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GH2 film modes
  • Seeing as no one else seems to have really discussed film modes on the GH2 here I thought I'd start a thread...

    Personally I use nostalgic for most shooting. Ocassionally I'll use cine mode if there are highlights that I want to preserve. Both with sharpening turned off.

    For dynamic range, nostalgic seems to be the best bet: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/PanasonicDMCGH2/page12.asp though it will blow your highlights easily and does give a slight colour tint.

    Does anyone else have preferences?
  • 127 Replies sorted by
  • My favourite one for quick shots with no after grading i like dynamic. I like nostalgic too for the dr.
    Many like smooth but i really can't hold it, i find it too washed-out
  • @Elenion As you say, I think it depends very much on what you're doing with the footage and whether you want to grade. Some like a desaturated cine mode, but unless you grade it, it looks terrible!

    Nostalgic certainly gives you a lot of headroom for shadows and is generally less risky. Sometimes it is nice to have the footage 'pop' without grading though :)
  • Actually, it's the other way around. Cine mode has the worst highlight roll off of all modes. If you want to preserve highlights in cine mode, you'll have to expose for them and that means throwing away lots of shadow detail as it also has less dynamic range. If you expose for midtones and have a bright light source in your image, it will crush the highlights in an ugly way. Most DR offer smooth and nostalgic, both have also the smoothest highlight roll off as well.
  • @chip Interesting, I might have to do some more tests. I was finding highlights in nostalgic blowing easily and having to underexpose to preserve them, whilst cine mode seemed darker; handling highlights better. Though that might just be me!
  • Personally, I use 'smooth' the most. And a bit of 'nostalgic' (especially in overcast/cloudy conditions due to its tinting, which btw improved compared to GH1) plus maybe some 'standard' for photos.
  • @brudney Smooth is good if you don't want the tint. Personally I quite the aesthetic it gives. Its quite subtle and is certainly more warm if you like a 'Canon' look.
  • I think canon look is more "acid" with more magenta. If you shoot with nostalgic you have to underexpose by 1-2/3 stop. I find the curve of smooth to be very different from the one of nostalgic, more 'flat' without having less contrast or more dr
  • @Elenion Good point on the exposure; I have to remember whether I'm shooting cine or nostalgic; cine mode generally requires overexposing by about 2/3 a stop. Annoying thing is the film mode doesn't affect the exposure meter/histogram. How do you mean 'acid'? Smooth is certainly more flat.
  • Regarding highlights in cinemode, it has about 1/3 stops lower highlight latitude, then upper thirds are bunched together and the mid-tones are somewhat extended, then blacks crushed; one could say it's an s-curve (hence cinema mode).
    Smooth mode on the other hand gives 1/3 of a stop better highlights, with upper third tones being extended, mid-tones are bunched a bit and lower third being somewhat extended.
  • @dkitsov Although offering good midtones, would I be right to conclude that you'd loose shadow/highlight detail due to crushing in cine mode? Apart from scenes with a small DR, that doesn't seem good for giving headroom when grading.

    Not sure about roll off, though I'm sure I remember noticing higlights blowing easier in nostalgic.
  • Well it is a consumer camera cine mode being something that makes it look "filmic".
    I think there is nothing different about nostalgic when compared to smooth other than some push towards warm. Not sure about "nostalgic highlights, I am not using this preset.
  • Nostalgic is brighter than the other modes, that's maybe why it appears to you to blow out highlights faster. You'll have to stop it down or dial down ISO in order to get equal exposure compared to other modes, then it's similar to smooth for dynamic range. Try to shoot a person in a contrasty scene and expose for the face, for each mode. You'll notice smooth and nostalgic having the most gentle highlight roll off, with cine mode having the harshest, most videoish highlight roll off.
  • It's not all about dr. Nostalgic and smooth have more or less the same dr but the curves are really different. Nostalgic hold better (if you remember to underexpose) the highlights and has gentle dark areas. The only problem is the yellowish veil it gives
  • Ok, I have plans to make a very detailed and long review of the GH2 film modes with real examples quite soon but until then, a small summary of my findings that I've been saying all along:

    In the beginning I used cinema all the time cause I was mislead to believe it had the most filmic image and the best highlight roll off and the most highlight detail. I shot a little short narrative film exclusively using cinema and I was constantly underwhelmed by the highlight roll off. Overly saturated highlights that looks like color banding. Ofcourse, I could heal/treat them individually and very effectively because I am quite capable in color correction:), but it takes effort and you end up feeling like a doctor rather than an artist. And not only do highlights suck, but you also sacrifice shitloads of shadow detail (which results in lower noise ofcourse)
    Anyway, I have tested all modes and there's no doubt in my mind that there's a day and night difference between nostalgic/smooth and cinema. My personal favorite is nostalgic. I love the highlight roll-off when it clips to above 100 IRE, it has the best shadow detail which has some more noise which you can either choose to keep (moderate noise), choose to do a shadow pull (lot of noise) or choose to lose ( least noise) like with cinema mode. So, although in it's default it's noisier than cinema as it contains more information, unlike cinema, it's flexible. Try performing a shadow pull with cinema, if you succeed, please let us know:)
    Smooth is great too, more neutral, but I prefer nostalgic for most shots.

    another note: remember that black&white DR charts aren't good for determining DR behavior. Cinema mode would look great on B&W chart:) but not in real life.

