“Filmlook” or TV standard?

I’ve been asking for peoples opinions about what needs to be included in the next camera evaluations but the answers are highly contradictory.

It comes back to the old which do you prefer, the look of film or the look of TV. The majority of people will say film.  Or at least digital images which emulate the look of film.

They then insist that camera evaluations are done using TV charts and to TV levels.

Given that the original rushes will be made available and also 16 bit EXR files the only people looking at the processed results are either those who can’t use the original files for some reason or other and those who can’t be arsed.

The second group can… The first group don’t need to look at something designed to make the cameras look like TV cameras. They need to know that a workflow to get the best film look has been followed. Let’s not get into the pointless argument of what the film or TV looks are, we all know what we mean by those terms.

We then get to the question of where do we put the levels, there are all kinds of answers varying from 30% to 50% but lets make this clear, I’m working within ACES so log levels on a waveform don’t apply. Once an IDT has been applied and we are in ACES space we are working with an environment that has an inherent toe and shoulder and straight middle gamma.

So I’ve gone back to basics. All the years I sot commercials on film and scanned the neg into a video or later digital environment I used a simple reference. The Kodak Gray Scale Plus. They tell you where to put the mid grey part of the chart in very simple terms. I’m looking at the back of one now and it clearly says 122, 122, 122 in 8 bit values. In the past I’ve used 128, 128, 128 and I’ve had a lot of grief about it. It turns out I was bloody close to the recommended Kodak level and far closer than any of the corrections I was being given.

I will not use TV limited charts.

I will try and produce evaluations that look more like the best film that you have seen and less like NHK.

2 thoughts on ““Filmlook” or TV standard?

  1. geoff Post author

    Everyone who emails me directly or comments online telling me I’m wrong.

    18 years ago as we transitioned from SD to HD we could pretty much use the techniques that had been used in the past. As we moved from Film to digital for high end work, starting 14 years or so ago, we could still pretty much use the old test gear but the cameras were improving rapidly and were already at that point of transition producing images that the charts wouldn’t, well, chart.
    We went in 18 years from under 1K to 2K to 4K to 8K.
    Displays have improved, we have HD, UHD and HDR to contend with.
    We still use the old charts and measurements.

    Reply

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