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    Cleanest Footage Possible

    Just got my 5D today (initial thoughts here). Tell me if I'm wrong, the way to get the absolutely best 5D footage is to have the lowest possible ISO (in video mode I'm talking), proper exposure (obviously) and a great lens (important no matter what) right? I'm not talking about getting all "well that's relative because of blah blah" I'm just asking a question regarding the codec and how the footage will likely end up.

    I've seen some very nice and clean 5D footage, and I'm assuming they had a low ISO and a sharp lens, proper exposure, etc. right? The ISO is the part I want to make sure I'm right on because I'm new to that end of things. The lower the ISO the greater detail because there's no pushing of the information...correct?

    Seems to me that it works just like any other camera. Garbage in / Garbage out. The codec for me is the greatest setback of the camera so I'm just wondering what I should be looking out for in that arena to get the best footage I can. Seems like reds have the same issue a lot of codecs and cameras have with stair-stepping around the edges, but other than that what should I look out for that isn't moire/aliasing related?

    Any info I've missed or that I'm misinformed on would be great to hear
    http://www.prohaskastudios.com

    #2
    I have been shooting with the 5D for over a year now and I have found that 200-640 ISO is really clean. My suggestion is to do some tests based on the environment you are shooting for you project.
    One thing to note is that the native ISO for all canon DSLR's is 200 ISO. So when you go to 100 and 50 the camera is actually doing some math to reduce the sensitivity. It can have the same adverse effects as pushing to 400 and 800.
    Again, do tests.

    -Kevin J Burroughs
    www.kevinjburroughs.com

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      #3
      Your picture style is critical,too. - http://vimeo.com/7256322 that video is about the 7d, but the information is equally valid.

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        #4
        This is oversimplifying things greatly but if you nail exposure then your picture will look awesome 99% of the time. The "trick" with the 5D, though (as I mentioned on your other post), is that it tends to underexpose by 2/3 to a full stop. That is, if you set your ISO, shutter speed and aperture so the internal light meter says it's perfect (right in the middle), you'll probably have an underexposed photo/video. Obviously, when you correct your footage, you'll introduce unwanted noise and it won't be clean whether it's a photo or video. Nail exposure and you'll have a really clean image under most circumstances.

        I would HIGHLY recommend purchasing this course from CreativeLive: http://creativelive.com/courses/zack_arias/. Zack is an unbelievable photographer and, while this is course is all studio-based, you'll learn a ton about getting the right exposure, light, light sensitivity, contrast ratios, settings, not to mention how to use the 5D (which he uses almost exclusively in this training), etc.

        To answer your question, ISO is similar to gain. Raising your ISO will increase the camera's "film" sensitivity to light (eg. changing from ISO 100 to ISO 200 increases light sensitivity by one full stop; 200 to 400 is another stop; 400 to 500 is 1/3 stop; etc). So, yes, generally speaking you want to shoot with a lower ISO in the same way that you want to avoid shooting with gain when possible.
        Last edited by Dave ; 10-15-2010, 08:11 PM. Reason: edited overexposed to underexposed

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          #5
          Originally posted by KBCinema View Post
          One thing to note is that the native ISO for all canon DSLR's is 200 ISO.
          Not sure that's true. I'm fairly sure that native ISO on the 5D is 100.

          Originally posted by KBCinema View Post
          So when you go to 100 and 50 the camera is actually doing some math to reduce the sensitivity. It can have the same adverse effects as pushing to 400 and 800.
          True, when you go from 100 to 50, but this is debated HEAVILY, which means it's probably not worth arguing about. Depending on who you listen to, you should always shoot 100, 200, 400, 800, etc. The first time I heard someone say you should always shoot 160, 320, 640, etc was during the Zacuto shootout. And, of course, there are lots of people saying that now (probably because Zacuto said so). Bottom line is that most people will agree that the difference is negligible.

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            #6
            No, the native ISO's are variations on 160. There is more noise in 100 ASA than 160 for instnce. Thus, the following are what you should be shooting in: 160, 320, 640, 1250, etc.

            In terms of a clean base, it is best to go to the Neutral picture style and turn the sharpening and contrast almost all the way down. You could also drop the saturation a bit too. The canned in settings by Canon are meant to flatter, but crush the blacks and make everything candycoated. The point is to have the most possible informations to work with in post.

