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07-27-2014, 02:07 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Shooting video with Pentax cameras. Tips, video looks, camera options, etc.

First of all, this post is for the owners of pentax cameras that record video in MP4 format. Due to its low bitrate, the post-production for colour grading, is almost useless as you lose so much detail and video quality.

So, basically, this post is for K3, K30, K50, K500 owners (I might be missing one or two cameras) that record using the h264. I think there are some differences in the K3, but the rest are practically the same camera in terms of video options.

Quick opinión: even though we know pentax cameras lack in video quality, low bitrate, absence of SR in video mode, no autofocus during video recording… the truth is that we get a full manual video mode, focus peaking before recording, fairly good dynamic range, good performance with high ISO and a good range of video options and looks.

And that’s the video options the reason of this post. There are so many that I would like to share our opinions and experiences in this matter. Especially in video looks. I would like to have different in-camera pressets that you may have tried or used on your videos so we can all have examples and make our lifes easier for videoshooters with pentax.

So, basically, I would like to know what are your favourite camera video options to get that look we are looking for. Looks for movie clips, documentaries, music videos, etc.

So just a few tips:

SHAKE REDUCTION

First of all, digital SR is absolutely useless. So forget about using it.

SHUTTER SPEED

When recording in 24p, 25p or 30p, the shutter speed should double the fps.

Shooting at 24p and 25p the shutter speed should be 1/50, while shooting at 30p shutter speed should be 1/60.

That’s the hardest things to achieve, a low shutter speed. This way we get the film look and we avoid the rolling shutter issue. The easiest way to get the shutter speed we want is getting a variable ND filter. The good thing about video is that the use of filter doesn’t affect video quality, at least not significantly.

STABILIZE VIDEO

As we know, shooting handheld without mechanic SR is awful and it lacks professionality. Use a monopod or tripod, and when shooting hanheld, attach the tripod and hold the tripod instead of the camera. You will get a handheld video look without the shake, which makes the video much more professional, even when moving with the camera.



And now the purpose of the post: video looks.


For now, my favourite preset for movie look: BLEACH BYPASS

You will get this picture style (taken directly from the video shot with the K30)



You basically get a desaturated imagen, high in contrast and with a nice retro colors. Quite movie style. Tip: You can reduce the contrast if you want to get a better movie-style video.

The good thing is that pentax allows you to personalize each preset, so we can get hundreds of possibilities.

What presets do you use? What personalized options do you use to get the look you want?

Please, do not hesitate to share your presets, and if possible, could you as well post a frame of your videos?

Thanks in advance and I hope this post help us all with our video projects.

Please participate with your presets and video tips.


Last edited by JohnnyXD; 07-28-2014 at 10:27 AM.
07-27-2014, 02:18 PM   #2
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QuoteQuote:
So, basically, this post is for K3, K30, K50, K500 owners (I might be missing one or two cameras) that record in MP4.
They save files as a .MOV container using avc1 h.264 codec, actually.
07-28-2014, 10:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
They save files as a .MOV container using avc1 h.264 codec, actually.
Of course, MP4 is just a container, the problem is the codec they are using.
07-28-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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Yes, along with the cropping, line skipping and too-low bitrates.
All this means that using any of the in-camera 'looks' presets further degrades the footage before you even get it out of the camera.
Far better to get the flattest image you can then process in post, I think.

07-28-2014, 01:38 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Yes, along with the cropping, line skipping and too-low bitrates.
All this means that using any of the in-camera 'looks' presets further degrades the footage before you even get it out of the camera.
Far better to get the flattest image you can then process in post, I think.
I think we should avoid post processing the video. You can barely do some color grading, and forget about playing with the contrast or light and shadows.

The processing has to be done before the camera starts recording, basically the camera get the information directly from the sensor and processes it, so there is no way we can get more information from an overcompressed video, IMO

---------- Post added 07-28-14 at 02:00 PM ----------

For instance, how can we get this style with our pentax?

07-29-2014, 03:32 AM   #6
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You have a point.

Personally I have always shot muted with contrast/sharpness dialled down. the idea being that you get more data that way. especially in the shadows. And I am not that unhappy as to what you can do with the image.

