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Detail Settings

Published : 7th October 2003


Hi all!

Has anyone used the detail settings (on either camera) specifically when shooting scenes "from the past" where an actor needs to look younger? Is there any reason not to use it in lieu of or in addition to regular diffusion?

Roderick Stevens
Az. D.P. (about to go to Taos, NM)
www.cinema-vista.com



You can't really get the edge enhancement any softer than simply turning Detail "off" for the close-ups - if that's not enough softening, then traditional optical methods should be used (like diffusion filters) although there are also post tricks (like de-focusing or digital diffusion) that can be used.

The camera does not have a Detail setting that goes beyond being off (-99 is still some detail, although nearly off) where it starts to soften the image, a sort of anti-detail. Skin Detail is merely a way of reducing Detail levels in skin tones only when using more Detail overall, so it's useless when you've got Detail off anyway - it can't go any lower than "off"! If you want a diffused, period look, you should plan on using filters.

David Mullen
Cinematographer / L.A.



>Has anyone used the detail settings (on either camera) specifically >when shooting scenes "from the past" where an actor needs to look >younger?

I've normally keep the detail turned off and used diffusion (either Classic Softs or Black F/X) for close ups.

To make an actor look a little younger, a slightly stronger grade of diffusion, slightly softer lighting and slightly different make up (different dept.) are helpful. Slight overexposure may help too, but not to the point where you're starting too much lose detail.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
http://www.cinematography.net



>Has anyone used the detail settings...Is there any reason not to use it in >lieu of or in addition to regular diffusion?

My experience in SDTV has been that adding diffusion on top of excessive detail settings results in a nice soft halo *around* the artificial edge added by the detail setting. Enough high-frequency detail makes it through the diffusion to trigger the edging, which appears even more unnatural than usual since it has that soft halo around it.

However, backing the detail off (or disabling it) and then adding diffusion can work very well.

Cheers,
Adam Wilt
Menlo Park CA USA



Adam Wilt wrote :

>My experience in SDTV has been that adding diffusion on top of >excessive detail settings results in a nice soft halo *around* the artificial >edge added by the detail setting...

Our experience backs this up as well. This is one reason that we commonly add diffusion effects in post as opposed to on-the-lens. I imagine that might be a controversial suggestion to this crowd, but it works really well for us. You actually diffuse over compression artefacts and other funkiness, creating, in effect, a higher-fidelity image than you started with.

When I was at ILM, I remember the difficulty we VFX folk had in convincing Lucas and Tattersall to shoot PHANTOM MENACE without diffusion in favor of a "virtual ProMist" in post. This was, of course, necessary for all the VFX work, but it also paved the way for a pipeline that would be very HD-friendly, and pre-saged the notion that the digital video you shoot is just the beginning of a process of creating the final look of a film.

Stu Maschwitz
http://www.theorphanage.com