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NX500 Grade


mercer

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Here's another one of my tests. I bought Color Finale the other day and was messing around with it today, trying to grade some flat footage I shot. I am a complete newbie at color correcting and grading, so I wanted to see how I could do with skin tones. Any pointers would be appreciated.

Btw, this was shot with a Minolta MD 24-35mm f/3.5 zoom, wide open with a fader ND, in a custom profile with Saturation at -5, Sharpness at -10, and Contrast at -5. I converted the footage to 1080p prores LT with EditReady. And then I used Color Finale in Final Cut Pro X.

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All the grades seem contrasty to me. In terms of colors, I prefer the last one, but it has way too much contrast for my linking. I would have tweaked the colors in the original footage without messing too much with contrast. I also agree with liork, the blue shadow on the shirt is pretty distracting, but it's tough to have such a white shirt in the shot.

BTW, are you behind the camera here or in front of it?

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All the grades seem contrasty to me. In terms of colors, I prefer the last one, but it has way too much contrast for my linking. I would have tweaked the colors in the original footage without messing too much with contrast. I also agree with liork, the blue shadow on the shirt is pretty distracting, but it's tough to have such a white shirt in the shot.

BTW, are you behind the camera here or in front of it?

I'm the one mumbling behind the camera. And yes, it's a touch too contrasty and I pushed the greens a little too much. I was so worried about skin tone, I didn't even pay attention to the white shirt... Duh. Do you think I can do another layer with a mask to bring down the white shirt, or is it too burnt?

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Hey Mercer,

First and most important question: what kind of look are you going for?

Second, how are you controlling the contrast of your image? If it's with the actual contrast control, you might consider using levels instead. Drag the darks down and the lights up until they're touching (or close to touching) the top and bottom of the vectorscope.

Third, what color edits are you making, if any? 

Fourth, what in-camera settings did you settle on?

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Hey Mercer,

First and most important question: what kind of look are you going for?

Second, how are you controlling the contrast of your image? If it's with the actual contrast control, you might consider using levels instead. Drag the darks down and the lights up until they're touching (or close to touching) the top and bottom of the vectorscope.

Third, what color edits are you making, if any? 

Fourth, what in-camera settings did you settle on?

At this point, I am not really going for any specific look. All of my tests with this camera have been a learning experiment. As I have said before, prior to this camera, I was using an eos-m set with prolost neutral. The majority of the time, there was little grading needed to make it look a little cinematic. With the NX500, it's an entirely different beast. In this test, I had a custom profile with Saturation at -5 Sharpness at -10 and Contrast at -5. In Color Finale, I used a waveform to bring the highs and lows right to the line, leaving a little head room for the highs. I am pushing the mids a little though. I then brought the saturation up a couple ticks. With the vector tool, I played with the reds and yellow for skin tone and then tweaked the greens to counterbalance the yellow.

I am a newbie too, but I can tell the beginning part of the whole shooting is kind of grey and the color is not natural.

For that test, I was trying to have a really flat starting point. The saturation levels in this camera are strange... At 0 saturation, I find everything is very plastic looking and over saturated. At -2 saturation, it's a little better, but not much. At -3 blues and reds are still vibrant but yellow is flat and green is in the middle. So, at the time, I was messing with -5 saturation because that was the notch where everything was flattened. This footage was from a couple months ago, and the only footage I had to mess with skin tones. 

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First, I would leave the saturation at 0. If you find it over-saturated you can always turn it down in post, but turning it down in the camera and then pushing them back up in post doesn't seem like a good idea. Next, sharpness -10 and contrast -5 work well, but based on my experience, with both NX1 and NX500 you really need to protect the highs more so than the lows. If you have critical highs, consider using 16-235 instead of 0-255, though in the footage you posted I only see the shirt, which isn't critical, so lowering the exposure should have sufficed. Finally, try working with gamma in post rather than offset or gain, and within specific regions (lows/mids/highs).

But as TheRenaissanceMan said, it really depends on what you want to communicate. Below is a test I did with your video, with three variations:

  1. First part is just with color correction, it will give a good starting point and is more a technical stage. A standard way to correct for skin is to mask just the skin area and then adjust till you get the line on vector scope to align with the skin line. That is what I did here, with increase in overall saturation.
  2. Next, I reduced the saturation just for the greens (secondary color correction) to highlight the person, might be useful if you want to bring focus to the person rather than the background. Just to give an idea of the creative step that typically comes after color correction.
  3. Finally, I warmed up the footage to give an overall look. This usually applies for the entire video (i.e., the final cut with all the clips).

https://vimeo.com/138867742

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First, I would leave the saturation at 0. If you find it over-saturated you can always turn it down in post, but turning it down in the camera and then pushing them back up in post doesn't seem like a good idea. Next, sharpness -10 and contrast -5 work well, but based on my experience, with both NX1 and NX500 you really need to protect the highs more so than the lows. If you have critical highs, consider using 16-235 instead of 0-255, though in the footage you posted I only see the shirt, which isn't critical, so lowering the exposure should have sufficed. Finally, try working with gamma in post rather than offset or gain, and within specific regions (lows/mids/highs).

