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Old January 7th, 2012, 04:32 AM   #1
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How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

I seem to use the same cameras as many of StillMotion and Travis Cossel's videos (Canon 7D and 60D) with similar lens (mostly Canon L series lens). I was told that the Technicolor Cinestyle profile, which I use, allowed for the widest range of color correction. It's caused me to mess up exposure, especially for those dark reception or hallway/dim interior shots though.

In any case, even when I get exposure right, it seems hard to really get the colors to POP vibrantly. I'm okay with blowing out some highlights and crushing some blacks, but not horrendously. I've applied the color curves (LUT) and then adjusted each shot individually, but even then...my shots don't seem to match the vibrancy of StillMotion or Travis Cossel videos.

I also can't seem to get a sharpness similar to many of the videos I've seen. Technicolor suggested lowering the sharpness...could this be why many of my shots feel soft? Travis - if you're reading this, what Canon settings do you use (I know you use neutral, but what about sharpness, etc.?) Thanks!

Here's a sample of some colors I like:
And here's a sample of my attempt at color correction/grading. It feels like there is a dull haze around most of my shots, and that's AFTER I've already applied my color work: Rachel + Dan Wedding Highlights Film - YouTube (it's much better than the superflat Technicolor profile, but still lacks a punch...yet I feel I've already brought contrast up a lot).

I know YouTube and Vimeo make colors look weird sometimes, but honestly the above video seems pretty true to color compared to the render sitting on my local hard drive. I've tried both the Computer RGB to Studio RGB filter as well as without it, and it looks about the same for me.

Any tips? Thanks!
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Old January 7th, 2012, 04:57 AM   #2
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

First up, what are your lenses? Lenses can change the contrast and colours as well as sharpness of an image. While you may be using the same camera, are you using the same lenses (SM are mostly primes and L series lenses). The example you have above is actually shot on EX1 and Canon video cameras with brevis adapters (I believe).

Also, you will probably find that each clip in SM's work and Travis's can have 5+ filters applied to give it the look. While it may look natural you can bet your bottom dollar it's had the crap graded out of it but good grading should look natural.

Also, your picture profile works in harmony with your grading. Your right that the Cinestyle can be hard to work with as I personally feel its not really meant for run and gun wedding's but environments with more controlled situations.

Have a read of this as it may give you some idea how to get the look your after.
ANDREW & JESSICA | BEHIND THE SCENES | Minty Slippers
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Old January 7th, 2012, 06:43 AM   #3
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

I'm always confused when ppl say Technicolor Cinestyle is not meant for run and gun - why is this exactly though? If it came out too dark after applying a LUT or S-curve for a shot I filmed in a run and gun event, why would a controlled situation let me film it any differently? Because it looked bright enough on my LCD screen when I was filming it at the wedding.

As I mentioned, the lenses I used were mostly Canon L lenses (70-200 IS and non-IS USM I, 24-70 L) and some other good quality ones like the 17-55 IS USM and a few primes like the 85 f/1.8 and 50 f/1.4.

I definitely tried applying filters too: first curves, the brightness/contrast, then three-way color corrector wheels...etc.

However, I just played with rendering settings and tried an AVC format...so much more vibrant than the wmv format I was using earlier. Even a .mov intermediary processed later by the Handbrake program didn't turn out so well, but this AVC format seems pretty amazing - it might have slightly crushed shadows and blown more highlights than intended, but just barely...the colors seem much richer now. No more haze.

Yeah, the SM video was with Brevis adaptors...but even their Canon DSLR videos have nice colors. The video I posted was just an example of the colors I was trying to achieve.

Now if I could figure out how to get the sharpness I see in other people with the same camera and lenses I use.

Great tutorial btw, Danny. I also use Sony Vegas, but I tried a top level filter called "Levels" for Computer RGB to Studio RGB - didn't really notice a difference (not sure when I'm supposed to use this, and when not to?) How does Broadcast Colors differ? I also turned off "Levels" and played with "Broadcast Filter," changing my luma to max out at 90 instead of 110. But 90 messed up my shots horribly, turning some sheer curtains in the shot that had some highlight detail into a big solid blob of gray with no detail.

Confused what you meant by this though: " For this one we didnt want to colour the whole scene so decided against the NewBlueFX Tint. Instead we used the colour curves and brought up the centre of the blue curve." How do you bring up the center of the blue curve? Also why did you use NewBlueFX Tint instead of Sony Vegas' built-in three-way color corrector? Thanks!
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Old January 7th, 2012, 07:56 AM   #4
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

Quote:
I'm always confused when ppl say Technicolor Cinestyle is not meant for run and gun
The reason is you need to apply a LUT as your going i.e switch to standard profile, expose, white balance etc then switch back to cinestyle and hit record. If you dont do this you will most likely have a seriously underexposed image when you apply your LUT back in the edit. Shane Hurlbut goes into a lot more detail here Technicolor’s New Picture Style- Cine Style | Hurlbut Visuals
Our personal profile is as close to the look we want in camera as the final style.

Quote:
How does Broadcast Colors differ?
I dont know exactly what else it does but it does a lot and I prefer the results. Yes, it will loose some detail but you work with it with a combination of picture profile, grading and how you shoot the shot. Its a personal thing but a major part on how we achieve our current look. The end result is the clips feel more filmic, less video.

