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Mark Romero 2

What Camera Is He Using?

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I've asked him directly in the past, but never received an answer.

Can you identify what camera he is using?  It seems like he is able to get very clean colors even when shooting in mixed lighting.

 

On my a6500 there is no way I can get clean neutral colors like that when shooting in mixed lighting. So I am guessing he is using a 10-bit codec.

Is it the camera that is helping him get clean colors?

I don't think he is using all daylight balanced bulbs with a high CRI in the ceiling and fixtures.

P.S. He sells a course on real estate videography which covers equipment, so I suspect that is why he never got back to me when I asked.

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

Looks like a GH5 to me.  The shot at 0:40 shows the red dot on the record button quite clearly.

10-bit video can help in mixed lighting, but I shoot in mixed lighting all the time and I found that the weak link was my colour correction skills.  Knowing how to process the image and how to handle colour spaces in post really upped my game.

Here's some random thoughts:

  • If you have a shot where you move from one WB to another, you can create two copies of the shot, one with the first WB and the second with the second, then just cross-fade between the two.  It saves all kind of work trying to automate changes etc.
  • Depending on what software you're using, you can try doing a manual WB adjustment before converting from whatever capture colour space (eg, LOG) vs afterwards.
  • I used to try grading the LOG footage manually, without having anything convert between the colour spaces and I'd create awful looking images - using a technical LUT or Colour Space Transform to do the conversion really made a huge difference for me
  • I don't know about you but I often shot in mixed lighting because that was the only lighting and because the camera just wasn't getting the right exposure levels or the ISO was straining (I use auto ISO) then that's a source of awful colours, maybe just use heaps of light

In a sense you can either pay the guy or just do a bunch of tests at home and try to figure it out yourself.  I'd suggest:

  • Work out how to change the WB in post by shooting a scene in a good WB and then in a wrong WB, then in post work out how to match the wrong one to the good one
  • Then work out how to go between two scenes with different lighting by doing one shot that moves between two rooms with different WB and use the cross-fade technique above to figure that out
  • Then work out how to deal with mixed lighting by having two different coloured light sources in the same room and moving between them and working out how to grade that.

Basically, start simple, then add more difficulty until you're comfortable shooting by the light of a xmas tree.  You may find that shooting in a middle-of-the-range WB in-camera will give you the best results, but it might also be that one lighting source is the most difficult and you just set it to that and then adjust for the others in post.  Experimentation is the key with this stuff.

But keep your head up - this shit is hard.  Colour grading well shot footage in robust codecs is as easy as applying a LUT.  Colour grading badly-lit footage from consumer codecs is the real challenge and will test all but the most seasoned colourists, so in a way we're operating at the hard end of the spectrum.

 

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Thanks to everyone who has replied @colepat  @currensheldon and @kye I really appreciate it.

Is it possible that he is using a GH5S instead of the regular GH5???

Also, would it be safe to assume he is using manual focus (meaning, focus about five feet out with a fairly deep DOF and just leave it there for most of the shots)?

25 minutes ago, kye said:

I used to try grading the LOG footage manually, without having anything convert between the colour spaces and I'd create awful looking images - using a technical LUT or Colour Space Transform to do the conversion really made a huge difference for me

Yeah, I do a color transform in Resolve color management using Avery Peck's suggestions and it seems to help, but I still get weird colors on neutral surfaces even after using the various hue-based curves... might have to try upping my game with masking which I haven't had too much success with in the past.

Shot with an a6500  in SLOG 2 with a custom white balance taken off of a gray card. My gimbal work needs some practice :)

 

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3 minutes ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

Yep definitely the GH5. The S record button looks different. 

Thanks!!!

I haven't had a chance to work on the X-T3 files that you sent me yet. But I assume that since the GH5 and the X-T3 or both 10-bit, they would have (more or less) the same flexibility when working with colors??? (Although I guess GH5 is 4:2:2 and X-T3 is only 4:2:0 ???)

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10 minutes ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

Thanks!!!

I haven't had a chance to work on the X-T3 files that you sent me yet. But I assume that since the GH5 and the X-T3 or both 10-bit, they would have (more or less) the same flexibility when working with colors??? (Although I guess GH5 is 4:2:2 and X-T3 is only 4:2:0 ???)

