Posts Tagged ‘cinema

12
Dec
12

48 fps HFR Cinema? I’ll pass on this if you don’t mind…

I’m almost scared to post my “verdict” here, after seeing The Hobbit in 3D HFR this morning – because many of you will probably disagree…

I thought it looked horrible. Very disappointing. It looked like video many times, including the video-like blown out highlights.
The camerawork looked haphazard and even sloppy and the fight scenes were stroboscopic. Many shots out of focus, probably because of shallow DOF and lenses wide open.
I must say, all more or less as expected…

If this is the future of cinema (all hail the video look), i definitely don’t want to be part of that future…

Martin.

14
Nov
11

Scarlet users of the world unite!

www.scarleteer.com community for red scarlet usersYet another Red Camera targeted community site? Yes!
If you use, own, love or envy the Red Scarlet digital cinema camera, and want to share your experiences, footage, looks and/or frustrations; you’ve come to the right place at http://www.scarleteer.com ! Get answers on your questions from other Scarlet users and share your knowledge of digital filmmaking.

We need your help; your input, stories, footage, pictures, experiences, LUTs, looks, adventures and frustrations…
Start posting, start adding content and make this site a success! 

Scarleteer.com is a non-profit, no banners community and is not connected or affiliated in any way with the Red Camera corporation. All opinions, views and discussions ventilated on this site are not necessarily those of the Red Camera Co.

See you at scarleteer.com!

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.

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.




twitter.com/martinbeek

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