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05-09-2019, 01:44 AM   #1
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Video profile question

Hi there,

Please excuse my ignorance, I am not a video shooter but there is something keeps bugging me and I don't understand.
I always see footage shot with 'flat' profile or how should I call it, the footage is so plain, low contrast dull color boring unattractive, I saw this even on commercials I don't understand why. The 'graded' version of the footage does not enhance the image only brings back the original detail so I wonder why we shoot 'flat' ?

05-09-2019, 11:08 AM   #2
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Shooting flat profiles in video is like shooting RAW in photography. You retain as much shadow and highlight detail as possible to increase the possibilities in post processing and color grading. Of course if you’re happy with the default profile of your camera there’s no need to shoot flat but when you’re after a certain look that can only be achieved in post processing then it’s best to go for a flat profile.

Here’s a short explanation on YouTube by Peter McKinnon:

05-09-2019, 05:26 PM   #3
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I can understand the reason for shoot flat, but this 'technique' seems to have 'abused', or some people don't understand the reason behind that. We spent thousands dollars invest on the best gears of the 21st century, but what we came up with was the footage of the 60s. Sometimes we want a vintage look in the footage so intentionally to shoot flat, this is not the only picture styles but has become the de facto standard or a norm in shooting video, we seems to have forgot the flat raw footage is not the final product.
05-20-2019, 02:29 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
We spent thousands dollars invest on the best gears of the 21st century, but what we came up with was the footage of the 60s.
funny obervation, compare it to adding film grain to a digital image..

Must say, i also have my periodic habits. Sometimes i want everything desaturated and sometimes it is the otherway around..

05-29-2019, 09:06 AM   #5
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When you are capturing a wide dynamic range, it has to be stored in a log profile or you lose data. The Rec.709 color space is a compressed format. This isn't new, film was scanned into Cineon Log since the 1990s.

You are right about it being abused. The ignorant believe that because something is "log" means it looks "expensive" or "cinematic" and it has become something of a trend lately, unfortunately. This is because they see un-colored footage from Arri or other cinema cameras and compare their camera's footage to that.
05-29-2019, 07:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Turbotak Quote
When you are capturing a wide dynamic range, it has to be stored in a log profile or you lose data. The Rec.709 color space is a compressed format. This isn't new, film was scanned into Cineon Log since the 1990s.

You are right about it being abused. The ignorant believe that because something is "log" means it looks "expensive" or "cinematic" and it has become something of a trend lately, unfortunately. This is because they see un-colored footage from Arri or other cinema cameras and compare their camera's footage to that.
I am glad that I am not alone and not very wrong about how videography work thesedays, beside the flat profile many people looking for ways to create that "light streak" and lens flare often seen on footage shoot with traditional motion picture camera, as far as I know those effect are caused by imperfection of the lens and the shutter design of the camera which is not an intention and can reproduce with software.

Shooting motion is very different than shooting stills, we can not casually change the shutter speed and aperture so ND filter always needed, but we used ND a lot thesedays on stills where sometime seems unnecessary, I use ND only in two occasion, shooting the Sun and blur the running water. For what I see over the years, we photographer are splitting into two group, the Nitpicker/Pixel peeker which is the majority, try to train themselves to become a measuring instrument, technology is what they after, and two the Traditionalist usually older people, try to reproduce the image in the original puriest form without going too deep into the technical, there is nothing too wrong with both.

I remember my father said who was also an enthusiast of photography, some lenses are produced slightly uncorrected with intention, so to produce the kind of smoothness suitable for portrait, I believe he was right. Photography is a mix of technology and art in my mind, we want to have certain kind of image to satisfy our "emotional needs" in a particular moment, just like listen to music, and there are many kinds of music.
07-04-2019, 12:56 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Shooting 'flat', which is using the Muted profile on a Pentax (there's a raft of older discussions about tuning the profiles), is only half of the discussion.

And, full disclosure, my main camera shoot's 'Linear' for it's ProRes, SDI, HDMI or Raw output, and getting that lit correctly makes Log look easy,...

Flat, Log, and Linear, are all Shooting Formats, not Presentation Formats or Transmission Formats.

Rec709 and Rec2020 are Colourspaces, not compression, not Log, not Linear. Rec709 and Rec2020 exist so there's a common point of reference in the chain from shoot to edit to grade to deliver. ACES works similar for Cinema.


In video, when shown on an IRE Waveform monitor (or Rec709 or Rec2020 monitor), 'Black Level' is 0 IRE, and 'White Level' is 100 IRE


If you shoot Flat/Log, what you're doing is putting more of the camera sensors dynamic range within the zero and maximum of the Colourspace format that it's being written to.

On 'most' DSLR/MILC cameras, the camera will just clip anything under or over exposed and throw it away - this is why the Canon 5D2 has 11 stops dynamic range in Stills, but only 9 stops in video.

Shooting Flat tries to avoid the clipping as much as possible, by reducing what would be 100 to around 80, and raising what would be 0 to about 15 IRE

However,... And this is one of the HUGE plus points for Video on Pentax,... The way the video is encoded inside a Pentax ignores the limits.

