Filmconvert has just announced their latest camera profile, this time for the DJI Osmo X3 camera. As it is the same piece of hardware internally, the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 are also included in this free update. Get the Filmconvert Treatment for the Osmo X3 Not so long ago, a log gamma curve for in-camera aquisition was something you could only find in really high end cinema cameras. As time goes by, nearly every decent camera in the market is capable of capturing footage with a higher dynamic range than plain Rec709. At that point, a handy piece of software called Filmconvert comes into play. It not only converts log footage back into good looking imagery, but also adds film grain and certain looks of actual film stocks. Now, even the tiny DJI Osmo X3 camera gets its own Filmconvert profile. For such a small sensor as the Sony 1/2.3″ model, it’s even more important to treat the resulting footage in a way that takes away the digital harshness which is typical for sensors of this type. Oftentimes it comes with a strong video-esque look due to the very deep DOF and other things like ugly moiré patterns. The Osmo X3, just as the Phantom 4 on-board camera, is capable of shooting in D-Log, which is a custom gamma curve created by the engineers at DJI. With it you’ll get a flat looking image, but it has a much higher dynamic range in return. In order to revert that washed out footage back to normal in post, Filmconvert is here to help with its now released profile for that very camera. How to Filmconvert Your Footage Step one: You need to apply the Filmconvert effect from within your favorite NLE such as Premiere Pro CC or, if you’ve already finished editing your piece, it’s available for DaVinci Resolve, too. There’s even a standalone version, but for me it’s much easier to stay in my application of choice and work from there. (Tip: add an adjustment layer on top of your footage and drag the filmConvert effect there to avoid individual FilmConvert clip corrections. Then do minor needed changed on the video clip itself). Step two: Choose the correct profile, in this example the DJI Osmo X3 profile. This will transform the log footage back into the realm of Rec709. Step three: Now you can choose your favorite film stock, such as Kodak 5207 Vision 3, and tweak the settings to your likings. Usually, the amount of film grain is a bit too high, at least to my liking. There you go: after that, your footage will suffer less from that harsh video look. These steps are valid for every available camera profile, of course. Conclusion I really appreciate the progress in which Filmconvert develops new profiles for different cameras. The DJI Osmo X3 is certainly not the best camera in the world, but with the help of its D-Log profile and the Filmconvert treatment it actually looks kind of nice! One more thing to have in mind: you should get a variable ND filter for that camera! Since it lacks a variable aperture, the X3 has to increase the shutter rate like crazy, which results in ugly jittering. It’s a good idea to tackle the problem in the first place by setting the camera to manual (1/50 shutter and ISO 100 for example) and controlling the exposure with the variND only. Filmconvert is $149 for one host application or $219 for the complete bundle, check out their site for more information. Download the new profile on the Filmconvert.com websiteRead more
For a decade, the Super 35mm Bayer CFA (Color Filter Array) CMOS sensor has powered the digital cinema revolution. I’d like to present a couple of interesting technologies which may well end up replacing it. The Bayer CFA has become the de-facto standard architecture of single-sensor digital cameras of all types — stills and video. Let’s start by explaining what a Bayer CFA is. The Bayer CFA An image sensor is made up of a matrix of millions of light sensitive photosites. A single photosite is only sensitive to luminance; how many photons hit it in a given period to create a charge. Because a single bare photosite is color blind, we have to arrange an array of colored filters on top of the sensor. A Bayer filter mosaic is a color filter array (CFA) for arranging RGB color filters on a square grid of photosensors. Its particular arrangement of color filters is used in most single-chip digital image sensors used in digital cameras, camcorders, and scanners to create a color image. The filter pattern is 50% green, 25% red and 25% blue. Bryce Bayer registered his patent (U.S. Patent No. 3,971,065) in 1976. He referred to the green filtered photosites as luminance-sensitive elements and the red and blue ones as chrominance-sensitive elements. He used twice as many green elements as red or blue to mimic the physiology of the human eye. This Bayer pattern data from the sensor is what we call RAW image data. To reconstruct a full-color RGB image from the data collected by the color filter array, some form of interpolation is needed to fill in the blanks. The mathematics here is subject to individual implementation and is called demosaicing. Demosaicing can be performed in different ways. Simple methods interpolate the color value of the pixels of the same color in the neighborhood. For example, a pixel with a green filter provides an exact measurement of the green component. The red and blue components for this pixel are obtained from the neighbors. For a green pixel, two red neighbors can be interpolated to yield the red value. Also, two blue pixels can be interpolated to generate the blue value. Pro’s and Con’s On the surface, the Bayer CFA may seem like the ideal solution to capturing color information, however, it involves some compromises. Any single photosite can only capture a Red, Green or Blue sample for its position in the matrix making real full RGB capture at every photosite impossible. The reconstructed RGB image will always be the result of mathematical guesswork. It can be argued that the effective resolution of an image captured from a Bayer CFA is substantially less than the sensor’s photosite count. Aliasing and Moiré can be introduced as a result of demosaicing. The colored filters themselves absorb and reduce the amount of light reaching the photosite, reducing the overall sensitivity of the sensor. It’s not all bad, though. Storing the RAW Bayer data results in a substantial reduction in file data compared to the full raster RGB equivalent (uncompressed). RAW Bayer data can be re-interpolated at a later stage as demosaic algorithms and methods improve resulting in increased image quality. The Bayer CFA is currently the “least bad” and most cost effective solution available when compared to other practical