Posts Tagged ‘cine

22
Apr
15

“Marvels Cinestyle for Canon cameras” page has been updated

I have updated the Cinestyle page with new download links and extra info.

You’ll find it at the top of this blog under “marvels cine for canon dslr“.

Another good read on the subject is “Installing Canon Picture Styles for Dummies” (no offence ūüėČ

Do not forget to read the original article (with the Phil Holland tests) “Finally,¬†the new marvels cine profile 3-x for canon dslr“.

Cheers!
Martin.

08
Aug
11

AF101 / AF100 vs GH2 vs ? – Stop moaning, Start shooting!

af100 af101 cinematized ssv

Courtesy of Shooting Star Video

When i bought a demo Panasonic AF101 two weeks ago, and tweeted about it, i received an unexpected number of negative responses. Not that the responses were negative as-such, but were mainly providing me with links that showed me that i’d made the wrong choice. People were eager to point out that the AF101 sucks and that there are much better cameras on the market today. I had to endure watching crazy comparisons with Red and Sony F3 cameras (that cost 4 times the price of an AF101) and even with the Canon 5D and 7D, in order to learn that the Panasonic AF101 is probably even worse a camera than the 900 euro Panasonic GH2.

But thank you all, i knew all that the moment i bought this camera. Before i get into detail about the possible shortcomings, and explaining why i still went for this camera, ¬†let’s see what some shooters have found testing the AF101. I’ve included links to the discussions.

 

  • bad handling of highlights, color channels burn out easily and give these parts a nasty yellow hue – link¬†– link
  • “plastic-looking” skintones when not correctly exposed (see the point above) – link¬†– link
  • noisy, and the noise is¬†linearly distributed along the gamma curve; so: noise everywhere – link¬†– link
  • the BBC has tested this camera¬†thoroughly and came to the conclusion that the sensor sucks with less than 1300 lines and a lot of distortion – link
  • it has an old HVX type of sensor and not the new GH2 type generation; it is not suitable for taking stills or according to some, not even suitable for shooting HD video
  • ¬†it is a commercial hype; a cheap DSLR in a videocam housing and the rest is a lot of marketing – link
  • the affordable Panasonic GH2 is better than the much more expensive AF101 – link
If you read the articles carefully, including the comments, you learn that 33% of all “problems” can be solved by properly exposing and dialing down the detail settings. Another 33% of the camera-bashing is delivered by people that have never used the camera themselves and judge quality based on Vimeo movies. The final 33% base their judgement on comparing the camera with the Sony F3, a camera four times as expensive as the AF101.
Did i start worrying after reading all the provided “thumbs down” links? Well, to be honest…. a bit…
I was very happy and even a little surprised to see that the camera performed surprisingly well in The Great Zacuto Camera Shootout 2011, episode II
When i finally had the chance to play with the camera for a few days, i was able to redeem all the bullshit about this camera. When properly set up, using the flattest picture profile, with “Detail” AND “Coring” dialed down all the way (-6 or -7), properly exposed using the great waveform monitor, this camera DELIVERS! With the right lens (Voigtlander Nokton 24/0.95 or better) and maybe occasionally underexposing 1/2 to 1 stop, you get your filmic quality.
Oh, yeah… Since i own both the GH2 and the AF101, i can tell you that the whole “The GH2 is better than the AF101” is another myth, plugged by GH2 fanboys, and regularly by people not even owning either one of these cameras. They can hardly be compared, specially if the¬†comparison¬†is done based on charts. The AF101 sensor works in a totally different manner. It derives perceptual detail in a totally different and also inventive manner compared to the GH2 (using aliasing as a vehicle). The perceptual detail of the GH2 could look better when shooting charts, but the GH2 is using straight-forward electronic detail-enhancing that you can’t switch off AND uses a totally different way of rendering the picture from chip data.
Recording from the HDMI output using the Atomos Ninja recorder delivers great images from both the GH2 and AF101, but they are different! I can’t say that one is better that the other, just different.
My personal feeling is, that the GH2 has smooth roll-off of highlights by using a kind of auto-knee mechanism. It protects the highlights, but only up to 100-ire! This is a pure consumer camera that performs best as a run-and-gun camera. The AF101 has several controls for protecting the highlights, as well as a 110-ire range! Considering this, the GH2 has less latitude than the AF101 when both are exposed “to the right”; the GH2 up to 100-ire and the AF101 to 110-ire (“super-white”). The AF101 is not a consumer camera, simply because it’s too complex for most amateur users.
Out of the box, the AF101 is NOT a run-and-gun camera at all; it will produce video-like images, instead of the GH2. The AF101 is a video camera, the GH2 is a photo camera. At least, out of the box that is.
People who don’t understand how waveform-monitors, picture styles, matrices, gammas and knees work, should not even consider testing or reviewing the AF101, and keep their comments to themselves…
To loosely quote Philip Bloom: stop shooting charts, start shooting people!
Fort those interested. I’ll publish our AF101 settings in the following post.
Cheers!
Martin Beek
Twitter: @martinbeek
15
Jul
11

