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Old May 25th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #1
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shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

shooting a wedding with the ex1r . out of the box, is the color acceptable. i read alot about the pic profiles. has anyone doing weddings created a profile ?
not knowing which profile to follow i may just have to wb and go with the cam as is unless theres some good advice on this
thanks
jim
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Old May 25th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #2
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Don't do it. Sony ships a very bland profile with too much yellow in it.

THere's a philosophy about these things that I basically prescribe to that says capture it as true as possible to the original. Then change it in post for your artistic style. In that vein, the True Color profiles were born.

You can get a set of them here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdc...tml#post819378

If nothing else, use the original TC2.

Unlike some cameras, the EX1R saves all the camera settings with the profile. So when you load the one at the link above, you will lose any settings you've made. That's ok, just make them again.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #3
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

I wasn't going to say anything on this thread, but one of the DVi members contacted me offline asking for my advice on this topic, so I figured I might as well post some my comments here too.

It is true that the EX1R looks terrible out of the box, as do all Sony cameras. They are designed that way on purpose so that the final user has much more leeway to create the look that they prefer. Buying a camera that already had a certain "look" to it with the standard settings, would be kind of like buying an audio equalizer that had already been pre-tuned inside for a certain sound even when all the frequency knobs were at the default position. Bottom line: NEVER shoot with the standard settings if you care about getting the best images possible.

I have a single PP for the EX1, EX1R, and EX3 that I use for 100% of everything I shoot. I describe it in my field guides and training DVDs, but I prefer not to give those settings out all by themselves because they require some explanation and education to go along with them. That is the whole point of my books and videos, to help people understand the camera and come to their own conclusions about the best gamma settings, white balance techniques, color settings, black levels, etc. How can you master a camera, or get the best results, if you just blindly dial in a PP you found online? There's more to running a camera and getting good results than just loading someone's file.

Beware of PP recommendations you get online. Just because someone claims to have all this great advice, take it with a grain of salt. Do they really know what they are talking about? Have you seen their ungraded (or graded) footage? Do they offer a variety of examples that YOU like in real-world situations or do they just show a table-top still-life or a brick wall and a parking lot?

Also, you need to know if the purpose of the PP someone is recommending is for grading "in-camera" or "grading in post". That's two different approaches -- each with their own pros and cons. Personally, my workflow, is to do as much grading as possible within the camera. Grading in camera is superior because it is done at the camera's full bit-depth and before any compression. It saves time grading in post. It saves rendering time. It provides clients and crew a great looking image on the monitor during the shoot that looks close to final. It doesn't require generating new render files. It doesn't require learning new software skills. Yes, grading in post allows more options later, but I don't need options later. I already created my look before I pushed the record button.

In fact, I consider any grading I need to do in post (beyond ocassional minor contrast control) as a failure on my part not to get it "right" on-location. Other people have a different approach that works for them, but you need to know which way of working a PP is intended for -- and if you want to follow that workflow all the way to its conclusion regardless of how much time and effort it is going to take in post.

That's my 2 cents.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 08:58 AM   #4
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Jim,
I just want to say Doug's 2 cents are worth much more than that. And, his training DVDs are worth every dime. They got me up to speed on the EX1r and workflow in just a couple days.

Doug,
For the record, the Vortex PP is in slot #1 on my EX1r and I use it just as you explained: minimal grading in post, nice tones all around.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Les, I appreciate your comments, but my opinions are no more important than else's. I always encourage other people to state their opinions, back support them with sound reasoning, and show examples. My opinions on PP are no different than if I told someone they should drive a blue car because I like blue cars. Or they should use New Times Roman font because I like it. PP files are mostly just aesthetic choices and there are very few right or wrong settings.

It's good for people to seek the advice of many people, do their own testing, and then come to their own conclusions.
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Old September 4th, 2011, 08:48 AM   #6
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

I appreciate Doug's modesty, but I have to disagree. I think his opinions ARE important. I just received my EX1r on Friday, but, based on the suggestions of lots of folks, bought his video. (In fact, his EX1r update available online is what pushed me over the edge to make the purchase.) I even had it shipped quicker so it would be here before the camera arrived.

