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Which grade do you prefer


EphraimP
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I'm playing around with some color grades for a super short video. I'm curious as to what others think of the two grades below. I'll name the camera and gamma/gamut later. As a side note, it would be interesting if anyone could guess.

A:

275577322_RIckHPostFireSprayCG1.thumb.jpg.dc1b35abf7f1c613340daf477622001f.jpg

B:

1421006842_RIckHPostFireSprayCG2.thumb.jpg.d1c3b3b28b2166332c058f0e7ea5e05b.jpg

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@EphraimP  I definitely prefer A as it's warmer and colours have more clarity and fullness.  B is cooler and so the neutral tones in the background and lack of saturation in the skin tones make it look more hollow and like the guy is in poor health.  If it's meant to be in neutral lighting and the guy in good health then B looks like someone has used the wrong colour space transform.

Having said that, you haven't said what the film is about, and "nice" doesn't work well for horror or action or many other genres, so the aesthetic should dictate the look...

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Somewhere between the two, but if I had a gun to my head and had to choose one, I'd go with A.

But B shows his face a bit better.

B looks a bit 'thin' and more towards the yellow/green whereas A edges a bit towards the magenta?

Of course when you put any 2 images together, these characteristics are enhanced.

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Very interesting results so far to this very unscientific poll. Thanks everyone for offering your opinions. I'm interested to see what others think. The only consistent input so far, and this includes friends I've asked the same question to via email, is that the shadow areas in A should be lifted.

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I'd be curious to hear how many people commenting in this thread have calibrated displays and are viewing in controlled lighting conditions.  When comparing images with no reference (except pure aesthetic reaction and visual memory) these things factor in hugely.

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i like a) its a little warmer.  Maybe im used to the aussie sun, but pasty white arms look unnatural  🤷‍♂️. I think newfoundmass is onto it with the bark, had a bushfire go through the neighborhood about 12 months ago.  The tree bark is a bit too black, if you could bring up the bark a little and keep the warmth you'd be on a winner.

no calibrated display here just a dell laptop with stock settings. 

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2 hours ago, kye said:

I'd be curious to hear how many people commenting in this thread have calibrated displays and are viewing in controlled lighting conditions.  When comparing images with no reference (except pure aesthetic reaction and visual memory) these things factor in hugely.

For sure.

Also on what device, - phone, ipad, laptop, monitor, big screen TV?

Is it a back-lit screen or not? Is it calibrated? What environmental conditions are you viewing in?

And then there is how we each see and perceive colour etc...

So many variables...

I've long since stopped taking into consideration anyone else's opinion, - not colleagues, clients or even the wife's.

The best thing you can do IMO is shoot and present to please yourself and if it's not for personal use only, no reason why not to and if it is for clients, book clients who like and want what you do without any of their own input.

Unless you are happy/need to shoot to specific client needs, which is fine and equally valid.

In 20+ years, with over 1000 clients however, I have never had a single one ever question my presentation, grading (photo or video) or any other visual factor. At least not after the fact.

I have had maybe 4 or 5 that have asked certain questions prior to booking and then either did or didn't (book) and I have no idea how many have dismissed me without any conversation or even awareness on my part that there was something they did not like. But who cares if you are hitting targets.

Yes, the odd wedding client, usually a mother asking why there are only 37 pictures with her in them but there are 38 with the other mother...because she's counted, or the very occasional soundtrack question, but this has nothing to do with the visual capture or processing.

I did have one bride comment once that her pink bridesmaids dresses looked a different shade of pink to the actual material in my photos and the difference was exaggerated in; outdoor photos in the sun, outdoor photos under/in green trees, indoor photos with fluorescent tube lighting, indoor photos in a marquee with purple uplighters...but you know, life's too short to try and have a conversation explaining that what you are looking at is not, 'a dress', 'a colour singular', 'your mother', but tens of thousands of different coloured pixels... 🤪

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16 hours ago, kye said:

I'd be curious to hear how many people commenting in this thread have calibrated displays and are viewing in controlled lighting conditions.  When comparing images with no reference (except pure aesthetic reaction and visual memory) these things factor in hugely.

This is an interesting exercise so far, to me at least. In the real world, we can't be sure our viewers will be using calibrated monitors in controlled lighting conditions. In fact, we can be sure the vast majority won't.

As a professional video producer for social media, generally a OMB, I was curious to see how other video pros and interested amateur would react to the subtle differences in these images on whatever screen they use. Having people view them on a variety of devices in a variety of conditions is even better, in that it replicates what the average viewer might be seeing. It would be helpful to know the viewing conditions of each commenter, but it's not necessary in that this isn't a scientific test. There are no right or wrong answers here.

