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NX1 Flat profile test (Gamma_DR)


neosushi
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Hi everyone, I started running some tests on the new Samsung Firmware 1.2 for the NX1 camera.

As a lot of users I was very impatient in testing the new Gamma DR curve, seeing if it would improve the dynamic range of the camera.

So far in my first tests I cannot say that I have seen real improvement between Gamma DR vs Standard profile in terms of dynamic range.

It is very hard to measure the dynamic range of a camera - especially when you don't have the facility/tests procedures. And I don't. So my tests are definitely not scientific. Furthermore I don't have images to share yet (hoping that will come soon and please feel free to share yours).

Now there are 4 settings that can affect the dynamic range in the NX1:

- Profile mode (standard, gamma, etc.)
- Contrast value (-10, +10)
- Master pedestal value (-15, +15)
- luminance level (0-255, 16-235)

From my early results what I can say is that going to an extreme setting (gamma DR, contrast -10, MP +15) result on losing skin tones and might increase macro blocking in bright areas. I had much better results with almost the same settings, but putting contrast at -5. But you'll also notice that if you take the standard profile and tweak the contrast at -10 you will have comparable results. Also setting the master pedestal at +15 increases the details in the blacks, but you also lose details in the brighter areas (and you might find an actor's face to have some light reflections, and you might lose those details). However it can be useful in situations where you will need a lot of details in the blacks. For instance I had the experience of filming a music video featuring a black actor dressed in a black suit - and very little lighting. This is typically the kind of situations where the master pedestal will come in handy (and good lighting also). I noticed that a lot of people rely on the master pedestal to give this "film look" and personally I don't recommend it. It is often underrated how soft highlights participated in the film look. With a master pedestal at +15 you will lose some of that imho.

So these are my findings so far, I know that illustrating with videos would help a lot, but I don't have this kind of time right now so apologies to the community. I will be very interested in learning from your experiences with the new firmware. 



 

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I am fighting with all this to.

I shot a lot yesterday i will edit some tests to show. I shot everything in Gamma C with custom settings and +15 black and lumi 235 its very flat looking so much so i had a hard time getting it to pop back it took a lot of playing with. I will post a short showing before and after with a few different looks.

My problem is i do not have a camera with Log files to compare it to for the end results.

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Here is a video with split screen. Out of camera on left Gamma C with custom settings -5 saturation -5 sharpness and +15 black and lumi 235. Color grading when edited on right  .. 4 versions of two people singing.

I think i like the first version the best the 3rd is a light blue tint the 4th is more strong color and contrast.

Shot with a 100x300mm F4 lens

https://vimeo.com/117736964 

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Thanks a lot Ed !

I like the light grading you did on the first shots of your video. I am very curious of the impact on the dynamic range of the "flat profile". Also I wonder if we should slightly over or under expose (like on the a7s log profile)  ?

So far I'm leaning toward the fact that with contrast at -10 and MP at +15 it is harder to preserve highlights. 

 

 

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I was at contract 0 in the center.

I had some of the shots that did get over exposed some as the sun was changing a lot this was all shot outside. I had to bring the brightness down and add in more contract to them. I shot 19 different signers over 3 hours.

I have some HD Pro i shot to with this same setting i will play with next

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I think the master pedestal will have to be adjusted depending on the scene.  Raising only if its a high contrast scene.

​Isnt it best to give the camera/codec the whole range to work with and raise the blacks in post? Correct me if Im wrong but I think raising blacks just makes it look like theres more DR but the result is kind of the opposite?? (or maybe the same?)

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​Isnt it best to give the camera/codec the whole range to work with and raise the blacks in post? Correct me if Im wrong but I think raising blacks just makes it look like theres more DR but the result is kind of the opposite?? (or maybe the same?)


I wouldn't say it is the opposite. And to be able to raise the blacks in post, you need your sensor to be able to actually record those information. I don't think that raising the MP makes you lose DR, but simply it readjusts the DR of the camera to give you more details in the black (and I believe losing details in the highlights). 

But I don't believe in a magic "log" profile that will suddenly give you 15 stops of DR when your camera can really only output 10. And for me its not relevant how much DR my camera has. It is much more relevant how it treats blown out and black areas (ex. film like). Overall I am very happy with the DR of the NX1. If there is one thing that I wish Samsung could improve, it would be the banding / macro blocking because it is a giveaway of  a digital semi pro camera.

