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adjusting gamma curves on digibeta camcorders


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#1 Joel Schwartzberg

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 01:55 PM

Can anybody share their experience utilizing the gamma curves built
into the 700 series Digibeta camcorder (707, 709, 790). I've never used
them, and can find nothing in the archives or in the Sony manual that
mentions them. However, I've come across a Digibeta manual that hawks
the features of the camera, specifically the gamma curves A (standard), B
and C (flattening the curve) and F (film gamma).

I'm shooting SD and would prefer the Panasonic SDX900 for its built-in
film curves, but I do believe I'll be handed the Digi and told to go
with it.

Has anybody utilized those Digi gamma curves?
Can I expect a look moving toward what I would get with those Panasonic
gamma curve adjustments?

Thanks!
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#2 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 06:32 PM

I might be wrong because I dont have the book to hand right now but I believe, there's some quite extensive stuff in one of Paul Wheeler's books ('digital cinematography' I think) about handling the gamma curve settings on the cameras you metioned. I also seem to remember him saying that people often underestimate the digit-beta cams and he claims to be able to get all kinds of looks (including a film-like one) using the in-cam. menus. I haven't used those cams much so cant say myself, but I tend to believe almost everything Paul wheeler says!
Cheers.
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 04:48 AM

Can anybody share their experience utilizing the gamma curves built
into the 700 series Digibeta camcorder (707, 709, 790). I've never used
them, and can find nothing in the archives or in the Sony manual that
mentions them. However, I've come across a Digibeta manual that hawks
the features of the camera, specifically the gamma curves A (standard), B
and C (flattening the curve) and F (film gamma).

I'm shooting SD and would prefer the Panasonic SDX900 for its built-in
film curves, but I do believe I'll be handed the Digi and told to go
with it.

Has anybody utilized those Digi gamma curves?
Can I expect a look moving toward what I would get with those Panasonic
gamma curve adjustments?

Thanks!


It's all about how much lighting you can do. If you are in a run and gun situation, you are probably better off lifting the bottom end a bit and then playing with the overall adjustments in edit. Correct me if I'm wrong but if you use a film gamma setting I would assume it could take longer to light so as to make sure you don't lose your top or bottom end of the gamma curve. However that can be a good thing if it means the look is as you want and therefore you don't have to deal with "adjusting it in post".

If you are in a perfectly flat environment, the film curves might work really well.

Would it be fair to say that using the film curve requires treating the video format like it is kodachrome 40? You light it flat knowing that the film curve will readjust the signal to make it look like film.

It seems the best way to do this stuff is to light so that you don't lose or come close to crushing or clipping anything while you shoot, and then making all of your adjustments later. Anyways, I'm not saying I'm right, in this instance I'm just giving my opinion, so if anyone disagrees, please correct me.

Is it standard operating procedure to do any film look stuff as 24P?
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 09:45 AM

DigiBeta gamma curves are very subtle. In the UK, the BBC recommends using curve B as it has a small amount of gain applied to the toe of the curve which allows a little more detail to be captured. The Film gamma is very similar in look.

These are not radical curves, just slight adjustments.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 11:01 AM

Is it standard operating procedure to do any film look stuff as 24P?


The DVW970 is the only Digibeta camera that shoots progressive, the 700 series are all interlace.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 02:46 PM

If you are in a perfectly flat environment, the film curves might work really well.

Would it be fair to say that using the film curve requires treating the video format like it is kodachrome 40? You light it flat knowing that the film curve will readjust the signal to make it look like film.


I think you're thinking of something like the old "Filmlike" scenefile in the D30, which crushed the blacks. Newer Sony gamma curves do the opposite, and flatten out the tonal response.
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#7 Joel Schwartzberg

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 01:54 AM

Thanks for the tip on Paul Wheeler's book. I jumped over to the library and pulled a copy. I have his other one, 24p, but Digital Cinematography is focused on what I need. I suppose in the end I'd prefer a 30p look, but what I've learned so far is that the built in film gamma curve will not give me the look I was expecting. In fact, Paul Wheeler states his disapproval of those built-in curves. His book is very much like a Goodman Guide.
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 02:43 AM

I think you're thinking of something like the old "Filmlike" scenefile in the D30, which crushed the blacks. Newer Sony gamma curves do the opposite, and flatten out the tonal response.


When I accidentally discovered the benefit of lifting the bottom end gamma on a shoot, (I was running tape when I was changing the settings and when I got back to my studio I was amazed to see detail appear in a dark suit without really affect anything else in the scene.

It seemed to me that was the most logical type of setting to do on set. The additional detail could always be taken out but if was taken out at the time of the shot it probably was gone forever, which seems to be opposite to the wide latitude that film has.
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