In fact, I myself have just connected a brand new ProArt 4K monitor to my editing system today. It's using factory calibration at the moment because my X-Rite system is coming tomorrow. These were graded on an HD Samsung TV that I've been using as a monitor for some time while waiting to invest in a new monitor. I used the histogram in Premiere to set the white point and the waveform monitor to set the tonal range, so they should be decent. Other than that, what I'm interested in is the response to the two different Rec. 709 LUTS I used.

Both images look warmer to me on the ProArt, but the difference in shadow tonality, blue hue of the shirt and the skin tone difference are still apparent and I still favor one grade over the other. After I calibrate the monitor using the X-Rite devise, I'll judge them again determine if I need to tweak the colors at all.

I'm interested to know if anyone can guess the camera I used, and how they came to that conclusion.

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3 hours ago, EphraimP said:

This is an interesting exercise so far, to me at least. In the real world, we can't be sure our viewers will be using calibrated monitors in controlled lighting conditions. In fact, we can be sure the vast majority won't.

As a professional video producer for social media, generally a OMB, I was curious to see how other video pros and interested amateur would react to the subtle differences in these images on whatever screen they use. Having people view them on a variety of devices in a variety of conditions is even better, in that it replicates what the average viewer might be seeing. It would be helpful to know the viewing conditions of each commenter, but it's not necessary in that this isn't a scientific test. There are no right or wrong answers here.

In fact, I myself have just connected a brand new ProArt 4K monitor to my editing system today. It's using factory calibration at the moment because my X-Rite system is coming tomorrow. These were graded on an HD Samsung TV that I've been using as a monitor for some time while waiting to invest in a new monitor. I used the histogram in Premiere to set the white point and the waveform monitor to set the tonal range, so they should be decent. Other than that, what I'm interested in is the response to the two different Rec. 709 LUTS I used.

Both images look warmer to me on the ProArt, but the difference in shadow tonality, blue hue of the shirt and the skin tone difference are still apparent and I still favor one grade over the other. After I calibrate the monitor using the X-Rite devise, I'll judge them again determine if I need to tweak the colors at all.

I'm interested to know if anyone can guess the camera I used, and how they came to that conclusion.

I've found that normally the best display for someone to judge something on is the one they're used to the most.  The best display in the world won't be a good reference if it's different to what you're used to.

The argument that no-one is viewing things using a calibrated display is very common, but is ultimately a very strange idea.  Chefs know that food tastes different to everyone, but they don't go around saying that there's no point making the food taste good to them because people eat their food with uncalibrated mouths.  Musicians don't go around saying that there's no point practicing their instruments because people hear music through their own cultural reference and taste.

I'l go first with a camera guess.  Sony.  The reason that I think it's a Sony is because 1) the first image look relatively good, and 2) the fact you're asking suggests to me that the camera isn't one that is expected to have good colour.  No-one posts images from an Alexa and then is keen to hear what camera they shot it with.

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18 hours ago, kye said:

The argument that no-one is viewing things using a calibrated display is very common, but is ultimately a very strange idea.  Chefs know that food tastes different to everyone, but they don't go around saying that there's no point making the food taste good to them because people eat their food with uncalibrated mouths.  

Yeah, that's a weird take and a misplaced analogy here. Who is saying taht there is no point in making the image (food in your anology) look (taste) good?  Did you miss the comment I made about how I'm adding a color calibrated monitor to my editing workflow right now? Hell, I literally just had to stop typing this to go get the B&H package off my doorstep with the X-RIte Display Pro in it.

What I said was "Having people view them on a variety of devices in a variety of conditions is even better, in that it replicates what the average viewer might be seeing." So, a better analogy would be a chef, say an Italian cuisine expert, testing two varients of a dish by having a variety of other chefs and home cooking enthusiasts try them; some of these chefs aren't going to be Italian cuisine experts, rather they might be sushi chefs or cook thai food or Argentinia BBQ. They will, however, be people who notice flavor, texture and presentation more than the average customer will.

The whole point of this post is exloring what might one grade look better than another. We can't make our viewers color calibrate their laptop or phone screens or contor their ligthing conditions. But we can use the tools at our disposal, inlcuding scopes, color correct monitors, etc and then explore what other creators see and take away from what we're trying. This may not have the authority of scientificly rigourous testing, but it can give us somethings to think about.

18 hours ago, kye said:

I'l go first with a camera guess.  Sony.  The reason that I think it's a Sony is because 1) the first image look relatively good, and 2) the fact you're asking suggests to me that the camera isn't one that is expected to have good colour.  No-one posts images from an Alexa and then is keen to hear what camera they shot it with.

Going for subtextual analysis for your guess. Interesting, but an inaccurate reading of the clues. Not Sony. The camera is, in fact, expected to have good color. I'm interested in seeing if people can guess wihch camera not to hear how good people think it is but rather to poke at the idea that certain cameras have a "look" or, on the filp side, that most modern camera can look so good that it can be hard to distinguish them.

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