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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 12:23 AM   #1
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preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

I'm wondering on a practical day to day level how you guys use the cinegammas.
Which ones do you prefer in which situations and how does it affect your exposure? Mostly I'm curious about uncontrolled documentary sunny exteriors where you might be both front and backlit facing real extremes of contrast.

I'm asking because I had a job the other day as a one man band shooting on farm where people where going in and out of shadow and bright sun, inside chicken coops where the shade was even darker than usual etc. Had some backlit run & gun interviews with old guys in white hair etc. I'm used to shooting 709 on the EX-1 but didn't want to deal with the unpleasant color effects with overexposure. On the shoot I tended to go more with Cine 3 as a compromise between favoring highlight and shadow detail, but after testing later I found I often liked the look of cine 1 more even if it made the shadows darker. That's frankly a little confusing to me.

I did some tests the other day and noticed that for front lit, mixed and even some backlit general exteriors I liked Cine 1 however for heavily backlit situations, especially interviews that I didn't have the ability to add fill to, then cine 4 raised the shadow area quite a bit so I could lower the exposure and hold more of the sunlit parts of the background. So what do you do when you're running between back and front light (other than get Slog. )

Any general rules of thumb? Do you alter them with Black levels , black gammas or gamma levels etc?

By the way I have read all the general info about the differences between all the cine gammas and the std ones from Alister, Alpha Cine etc. etc. I think with these clients its probably better to give them WYSIWYG but not if it compromises the material too much. That's always a hard call.

lenny

Last edited by Leonard Levy; July 2nd, 2011 at 01:04 AM.
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 01:57 AM   #2
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

I normally use cinegamma 1, but to get the best out of cinegammas you do really want to do a bit of grading in post otherwise they tend to look a little flat. A compromise I sometimes use is to use CG1 with the black gamma at -35. This gives me good highlight handling but also darkens the shadow areas to make the pictures less flat. Due to the way the CGs compress the highlights you do have to keep you skin tone exposure on the low side to keep them natural looking.
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 06:27 AM   #3
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

I generally use Cine 2 as starting point because it is broadcast safe and (when exposed properly) does NOT require grading to look very nice. I then change a number of other paint settings to fine-tune the look I want. It's more complicated than just picking a gamma.

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Old July 2nd, 2011, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

Lenny, I think your tests have done you well as you pretty much figured out the ups and downs of Cinegamma 1 -4. Stick with your gut now on those shots and you'll pretty much always end up with usable footage.

I know you know this, but with F3 S-Log all of this gets more simplified and the range gets wider - all for a measly $3800 !
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 01:24 PM   #5
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

Bruce,
If only it was only $3800 - but its $3800 + the deck.
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 05:17 PM   #6
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

Lenny, the 4:4:4 / S-Log update is going to give you 4:2:2 10bit S-Log on the single A tap (so I've been told), so pair that with the Sound Devices Pix 240 ($2,600) and you have a reasonably priced 10-bit S-Log/recording solution. Renting a Gemini for 4:4:4 shoots would be another option, and I agree it's pretty pricey at $8K for the 3D/Dual Link version.

FWIW, I'm doubly screwed having to upgrade 2 F3's to 4:4:4
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

Don't forget $1K for 2 SSD drives. Unfortunately I'm tapped out for now, but i'm tired of being the guy on the boards who complains about the cost of 4:4:4. I have hunch there's a cheaper upgrade around the corner.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Schultz View Post
FWIW, I'm doubly screwed having to upgrade 2 F3's to 4:4:4
Lol, double screwed.... just made me laugh.

I tend to shoot Cine 3 out doors and Cine 1 under controlled lighting. Cine 3 raised the mids somewhat, and helps keep the flesh tones in the more traditional ranges of about 55IRE.

I dont trust editors to know that you have to grade... I shot a commercial recently and used cine 1, with proper exposure, keeping the skin in the high 40's to low 50's, to Ki pro, and after 10 meetings with the director and post production supervisor about how to grade Cine gamma / log footage, i still get a call, the shot looks dark.

Facepalm*

Cine 3 from now on.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #9
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur Civan View Post
I dont trust editors to know that you have to grade... I shot a commercial recently and used cine 1, with proper exposure, keeping the skin in the high 40's to low 50's, to Ki pro, and after 10 meetings with the director and post production supervisor about how to grade Cine gamma / log footage, i still get a call, the shot looks dark.
That's my experience and why I had been sticking to Std gammas for the EX-1. At least with the SLog they know they have to grade. What can you do? Trouble is lots of people don't want to send out to a real colorist and expect the editor to do it and they don't have the eyes.
I've offered to do it for many clients gratis, and when trying to get into color correction work, offered to do projects for others for free - No one had the "time".

Fortunately some clients do care but its hard to know ahead of time at least on my budgets.

lenny
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Old July 8th, 2011, 04:41 PM   #10
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Re: preferred cinegammas for exteriors?

I fell you pain Timur.

If it's not Rec-709 then the likely hood of the images looking natural on an HD TV (which should be Rec-709) without grading are slim. Of course, un-natural might be what your after, so mileage may vary......
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