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Old November 14th, 2016, 11:45 PM   #1
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HXR-NX5R Color Setup / Issues?

I've bought one of the new HXR-NX5R cameras, having had an HXR-NX5P for some years. The original NX5 was set up with the Picture Profile Michael Johnston posted here some years back, a good setup that I was happy with, and never really messed with beyond that. I set the new camera up with basically the same settings.

Second time out filming an actual show, I hit a bit of a horror scenario with a silver reflective curtain, in combination with a purple light (LED lighting). The stills below tell the story, there are 6 frames showing various colour washes, frames 1 & 6 are a good clean representation of what the curtain actually looked like, frame 4 into frame 5 shows the result when the purple light came up.


As you can see in frame 5 in particular, the detail has been lost into a block of solid colour, on top of which it is somehow blue - the curtain should me a metallic purple at this point! With plenty of detail!

On the old NX5, getting purple as blue was usually a white balance issue (for me anyway), and fixed by dialling in the correct manual WB Temp. I tried adjustments to this during the show, but couldn't get any improvement here. I did some reading up immediately after the show, and as best as I could determine, purple light up towards UV is not necessarily handled well by some sensors. So at this point I'm thinking it is a sensor issue, and was intending to jump on here and ask you guys for any helpful suggestions.

Before I get a chance to do that, I have to film another show, and here we go, purple LED lighting again. So in the next show, I get this:


The girl at the top of the frame in the whiter light, shows what the skirt should look like. Compare that with the girl lower left, whose skirt is blended to the floor. It did NOT look like this live, the detail was visible, on top of which it should have again been purple, not blue. A really poor result, which there's nothing I can do about fixing it in the edit - the detail is lost.

This concert had 2 shows, and between them I was able to run some tests with the lighting guy on the problematic light. After playing with various settings, it turns out that changing the Color Mode improves what is going on. I had the color mode set to ITU709, as per the original camera/profile. If I set the camera to Standard (better), and then Cinematone 2 (best), you can see the difference.


My best guess at this point, is that these lights are putting out UV along with the purple, which our eyes can't really see, but the camera does. I thought that the Color Mode setting really just affected the color palette of the final image, but it seems it's altering how the image is captured here as well, possibly at the sensor level. I don't otherwise understand enough about the relationship between this setting and what the sensor is doing, if anyone has any pointers to any further info on this, or other suggestions to try, I'd be most interested.

Other than that, hopefully at least others out there with the camera see this and can learn from my experience, before ending up with any images looking the same!
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Old September 13th, 2018, 01:12 AM   #2
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Re: HXR-NX5R Color Setup / Issues?

Hey Pete!

I've owned my NX3 for a few years now, and recently picked up an NX100 as well.

Since I've owned these, I've been highly unhappy with two color situations which seems to happen often:

(1) The black LEDs you ran into -- they just don't shoot well

(2) Bright Orange and Pinks -- these colors look completely wrong when shot.. sometimes peach colors look hot pink or red.. sometimes a peach will shoot as deep Burgundy -- and when this happens, it over-saturates the image and I can't get the detail back.

I'm going to play around with the color mode as you suggested to see if it helps. I love the camera handling on these, but the color issue has been a nightmare to match with the rest of my gear (a mix of GoPro, Canon and these Sony cameras)

Any other tips you've found since this original post?
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Old September 14th, 2018, 02:40 AM   #3
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Re: HXR-NX5R Color Setup / Issues?

I haven't particularly found any new info - but I get the feeling at this point that this may be a Sony specific issue - I've since found other complaints of this issue, all from Sony cameras, and I've not seen this reported on other brands (someone jump in and correct me if there are examples on other brands of this!)

Firstly, here's a few other threads for you to browse:

For the HXR-NX5R, it is specifically the use of the ITU709 colour matrix that will cause you the most grief - blue/purple LED lighting will over-saturate the blue channel, and you will lose detail in the recording, which is unrecoverable in post. I'm generally using the Cinematone 2 colour matrix, which is just based on personal preference, having cycled through and tested the other settings available in concert situations. It is certainly not perfect, and some colours are recorded wrong, as you note - purples/pinks still come out blue (just not over saturated), and orange/red can come out off as well.

For purples/pinks, if they're off enough, I'll correct them a little in Adobe Premiere. Usually I'll correct the blue levels down anywhere between 5% and 20%, and I'll push the red levels up by about the same. Again, this only works if you DIDN'T record in ITU709 - if the recording is oversaturated, there's no fixing it. I usually only adjust if the colour wash is consistent enough in an item (i.e. if they're dancing to Purple Rain!), often the lighting is changing with enough frequency that you really can't do much to fix it (but usually in that situation, no one notices some of the strobing colours being off in the recording anyway).

I'm not familiar with the NX100, but personally I would not touch another single chip Sony camera for theatre work:

I also hired a PXW-X200 last year when I was a camera short, I thought being in the more expensive range it might have more options and less issues - it handled the blue LEDs just as bad, and none of the colour matrix options on that camera even worked to get around it, everything just recorded over saturated when the blues/purples came up.

If someone could point me to a current camera that isn't having these issues, I would make it my next purchase at this point. I'd actually like to pick up a 4K camera for next year, I've had clients ask for it and some of my competitors offer it - although I've seen some of my competitors footage, also loaded with LED and other issues - but it's 4K so that's better right! I honestly don't know if any of the current Sony cameras don't have this issue - from the other threads on here, I think they all have it. So it becomes a question of which cameras have a work around for it, which at least the NX5R does, even if not ideal. Maybe someone else on here can point us to another Sony model that handles this better, or failing that, an equivalent HD/4K camera from another manufacturer.
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