    another note: remember you can alleviate nostalgic yellowish bias easily in post but also in camera using the White Balance bias by going a few bars towards blue.

    last note: Standard profile which I tested is vastly underestimated. It is completely fine. It doesn't suffer from Cinema's shortcomings, and is slightly less flat than nostalgic and smooth so I really believe it is the best option for 80% of people and situations. So don't overlook standard.

    if you don't believe me about the profiles , point your gh2 at a street light, shoot in cinema and then smooth/nostalgic/standard and look at highlight:)
  • I believe you, cinema sucks eheh
  • It would be interesting to see what could be done with film modes now that stalin has been released. I believe it wouldn't be entirely impossible to input more detailed film modes into the camera if someone with more experience than I have wanted to try. Maybe a gateway to cutting away rendering time if it could be done.
  • @stefanos

    could you please tell which settings do you prefer for sharpness/contrast/etc?
  • @Nino_Ilacqua
    apart from noise reduction which I always leave at -2, all the others I change depending on the situation and that's how it should be done. I could never understand why people made fuss about finding a superflat setting and using it in every situation. The reasons are simple and I have learned the hard way.

    Contrast: Generally speaking, you should keep it lower, not higher BUT this SHOULD depend on lens, lighting etc.
    I would probably never use +contrast on my 20mm 1.7 for instance as it's very contrasty. If I'm using my pentax 135mm 3.5 or even my nikkor 50mm 1.2 AI-S at wide apertures at certain times of day like soon after sun rise where it can be very flat, I wouldn't use -2 contrast. If the scene is very flat, and you record very flat, you can be in extreme danger of adding lots of noise by increasing the contrast in software. In high contrast lighting and in night scenes I almost always leave it at -2.

    Sharpness: this is a tricky one. Contrary to popular consent, I actually like sharp images and I think that sharpening of a certain degree should be part of the chain 60% of times , but ofcourse, not if that means ugly sharpening artifacts and edge halos so you need to test your limits. Again this will depend on knowing your lenses performance at all apertures, For lowlight stuff, I almost always end up sharpening a bit due to the fact that you usually use wide apertures like 1.4 and high iso which makes your image softer and is need of some sharpening. So I might use 0 or even +1. I would not use +1 though if I am shooting my 20mm or 50mm nikkor at f4 as that's their peak sharpness and if you add extra sharpening it's gonna get toooo fucking sharp! so -2 or -1 would be suitable. On close ups and faces don't use too much sharpening unless you want to make their skin to look worse:)
    My general receipe is adding in camera about 50% of the sharpening I want for the final result and then use an unsharp mask for the remaining 50%. This gives me more control as unsharp mask has several parameters and u could argue that it's slightly "smarter" than in camera, but for video, I like this in camera+ post combination. Generally though I use sharpening in camera at -1,0 and +1 depending on the aforementioned variables. I find -2 and +2 too extreme.

    Saturation: this is quite tricky too and the same variables as for contrast apply, meaning that it depends on the saturation of your scene, your lenses and lighting. Ok, even if it is low saturation subject, I wouldn't use +2 but I do use +1 quite often depending on the scene and the saturation of the subject's colors. If you don't have a vivid scene and you use -2 saturation, again you are in big fucking danger since software can easily introduce banding and noise when you boost saturation too much. Then lens character plays role too so KNOW your lens. For instance, 20mm 1.7 is much cooler than samyang 35mm 1.4. 90% of times though I use -1 or 0. +1 quite rarely and I use -2 only for very harsh and bad quality light such as those yellowish street lights at night where you are guaranteed to clip the yellow+red channel.

    Noise Reduction: always -2 for me. common sense

    DISCLAIMER: all my recommendations are based on the assumption that you will almost always post process your footage! I am kind of a semipro colorist and I use Color Finesse 3 which is the best and most accurate CC software I've used and I know my tools' limitations.

    probably not the easy -2,-2,-2,-2 answer you were looking for:)

    P.S. if IPowell is lingering this thread, I vaguely remember a comment of yours at dvxuser where u said something about sharpening and the way the DEBAYER sensor works in video mode's 8 bit codec and how it's probably better to do sharpnening in camera or sth to that effect, so please refresh my memory if you see this:)
  • stefanos, about noise reduction... I personally always leave it 0 as I didn't notice it doing anything really. Whatever settings I use, the amount and look of noise seems pretty much the same. So I thought it'd be best to leave it at the default setting.
    As for other settings, I more or less agree, depending on situation I use everything from -2 to +1.
  • @stefanos

    thank you for your answer. Yes, I hoped that some test showed the best "easy" settings, but I pretty much suspected it depends on lenses. I usually use sharpness +1 with the voigtlander 25/0,95, for example. But when you are in a hurry it would be handy to have less different settings as possible....
  • Smooth has given me good highlights roll-off so far.
  • Any chance of a future Ptools giving us more control over film modes?
  • Yhhhhh, LOG curves and nothing more!!!!!
    @Vitaliy, is it possible?
  • @DrDrave/Aleksander_Oleynik
    I have been asking similar questions in the 43 rumours interview.
    The plan is after encoder, to move to HDMI and Film modes to see what can be done. And he'll try and go deeper than just adding more increments. But a logarithmic output I think will be very very difficult. The 5d was an exception since canon HQ worked in direct relationship with technicolor providing insight for the particular chipset.
  • I prefer:
    Nostalgic all -2 or Smooth 0,0,-1,0