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550D straight out of the camera picture


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Hey, I could use some help. I`ve been using my 550D for years now and I`ve always used flat picture styles and did my onw edits/CC. I just got a job filming automotive tests and how they work is that they give me their SD cards(no magic lantern) and they need a picture that is ready to be cut, no CC needed. What would you guys advise me? neutral, just lowered contrast?

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi


Sharpness 1+ (very small amount, they like it)

Contrast -4 (it's hideous)

Saturation at middle (saturated and viewable)

Colour tone at middle

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Didn't like them, any picture profile externally created, every single one will have a fault or a specific artefact in a certain colour, in the highlights, skin, shadows, something weird, that's apart from Technicolour which was created by Canon engineers and Technicolour's. It has no bad effect on image quality at all, but it's not what we want here. 

If you want a picture profile that looks good straight off the camera, use one of the Canon ones in-camera and design it to your specific need. 

For example, for shooting people, nothing looks as good as the portrait picture profile and the effect it makes on skin is impossible to replicate in post, it's a secondary colour correction matter. 

If you're shooting anything like as you say cars and landscapes, Neutral is the way to go as a base, or also poertrait of you want a slightly "happier" look. I'd use Portrait personally as I prefer the general colour rendition on it for everything, it looks like Nikon colour science in fact. 

Then experiment with each slider. This has been experimented by every single filmmaker at some point in their life, after all we all owned a Canon DSLR at some point! 

1- Sharpness. Some agree that turning it off gives the most filmic image. It does, but for footage you want to deliver straight of the card, especially especially since it's not a filmic project, you should turn it up one notch. Canon SLR footage is soft and if they view it at 0 sharpness they'll see it as low-res non HD. If you turn up sharpness a single notch, it gives it a slightly sharper look giving the impression of higher quality for non-professional viewers, it's incredibly important, everytime I showed the difference between -4 and -3 to a family member they all agree that -4 is ''low-res" and -3 is ''high quality'', and they also agree 0 and +2 look artificial and cartoonish. -3 (up one noth seems to be every viewers' sweet spot for Canon DSLRs for direct viewing) 

2- Contrast. This is the absolute ugliest parameter Canon offers. It doesn't increase contrast, it just crushes the lower end and clips the upper end horribly without affecting the mids, i.e., just lowers dynamic range and makes it look lower-end footage. 

3-Saturation. It's just how colourful colours look. The neutral picture profile has lower saturation the the other profiles, as in Portrait at 0 has much more saturation than Neutral at 0, Neutral at -2 it looks very unsaturated and almost non viewable for normal viewers (Prolost), it needs grading to look coloured. And at 0 middle it's enough to look good, but still a bit unsaturated, so I would actually leave it at +1 in the Neutral profile if you want footage that looks coloured well. If you go with portrait set it to 0 (middle)

4-Colour tone at 0, going minus shifts to magenta and plus to green. So you might want to use it to compensate for any shifts. But generally no one touches it. 

5- Most importantly get you exposure correct, don't expose to the right and don't expose darkly. Choose exposure that looks appropriate for the look youmre going for and most importantly be consistent from one shot to another as they won't correct it. Just make it look normal on the back screen, nothing blowing out and bright enough and nothing too dark and noisy. 


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Thank you guys!

I think I got something decent out of it, but I have a new problem that I don`t understand. As I said, I`ve used magic lantern since day one...in video mode I can`t set WB..AT ALL? when I press Q I just don`t have a WB to select nor anywhere in the main menu. I can set it in photo mode, but not video. What am I missing here?

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