Where the Canon encodes between 0 and 100 IRE, a Pentax encodes from -15 to +125 IRE. This saves much of the highlight and shadow detail that is lost in other cameras, and is why a camera like the K-01 has (close to) 13 stops in Stills, AND 13 stops in Video.

Switch from 'Natural' to 'Muted', and you pull down the contrast and saturation to levels much closer to what you would see in Raw Stills, then in regular video, preserving as much dynamics information as possible, just like shooting raw stills does.



Thing is, if the Post Production isn't done properly to take advantage of the Flat/Log (or Linear) output, you end up with washed out footage that looks like crap.
A lot like watching LCD's with back-lighting maxxed out after watching CRT's with perfect black levels.
Black on LCD is Grey, when compared to CRT, or OLED.

So once you've got that Flat/Log footage from a DSLR/MILC, you then MUST correctly Colour Grade the footage to get the best out of it, resetting the Black Level and White Level of the footage to match the Colourspace Standard (Rec709 or Rec2020 or ACES) that the project is being produced within.


Shooting Flat or Log is about preserving the Dynamic Range as much as possible.
Delivering Flat, is just laziness.


This is a really good webinar for understanding the stuff that comes before the Colour Grading starts, in getting the footage set to the correct colourspace before getting creative with the colours.

Tektronix | Color Grading Webinar


QuoteQuote:
When you are capturing a wide dynamic range, it has to be stored in a log profile or you lose data.
Nope, but that's a whole other discussion, it's not that it 'has' to be stored Log, it's just that it the favored way of doing it because most of the industry is under the impression that it apportions more of the bits per pixel to the center of the dynamic range, and to the shadows, by reducing the number of bits available for the highlights.
Check out this video for more understanding, but, it's not a beginner or "I usually do stills" video, it's deep dive in to the Cinematography Zone.





QuoteQuote:
I am glad that I am not alone and not very wrong about how videography work thesedays,
Far from alone. And it changes so fast that it's a complex subject to keep up with!


Those light flares - the purple lines across the image, those are from good quality Anamorphic lenses,.... or hacks like JJ Abrahms shining a torch in sideways at the lens, spotted when the flares are there with no light source in the frame.


The real advantage of ND's, is it decouples the exposure from the Depth of Field, so you control exposure separately to the choice for what elements are in focus within the frame.


Motion is another area where things are very different - Rolling Shutter Sensors with Mechanical Shutters out front are great for freezing the motion in Stills.
But once you start in on video using the sensors electronic shutter (same as Stills uses for Silent shooting modes) the Rolling Shutter readout causes all sorts of jello wobble. The only 'video' cameras to really avoid it are the current generation of ENG and Pro Camcorders, and top level Cinema cameras like the Arri Alexa.
Global Shutter - like on my AJA Cion - avoids Jello completely, and has the advantage of being able to shoot with 360degree shutter (1/24th for 24 frames per second, 1/50th for 50fps, etc), instead of the usual 180 degrees limit for Rolling Shutter cameras.
360 degrees opens up a whole other world for getting good dynamic range in lower lighting, letting the Cinematogrpher shoot hand held in the dark with decent exposure.


That Global Shutter is one of the main reasons I chose the Cion to replace my K-01's.
The others were Ergonomics, colour accuracy (at least as good as Pentax, especially around skin tones), price vs performance, and adaptability to lens types.
Being able to access the raw Linear sensor imagery, with zero interference by manufacturer colour science - ALL log cameras have colour science applied to get Log from the sensors, as all sensors are Linear - being able to access what the sensor is really seeing, including being able to disable the Colour Balance and see what the Red, Green and Blue channels really hold, allows far more flexibility in post production.

Just the same as how ignoring the IRE limits gives Pentax Video more flexibility in Post.

Last edited by PiDicus Rex; 07-04-2019 at 01:03 AM.
07-04-2019, 01:07 AM   #8
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"Shooting Flat or Log is about preserving the Dynamic Range as much as possible.
Delivering Flat, is just laziness" explained what I was trying to say.

07-24-2019, 03:56 AM   #9
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Sure, but now the readers have a chance to understand 'why'.
08-31-2019, 11:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PiDicus Rex Quote
However,... And this is one of the HUGE plus points for Video on Pentax,... The way the video is encoded inside a Pentax ignores the limits.Where the Canon encodes between 0 and 100 IRE, a Pentax encodes from -15 to +125 IRE. This saves much of the highlight and shadow detail that is lost in other cameras, and is why a camera like the K-01 has (close to) 13 stops in Stills, AND 13 stops in Video.
I'm very interested in this fact. How can I check if my K-3 II has the extended dynamic range in video? Is there some metadata I should look for?



09-01-2019, 01:56 AM - 1 Like   #11
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It's not "Extended" dynamic range, it's the true range of the camera Without the clipping that happens in other brands.

Look at the waveform monitors in your chosen NLE, or using the analog out and an analog waveform monitor.
The overexposed peaks don't show a hard clip, right up until they exceed the sensors dynamic range, and even then it rolls off fairly smoothly.
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