While I haven't watched all the video yet, it has already been a big help in getting me up to speed faster. The EX1r is quite a bit different from the Canon XH-A1 and the DSLR that I've been using and a lot of important adjustments are not obvious at first.

Thanks a ton from a very satisfied customer -- so satisfied with the video that I ordered a copy of your field guide from B&H this morning!
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Old October 6th, 2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

You are going to find Doug's field guide to be very helpful. Mine stays with the camera at all times.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 06:01 AM   #8
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Stamos View Post
shooting a wedding with the ex1r . out of the box, is the color acceptable. i read alot about the pic profiles. has anyone doing weddings created a profile ?
not knowing which profile to follow i may just have to wb and go with the cam as is unless theres some good advice on this
thanks
jim
So how did the wedding go Jim?
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Old October 7th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #9
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

I don't think the standard EX1R settings are at all bad. But then you have to qualify what is meant by "bad".

I've spent far too many hours going over and over the picture profiles on many cameras, tweaking this and tweaking that and yes you can dramatically change the pictures the cameras produce. But first you must ask what do you want to achieve?

All of Sony's Atsugi's cameras are set up to a common Sony reference image, whether it's an EX1 or F65. The idea being that you can take any two cameras and they will be reasonably close. There will be some variations due to different gammas and colour space requirements, but overall they should be pretty close. The Sony "look" is aimed at creating a true to life, un enhanced image on an average viewers TV. I think they do a pretty good job of doing just that. But there is an issue here because "true to life" isn't necessarily what looks the most pleasing to the eye. Canon and Panasonic cameras have a much warmer look. It's less natural in my opinion, but none the less, very nice to look at, in the same way that a warm day looks nicer than a cold day.

As usual this is the quandary that you face when setting up a camera. Do you go for an image that looks real or an image that looks nice? Ultimately in most cases I think we would all agree that nice is preferable. If you look at how a block buster movie is graded the images often use an extremely narrow colour palette and when you start to analyse them, they don't look anywhere close to natural. But this is what is currently in vogue. Look back to colour movies from the 70's and then 80's and you will see very different use of colour and contrast.

Coming back to Sony's approach, I believe it is a good one. Start off with something that is a pretty good representation of the real world and then allow the user to tweak it, either in camera or in post to get the image they want.

And as for who is right and who is wrong when it comes to picture profiles. Well there is no "right" way to do it. Who am I or anyone else to say categorically that one look is better than another look. If it works for you and your viewers, then it is right for you. Just be sure your monitor is accurately calibrated.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #10
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Just be sure your monitor is accurately calibrated.
Alister's last line sums it all up, or maybe it doesn't. I spend a lot of time calibrating and profiling my monitor(s) and then even more time adjusting colours on the video, until in my opinion it looks perfect. Now when I send the video out to a client or customer I have no control on how they have their TV or monitor set up. I have seen some bizarre colours on TV sets, although in all fairness today's LCD screens are a lot better than the old CRT tubes (from the consumers point of view)

So am I wasting my time getting the colours perfect?

I don't think so, I can sleep easy knowing that what I have sent out is up to a known standard.

I know Doug likes to have his footage right at the shooting stage, and this works for him. I personally like to shoot as clean as I can, keeping detail in highlights and shadow areas. With this footage I can push the colours and contrast in whichever direction I desire. The beauty of digital media is that you try so many variations and go back to the original if nothing is working. The same can't easily be said for film stock.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 10:12 PM   #11
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Coming back to Sony's approach, I believe it is a good one. Start off with something that is a pretty good representation of the real world and then allow the user to tweak it, either in camera or in post to get the image they want..
I agree that Sony's approach is a good one, but for a different reason. I believe it is a good approach because it gives you a blank sheet of paper to create the look that you want. In fact, the engineers at Atsugi told me that was exactly the intended purpose of their "look". I would not describe the "standard" setting as representing the real world. That is certainly not the way the world looks through my eyes. I, and the engineers I spoke to, would describe the look as a blank canvas to be tweaked to meet the user's vision.