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hmm, but 'raising blacks in post' is simply assigning lighter value to the darkest pixels, you can do that with any video of any sensor without any problem, youre in effect 'squashing' the DR after its recorded, but if you squash it before its recorded youre going to have less information when you expand it later in post (for example with a LUT or contrast added)..

Again, just my thoughts, if its not correct someone can fill in with the science..

Edit: Just read the link above, it explains it better but conclusion is - dont touch the MP! 

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hmm, but 'raising blacks in post' is simply assigning lighter value to the darkest pixels, you can do that with any video of any sensor without any problem, youre in effect 'squashing' the DR after its recorded, but if you squash it before its recorded youre going to have less information when you expand it later in post (for example with a LUT or contrast added)..

Again, just my thoughts, if its not correct someone can fill in with the science..

Edit: Just read the link above, it explains it better but conclusion is - dont touch the MP! 

​Thanks a lot for your comment. Agreed. In fact from the dozens of hours spent on testing the GH4 (cineD) and the time spent reading about log curve on a7s, I am definitely not interested in flat profiles on 8bits camera (especially with such compressed codecs). I think you are much better off getting your in camera image as close as possible from your post prod image. 

From my early tests I am going to continue shooting with one of the standards profile (standard or retro) with the contrast at -5 and maybe saturation at -2.

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The large majority of stuff I've seen shot with the NX1 on the web has looked very poor - but I'm not sure if it's the camera or the users. The DR always looks very low and the images very "electronic" and brittle. There is very little out there on the NX1 so it's hard to judge. 

Personally i'm compelled by the toolset of this camera (video and stills) and how it progresses - are any owners attempting cinematic/organic looking footage with the camera, now ther eis new gamma modes? In comparison, the A7S has a huge professional following, but aesthetically, it's image seems light years ahead of the NX1 for cinematic work (SLog2 helps!). But the A7S is used a lot for professional work, and will obviously seem much better - seen as the user base is bigger and attracts many skilled filmmakers. 

Something in my gut tells me there is something special about this camera. I just haven't seen it yet. Maybe it's a case of more talented people unlocking it's potential. ;)

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​Isnt it best to give the camera/codec the whole range to work with and raise the blacks in post? Correct me if Im wrong but I think raising blacks just makes it look like theres more DR but the result is kind of the opposite?? (or maybe the same?)

​Basically, if something in your scene is so dark that it is clipped to pure black, and you want to more of it to be dark gray so you can see more detail, then raising master pedestal should allow you to do that to some extent.  But there is no point raising shadows by master pedestal to a higher level than you intend it to be in the final grade.  What's the point of compressing the range and then expanding it again.  You achieve nothing but increased banding.

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​Isnt it best to give the camera/codec the whole range to work with and raise the blacks in post?

​It depends highly on codec settings. For example, there is a "psychovisual enhancement" technique which generally applies less bitrate to blacks, compressing them tightly and destroying all detail there. It's good when your goal is to make a small delivery file, but bad for acquisition. H.26x are the delivery formats, so they have their flaws. If you want to record the noise floor texture while your codec makes smooth blacks, you'll have to put it at a higher place.

 

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  • 9 months later...

Isnt it best to give the camera/codec the whole range to work with and raise the blacks in post? Correct me if Im wrong but I think raising blacks just makes it look like theres more DR but the result is kind of the opposite?? (or maybe the same?)

that's precisely what happens. It looks flat but all you are seeing is the usable data in the shadows being chopped off. Essentially your pushing the 0-255 luminance to like 16-255 creating a ton of issues in post. Its best to leave MP alone and use the entire 0-255 range. Im getting the best results with -4 -5 contrast and -2 saturation at 0-255 luminance

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I wouldn't say it is the opposite. And to be able to raise the blacks in post, you need your sensor to be able to actually record those information. I don't think that raising the MP makes you lose DR, but simply it readjusts the DR of the camera to give you more details in the black (and I believe losing details in the highlights). 

