pieces of footage shot with different gamma curves are "easily" made to look identical. In Premiere rgb-curves is a handy tool for this. As Steve Phillipps pointed out, a good working strategy is not to worry about choosing between the picture profiles.

There must be some advantage in fine tuning profiles though? Yes, to name some:

- crushing low or high values is often desirable but not if your main interest lies within those crushed values. Heavily crushed tones cannot be brought back without side effects like banding, especially in 8 bit system. Be aware where the mid grays are and where crushing starts with various gammas (see PP thread). Auto knee does make this a bit of a guessing game though.

- EX1/3 is a noisy camera, and PP's have an effect on noise. The following might be counter intuitive but, to get the cleanest picture you should choose the PP/gamma curve producing the darkest image. Now, when you open up the aperture to compensate, you will get more light on the sensor, thus getting less noise! Of course this applies only if the now-crushed highlights were not very important, and you have room left to open up the aperture. If you run out of light, use slower shutter but do not turn up gain. I use -3db gain always when able. This does not limit the latitude, as far as I have found out in my tests, contrary to some rumors.

-detail level is best set on camera. Sharpening in post produces a noticeably different effect and makes the noise really stand out. Fine tuning of detail level and its fellow parameters in the field is risky, however, so better choose a conservative value (-20 to 0) and stick to it. Maybe boost frequency up also.

For filming in high contrast situation like a bird against a bright sky, it might be worth experimenting with a higher-than-zero Low Key SAT setting, to brighten up the colors of the object.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 09:00 AM   #12
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Dear Jyrki,

thanks for your valuable reply. I understand all you say, but will have to experiment with it in practise, to get the real feel for it.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:57 AM   #13
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-3db on an EX reduces the recorded levels by 3db, so you do loose dynamic range. Just look on a waveform monitor and you will see the difference.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:03 AM   #14
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Alister,
I am a newish EX3 owner and have learned a lot from your messages and blogs. Extremely informative stuff, thank you!

This "dynamic range vs. noise/-3db" topic is very interesting and important. We all want to get the best out of our equipment.

I describe below what I did in my tests. Maybe there is a lesson to learn about the pitfalls in using non-professional testing equipment, in which category the software tools within Adobe Premiere belong.

I filmed a sequence of shots with three different gain settings -3, 0, and +3 and compensated gain change by aperture. The aperture adjustment was made in the way that the histograms ended up being at the same place every time. I did this with various gammas.

In Adobe Premiere I compared the scopes of these shots in the Reference window. Up to the accuracy I could get, the scopes were identical (for each particular gamma). Say, in YC Waveform scope the luma clipping of the superwhites occurred at the same level, slightly under the 1.1 value, the lowest value was the same, around 0.3 value, and the chroma and luma appearance of the shots was identical to my eye when I flicked back and forth between the +3db and the -3db gain shots.

Are these findings inaccurate, or have I missed something essential? In which way would the 3db reduction in dynamic range show up?
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Old January 12th, 2011, 09:46 AM   #15
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Typically you'll only see the difference in extreme highlight handling. It's easiest to see if you have the camera hooked up to a waveform monitor and a very bright scene with the knee turned off. The changes only occur right in the extreme highlights. If you use Cinegammas you will see a 3db reduction in the peak white maximum level reducing from 109 to 102 approx for Cinegammas 1,3 and 4 and for cinegamma 3 a reduction from 100 to 93, so quite a nasty negative effect using -3db with CG2.

It is only a small loss of dynamic range and it may be worth the advantage of slightly lower noise, just as long as you know that there is an impact on dynamic range. You don't get anything for free.
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