Not yet tried the other presets. But I do like you bleach bypass picture. It's nice, but quite some highlights seem blown out.
The question is, what will get you better results. Using the bleach bypass preset or shooting muted and grade towards the "bleach bypass" look...
I'll give it a try myself.
07-29-2014, 04:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnnyXD Quote
I think we should avoid post processing the video.
That seems such a ridiculous comment. How can you possibly avoid any post processing?
Are you never going to edit your clips, at all - ever?

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnnyXD Quote
The processing has to be done before the camera starts recording
This is impossible. Or did you mean the 'choice of settings' have to be made before your start recording? This is not unusual, we all do this for the best quality footage.
In any case, it has been proven over and over again that the more you ask the camera to do when recording and processing video frames on the fly, the lower the bitrate is going to be, the codec is going to favour speed rather than quality. Especially when applying sharpness, the fastest way to get very degraded footage from the camera.
You are in fact going against conventional, professional wisdom and experience that is found anywhere there are DSLR video discussions.
In any case, the view on your camera LCD is way too small to tell if you are getting the detail and the colours you will see on your monitor or big screen later.

Last edited by Steve.Ledger; 07-29-2014 at 04:21 AM.
07-29-2014, 04:48 AM   #8
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I'm also firmly in the 'Shoot flat, process later' group - I don't want the camera baking in too much in colour modification, I'd rather do it in post, which is where it should be done for any professional level of production.
Most NLE's include a 3-way colour tool, and a basic 'broadcast safe' colour correction tool, better to be using that, then doing it in-camera.

Yes, you can achieve a lot on the camera, but the moment you push the wrong way, you loose data that allows for greater changes or corrections later.

As for the image style a couple of posts above, shoot that flat, keep the sharpness down in post, increase the colour saturation without overdoing the contrast levels.
Easy to emulate.

I can't speak to the other cameras, though I expect the K-30 and K-3 will be the same, but the the K-01 is not as critical on having the shutter speed set to double or multiples of the frame rate as you might think - I've found this out with a few personal projects in the last few weeks, and it's surprised the heck out of me.

Yes, correct practice is to use double the frame rate as the minimum shutter speed. And the multiples of the frame rate for action shots.

The K-01 will happily record video down below the double frame rate number, so long as the lighting is Incandescent (Tungsten) and not Fluro.
Phillips brand LED Globes also appear to be flicker free here in the land of Aus, with our 50Hz power supply.

07-30-2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
That seems such a ridiculous comment. How can you possibly avoid any post processing?
Are you never going to edit your clips, at all - ever?


This is impossible. Or did you mean the 'choice of settings' have to be made before your start recording? This is not unusual, we all do this for the best quality footage.
In any case, it has been proven over and over again that the more you ask the camera to do when recording and processing video frames on the fly, the lower the bitrate is going to be, the codec is going to favour speed rather than quality. Especially when applying sharpness, the fastest way to get very degraded footage from the camera.
You are in fact going against conventional, professional wisdom and experience that is found anywhere there are DSLR video discussions.
In any case, the view on your camera LCD is way too small to tell if you are getting the detail and the colours you will see on your monitor or big screen later.
Ok, this is interesting.

I have tried to do some post processing in Final Cut Pro, but I never got a good result, always a degraded image. I have just started working on video, so I don't have almost any experience. That's why I have started this post, to help each other.

Does then the K30 allow color grading and some other corrections if you shoot correctly?

In your experience, what are the setting I should use to get the most of the information in the video? Always considering the low bitrate of the K30.

From what I have heard, keep sharpness and contrast to minimum and everything else the same. White balance according to the scene.

And last, which picture setting? Bright, natural, portrait, landscape, vibrant, radiant, muted, bleach bypass, reversal film, cross processing?

By the way High/Low key adjustment, does it just adjust the exposure?

Thank you for your tips, by the way.

Last edited by JohnnyXD; 07-30-2014 at 11:01 AM.
07-30-2014, 12:04 PM   #10
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There are several other threads on this very subject - inc a few discussions in the K-01 and K-3 rooms.

The K-30 and K-01 are nearly identical in respects to video shooting styles and results - I work with a K-30 owner on a semi-regular basis, and we get the same results out of our settings.

First, No, the High/Low key adjustment does NOT affect exposure. Exposure is set from your Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, exactly the same as in a Photo.