Yeah should be very similar. The 422 should have more precision, better for green screen technically. They are actually quite similar when it comes to low light performance too, with the GH5S being a little cleaner but less detailed (4k sensor vs 6k).  

Comes down to ergonomics, lens selection, color science, and auto focus. 

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1 hour ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

Also, would it be safe to assume he is using manual focus (meaning, focus about five feet out with a fairly deep DOF and just leave it there for most of the shots)?

Yeah, I do a color transform in Resolve color management using Avery Peck's suggestions and it seems to help, but I still get weird colors on neutral surfaces even after using the various hue-based curves... might have to try upping my game with masking which I haven't had too much success with in the past.

Yeah, likely a fixed focus with quite a small aperture.  Which just reinforces the need to get plenty of light into the scene.

I'm far from the expert in colour grading, but I found that my problem was not getting the fundamentals right.

If you don't get WB right, or don't get your colour space right then no amount of the advanced tools in Resolve will help you.  I don't know what your footage looks like but if you can share a troublesome clip SOOC then maybe we can see what you're looking at?  I have heard that Sony colours aren't the easiest to process, but I haven't played with any Sony footage myself so can't really say if that's the problem or not.

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4 hours ago, kye said:

I used to try grading the LOG footage manually, without having anything convert between the colour spaces and I'd create awful looking images - using a technical LUT or Colour Space Transform to do the conversion really made a huge difference for me

A big +1 on this for myself as well.  Some people seem to get good results just pulling log curves until they look good and can get get nice results, but I find if I handle all the color transformations properly, I'm reducing the number of variables I'm dealing with and I have the confidence that I'm already working in the proper color space.  Once in the proper color space, controls work more reliably, and it is also a big help if you are pulling material from a variety of sources.  

I have not tried the Aces workflow, but since I'm pretty much always delivering in rec 709, I like to use that as my timeline colorspace.  So, I just convert everything into that.

One feature I also really like about Resolve is the ability to use the "grouping" functionality that opens up "Pre-Clip" and "Post-Clip" grading.  Then I group footage based on different cameras, and I can apply the Color Space Transform and any little adjustments I want to make per camera in the "Pre-Clip" for that group/camera.  That way when I get down to the shot by shot balancing and grading, I already have all my source material happily in roughly the same state and I can begin my main balance and grade with a clean node graph.  On a typical project, I may have material from a variety of Reds with different sensors, DSLRs, GoPros, Drones, and stock footage.  If I had to balance everything shot by shot by just pulling on curves, I think I'd go crazy.

If you don't work in Resolve, you can do roughly the same thing by using adjustment layers in Premiere and just building them up.  Use the bottom adjustment layer to get all your footage into Rec 709 with any custom tweaks, then build your main grade above that. 

Even if you are not working from a huge variety of source material, many projects will at least have Drone and DSLR footage to balance.  You can then develop your own LUTs for each camera you use, or just use the manufacturers LUTs to get you into a proper starting place.

One final advantage if you can use the Color Space Transform instead of LUTs is that LUTs will clip your whites and blacks if you make adjustments pre-LUT and go outside the legal range.  The Color Space Transform node will hold onto your out of range color information if you plan to later bring it back further down the line.

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1 hour ago, Towd said:

A big +1 on this for myself as well.  Some people seem to get good results just pulling log curves until they look good and can get get nice results, but I find if I handle all the color transformations properly, I'm reducing the number of variables I'm dealing with and I have the confidence that I'm already working in the proper color space.  Once in the proper color space, controls work more reliably, and it is also a big help if you are pulling material from a variety of sources.  

I have not tried the Aces workflow, but since I'm pretty much always delivering in rec 709, I like to use that as my timeline colorspace.  So, I just convert everything into that.

One feature I also really like about Resolve is the ability to use the "grouping" functionality that opens up "Pre-Clip" and "Post-Clip" grading.  Then I group footage based on different cameras, and I can apply the Color Space Transform and any little adjustments I want to make per camera in the "Pre-Clip" for that group/camera.  That way when I get down to the shot by shot balancing and grading, I already have all my source material happily in roughly the same state and I can begin my main balance and grade with a clean node graph.  On a typical project, I may have material from a variety of Reds with different sensors, DSLRs, GoPros, Drones, and stock footage.  If I had to balance everything shot by shot by just pulling on curves, I think I'd go crazy.