But as TheRenaissanceMan said, it really depends on what you want to communicate. Below is a test I did with your video, with three variations:

  1. First part is just with color correction, it will give a good starting point and is more a technical stage. A standard way to correct for skin is to mask just the skin area and then adjust till you get the line on vector scope to align with the skin line. That is what I did here, with increase in overall saturation.
  2. Next, I reduced the saturation just for the greens (secondary color correction) to highlight the person, might be useful if you want to bring focus to the person rather than the background. Just to give an idea of the creative step that typically comes after color correction.
  3. Finally, I warmed up the footage to give an overall look. This usually applies for the entire video (i.e., the final cut with all the clips).

https://vimeo.com/138867742

Sekhar, I appreciate your help, I really do, I need any help I can get, but my early tests were at 0 saturation and you said the colors looked strange?

With this camera at 0 saturation, nothing looks true to life. It's not that every color is over saturated, the blues and reds are bad, yellow and orange are okay, green is in the middle. That's what doesn't make sense to me.

Also, when I desaturate in camera, why wouldn't they evenly desaturate? One click down and yellow and orange dissipate substantially and blue and red is still really vibrant with a sheen. Go down to -2 and yellow and orange is flat, but blue and red are still vibrant. At -3 it starts to level out, but not until -4, -5 does it really start to look more uniform, as far as flat vs sheen. I figured it was better to have everything flat than a hodgepodge of some flat colors and some shiny colors.

Do you tweak the hue levels?

Also I don't have the option of changing the color space of the 0-255 in my NX500, do you?

With that being said, your corrections look good and I will try that workflow. 

Thanks.  

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I'm talking of saturation, not the hues. If I remember right, the early test you did had odd colors with one or two lenses, and I thought it was more an issue with lenses. In any case, I'd put fixing color casts and hues in a different category from saturation level. If you have a lens that's consistently giving a bad cast, you might want to try a custom hue setting just for that lens or create a look or LUT in your color correction tool to apply each time in post.

Also, it looks like you're relying a lot on the LCD display for effect of different settings. It's only approximate, so if you want experiment, I suggest you actually capture with different settings and check. May be that's what you're doing, but wanted to confirm that. I'm saying that because I'm not seeing any of the artifacts you're describing with my NX500. BTW, you're right, I guess I was thinking of NX1 when I said 16-235.

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Sekhar, I think you may be right and it is the lenses. I don't think my Canon FD lenses play well with this camera. In fact, I thought the above shots were with the Minolta lens, but I went back and looked at my notes, and I think I used an FD lens. I was just looking at more footage I shot a couple weeks ago, and I think it looks pretty good. So maybe the entire issue is lens related... which is weird because I never had such a problem with Canon cameras regarding lenses affecting the color palette so drastically.

Here are some shots using the Zeiss Jena 50mm f/2.8 lens. Sorry about the shakiness, just grabbed some quick handheld shots to test the lens.The first few shots I dialed down the saturation all the way to mess around with in camera black and white. The last few shots the saturation is at -2, sharpness at -10 and contrast at -5. I did tweak the highs, mids and lows in color finale using the waveform as my guideline and just bringing the highs and lows to the upper and lower lines, or just below. Also, I imported 4K prores version into Final Cut, instead of downsizing it to 1080p when I converted it to prores. It was delivered as 1080p to Vimeo.

 

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Definitely test 0 saturation, and test a couple different color profiles. There may be one close to your preferred look.

You might also consider pushing your reds a little toward orange and the greens a little toward blue. This mimics the way Canon shifts their colors for more pleasing (if not accurate) skin tones.

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Definitely test 0 saturation, and test a couple different color profiles. There may be one close to your preferred look.

You might also consider pushing your reds a little toward orange and the greens a little toward blue. This mimics the way Canon shifts their colors for more pleasing (if not accurate) skin tones.

Not a fan of 0 saturation in this camera. Even in a custom profile, it has a plastic look. But yeah, I have to run some more tests... I'm gonna go back and try the settings another poster used with his music video mix of nx1 and nx500. His results looked pretty good.

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Not a fan of 0 saturation in this camera. Even in a custom profile, it has a plastic look. But yeah, I have to run some more tests... I'm gonna go back and try the settings another poster used with his music video mix of nx1 and nx500. His results looked pretty good.

I remember that video! Beautiful work.

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