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Exposing on Neutral picture Style


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#1 joshua gallegos

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 07:26 PM

I'm going to be shooting a short film in about a week, 90% of the scenes are being filmed at night, in interior and exterior locations. I rated the Canon 650D at 400 ASA, it gives the best image quality in terms of noise levels, etc. I will be filming with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 Wide Angle lens and a 50mm f/1.2 Canon lense. I've been apprehensive about using other picture styles such as lightform or technicolor, because they render different results at night. The neutral picture style is in my opinion the best picture style for low light situations. I know very little about editing, so I have no idea how to bring up the look I captured on video. For instance, when something is shot on a flat Picture Style, it looks devastating! And all the test I've done I've failed miserably to bring back the image to how I wanted it, because I don't know anything about color grading. I'm going to be editing on Adobe CC, I've seen some color correction videos, which involve learning how to use Vectroscope and RGB Parade, and Waveform, etc. But my main concern is bringing back the look from a very flat image. Neutral picture style is like having a negative film print as opposed to the other picture styles which are more like reversal film, I did several tests with standard picture style and others, and when I tried to color grade, the noise levels were very bad. Neutral style is the only style that gives you a bit more room to make some quick fixes. 

 

MY Neutral settings --

 

Sharpness -- 0

Contrast --   -4

Saturation --  -2

 

So, how is a flat picture style brought back to what I initially wanted? I've seen some videos on youtube where they simply bring up the saturation, but it doesn't seem like they know what they are doing, so I hope there are some very savvy DSLR users who could help me understand the color grading process a lot better. I know how to assemble sequences, etc. But color grading/correction is something I really hate, because I can never use it right! 

 

Any suggestions/help is appreciated. 

 

Also, when exposing a scene in Neutral Picture Style, should I expose from that particular Picture style or should I create an LUT from other picture styles? I think with Technicolor you have to do that, so I am wondering if Neutral has the same principles. As, I said I will be shooting at night, most scenes will be shot at 400ASA, but I will have lighting equipment to give me the right exposure.


Edited by joshua gallegos, 20 September 2013 - 07:28 PM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 07:37 PM

In Photoshop, when working with a jpeg that was shot in a flat picture style, I usually go to the LEVELS setting and adjust the ends so that the blacks are black and the whites as white.  Usually that alone adds contrast which in term affects (increases) color saturation.  In general, you always adjust contrast and black levels first and color saturation after that, since the first affects the second.

 

Sure you can expose based on looking at the picture style you are using, just watch out for any excessive clipping.  The question is whether your viewing monitor (like the LCD on the back of the camera) is set-up to give you an accurate idea of your exposure (helps to look at histograms if you can).  Often to your eye, the LCD image looks too dim outside in daylight and too bright inside in a dark room, and you make the mistake of exposing until it looks correct to your eyes without checking it against the histogram.


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#3 joshua gallegos

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 08:00 PM

When there's clipping in the image, the camera will blink on the particular portion. I plan on using a Sekonic light meter, and the camera I'm using has very little exposure latitude, which means I have no room for error, my main concern is crushing the shadows, but I think I'll be fine if I have the right amount of footcandles to expose the image. I read Rachel Morrison disliked the Canon 7D when she was filming 'Sound of My Voice', she was using a PL mount with cine lenses, and had to rely on a Waveform monitor, because she found the histogram rather useless on the system.

 

I've actually never used photoshop, so I have a lot to learn about color grading! I'll install the program and begin experimenting on photos shot on neutral. So, contrast and black levels, finally saturation. That's great! I plan on getting everything I want on camera, so there should be very little color correction involved, I hope. 

 

Thank you for the help, Mr. Mullen. 


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#4 Bruce Greene

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 01:51 PM

I've actually never used photoshop, so I have a lot to learn about color grading!"

I would really encourage every cinematographer to learn Photoshop. Your understanding of how the camera exposes and color grading will improve immensely:)
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#5 joshua gallegos

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 11:59 AM

I figure it's the same as a cinematographer knowing all there is to know about manipulating film in a lab, they even go into a film knowing how they will expose the film and manipulate the film to finally achieve the look they were after, I always read about it in articles with cinematographers who shoot on film. 


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#6 Mei Lewis

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 07:00 PM

If you're not confident you can shoot in neutral then get back to the look you want, maybe try simply shooting in the look you want.

 

This is probably worth watching:


Edited by Mei Lewis, 13 February 2014 - 07:00 PM.

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