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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old October 8th, 2011, 08:57 PM   #16
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Just because I find the default settings to be awful, it does not follow that everyone should use the same PP. That is the whole point of Sony creating a very bland and neutral standard PP that is easy to customize. Yes, I have a custom PP that I like and find suitable for 90% of everything I shoot, but I certainly don't expect everyone to choose those same settings.

All I am saying, and this seems a very difficult concept for some people to understand, is that the default look of an EX1R is inferior to what you can create with a custom PP -- even if you do want a neutral look. I can assure you that the default PP was not engineered to "be acceptable to the majority". It was engineered to provide a clean start for building the look you want. If someone wants to settle for the default look, then go for it. I wish them luck dealing with exposure.
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Old October 9th, 2011, 03:03 AM   #17
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

But the standard EX setup is REC-709, which is what you need if you want accurate reproduction on the majority of TV's. Its not some special, designed to be tweaked setup, it's just plain old industry standard REC-709.

I was led to believe that the EX1, like every other Sony pro camera was set up to match Sonys reference image which I believe is called "phoenix". This image is supposed to comply with the internationally agreed REC-709 standard for colorimetry. This same reference is used for all of Sonys HD cameras and is a variation on the reference image previously used for their SD cameras. Phoenix was based on the old ITU - EBU reference SMPTE-C.

Like Tim, I'm more inclined to believe that this setup is aimed at producing an image that the majority of people will find perfectly acceptable for a broad range of applications rather than an out of the box setup that's no good until it's tweaked. The whole point of REC-709 (the standard EX1 gamma, standard 3 and standard colour matrix) is to have an accurate and consistent image from camera to TV set, without grading, no matter what camera you use, from whichever manufacturer.

The only thing that can be categorically improved through the PPs is the dynamic range, where the cinegammas can bring a 1 stop improvement, but this comes at a price, which is the loss of linearity above 60ire. All the other settings are subjective adjustments that adjust the look of the image but don't actually alter the performance of the camera. These can make the image easier or harder to grade, but at the end if the day, the only real gain is 1 stop of dynamic range, but at the expense of potentially needing to grade the image to restore accurate tonal range above 60ire, assuming your working to REC-709 specifications.

I have to agree to disagree with Doug on this one. PPs are in no way mandatory. I think a stock EX1 can produce beautiful images and users should not think that because they are not using PPs they are somehow at a great disadvantage. PPs are a very useful tool in the camera operators tool box but they are not mandatory.
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Old October 9th, 2011, 03:45 AM   #18
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

You are a mindful of information Alister, most of us will nave never heard of REC-709.

The imaging industry has become so technical these days, to the point that many are more concerned about gamma than content. I would liken this to a violinist who can play all his scales and studies note perfect, but when it comes to Beethoven or Mozart, then that calls for artistry from the performer. This is where many fall by the wayside, we can only marvel at technical excellence for a limited amount of time.

I have spent many years studying colour and exposure from Ansel Adams Zone System to colour management using colorimeters and spectrophotometers. Has this made me a better photographer? Not really, although it has provided me with a solid background on which to build, just as scales and studies do for the violinist.

The point I want to make is that regardless of which PP is being used, if the content and imagery looks right then who can argue with that. Don't take Doug's or Alisters word for which is the correct method, they have both experimented with the various settings and have come up with something that works for their productions. They both have a sound technical background which enables them to focus on content. The key to this thread is experiment with the various PP permutations, try shooting a clip with PP Off and then use the various gammas, see what works for you.
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Old October 9th, 2011, 04:12 PM   #19
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

REC-709 is the broadcast industry standard for frame size, frame rate, gamma and colour space for HD. It is the standard for image capture and display (although there is no clearly defined display gamma). The idea being that all HD TV's and monitors from all manufacturers should be set up to accept a REC-709 signal and present the image correctly with the same relative brightness, hue or saturation for specific inputs. By also setting up a camera to REC-709 and then encoding using a REC-709 compatible codec, editing using REC-709 colour space, transmitting a REC-709 signal, you should have a consistent image from camera to viewer. It is a global standard, the only differences around the world are the frame rates.

So in theory if you were to shoot a REC-709 colour bar chart with a REC-709 camera and show those bars on a REC-709 monitor or TV, the bars should look the same as a set of electronically generated REC-709 bars. On the EX1 Standard Gamma 3 with the Standard Matrix gives REC-709 (or at least the closest an EX gets to 709). This is also the default setup. Your edit monitor should be calibrated to REC-709, especially REC-709 gamma which is should be between 2.3 and 2.4 depending on viewing environment, in a dark room it may be 2.6. REC-709 is based on CRT gamma and is not referenced to the electronic signal, rather referenced to the captured image, which is why it changes with viewing environment. This vagueness in the specification does create some issues with differences in monitors from different manufacturers. REC-709 has a linear segment at the bottom of the slope which is not present in the sRGB curves used in computer monitors. Most computers are set up for 2.2 gamma, so very often a video camera set at REC-709 does not look quite right on a computer. This miss-match between video REC-709 and computer gamma 2.2 is a very common mistake made by even some of the most experienced of editors.

So, if all else fails, or if you are unsure, this should be, IMHO your fall back, or starting point. However as Vincent and others have rightly said at the end of the day the "best" image is the one that works best for you, so go on and dive into the PP's and experiment, but don't feel it's compulsory.
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Last edited by Alister Chapman; October 9th, 2011 at 04:45 PM.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 01:11 AM   #20
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Thank you for that superb post which answers a lot of my long standing questions. I am more than impressed Alister, your knowledge on these matters is "second to none".
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