GH2 HDMI output recorded with Atomos NINJA

Ninja Graffiti by Martin Beek / http://www.marvelsfilm.com

Recorded at the annual Graffiti event in downtown Eindhoven (The Netherlands) using the Panasonic GH2 and Atomos Ninja digital recorder. The Ninja is a GREAT sub-1000 euro ProRes422(HQ) HDMI recorder from http://www.atomos.com .

I’ve used the GH2’s Smooth picture profile (all settings on -2 except for color saturation at -1) and Voigtlander Nokton 25mm/f0.95 lens with Fader ND filter. Aperture fixed at f2.8. Mixed 160 and 320 ISO.

Quality of the footage is stunning; it’s a pity that i had to convert it to H.264 to upload to YouTube, plus the extra compression crap that is added during YouTube’s conversion.

You can download the original hires/hi-Q input file (H.264, not the FCP ProRes444) from the Vimeo page at : http://vimeo.com/user6312268/gh2cleanhdmininja

Music: “Yeah Yeah” by “Bodyrox featuring Luciana”. Buy the music here:¬†http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/yeah-yeah/id211458233

HDMI Ninja-recorder footage was deinterlaced, decrippled and converted to uncompressed 4:2:2 “fcp-ready” footage by using the free AviSynth and FFMpeg tools as described here:¬†http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?237584-HDMI-Capture-Problem-SOLVED-AviSynth-RULES!¬†and here:¬†https://marvelsfilm.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/gh2-hdmi-recording-avisynth-script-update/

Cheers!

07
Apr
11

Marvels Cine style now has it’s own page

On this blog you’ll find many posts, discussions, questions, examples and articles on the subject of the Marvels Cine Picture Styles for Canon HDSLR cameras. We have decided to dedicate a “sticky” page to our Marvels Cine ¬†style.

At the top of this blog you see a link “marvels cine for canon hdslr“. From that page you can download the latest version, leave comments and add your name and projects to the Hall of Fame!

Cheers!

Matin.

18
Feb
11

Questions about the elusive Cinema Film Look

I receive questions from people all over the world regarding Film Look and Cine Style shooting on almost a daily basis. What people are trying to achieve, is to match their prosumer camera’s image, with what their eyes are seeing on the big screen (let’s call it that for now – you might say “Hollywood movies” or “Blockbusters”…).

Here is what i have to say to those people. It’s a kind of mash-up of the many email answers i’ve sent and replies i’ve given on this blog.

The part below starts with a reply to a question about making a “Red” picture style for Canon DSLR cameras, that i’ve left in place here.

First, footage directly out of the RED is Raw and looks very flat and desaturated; it will most certainly not look cinematic or specifically “Film Look” at first sight. The footage will be graded to the colorgrader’s personal taste and he can make it look more like film, or even look like cheap video. I have seen a LOT of Red footage that didn’t have the Cinema Film Look at all! So, getting back to your question, you could also say that you want to copy/import the looks of other footage in general. E.g. Avatar. I’ll get back to that later.
Here we come to point two; how do you define Cinema Film Look ?! That’s a very subjective and personal experience. Factors such as shallow depth of field, crushed blacks, nicely roll-off of whites, soft edges but also sharp at the same time, and a certain specific coloration can be named, but each of them might be valued or applied different by YOU.