            In terms of the lenses, almost all lenses will do the job fine, because a video frame is so much lower resolution. This means the el cheapo's will produce image as sharp the super expensive ones. There is even an argument that a lens which is too sharp will encourage the kind of aliasing with fine detail like lace for instance which is an inherent problem to these cameras. The one caveat to this is that the micro contrast on some lenses due to better coatings like the new Zeiss's is helpful, because more local contrast will encourage better definition and seperation of subjects from their fields.

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              #7
              Originally posted by yoclay View Post
              No, the native ISO's are variations on 160. There is more noise in 100 ASA than 160 for instnce. Thus, the following are what you should be shooting in: 160, 320, 640, 1250, etc.

              In terms of a clean base, it is best to go to the Neutral picture style and turn the sharpening and contrast almost all the way down. You could also drop the saturation a bit too. The canned in settings by Canon are meant to flatter, but crush the blacks and make everything candycoated. The point is to have the most possible informations to work with in post.

              In terms of the lenses, almost all lenses will do the job fine, because a video frame is so much lower resolution. This means the el cheapo's will produce image as sharp the super expensive ones. There is even an argument that a lens which is too sharp will encourage the kind of aliasing with fine detail like lace for instance which is an inherent problem to these cameras.
              I thought the "true ISO" numbers were common knowledge by now, but yeah, stick with multiples of 160 up to 1250 and generally speaking - 1600 is about as high as you want to go before noise gets ugly.

              It's generally preferred to use Neutral picture style with contrast and sharpness turned all the way down, but I've found that in cases where I myself am not grading footage, or nobody will be grading footage, you want to nail the look you want in-camera as much as possible. Use a very calibrated monitor or refer to the very accurate camera LCD when making adjustments.

              Make sure you use at least UDMA 133x CF cards because my research indicates that (and this might be wrong) the camera will compress more if it has trouble writing to too slow of a card after the camera buffer fills up. I only use 300x cards and have never seen the buffer come close to filling up.

              There's also a certain amount of 5DMKII voodoo that I'd rather consider than not:

              Set light meter to spot, always.

              Don't leave battery in camera when not in use.

              Use sRGB (it probably defaults to this setting for footage but I leave it there regardless).

              Disable any additional in-camera image processing.


              Pay attention to the greyed boxed text in the manual. There's some very useful information there regarding image quality, etc.

              Watch the Zacuto Camera Shootout for good info on camera and settings.

              As for lenses, I will say the Zeiss primes everyone is buggy about look too sharp to me. I talked a DP friend of mine out of a new Zeiss prime lens (made in Japan by the way) and he got a Nikkor instead at 1/2 the price and he's super happy with it. Shane Hurlbut is now saying the Leica lenses are the best possible choices for this camera and he claims extended dynamic range with them.
              Last edited by Chris Santucci; 10-16-2010, 12:37 PM.
              Indie Film Technique
              Apex Visuals

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                #8
                NATIVE ISO (200), prime lenses, sharpness and contrast at 1 notch below middle (least processing by the camera, NLE does a WAY better job than in-cam processing and NR). The Nikkor primes are generally sharper than Canons' equivalents, also some FD primes but on a FF sensor with an EOS/FD adapter there is bad vignetting if not a need for cropping.

                i shoot EOS T2i's with Nikkors, EF and EF-S lenses, and FD lenses.
                Nikon D3s and D300, Canon 7D and (2x) T2i shooter, with Nikkor 12-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 VR-II, 18-200 VR and 70-300 VR for stills, 24 f2.8D, 35mm f2 D, 50mm f1.4 D, 60mm f2.8 D, 85mm f1.8 D, 105mm f2 DC for Stills/Video.