Start with the Natural profile, turn down the Contrast a step or two with no other changes, and you'll be pretty close to matching the 'Cinestyle' preset available for Canon's.
(This is how we match footage across brands.)
Adjust your High/Low key to maximise correctly exposed content in a shot - it's not changing the exposure, it's changing the range from darkest to brightest that's included in that exposure.
In 'video' terms, the High/Low Key works similar to the Gamma Knee setting on an ENG Camera's CCU control.
Adjusting it shifts the point where the response curve bends more - Like being able to flex the curve in Sony's S-Log presets.

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnnyXD Quote
I have tried to do some post processing in Final Cut Pro, but I never got a good result, always a degraded image. I have just started working on video, so I don't have almost any experience.
These two sentences are related.
First up, if you're just starting out, FCP-X will suit, and will grow with you as you learn more, but,.. Out of the box, it's no better then iMovie and is horribly limited.
Also if you're just starting out, FCP7 will overwhelm you - it's a complex app.
(I could add all sorts of negative comments here about crApple products,... but lets just say there are better solutions, experience will tell you when you need to move past the crApple products.)


Best settings - Muted profile, turn down the contrast two steps, turn up the Highlight/Key Adjustment one step, and turn down the sharpening one step.
From there adjust Highlight/Key to maximise how much of your shot is correctly shaped to be included in what is correctly exposed.
Do everything else in Post.
(Sharpening, Contrast, Saturation, etc)
07-30-2014, 12:46 PM   #11
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Wow, thanks for your detailed explanation.

I will try it next time. I don't quite understand the highlight key though, but I will use google for that matter.

And one more thing, how about the framerate with the K30? Should I use 24 25 or 30? Video quality is the same in any of them?

PD: I know final cut it's not the best, although I like it because it's easy and really fast to use on my laptop. For beginners it's the best option IMO.

---------- Post added 07-30-14 at 01:11 PM ----------

By the way, this was my first video shot with the K30


In camera settings: natural, with contrast and sharpness all the way down. A bit too much IMO
07-31-2014, 12:03 AM   #12
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I think the idea is that the bad codec in the K-30 etc. doesn't allow for the footage to be pushed far in grading. In such a case doing it in camera may help you preserve smooth gradients etc.

But if you do that you are stuck with what you have done in camera...
07-31-2014, 02:48 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnnyXD Quote
By the way, this was my first video shot with the K30
I remember seeing this. I thought it was quite good.

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnnyXD Quote
In camera settings: natural, with contrast and sharpness all the way down. A bit too much IMO
You are supposed to push contrast & sharpness a bit up in post, but i assume you know..
07-31-2014, 07:00 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnnyXD Quote
And one more thing, how about the framerate with the K30? Should I use 24 25 or 30? Video quality is the same in any of them?
24 for Cinema delivery, 25 for PAL countries TV delivery, 30 for NTSC countries TV delivery.

24 can be regarded as an 'international' standard, as it's accepted almost everywhere.

Any frame rate will do for Youtube/Vimeo.

The 'which one is better quality',... that's subjective, but, because the data rate is set 'per second', and 24 has less frames per second then 30, 24 should have more of that data allowance per frame then 30. In practice, I'd expect the difference to be so marginal to be unnoticeable.

Highlight Key,... will become more obvious with practice.
08-01-2014, 12:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnnyXD Quote
And one more thing, how about the framerate with the K30? Should I use 24 25 or 30? Video quality is the same in any of them?
In their testing of the K-01, Imaging Resource observed a difference in bit-rate (Mbps) depending on the frame-rate selected. Not hugely variable, but worth noting (when you're dealing with such a heavily compressed codec, every little helps!) and this probably also holds true for K-30 as well, given that they share essentially the same guts.

---------- Post added 08-01-14 at 08:17 AM ----------

OK, so here's a question...

Purely in terms of maximising data-rate and minimising compression artefacts, and lets also set aside for the moment any considerations regarding the creative or technical limitations this may put on your available options in post, is there any advantage to be had in shooting direct to a tweaked-to-taste B&W picture style in-camera?

I'm wondering if that limited 20Mbps can be put to better use if it's just mapping luma info and not chroma, though I have no idea what the processing pipeline is like and whether or not this would realistically bring any benefit. Any thoughts?
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