Colour correction on the Canon XH-A1?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Jacques E. Bouchard, May 15, 2008.

  1. Has anyone felt the need to perform colour correction (as described in the
    user's manual) on their XH-A1 (or similar HD camera)?

    I took mine out to shoot in the park all day Tuesday, and while the footage
    was amazing at 20f, the colours were not as vibrant as I thought they could
    be. Is that a function of 20f, and in any case is it better to colour-
    correct in post rather than mess with the camera's settings?

    BTW, glad I decided to take the HD plunge early. The camera is well-worth
    the money I paid for it.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, May 15, 2008
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  2. Jacques E. Bouchard

    Smarty Guest


    My experience coming from the Sony 3CCD HDV camera and then switching to
    Canon HDV was that the Canon was definitely "less vibrant". It is my
    impression that this is a deliberate artistic choice made by Canon
    designers, and some people prefer it and others don't. When I compare
    footage from my 3 earlier Sony HDV camcorders, all of them were designed to
    have, by default, warmer colors and greater color saturation.

    I would start by first trying to compensate in post, since it is easier to
    make subtle changes here than in footage which has already been
    overcompensated or miscompensated in the camera during capture. If you are
    not pleased with the results in the default Canon settings, try first doing
    some post processing to see if the change in color balance / saturation
    suits you. Your success and ease of adjustment will depend on your NLE
    software and how well it can be adjusted to create the effects you are
    looking for.

    Then try it the other way, with the camera doing the compensation, to see if
    you are getting the result you are looking for. Neither method is
    necessarily "better", and you need to do your own artistic judgment here
    IMHO. Remember that this solution you chose may work very well outdoors but
    may not be the best choice in other lighting situations.

    You have a very competent HDV camera which takes great video so I'm certain
    you will ultimately find that one or perhaps both methods work well for you.

    Smarty, May 15, 2008
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  3. Just a couple of comments... Various cameras may have "standard"
    settings (the standard Canon HV20 color is rather saturated and a bit
    red...), which can be modified in the camera controls to optimize
    output under various conditions. It is preferable to do this and to do
    as little modifying of HDV footage while editing as possible, since
    modifying footage during editing forces the recompression of all of the
    changed HDV footage (although some programs, like the Premieres,
    unfortunately do this with **all** HDV footage anyway, changed or
    not). This damages image quality and slows the rendering process, not
    very desirable things...
    David Ruether, May 15, 2008
  4. Actually, in-camera adjustment is slightly preferreable for DV25/HDV/AVCHD
    (highly compressed formats), _if_ you know what look you want. Every
    correction in post, can introduce some noise and other problems. For small
    corrections, the results are barely noticeable, but if you want to push it
    further, it gets risky, and then it's beter to use filters or built-in
    colour-matrix corrections.


    Martin Heffels, May 15, 2008
  5. That's a very good point, thanks everyone. I'll do some more tests,
    especially on flesh tones, before I make any colour correction changes.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, May 15, 2008
  6. Fleshtones: try the Tiffen 812 :)

    Martin Heffels, May 15, 2008
  7. I'd go the filter route only if colour correction didn't work in most
    situations. I still have to do tests indoor. Also, I believe you can turn
    colour correction settings on and off as needed.

    So far, I've only noticed the need for correction in green vegetation,
    which seems a tiny bit too washed out. It's a contrast from my Canon
    still camera, which makes greens look like you can smell the freshly-
    clipped grass.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, May 15, 2008
  8. You can try the digital version though in the Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter
    Suite. I think the 812 is available in there.


    Martin Heffels, May 15, 2008
  9. Jacques E. Bouchard

    Smarty Guest

    In -camera adjustment or the use of filters is certainly preferable for
    exactly the reasons Martin states. I've personally have found it difficult
    to achieve accurate camera settings under the conditions which jaybee stated
    in the original post "I took mine out to shoot in the park all day Tuesday,
    and while the footage was amazing at 20f, the colours were not as vibrant as
    I thought they could be.".

    I normally let the camera do the work in --calibrated-- settings like a
    studio where I have control over lighting, and let post do the work in
    more --random-- environments such as a park with jaybee's "all day" filming
    with the resulting variable lighting. But as Martin says, no doubt the
    additional post processing adds some degradation. One of the strategies
    which arises out of using post is to learn how the specific camera behaves
    in a variety of lighting situations, thus permitting the choice of several
    presets which properly compensate the camera in future use. The camera which
    jaybee uses is exquisitely suited for doing this with its multiple presets
    and all sorts of individual color, R, G, B gains, matrix choices, and
    gammas, unlike the HV20's and others of the more amateur class.


    Smarty, May 16, 2008
  10. Jacques E. Bouchard

    Spex Guest

    I just swung by this place to see how you all were. :)

    Okay, something dear to my heart, XH-A1 custom settings. I use a
    modified version of this (
    scroll to the bottom for the settings). I use Cinegamma 2, Knee H and
    BLK Stretch. Since the chap who made this preset had gone to the
    expense of using a DSC chart I gave it a go. Love it. Canon should
    have shipped the camera setup like this as the default really doesn't do
    the camera any favours at all, apart from making everyone into preset
    wizards of course.

    Oh, and take particular notice of the -9 Sharpness setting. I have been
    shooting with -9 sharpness for a while as I found it was making a
    drastic improvement to the encoding efficiency. The article above
    confirms my own tests but graphically shows why on the scope traces.

    I grade everything I shoot in Apple Color and have noticed the image can
    be pushed further without it breaking up with the artefacts becoming
    obvious, it's still 4:2:0 and heavily compressed but there is a tangible
    difference. Well worth doing whatever preset you use.

    Hope this has helped...
    Spex, May 21, 2008
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