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Old October 8th, 2014, 12:14 PM   #1
Suggestions, especially for color grading?
Robert Benda Robert Benda is offline October 8th, 2014, 12:14 PM

I'm now shooting CineStyle profile, and pretty flat, but trying to get better at the post color grading.

Here, so far, I've done some curves adjustments, upped the saturation and contrast a bit, but am I not aggressive enough? I feel this still doesn't look as good as it could.


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Old October 8th, 2014, 06:23 PM   #2
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

Hey Robert, I think you're ideally wanting to get a colourful, sharp, popping image with clean blacks. I guess my feeling is that you can't; that's one of the drawbacks of shooting really flat with DSLR. Same goes, by the way, for shooting C-Log on a 1DC. I'm not sure it's possible to grade Cinestyle to look like what you'd get from standard or faithful, but, depending on your taste, maybe that's a worthy sacrifice in the name of better dynamic range.

If you're not satisfied with your grade, and you find you can't push it any more without colours looking unnatural, maybe you have to embrace Clive McLaughlin-style desaturation. Desat has at least one advantage: colours compete with each other less, so the image often feels more harmonious.

Or: have a play with FilmConvert's Cinestyle presets, if you have that program; seems to work really well to create interesting looks with Cinestyle.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 10:46 AM   #3
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

I think the colors look pretty cool, Robert. But do you think you're getting a better "look" grading cinestyle than if you just went with a more colorful profile from the start? Neutral, Faithful, Standard, whatever?

Shooting log seems like a lot of extra work.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 11:46 AM   #4
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

I think it looks pretty good, but I used to use Cinestyle and came to dislike it after a while.

The main things I disliked about it were, shadows roll off at 16 on the waveform and there's no detail there. No matter how I treated the footage in post, I got posterisation, banding if you prefer that term, in smooth gradients such as clear blue sky or smooth water. Yes, I did use the LUT and that didn't help.

I settled on what got called "Prolost", Neutral with the same settings as Cinestyle. Less work in post and it looks better.

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Old October 9th, 2014, 11:47 AM   #5
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

I think the colors look good but some shots look a bit oversaturated, what camera was used to shoot this?
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Old October 9th, 2014, 12:55 PM   #6
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

Thanks, guys. I made a few more changes that helped, after Adrian's first post. Downed the saturation a bit, and apparently I had forgotten that "contrast" is a thing, so I added some. I'll mess with it a bit more before I'm truly done.

Noa, I'm shooting two 70Ds (camera's up front) and a 5d Mark ii (pre-focused aisle camera).

Shooting flat usually helps in tougher spots. Here, I was going to shoot faithful, because we had the great cloud cover, but at the last second, the sun started to break out, so I switched to Cinestyle so I could fix mistakes/problems more easily. Now, in dark churches, I do the same strategy. Here, the problem was getting proper exposure for when the sun came out - I set it while the sun was still behind the clouds, so I was guessing, and I was wrong. A few clips are a bit blown out.

Bob, it's not much work. With my Sony NLE I can apply changes to the entire timeline. If I need to fix a mistake, I do it on the single clip. For color grading, I apply it to the entire row of clips (one camera) at the same time. I can eek a little more dynamic range out of the Canons that way, and have a little bit more ability to push grading - the computer does the work instead of the camera's processor.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 02:37 PM   #7
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

My advice, and I know you didn't ask for it, is that you're making this a bit too complicated for yourself. At the price point you're doing these videos I don't think it's worth it to fuss with advanced color grading. I'd find a profile you like out of camera and just tweak it a little in post.

We all get wrapped up in these forum discussions and often see terms like "dynamic range" and "color grading" and "log profile" etc. The truth is ALL of the profiles out of your Canon DSLR look lovely. Yes even standard. I shot on standard for years.

I get it that you want to continually learn and improve. I'm like that too. That's why we're all here. But if I were in your shows (and I guess I am) I'd simplify as many steps of the process as I could.

Here endeth the lesson.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 03:08 PM   #8
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

Ouch cinestyle :) I used cinestyle on my 550d when it got too dark in the venue as that made quite some difference from it's standard profile, I was shooting at 1600 iso at those moments and in post it was just a matter of adding a bit contrast and saturation and it always looked fine but shooting outdoor with sufficient light was another story as I found it difficult to judge exposure and it was not easy to colorcorrect afterwards. There I just saved myself the pain and used standard profiles which looked good out of the box.

I also agree with Bob that often the simple way is the best way to go, I also see many a7s users struggling with the c-log preset or whatever it's called because they want to start with the flat look to find out they are not able to get it back where it's supposed to be with washed out colour and still a flat lifeless image as result, you at least manage to get good colour out of it but I also noticed the overexposed shots and it was the cinestyle preset that had you guessing which is never a good thing with a dslr, especially because overexposure is something you can't correct anymore..
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Old October 9th, 2014, 04:06 PM   #9
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

It's alright, Bob, I get it, though it really is not much time. Mostly I am using this 4 minute video as a test case for outdoor color grading because, well, it's easiest to render quickly and see the results, compared to my 15-20 minute highlight videos that are more complex. I can set some presets that I'll use at my bigger weddings so that the 2nd time, it will take 90 seconds.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 04:21 PM   #10
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

I stopped using Cinestyle earlier this year and opted for Neutral. I was never truly happy with my coloring results and I found myself going around in circles tying to get a look that made me like what I was seeing.
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Old October 15th, 2014, 12:40 PM   #11
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

Hi Robert,

I know folks on here disagree with me on my grading style but here's my opinion.

When you push your blacks, you maybe aregetting what some would describe as 'punchy'. IMO just because 'punchy' is eyecatching does not make it right.

You have lost a lot of detail in the blacks. For instance, some shots of the mens suits show none of the detail, you can't see the 3d form of the fabric, or the buttons or the seams. I would prefer to preserve the detail.

You have also blown out a lot of your shots. Highlights (especially) in the skies are just too white - again no detail. This could be either overexposed in camera settings, or down to poor dynamic range on your camera, or perhaps you chose to blow out the highlights when you graded. If you are, I'd recommend you not too.

Yea, the image may be what some might call 'flat', but it is optimum for preserving detail. ANd you should have more faith in your subject and filming skills to impress rather than high contrast and saturation.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 03:21 AM   #12
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Re: Suggestions, especially for color grading?

I'm no expert but if I bring the blacks down to near zero I often push up the mid-tones a touch whilst making sure I don't blow any highlights by pulling the whites down so they reveal detail and are all under 100. Usually doing very little is better than doing a lot unless you use cinelog and have a controlled environment to shoot in.
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