Quote:
Confused what you meant by this though:
Newblue tint will change the entire scene. Like sticking a coloured gel in front of your lens. Great for shots without skintones but with them then your in trouble. For those we use the colour curves. Here you can select which colour you want to change. So select blue and then double click in the middle of the curve to add a point. You can then move this point up or down. You can add more points and achieve a really special look.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 09:00 AM   #5
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

Thanks Danny! Will test it out. Great videos btw, really liking them.

Here's my AVC render, which seemed to make the colors more vibrant, though at the cost of some blown highlights and crushed shadows (even more so than the WMV version). Overall, I like the AVC over the WMV, but in scenes with skin tones, AVC seemed to make skin tones more red or orange.

Here's the vibrant Sony AVC version:
Rachel + Dan: Wedding Highlights Film (Ring Shot Version) AVC - YouTube
Here's the dull colored .wmv version:
Rachel + Dan: Wedding Highlights (Ring Shot Version) WMV Version - YouTube
It seems that my Sony Vegas Preview window splits the difference between wmv and avc. Here's a screen shot of it (top left is wmv, bottom right is avc, upper right is Sony Vegas preview):
Imageshack - colordifferences.jpg
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Old January 7th, 2012, 10:00 AM   #6
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

WMV is a really nasty codec IMHO. Best output from vegas for online is to follow the guide here Compression guidelines on Vimeo

For us we use:

Save as type: Sony AVC
Template: We have a custom one but use the 'Internet 1280x720 25p' or whatever frame rate suits you best (were in the UK so use 25p). Then, customize it and change the bitrate to 5,000,000, profile from Baseline to high and on the audio change the bit rate to 320,000, we leave the audio at 48hz otherwise we get some funny sound problems. On the project tab change the quality to best. Save that as a custom vimeo/youtube preset.

Also try this to solve your highlights issue. Apply the broadcast filter to the entire timeline and select the lenient preset. Then.... here is the magic bit. On the luma move the smoothness sliders all the way to the right. You can leave your min at 0 and max 100 but the smoothness will do some magic. Leave everything else as is.

Also, Im noticing some major motion bluring on your footage. Are you shooting in 30p and then converting to 24p when you output?
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How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?-vimeo.jpg  
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Old January 7th, 2012, 09:10 PM   #7
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

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Last edited by Zhong Cheung; January 7th, 2012 at 09:25 PM. Reason: double post
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Old January 7th, 2012, 09:24 PM   #8
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

We shoot at 23.976 (or 24)...not really sure what the difference is and output as 23.976.

The motion blurring you mention...is it only apparent in the slow-motion scenes? Those were slow-mo-ed by Twixtor, which did cause some nasty effects in one shot especially, but it was better than Vegas's built in slow-mo feature which caused ghosting trails.

I'm also now trying to downconvert to DVD quality for DVD Architect. It says I must use mpeg2 format, but it seems to kill the vibrancy of the colors again...what can I do? Thanks!

Here's a shot of the color differences between the Sony AVC filed uploaded to Youtube vs. the .mpeg2 file seen in the DVDA Preview Window. The .mpeg2 file was even rendered at CBR of 9,800,000, but it still looks really bad.
http://imageshack.us/f/705/dvdacolordiff.jpg/

Last edited by Zhong Cheung; January 7th, 2012 at 10:47 PM.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 04:30 AM   #9
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

Ignore what you see on youtube or vimeo. They do something to the colours and contrast. Also, if you played the youtube video on most peoples TV's it would be too contrasty and the colours too vivid. Remember that most people have their TV set's set with a really high saturation. You want your contrast low and saturation low too.

Heres a top tip. Take a hollywood DVD and rip it then open the video in Vegas. Notice how the colours and contrast look. Notice how brightness is clipped?

What looks good on a computer monitor doesnt look the same on a TV. Different LCD panels, settings etc. Every edit we do can look great on the computer but when we preview it on our TV things change.

TV's also have soooo many settings. Auto contrast, black boost, colour profiles. The list goes on and on and they all change how your stuff looks. You need your DVD's and Blu-Rays to be generic and accomodate a huge gamut of settings.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 06:05 AM   #10
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

The Technicolor Cinestyle profile really isn't suitable for use filming weddings. It provides a better dynamic range when used in a controlled environment like a film set where you have proper control over the lighting but the washed-out low contrast look makes focusing more difficult & setting White Balance can be also be difficult to judge. Just use a neutral style & concentrate on getting the focus right & expose correctly for skin tones. Calibrate your monitor.
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Old January 9th, 2012, 01:49 AM   #11
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Re: How to get colors to POP in weddings (similar to StillMotion or Travis Cossel)?

Well the funny thing is, I edit with a TV monitor (not a computer monitor), so the colors looked very vibrant inside my NLE. But when I rendered as WMV to Youtube, my client complained how washed out and dull it looked. He was watching on his laptop screen.

Then I rendered my video out with Sony AVC and now it looked much more similar (though still not identical) to my NLE preview window (seen on my TV monitor). My client said it looked great on both my TV monitor and his laptop screen from the Youtube upload. So...it seems that with Sony AVC, I was able to get great colors on both a TV and computer screen. However, WMV on Youtube looked flat on both my TV screen and his laptop screen.

Then when I tried to take my 1080p project and render out a standard def DVD file (mpeg2), the mpeg2 format seemed to dull the colors just like the WMV format did. So now I'm wondering how I can make my mpeg2 render or another alternative format that works for standard def DVDs have the vibrant colors I'm seeing on my NLE preview monitor and the Sony AVC file?
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