If you don't work in Resolve, you can do roughly the same thing by using adjustment layers in Premiere and just building them up.  Use the bottom adjustment layer to get all your footage into Rec 709 with any custom tweaks, then build your main grade above that. 

Even if you are not working from a huge variety of source material, many projects will at least have Drone and DSLR footage to balance.  You can then develop your own LUTs for each camera you use, or just use the manufacturers LUTs to get you into a proper starting place.

One final advantage if you can use the Color Space Transform instead of LUTs is that LUTs will clip your whites and blacks if you make adjustments pre-LUT and go outside the legal range.  The Color Space Transform node will hold onto your out of range color information if you plan to later bring it back further down the line.

I used to use those Pre-Clip and Post-Clip groups, but I got a bit frustrated with them because you couldn't have clips in multiple groups.  Resolve has now gone one better and has Shared Nodes, which means you can combine treatments in any way that you feel you might want to.

I always think of the example of shooting two scenes with two cameras.  You obviously want to grade the cameras differently to match them so you want all the shots from each camera to share the same processing.  Now they all have the same kind of look, you want to apply a creative grade to them, and you actually want to grade the two scenes differently as they have different dramatic content.  Previously you could use the grouping to combine the processing of either the cameras, or the scenes, but not both.  Now with the shared nodes you can mix and match them however you like.

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2 hours ago, kye said:

I used to use those Pre-Clip and Post-Clip groups, but I got a bit frustrated with them because you couldn't have clips in multiple groups.  Resolve has now gone one better and has Shared Nodes, which means you can combine treatments in any way that you feel you might want to.

I always think of the example of shooting two scenes with two cameras.  You obviously want to grade the cameras differently to match them so you want all the shots from each camera to share the same processing.  Now they all have the same kind of look, you want to apply a creative grade to them, and you actually want to grade the two scenes differently as they have different dramatic content.  Previously you could use the grouping to combine the processing of either the cameras, or the scenes, but not both.  Now with the shared nodes you can mix and match them however you like.

Yes, shared nodes are really useful for making a scene adjustment ripple across all shots in a scene.  It's something more useful to me in the main grade after I get everything in my timeline's color space.

For me, what I like about pre and post-clips is that I typically have 2 or 3 nodes in my pre grade and the purpose of my pre-clip is just to prepare footage for my main grade.   For example, a team I work with frequently really likes slightly lifted shadow detail, so I'll give a little bump to shadow detail then run the color space transform in my pre-clip.  If one camera is set up really badly one day and I need two different pre-clips for that camera, I'll just make multiple incrementing numbered groups for that camera, so I've never had a reason to put a shot in multiple groups. The other thing, I really like about groups is that you get a little colored visual icon of all shots in a current group that appear on the thumbnails in the timeline.  This makes for a nice visual sanity check when I'm scanning through a ton of footage on a long project.  Usually, the camera used is fairly obvious from A cams, to drones, to body cams by the thumbnail on the timeline so the visual reference of thumbnail and colored group icon is a nice check that I've prepped all my footage correctly.

I know there is some extra flexibility in putting grading nodes before or after a color space transform, but for me on a large project, my main purpose in the pre-clip is to just get things close and into the proper color space.  If I really need to do more adjustments that have to be done pre-color space transform, I'll flip around color spaces in my main grade.  But my goal is to do all my shot to shot and scene balancing in my main grade with everything in my delivery color space.  Keeps things sorted for me.  😄

Ultimately, it all depends on the type of work you are doing.  If I was doing feature work that is all shot on one camera type my system wouldn't be very useful.  But I do a lot of doc work, and outdoorsy adventure stuff that are typically shot on all types of cameras and conditions, so it can be really useful for keeping things organized.

One last trick with the groups is that if I'm also mixing 6k, 4k, and 2k footage, I can throw a little sharpening or blurring into the post-clip section to match up visual detail between cameras.  Then use the timeline grade to do any overall finishing if needed.

Ultimately, Davinci is just a wonderfully flexible system for developing custom workflows that works for you.  I love that their are so many ways to organize and sort through the color process.  👍

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Here is one example of a troublesome clip with a lot of mixed lighting (and different wall colors)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9i16eqwqzosokob/C0096.MP4?dl=0

I am pretty sure I shot in SLOG 2 (although I usually shoot SLOG 2 at plus 2 and this doesn't look two stops over...)