But let’s get down to earth for a moment… Watched a movie (film) in the cinema lately? Seen the HUGE amount of grain, chromatic abberiation, optical distortion, greenish blacks, flicker, scratches, out of focus, gate movement… et cetera? Is THAT what you are referring to as the Cinema Film Look!? I hope not…

So we have created a whole new idea in our mind, of what the elusive Cinema Look is! Almost a virtual unexplainable awareness of something that does not exist! Or at least something not two people will have the same idea about. It’s 100% perceptual and therefore very hard to explain in our language (which is designed for telling other monkeys where the ripe fruit is).¬†We can agree about the shallow DOF, but the rest is really elusive, intangible. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder…

Watch a Tony Scott movie (“The taking of Pelham 1,2,3”, or “Unstoppable”). If you’d come up with THAT look twenty-five years ago, you’d probably would’ve been declared mad.

Let’s look at Avatar. It’s VERY digital. Everything is crispy crispy sharp. Pores of actor’s faces can be explorer in-depth. But shallow depth? Not really.., at least not exaggerated (DOF is not the friend of special effects people / image composers). Crushed, rich blacks? Not really… Does Avatar look cinematic to you? It certainly does to me! I was blown of my seat when i watched it on the big screen, although i must admit that it has a certain electronic look on my home plasma, on Bluray.

Nevertheless… there must be factors present in less “cine style” movies like avatar that appeal to us. Most of them are indeed hard to explain in normal language, and the others may include the huge color and luminance dynamic range (latitude), the high quality optics that are used, very professional lighting, top-notch camera and production crew, and a whole battalion of digital post processing wizards using equipment and software we will probably never even get to see.

I’ve read somewhere that the costs of Cameron’s 3D cameras, rigs and special monitoring did not even consume 5% of the film’s budget. So, after watching the movie, you can probably imagine where the other 95% went…
I’m sure that color grading and other digital postprocessing of some “Hollywood” movies exceeds the costs of camera rentals and operators, including the DP’s salary.

Avatar is just a extreme example here. If you look at The Social Network, which is a typical Red digital movie, it’s hard to tell if it’s film or digital, if you watch it at home. It surely has the “cinema film look”.

The Tony Scott look has inspired hundreds of filmmakers to use that same “orange and teal” look (Google on that…). It seems to hit a specific neuron in the human brain nowadays, that says “Hey! I’m looking at a blockbuster movie here, and no mistake!”. So why not jump on the bandwagon and buy that Mojo filter from RedBullet and start grading all your footage like Tony does?! Make use of that Blockbuster Neuron!

But seriously, in other words, make use of people’s conception of the Cinema Film Look. But be warned… It might change overnight…
Philip Bloom has shown us how to get tremendous film-like images out of sub-2k$ cameras. It’s all down to shallow depth of field here. Many people followed his example and are now shooting “film” with DSLR cameras. Don’t forget that Philip is a great fan of the shallow depth of field look!

Apart from being pestered with tons of shaky, badly focussed, too shallow DOF footage on the web and even on TV, we’ve also seen beautiful DSLR movies from people that really know what they’re doing, like Philip, Vincent Laforett and many others.
Mind you… those same people would probably also make beautiful stuff with a $400 sony HD handycam as with a Red One…

Still not answered your question, haven’t i?! ¬†Well. To make a long story even longer; it is very very difficult to – as you say it – tricking the colors to be registered in the camera in such a way they mimic the looks of other footage. There are two main factors at play. First, all the footage you probably have in mind to mimic, is shot in a different colorspace and using more bits per pixel. Second, we can only adjust overall R,G,B and luminance of the Canon DSLR cameras, thus doing a primitive primary color correction. So, secondary color correction and all the 101 filters, plugins and tricks the pros use to get to the look you are trying to mimic is out of the question. I think that you might be able to compose the Tony Scott “Orange and Teal” look for a specific shot with your Canon DSLR, but you’ll need studio conditions and lot of time on your hands. But there it stops. Orange and teal is (roughly speaking) remapping of colors in lookup tables, but masking parts of the image, or coloring parts of an image can’t be done on set, or in-camera.
So… Shoot flat, like a Red (rime not intended…)!
Ever seen a 35mm production film-negative? It’s dull and flat and low on saturation… It’s often a bit reddish.

Give the camera the chance to register as much light values as possible, do not over saturate and worry about the looks in post. Get your white balance perfectly allright though.

