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Modernising colour standards

colouring rec709 p3 colourspace grading post workflow

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#1 Eben Bolter

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 07:27 AM

Hi guys, 

 

After watching the excellent THR cinematographers roundtable, I feel compelled to draw more attention to one of the key issues they discuss - the lack of control of the final image in todays modern world of different screens and projector standards. 

I've been lucky enough to have a few films I've shot recently coloured by Rob Pizzey and Adam Glasman at Co3 in London and we've achieved results I've been delighted with in their colouring sweet, both in the P3 space on their projector, and in Rec709 on their Dolby monitors. 

 

The problem however, is when we output to home deliverables in Rec709 h264, the image is so drastically different on my home macbook, iPad, TV that I find when sharing it I'm constantly having to explain and apologise for the final quality. Personally I've found this much less of a problem with DCPs in theatres, but modern displays at home are surely capable of better. 

 

It strikes me that rec709 (created in 1990 for TV) surely can't still be the answer for grading to a standard that will look good across all devices. Of course the issue is in two parts here, but is there a push anywhere to standardise a modern colour space and standard across hardware, that can reap the benefits of more dynamic range, contrast and better colour representation? 

 

I've heard about rec2020, but as far as I can see this seems to be just for 4K TVs? 

 

Would love to hear your thoughts and hopefully there's an answer out there in the works, to ensure a more modern and standardised presentation of the work we do in peoples homes and on their devices. 


Eben

 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:55 AM

Rec.709 should look fine on modern monitors though it was designed with CRT colors in mind.  The problem isn't really Rec.709, the problem is that computer monitors don't follow any broadcast TV standards.  And of course, most people don't set up their TV sets to a decent standard either, they have too many options in the menu.

 

Rec.2020 is rather over-the-top in terms of the size of its color space.

 

Yes, it would be nice if the standard was revised for the capabilities of modern flatscreen devices, not so much in color space, but in terms of brightness range.  But I'm not sure if we will ever solve the problem of getting everyone to calibrate their computer display devices to match each other in gamma.


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:20 PM

The computer display problem is layers and layers deep, and I don't want to write a novel on it here, but any solution to the problem is going to have to involve rounding up all the people who have ever had any influence on Quicktime, leading them gently away by the hand, and putting them in the care of kindly people so they don't ever have to do any software engineering ever again.

 

Vitriol satisfied, strictly speaking, all computer displays should be sRGB, which conveniently has exactly the same primaries as 709, so it's generally possible to cal sRGB monitors to 709. This is actually a problem I'm facing right now, because I'm grading something that will overwhelmingly be seen online. This is common, and it's going to become increasingly so, and at some point you have to be willing to say "Well, this is an sRGB production and that's how we're going to handle it."

 

2020 is very capable - so capable that you can't really represent it in 8 bit, but it does make a certain amount of sense: the primaries are at least monochromatic, so they're easy to specify, and easy to create with LEDs, and it's not so crazily overspecified as alternatives which try to use "virtual colours" outside the CIE diagram, so as to try and cover all of it. I like 2020 - but as Mr Bolter says, there doesn't seem to be any intention to back-port the colorimetry provisions to future HD displays. Which would be nice. You can already shoot it on an F65.

 

I think the real problem with 709 is not reproducing it accurately, which is relatively easy; it's just that the specification doesn't allow for much to be reproduced accurately. Particularly in the green, 709 is just horribly inadequate. The deep turquoise of tropical reef water in the midday sun is the frequently given example of a colour that just isn't in rec 709. It'll be clipped to a sort of rather unconvincing dingy cyan. 709 was designed around the colours that could reasonably be produced with phosphors, and phosphor green is terribly pale and yellowish, so that's what we've got - but of course we can use whatever dyes we like these days.

 

Mr Bolter is probably right to consider it an unnecessary limitation. I think that's what we're talking about here, anyway.

 

P


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#4 Tim Tyler

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:49 PM

Perhaps this will help describe how displays render images.

http://www.youtube.c...dat3HdA#t=1m11s
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

Touch the metal spike on the glass bit! Touch it!


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#6 Eben Bolter

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 04:51 PM

 

 

Mr Bolter is probably right to consider it an unnecessary limitation. I think that's what we're talking about here, anyway.

 

P

 

Thanks Phil, exactly that.


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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 04:31 PM

I suppose it only takes a visit to Curry's or John Lewis and see that not a single TV or computer-monitor match each other in the same room... then also you have different room brightnesses affecting it is well! I suppose we need a uniform method to set up domestic monitors so they all match, but then environmental issues will have an affect...


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#8 Vadim Bobkovsky

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:06 AM

For years they were saying "video won't ever look so clean and beautiful as film, especially 65" and things like that. Now it's "oooh too much resolution, digital 4K is bad!", that's absolutely hilarious. Well, if it's too sharp to you, soften it with diffusion filters and add subtle grain then to get rid of detail. And that's top cinematographers, jeez. Sounds like bunch of bitter old-timers to me.

 

Carrying celluloid on your shoulder? Haha, good luck with that, I'll stick with goddamn plastic box with terabytes of reusable SSDs. And one more thing, Blu-Ray has nothing to do with "strange motion" in expensive "smart" HDTVs. Turn off "tru-motion" (or however its called) option in your tv.


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