About the EX1, noise, correct exposure, Tom Hanks and angels…


We are looking into the EX1’s excessive noise problem we are confronted with. Tinkering with the profile settings (gammas, blacks, matrixes, sharpness) do not really improve matters.

What i did found out is (being a stupid film camera man that is used to working with FILM) that correct exposure is of great importance with the EX1. In many shots i tried to underexpose, or at least keep everything below the 90% zebra alarm to remain latitude in post. I am now told that this is not the preferred way if you don’t want to introduce excessive noise. I have to trust and respect the EX1’s dynamic range and allow for 100% (and more…) whites in parts of the image, may they occur.

You see that many EX1 owners that publish their picture profiles on the web (mostly copied from Bill Raven, Philip Bloom or me) lower the black level to minus 3 or 4 to dial the black level down to the magic 0 pedestal. I have found out that this is only feasible (or usable) if you have limited post facilities or do in-camera editing. If you DO have post facilities (read: Final Cut Pro or other software tool) you should leave the standard gamma and black settings of the EX1 untouched; bringing down (or even crushing) the black levels  in post will also magic away some of the noise in underexposed areas (blacks, low level chromas).  The little dynamic range that is gained by bringing down the black level in the camera is completely irrelevant and only messes up correct exposure.

By the way; i see more and more scenes in movies that are overexposed and burned out. It seems to be more acceptable and maybe even more natural. I am talking about specific scenes of course; e.g. Tom Hanks face in Angels and Deamons is regularly full blown out when he stands close to windows and lights. Ten years ago, that would be “not done”. Try to find one overexposed face in any of the Indiana Jones movies…

I am interested to hear what others have to say about this (exposure). Let me know!



3 Responses to “About the EX1, noise, correct exposure, Tom Hanks and angels…”

  1. July 30, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Tom’s not getting any younger, he needs all the help he can get. After diffusion (and botox), it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book to iron out those wrinkles. Otherwise I think it’s used a lot today as it’s just a popular look- the digital bleach by pass. Although I thought it had it’s day in the early-mid 00’s.

  2. 2 Glynn
    March 4, 2010 at 7:15 am

    I am trying to get the deep thivck rich skin tones out of this camera that i see in the RED. I get the best result by going at least 1 stop under 95% zebras 1.5, using the bloom settings outdoors with my adapter. Any other profile setting you use to match to the Red would be greatly appreciated.

  3. 3 marvelsfilm
    March 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Correctly exposing the skin is of great importance of course, but i must admit that the ex-1 picture tends to lean to the greenish/bluish side.

    I have better skin tone results with settings equal to the one below. I personally add my own Detail Settings to this profile, and personally like Cine-1 better.
    The light source and white balance are also of great importance. Don’t forget that using daylight or daylight-lighting improves the rendition of skin colours since the blue channel will be amplified less and will produce less noise.
    My strategy is: if using daylight, switch the EX1 to standard daylight and don’t whitebalance. Shoot a white card if you like and do all correction in post. I myself like to have light change with the day, if continuity allows so. But, hey, that’s me!
    Mitchell Lewis writes (at DVForum):

    Matrix>Select: High SAT
    Gamma>Select: CINE4
    Black: -3
    Black Gamma: -2
    Detail: OFF (this is a subjective setting)

    WHITE BALANCE (this is most important)
    If you’re not happy with the auto white balance, don’t use it. Here’s what I do. Set up 3 different Picture Profile settings all identical to shown above. Then set PP01 White>Preset: 5600k (outdoors). Set PP02 White>Preset 3200k (tungsten soft lights) Set PP03 White>Preset 4100k (fluorescent lights)

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