But I don't believe in a magic "log" profile that will suddenly give you 15 stops of DR when your camera can really only output 10. And for me its not relevant how much DR my camera has. It is much more relevant how it treats blown out and black areas (ex. film like). Overall I am very happy with the DR of the NX1. If there is one thing that I wish Samsung could improve, it would be the banding / macro blocking because it is a giveaway of  a digital semi pro camera.

couldn't agree more ! however I think the banding and macro blocking we are seeing is a result of these transcoding apps....im impatiently waiting for adobe premieres native support of the h.265 codec. I think we will see a jump in quality in post production

The large majority of stuff I've seen shot with the NX1 on the web has looked very poor - but I'm not sure if it's the camera or the users. The DR always looks very low and the images very "electronic" and brittle. There is very little out there on the NX1 so it's hard to judge. 

Personally i'm compelled by the toolset of this camera (video and stills) and how it progresses - are any owners attempting cinematic/organic looking footage with the camera, now ther eis new gamma modes? In comparison, the A7S has a huge professional following, but aesthetically, it's image seems light years ahead of the NX1 for cinematic work (SLog2 helps!). But the A7S is used a lot for professional work, and will obviously seem much better - seen as the user base is bigger and attracts many skilled filmmakers. 

Something in my gut tells me there is something special about this camera. I just haven't seen it yet. Maybe it's a case of more talented people unlocking it's potential. ;)

I feel like with any camera it's really the camera operator than the camera. I think that is the reason why we are seeing so much crappy NX1 footage. Also you really have to learn how the camera processes and renders the same especially when it comes to exposure and compression. I personally think SLOG2 is over hyped being that it was made for 10bit cameras but stuck on one that shoot 8bits and can't render the entire color gamut that sgamut is supposed to bring. I was shooting with cine1 and cine4 with my a7s with better results than the SLOG2 footage I see. Most people expect a camera to have a wide dynamic range with these log profiles but they don't know what the hell to do with it lol. Rec 709 is fine especially on the Samsung nx1. The way the Samsung NX1 is an iso invariant camera as pointed out by dpreview. They have gotten the same looking image by shooting at iso 100 and pushing the shadows up like 5ev vs. just shooting at 1600. What this means for us as I've tested while grading is that it's best to underexpose to capture the highlights and then push the shadows. I under expose 0.6 of a stop and received that "filmic" look you are talking about with a surprising amount of shadow details hidden in that codec. Try it out

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couldn't agree more ! however I think the banding and macro blocking we are seeing is a result of these transcoding apps....im impatiently waiting for adobe premieres native support of the h.265 codec. I think we will see a jump in quality in post production

I feel like with any camera it's really the camera operator than the camera. I think that is the reason why we are seeing so much crappy NX1 footage. Also you really have to learn how the camera processes and renders the same especially when it comes to exposure and compression. I personally think SLOG2 is over hyped being that it was made for 10bit cameras but stuck on one that shoot 8bits and can't render the entire color gamut that sgamut is supposed to bring. I was shooting with cine1 and cine4 with my a7s with better results than the SLOG2 footage I see. Most people expect a camera to have a wide dynamic range with these log profiles but they don't know what the hell to do with it lol. Rec 709 is fine especially on the Samsung nx1. The way the Samsung NX1 is an iso invariant camera as pointed out by dpreview. They have gotten the same looking image by shooting at iso 100 and pushing the shadows up like 5ev vs. just shooting at 1600. What this means for us as I've tested while grading is that it's best to underexpose to capture the highlights and then push the shadows. I under expose 0.6 of a stop and received that "filmic" look you are talking about with a surprising amount of shadow details hidden in that codec. Try it out

I've been tempted to use the NX1 ever since it's release. I'd like to rent it but I can't find a vendor in the UK.

I think the colours are lovely and the resolution is absolutely ridiculous. 

What's the "better" type of skilled footage you have come across? Albert Fast does a good job with his little short films. 

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I've been tempted to use the NX1 ever since it's release. I'd like to rent it but I can't find a vendor in the UK.

I think the colours are lovely and the resolution is absolutely ridiculous. 

What's the "better" type of skilled footage you have come across? Albert Fast does a good job with his little short films. 

Just go to Vimeo and search "Samsung NX1" the first page is filled with impressive footage from the NX1.

Heres a few screengrabs of my latest video (still on edit) http://imgur.com/a/rQHhx I think the camera is outstanding in every way, color/resolution/detail is amazing, you can make it as filmic as you want, or just not at all, its quite versatile. I too am eager to have native support H265 on premiere, it will make my job so much easier.

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