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Critical Looks at Demo Reels


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21 hours ago, kye said:

All the skin tones seem very yellow, without a huge variance between the yellower and pinker skin tones.  Is this an ARRI 'look'?  Or is this the grade?

What do you use for monitor calibration? I use the Spyder and love it. Highly recommended or everything is off to view. 

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I give up.

This thread started with two very long and nuanced articles about colour reproduction in demo reels.  It's transitioned to a conversation that can be summed up by me saying "the ARRI skin tones all appear to be on the yellow-side of the acceptable range of skin tones" which you summarised as me saying "calling the Arri shots yellow" and they looked "off".  

Bonus points for managing to infer I'd never heard of a colourist, or insulting me based on the camera I own.  Best of luck in your future endeavours - if you're like this to everyone new that you meet, you're going to need it.


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I've done further analysis and figured I would round the conversation out by sharing it.

Here's some shots from the ARRI reel.

5a76c723f2db1_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_32_10pm.png.6288d649c020258097701c22cb3c0650.png 5a76c74a68e86_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_32_30pm.png.06c3aeb8f04d615db08e12f080630273.png  5a76c74c32e0b_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_32_55pm.png.cb17e462dc713c1e89ef25da5edb952c.png

His skin is very uniform in hue basically centred on the line in the vector scope, with the exception of his lips, which appear in the overall pic as being of a very limited saturation, but when isolated seem to show more range.  Note that the skin tones are evenly distributed in saturation up to a certain point, beyond which they don't seem to go, however the red in the lips goes further into saturation than the skin tones.

5a76c7f1052e3_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_30_50pm.png.4c5137ee0bbad57a8b503fa9984648c1.png  5a76c7f4b4465_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_31_45pm.png.236486129cbb8adedc65120a341e6f14.png  5a76c7f2a28d8_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_31_23pm.png.a5ed4d7c5ab8d96c2e647f1cef9d33ec.png

It's the same story for this lady, except that her skin tone has the majority of it on the pink side of the indicator line, and her lip colour is almost pointing directly at the Red calibration box.

5a76c8f89248f_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_30_32pm.png.a6aadf154bcc8cb491b851a518b07650.png  5a76c8f280cb1_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_28_42pm.png.7eb464a03a9ecf9aa82796f46cdfecda.png  5a76c8f560398_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_29_53pm.png.a869f88e7604e191ae7a9bb3fc814bee.png

It's the same story for this gentleman, even including the hair in his moustache, with the exception that his lip colour isn't more saturated than his skin colour.

Now, if we turn to Canon and their demo reel From Dock to Dish, which I thought was a reasonable comparison considering that it was the promo for the C200 camera, we get these graphs.

5a76cc6279255_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_57_00pm.png.d390ea7390e9fb870e751a7e0d018991.png  5a76cc826041f_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_58_21pm.png.b5c31d61f1c84865459a5515924ca567.png5a76cc840ca07_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_58_34pm.png.c209a02bf9cbfaa119ce816966c6dc78.png

These two fishermen both have skin-tones that are not only all on the red side of the indicator line, but there's even a healthy gap.  It does look cold conditions so it makes sense they're a little flushed.

5a76cd4cf0f0a_ScreenShot2018-02-04at4_59_56pm.png.aea540833632712246654aed652aa423.png  5a76cd4e7b71b_ScreenShot2018-02-04at5_00_31pm.png.fd304102a9680ce6be86d7a97cd8dd8d.png

This guy also has tiny gap between his skin-tones and the indicator line, and his lips were pointing at the Red calibration box.


This lady is also all on the red side of the indicator line.

So, it appears that ARRI tends to place their skin-tones either next to the line with some of the information on the yellow-side of the indicator line, or they go as far as centring the skin colours on that line (as in the case of the top example), and they're not afraid of going over the line assuming it's balanced (as in the case of the lady in the second example).
Canon, however, placed the skin-tones so that all the information is to the red side of the indicator line, even including a small gap in examples where the hue distribution was less.

So, ARRI are around and over the line, Canon are next to and perhaps a little distance from the line.

In terms of hue variation, both ARRI and Canon show examples of a moderate a amount of hue variation, but ARRI also has examples of lower amounts of hue variation, and Canon showed examples of a greater range of hue variation than ARRI did.  Both aimed their lip colour either at, or nearly at, the Red calibration box.



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E.S. - The methodology is flawed. Here’s why: (1) the Canon and Arri shots are made under different lighting conditions (2) models wearing make-up vs. no make-up (3) footage has LUTs applied, has been color corrected and graded with creative intent (5) cannot make definitive judgements about color without reference monitor (6) no color checker in the frames to verify proper white balance  (7) Arri primes impart a vastly different color to Canon lenses (8) reason for comparing Arri to Canon? (9) different models with entirely different complexions are compared in the examples. A proper test would use the same model in identical lighting conditions without color manipulation in post, e.g.


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Even shooting with the same camera and lens, you can’t draw sweeping generalizations about how the sensor responds to skin tones when your methodology is not rigorous. The lighting conditions and white balance; the wide variety of complexions;  the dramatically dissimilar grading: these factors all make any attempt at arriving at a definitively conclusive assessment futile. Which is why Art Adams, in his evaluation of the AJA Cion, uses the word ‘appears’ over half a dozen times in his article: he can’t be absolutely sure whether the colors he is seeing are accurate or if they are the consequence of improper lighting, white balance or grading. All I can say with any certainty is that the Arri LF blows my socks off.






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3 hours ago, mercer said:

Jesus, I think this forum needs a moderator for its moderators... ugh. 

Gee, is a complete mystery why this got a downvote from a mod! :-P

But @jonpais is completely right, to do tests you need to do them scientifically and controlled conditions to reduce as many variables as possible 

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Wow, two downvotes on this page, especially the one above is very weird, which I would downvote, if it was possible to downvote a downvote!

I did not enjoy the demo reel on my uncalibrated laptop monitor. Surfing with a Pentium M machine at the moment, because my motherboard got shred. Seems like this camera is supposed to appeal to the kind of laptop users like me then.

I would appreciate if you cats delete your downvotes so i can feel even more happy again to give your cool stuff upvotes. By the way Jon, after your ambivalent approach to answering kyes sincere and well written observations you came up with a very cool summary about the circumstances of skin- and sofore any other- tones. That´s the kind of response I personally appreciate and enjoy.

Let´s cut the risk of angering one another here, since all posters on this page of the thread are sincere and likeable people, capable of great contributions and support.

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