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                  #9
                  We found that when you go down from the native ISO of 200 ISO, it is like pulling the negative. Then, when you go to 250 ISO it is like you are pushing the negative and it adds video noise. 400 ISO is another native ISO and with it you will get more detail in the highlights, but if you want a cleaner image you would go to 320 ISO, again like pulling the film. 800 ISO would be the next Native ISO, giving you more detail in the highlights, but if you want less noise then I would recommend 640 ISO. This goes all the way up to 1600 ISO and after that the image completely falls apart.
                  Shane Hurlbut, ASC. Hurlbut Visuals


                  The voodoo continues...
                  Indie Film Technique
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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Chris Santucci View Post
                    We found that when you go down from the native ISO of 200 ISO, it is like pulling the negative. Then, when you go to 250 ISO it is like you are pushing the negative and it adds video noise. 400 ISO is another native ISO and with it you will get more detail in the highlights, but if you want a cleaner image you would go to 320 ISO, again like pulling the film. 800 ISO would be the next Native ISO, giving you more detail in the highlights, but if you want less noise then I would recommend 640 ISO. This goes all the way up to 1600 ISO and after that the image completely falls apart.
                    Shane Hurlbut, ASC. Hurlbut Visuals


                    The voodoo continues...
                    Shane Hurlbut, what goes through that guys head is beyond me... He spurt out information like he's a fountain, but none of it makes sense.

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                      #11
                      For the record, "pulling the negative" results in more highlight detail while "pushing the negative" results in more shadow detail. He's referring to film processing as it relates to extending or reducing dynamic range. It appears with the 5DMKII that their are "native ISO" settings, and then something called "true ISO" settings, with the "native ISO" settings affording more range, while the in-between "true ISO" settings affording less noise.

                      I'd be interested to see how much more range could be had at these "native ISO" settings and how much more noise there is.
                      Indie Film Technique
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                        #12
                        Like I said, it's debated HEAVILY. There are heavyweights on both sides of this argument. You'll get just as many arguments about whether or not a camera has just one native ISO or if there are multiple native ISOs.

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                          #13
                          most of my ISO 200 reasoning is noise-related. non-native ISO's tend to appear noisier. thats my experience with my D300 and other DSLRs native to ISO 200. film is a totally different story; and grain isnt always a bad thing. of all the DSLR's ive used i actually like the D300's noise/grain at ISO 800 the best for edgyness.

                          For video its a different animal; i shoot at minimal gain/ISO based on lighting/subject as i possibly can.
                          Nikon D3s and D300, Canon 7D and (2x) T2i shooter, with Nikkor 12-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 VR-II, 18-200 VR and 70-300 VR for stills, 24 f2.8D, 35mm f2 D, 50mm f1.4 D, 60mm f2.8 D, 85mm f1.8 D, 105mm f2 DC for Stills/Video.

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                            #14
                            My experiences:

                            - shoot at the lowest ISO you can, but do not be afraid to dial ISO up to 3200 if needed. I have shot ISO 2000 with slight movement and nobody has noticed anything. This camera gives new opportunities for high quality cinema in low light.
                            - do not trust the LCD or external monitor for exposure, use histogram and aim high.
                            - take the trouble of setting WB manually, never use AWB if you can avoid it.
                            - lens quality is less important than getting the focus right...

                            example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgQ3GMJ6eMY

                            Second scene was shot at someting like ISO 2000 or even 2500, only one 650W fresnel from back left. 300mm f4 at full open. Kessler Pocket Dolly used for moving shots.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by coddida View Post
                              Like I said, it's debated HEAVILY. There are heavyweights on both sides of this argument. You'll get just as many arguments about whether or not a camera has just one native ISO or if there are multiple native ISOs.

                              I'm not aware of these debates. Hurlbut spends more time with the 5D than probably anyone on the planet (it seems), so I'd tend to use his advice whenever I can afford to. Gary Adcock and Bloom seem to know what they're talking about also, and I get phenomenal results using the suggested "true ISO" settings put forth in the Zacuto camera shootout videos. There's really probably no radical differences between say 160 and 100, even though it was claimed in the Zacuto camera shootout (for example) that the next lower ISO settings (than the 160, 320, 640, 1250 ISO's) are noisier.

                              As far as I can remember, Gale Tattersall used these "true ISO" settings while shooting the House episode also.

                              I'd rather take the advice of pros using the 5D who are getting great results because it saves me time having to do tests on my own and I'm OK with great results.

                              As for "native" ISO of the 5D MKII, Tim Smith from Canon says at the 63:52 mark that they are in fact the cleaner 160, 320, 640, 1250 ISO's:

                              http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/control...ticleTypeID=45
                              Last edited by Chris Santucci; 10-18-2010, 06:09 AM.
                              Indie Film Technique
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