I will post another example later

For reference, the window frames should be white. (or close to white).

The walls in the near room are green and the walls in the far room (with the round card table) are blue(ish)

As you can probably tell from the clip, I shoot with pretty low saturation. Maybe I need to bump saturation up???

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I wonder if having the option to change so many parameters within Sony camera’s picture profiles, that it becomes a double edged sword. 

It seems like it may be a worth a test to just lower sharpening and then using the Color Space Transform in Resolve or one of Sony’s official LUTS to get the Log footage into Rec709.

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5 minutes ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

That looked pretty darn good considering the lighting conditions. 

Do you shoot with 0 saturation or lower?

I think I was shooting at 0 saturation.

Although that was a few months back and now I am not certain, I think I may have been using the GFilm recipe, which is actually S Log 2, Pro color mode, and +3 saturation.

Wish there was a way to get the meta data for clips regarding the gamma / gamut / exposure value (meaning, exif for video clips).

 

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Just now, Mark Romero 2 said:

I think I was shooting at 0 saturation.

Although that was a few months back and now I am not certain, I think I may have been using the GFilm recipe, which is actually S Log 2, Pro color mode, and +3 saturation.

Wish there was a way to get the meta data for clips regarding the gamma / gamut / exposure value (meaning, exif for video clips).

 

Yeah I know, there have been times where I completely forgot what settings I shot at lol. 

Sony color settings are confusing tho. I am not sure Slog is the best profile if trying to maintain the most color information. 

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3 minutes ago, mercer said:

I wonder if having the option to change so many parameters within Sony camera’s picture profiles, that it becomes a double edged sword. 

It seems like it may be a worth a test to just lower sharpening and then using the Color Space Transform in Resolve or one of Sony’s official LUTS to get the Log footage into Rec709.

You could certainly be right about both points.

One man's flexibility is another man's overwhelmability...

I have avoided LUTs in the past due to the possibility / probability of clipping highlights and nasty rolloff (and believe me, Hell hath no furry like nasty Sony rolloff). But might be worth a try.

1 minute ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

Yeah I know, there have been times where I completely forgot what settings I shot at lol. 

Sony color settings are confusing tho. I am not sure Slog is the best profile if trying to maintain the most color information. 

Yup. I think the benefit of slog for this is 1) most dynamic range for when I have bright windows and dark interiors and I need to do my best to capture the window view (because a lot of the value in the house is from the view of the San Francisco Bay), and 2) to give a bit more flexibility in reducing / adjusting color casts from tungsten / florescent lights.

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21 minutes ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

You could certainly be right about both points.

One man's flexibility is another man's overwhelmability...

I have avoided LUTs in the past due to the possibility / probability of clipping highlights and nasty rolloff (and believe me, Hell hath no furry like nasty Sony rolloff). But might be worth a try.

Yup. I think the benefit of slog for this is 1) most dynamic range for when I have bright windows and dark interiors and I need to do my best to capture the window view (because a lot of the value in the house is from the view of the San Francisco Bay), and 2) to give a bit more flexibility in reducing / adjusting color casts from tungsten / florescent lights.

You'd probably benefit from something like the the BM Pocket 4k with the high dynamic range and 10 bit recording. That said there is only so much you can do with mixed lighting even in 10 or 12 bit. Not going to be perfect unless you use daylight balanced lighting inside. 

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Just now, thebrothersthre3 said:

You'd probably benefit from something like the the BM Pocket 4k with the high dynamic range and 10 bit recording. That said there is only so much you can do with mixed lighting even in 10 or 12 bit. Not going to be perfect unless you use daylight balanced lighting inside. 

Yeah, the BMPCC4K is definitely on my list. Wish it had a tilting screen and / or was a little more gimbal friendly.

Still thinking about the X-T3 though... or the Pansonic S1 if they ever develop a reasonable 16-35mm lens.

Since 90% of my business is from stills so that means the BMPCC4K would have to be a video-only camera for me.

Could go the GH5 route but I think X-T3 might be a bit better for stills and - all things being equal - might give me a bit better low light performance / dynamic range than a GH5 with the aps-c size sensor of the X-T3.

If the Z6 had 10-bit internal I could live with that (even though it seems like there is no prospect of Z6 ever having 4K 60fps). Heck, my friend still shoots real estate video in glorious 1080p on his D750.

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