Download our Marvels Cine Picture Style for Canon DSLR cameras from this link and start shooting! There are several feature films in the making using the Canon 5DMK2, and several TV series (that i’m not allowed to name here…) that are using our new Marvels 3.4 style.

Cheers!

Martin.

02
Feb
11

Our latest short “Free Fall” now full length and HD on YouTube

Youtube has updated our account to “no limits”, so we at Marvels Film were finally able to upload our 43 gig, 25 minute, 1080p short movie “Free Fall” (Dutch: Vrije Val). Winner of the Audience Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Movie Awards 2010.

Free Fall is a short silent movie Рmusic only Рabout HIV, Aids and prejudice. For this indie production we used a mix of Sony PMW-EX1 with RedrockMicro DOF adapter,  PMW-EX3 and Canon 7D footage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ6i-_bQcgI&hd=1

Website: www.vrijevalfilm.nl (English and Dutch)

IMDb:  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3727391/

31
Dec
10

About the Picture Profile and S-Curve of Canon video DSLR cameras

Hey Martin,

I have another question for you, since I’m just beginning to learn in the ins and outs of gamma curves:

I noticed in the original Marvel’s Cine Flat Profile 1.2, the gif of the gamma curve you posted seems to have a fairly pronounced toe, but not so much of a shoulder. This looks like to me that you’re pushing the apparent middle part of dynamic range a bit higher up. And I’ve noticed in my tests that the picture occasionally looks a tad dark if I expose for it correctly with a incident meter light meter (especially in low-contrast scenes.)

Should I be compensating +1/3 or +2/3 a stop for proper exposure with this profile? Or should I be exposing normally (with a light meter) and adjusting the picture to my preference in post? Or should I just not use a light meter and eyeball it instead?

Am I misunderstanding the gamma curve?

-Dave

Hello Dave.

What really is going on, is that we apply a curve on a curve. The sampling, filtering and further post-processing of the camera’s image-sensor is a very complex matter and we can’t imagine (and are not being told) what goes on “behind the scenes”. You can get an insight into the complexity by reading this wikipedia link on the Bayer Filter. After the camera eventually has rendered an electronic representation of a real world image, many extra circuits – both analog and digital – are put to work to turn it into anything useable and digital. With the extra handicap that the video image is further processed and compressed.

The picture profile settings (and a few extra image settings that can be accessed through the menus) are just the tip of the iceberg of the motherload of parameters and circuits that can be tweaked. Not only “simple” electronics are involved, but quite a lot of physics as well.
The eventual image (based on the selected preset profile, e.g. Neutral or Faithful) already has a quite complex curve applied to it electronically sometime during the processing described above. In fact, there already is something in place that resembles an S-curve! What we do by altering the curve, making that existing curve more pronounced. It also means, that when we pull it too much, relations between color channels are disturbed, resulting in “plastic skintones” and other weird and unexpected artifacts.

To get back to your first observation. The Canon D cameras all seem to underexpose when using an external light-meter, and this seems to have to do with the way the camera handles the ISO setting. Specially when you are using a flat profile, you can push it much more, maybe indeed to +2/3. The built in histogram display is your friend here! Try to Google on the subject and you will find many discussions regarding this issue. Some propose to lower the ISO setting on the meter.

You are right about the curve. It is S-shaped and you can see a typical picture of the Marvels cine profile below (many people have asked for this, so here it is!). Because it’s applied on top of an existing curve (we have no other option, we have no Raw), the actual resulting curve is hard to calculate/visualise without reliable measurement. Digital video cameras such as the Sony EX-1 can deliver a number of test signals to the post-processing electronics, so the effect of curves and painting can easily be analysed. The Canons don’t have this option. What one could do, is shooting calibrated multi-level grayscales and analyse the results. A graph can be drawn from those results, most probably resulting in a wobbly s-curve.

Marvels Cine 3.0 Panalog example curve

Click for enlargement

Also, changing the profile’s Contrast setting alters the curve – it is NOT linear. So, having said all this; using your eyes and the histogram is still your best option, and getting some experience with the profiles and the resulting footage.

I am currently using the new Magic Lantern firmware patch that gives me a spot-reading, so i can e.g. expose human skin on 75% and check highlights. This and watching the histogram gives me good results.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2011!

Martin Beek.




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