I wouldn't say the standard looks bad, I would say it it looks absolutely awful and makes it every difficult to control exposure highlights. Anyone who shoots with the default settings on any Sony camera is not using the camera to it's full potential. Period. I am constantly preaching that there is no right or wrong settings, but you do have to choose SOMETHING. You can't just leave the camera on the standard settings and expect to get good video. That is how the camera was designed to be used. Using a custom PP is not an option. It is mandatory.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 01:59 AM   #12
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

Just reading through my previous and Doug's posts. I may have given the impression that I don't use any PP's on my EX3. Of course I do, I use Cine 2 or 3, but leave most of the other settings at the minimum. The results are a fairly flat image which is then tweaked to suit the mood of the production. The best way to explain this is by showing you a before and after example.

I used RGB curves, ProcAmps for saturation and a overlay graduated ND filter generated in Photoshop and blended on the timeline. The crop was added to give the production a cinematic movie look. The sequence is a slow pan of the Nairobi skyline
Attached Thumbnails
shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend-001.jpg   shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend-002.jpg  

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Old October 8th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #13
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Using a custom PP is not an option. It is mandatory.
Sorry, but I think that's taking it too far.

I have seen many things shot with stock settings that look absolutely fantastic. Owners of EX's should not be worried about using stock settings, they do a perfectly reasonable job.

If you have a clear idea of what it is you want from the camera then I agree that you can and should tailor it to your needs, but to state that PP's are mandatory is nonsense. Far better to encourage people to go out and shoot with their cameras and get to know them a little before they start programming in settings that they may regret later.

And would a "Blank Canvas" not be an image with accurate colour reproduction, no crushing or enhancement of blacks and highlights, in other words a natural reproduction of the real world? Your contradicting yourself when you say that Sony give us a blank canvas and then say that it looks nothing like the real world. If it looks nothing like the real world then it can't be a blank canvas, it is enhanced or altered. You also say that there is no right or wrong, but you also say that standard is wrong and that a PP is mandatory. What if someone likes the standard settings. Maybe the camera is not reaching it's full potential in some small aspects (namely DR), but if those are the settings that the user is comfortable with and they make shooting easier for them, then I would suggest they use the standard settings.

You know I actively encourage people to play with the PP's, but that does not make them mandatory and telling everyone that they must use a PP is not helpful for those that have no understanding of them and what they do. All it does is make them worry that they might be doing something wrong, which is not the case.
Yes, play with PP's, learn about them, use them, but it's not mandatory.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 10:00 AM   #14
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

We'll have to agree to disagree because I will say it again -- using a custom PP is mandatory if somebody wants to get the best results from their camera. I stand by that statement 100%. And if you go back and read my comments more carefully, I do not contradict myself. In my experience teaching workshops, most people certainly have the ability to learn their camera AND shoot with a decent PP at the same time. I don't see why those have to be two separate things. This is not rocket science.

Vincent, nice stuff! I would venture to say that you could not have gotten the image on the left without using one of the Cine settings. And yes, I already knew that you use a custom PP while still you're shooting neutral. That is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Whether someone intends on grading later or shooting video that comes close to the final look in-camera, you still have to use a custom PP. It is mandatory. Even the Sony engineers told be that.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: shooting first time w/ex1r this weekend

I'm reading three things from your posts, that:

1.) PP is mandatory
2.) The default camera setting is awful
3.) You use one custom PP for everything

If it was that simple, Sony would do well to make your custom PP profile the default, and gray out everything else and we'd all be happy. I'm sure you would agree that would be ludicrous, as surely there would be others as yourself who would not be satisfied with the default PP.

So I think it's reasonable to conclude the default Sony PP was selected with the understanding it will not please everyone, but is acceptable to the majority, and that having a middle ground default provides some latitude for adjustment in post versus a punchy, vivid setting that encroaches on the boundaries of the chroma/luminance envelope in a manner that leaves no room for adjustment in post if something goes wrong with the exposure.
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