Scopes for Film and Cinema

Community Beginner ,
Dec 10, 2020

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This post is for cinema and non-broadcast editors. I would love to learn more about how you use the  scopes for maximizing color quality. Here are some questions, but please share whatever you like:

 

1.) Do you follow broadcast standards, even though they are inaplicable? For example, very saturated colors that go beyond the vectorscope safety lines. Would you leave it alone if it looked appropraite for the scene? Or maybe the oversaturation is  unoticeable and not worth adjusting

 

2.) For the luma waveform, do you let your highlights touch or go beyond 100 IRE? Do you let your shadows go below 0? I've heard this can result in nasty compression artifacts for online streaming, but it may be different for film. 

 

3.) Do you have any tips or tricks regarding the scopes?

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1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Dec 10, 2020
R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional , Dec 10, 2020
Broadcast standards are still the standard. While uploading for the web, you won't get your project necessarily rejected by the dreaded QC (quality control) machine, it still will not look correct on most systems unless you produce to those specs.   Why? Because you want to match what professionally produced material looks like, right? That is all produced to the specs. And even though color management across devices is more of a dream than reality, the reality is this: if you produce to broadca...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 10, 2020

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Broadcast standards are still the standard. While uploading for the web, you won't get your project necessarily rejected by the dreaded QC (quality control) machine, it still will not look correct on most systems unless you produce to those specs.

 

Why? Because you want to match what professionally produced material looks like, right? That is all produced to the specs. And even though color management across devices is more of a dream than reality, the reality is this: if you produce to broadcast specs, your material, viewed on any system/screen out there, will look relatively like all other pro produced media.

 

And if you don't, yours ... will not, relatively speaking on all those screens, look like professionally produced material.

 

Rec.709 is THE standard for nearly all video media. Above 100 nits/IRE, the image will clip ... a hard line of cut-off of tonality. By 0, it's black. I know of no system that really shows anything other than a solid tone for values at or below 0.

 

So yes, one should carefully abide by the 0-100 scales for Rec.709 media. And this is again applied on virtually all screens out there.

 

Vectorscope YUV ... your neutrals, the white/gray/black things ... should be centered in the scope. You can easily check by quickly putting a mask on a neutral area and seeing what the scopes show.

 

It also shows how much or little saturation you've got, and what hues are saturated ... where your skin tones lie, that sort of thing. And of course tells you where you've gone too far.

 

Waveform YC (no chroma)  is my favorite for general tonal view, to see where and how brightness is distributed through the image.

 

Parade (RGB) is of course the standard for seeing how color is distrbuted actross the image from darks to lights. Very useful in setting white & black points and matching color/tonality between images.

 

Always remember the Mark I Eyeball is an amazing relative instrument. For seeing one thing against another in general terms. However, as an absolute instrument, it sucks big time. Use both the eyeball & the scopes. But if one is lying to you, well ... it's in your head.

 

And get that monitor calibrated/profiled with a puck/software system like the i1 Display Pro to D65, Rec.709, gamma 2.4, and 100 nits brightness.

 

Unless you are truly producing HDR content, which ... there's very little current actual sensible use of the same. It's coming of course, but realistically, it takes gear & training to do.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2020

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Thanks for the feedback Neil. Was really needing info like this 

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Advocate ,
Dec 10, 2020

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I think the hobby stuff Neil is talking about, with Adobe stuck in rec709 space, is your best solution. That solution is basically, " It's all a mess and rec709 is close enough " ( the world according to Neil ).

I'm 70. Retired film crew person. Movies. Not rec 709. Does projection give you more color range and tonal range ?  YES.

About 50 years ago, in NYC where I grew up, I went to a post production place cause I was interested in getting into movie biz. I sat in a chair like a movie theatre and saw a TV Commercial ( Coke ) they were reviewing ( shot with film not digital ). It looked really beautiful and the sound system was impressive.

It was not rec 709. It was projected.

You and me can't afford that sort of thing... it's like REALLY a lot of money to have that sorta stuff.

 

Years later I keyed a monster movie in WS. and we watched the week's dailies at a rented movie theatre in the little town. Private viewing. Projected FILM.  NOT rec 709. You and me can't afford to rent a movie theatre, projectionist, etc... to do that sort of thing.

So, you best bet is to listen to the genius, Neil, and just give up and use rec 709 with ( OMG ) calibrated monitors ( whatever that ends up being ... probably a laptop screen ).

My hobby edit computer is ALL rec 709, cause I'll never make a movie for projection. I don't care about that for my work which is not professional nor going to broadcast or projection. But I use resolve and it gives me more options for color spaces and all that junk ( source, timeline, export, etc. ). Adobe can't do that. But who cares ??? I don't. I just use rec 709.

 

Once you calibrate your monitors it's into nuance ( 0-255 or limited ? ) Scopes set for IRE or Nits ? Who cares... with Adobe you have no control anyway so what looks nice might export OK.

 

You are asking about high end stuff that the program can't deliver anyway, so who cares ?

Just follow Neil.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 11, 2020

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" ... with Adobe stuck in Rec.709 space ... "

 

It's not that Adobe is stuck anywhere, it's rather an odd statement. The gear ... meaning the cameras and the computers/screens/TVs ... is all still primarily designed around Rec.709 for video. There isn't anything else whatever for video color/tonal standards except for the theatrical gear in the two different standards of P3 or the very new HDR material.

 

Web and broadcast are simply not suited for the two pro P3 standards, as they assume a very dark room for the viewer. That leaves Rec.709 for SDR, and the competing strains of HDR for the little that's actually done in full HDR. Which to produce correctly is still incredibly expensive. Frustratingly so, as yes, I'd love to start working with it some.

 

Shoot with nearly any camera, it's assuming you're working in Rec709 as it records the file. A few can shoot a much wider dynamic or color range (separate things, by the bye), which is great. But you then need to wheedle that down to an actual working space for any delivery you choose. Which means again Rec.709 or a specific form of HDR.

 

And film doesn't have anything to do particularly with any of them. Salvo would know this bit, but so many don't know squat about film today. No film stock had a "color space" as we refer to in digital images. Some were designed for "daylight" exposure, some for "tungsten", to get a proper white balance as we would say now.

 

Film based production had two parts. The shooting of the film, which was normally done on a negative film stock, and was edited ("cut", literally) into bits and re-joined to make the film. Then the second part was taking the joined-together bits and "printing" that with light onto a second film stock, a print stock. This was a positive emulsion on a clear base, and you printed a ton of them to send to movie theaters.

 

 Again, no film stock had quite the same thing as a "color space" as we refer to in digital images. And each film negative stock was quite different from others, and in fact, two production batches of any one stock were amazingly different from each other. It's why the people that worked with it look at the attempt to make "filmic" images from digital, and ask ... so, which exact pairing of a particular batch of neg stock, lab work, printing technique, and print stock do you consider "filmic", as they were all actually unique and different from each other.

 

Further, on scanning film into digital, you apply a transform from the scanned digital image to whatever color space/dynamic range you wish to work in. So film can be brought into any space. And yea, I know some of the people what bring back the film films in digital format, and have sat and talked with them of their work. Fascinating stuff.

 

Like Marc Weilage talking of spending a couple months in-suite with Lucas, as they were re-coloring the orginal Star Wars trio, and Lucas was going over the limitations of working with film, and how much he appreciated being able to 'fix' a lot of things he thought we technical limitations and flaws of shooting with film.

 

However it was shot, we watch it in digital today. Which requires a certain level of color knowledge and management to get right, for whatever benefits it also gives.

 

Neil

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