alternatives. Recently, however, some new technologies have surfaced which may finally eliminate the need for these compromises. Panasonic’s Low Light Filterless Sensor Technology Panasonic have made the news with their recent OPF (Organic Photoconductive Film) technology promising higher sensitivity, wider dynamic range, improved global shutter and variable sensitivity. Panasonic also claimed an unusual sensor architecture a few years back which separates colors by diffraction rather than absorption. This seems to have gone quiet, but it’s an interesting development to mention regardless. Instead of using an array of tiny microfilters in a traditional CFA, the alternative approach uses what Panasonic calls “micro color splitters” that diffract the light so that various combinations of wavelengths (colors) hit different photosites. In their paper in Nature Photonics, Panasonic’s researchers claim their solution allows the sensor to gather 1.85 times more light than traditional Bayer-array-based sensors. This technology is not perfect. The photosites in these proposed sensors are still not capturing full RGB values; rather they are capturing combinations of colors: white+red, white-red, white+blue, and white-blue, that come out of the two deflectors. This means there is still a demosaicing process—and one which is particular to Panasonic. This was one of the downfalls of Foveon’s unique technology, which captured all of the light hitting the sensor by layering the three color receptors on top of one another. Each layer stripped off the color of light to which it was receptive, passing along the rest. Foveon did not have the benefit of other industry players developing the technology, software, and hardware needed along with them. As a result, it was years before Foveon had effective noise reduction and powerful enough processing to produce JPEGs in the camera. Like Foveon, Panasonic has buried its invention under a thick pile of patents. So far. University of Utah’s New Filter A recently published article from the University of Utah presents a new filter developed by Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Rajesh Menon that drastically improves the light transmission efficiency compared to the traditional Bayer CFA. The filter is only about one micron thick and uses precisely designed ridges etched on one side to bend the light as it passes through creating a series of color patterns or codes. The software then reads the codes to determine what colors they are. Approximately 25 color codes are created as opposed to three, resulting in far more accurate renditions of color and nearly no noise. The filter is also cheaper to produce than the current Bayer filter. The full-color image will also be the result of sophisticated computer processing, so again there is not true full-color spatial resolution. Looking Ahead All of these technologies require complex algorithms and interpolation to produce a final full-color image, and it’s too early to judge which of these technologies will give the best results. As is the case with light field technology as demonstrated by Lytro Cinema, we may well see as much growth and development on the computational and processing side of things as the physical sensor itself. We don’t know what may eventually surpass and replace the Bayer sensors we all rely on now. One thing is certain, though. The future of digital imaging will undoubtedly remain dependent on advanced algorithms and powerful image processing. What we do know is that technology marches forward, fuelled by the fact that we’re always going to buy a better camera.Read more
The Canon EOS 7D mkII was announced a week ago. For a long time the old Canon 7D was one of the best video shooting DSLR’s. Now the new addition to the Canon DSLR family offers many improvements in video mode. At cinema5D we took the camera into the field and tested it thoroughly to give you an impression of what it offers Note: This review and footage were shot on a beta camera. There may be improvements in the final production version of the camera. I got into a nostalgic mood when I sat down to write this article, as the original Canon 7D served me very well despite its limitations. Be it a BBC news pieces or a National Geographic Video, that camera was truly a working horse for me. 5 years to the date, and its successor landed on our desk raising modest expectations when it comes to the video side, as this camera according to its specifications isn’t offering all the features we would wish for and that other large sensor cameras already offer. Watching Canon’s 7D mkII promotional video led us to believe that an extensive amount of sharpening was used in post and indeed our own findings support the assumption that the 7D mark II footage is a bit soft. We can tell you the video quality of the Canon 7D mark II is comparable to that of the Canon 5D mark III. Soft but very clean. In the above video, 25% sharpening was used in post in order to make the clean picture “alive”. Besides the nice looking clean video mode it seems that Canon for the first time added audio output via HDMI. For a long time this feature was requested by professionals who worked with Canon DSLR’s on news assignments or when using external recorders. Another enhancement from the original model is the headphone jack. Now it is possible to monitor your audio while recording video, but mind you that on this “beta camera” the preamps were rather noisy. Also audio and video were not in perfect sync as you can see in the video. Probably this issue will be resolved in the production version. Other than that the added full HD in 50p and 60p mode is a very nice addition, but limited to IBP compression only. Normal video is recorded in ALL-i coding like on the 5D mark III. Other “basic video features” like peaking or magnifying video while recording did not make it into this camera. Another noticable improvement is the brighter and larger LCD screen, dedicated video overlays, better lowlight capabilities, Dual-Pixel CMOS AF (as on 70D) and the ability to use both CF and SD cards. All in all the Canon 7D mark II offers surprisingly nice looking and clean video with lovely and accurate colors and no aliasing or moiré. We will go into detail in our upcoming lab test where we will compare sharpness, colors, dynamic range and lowlight to other cameras including the old 7D. One or two years ago this camera would probably have sold like hot cakes. 5D mark III video in a much more affordable APS-C body and slow motion in full HD. But now that 4K is here for many the video might be too soft. Many thanks to Sonja Völker from herzilein-wien.at Music by themusicbed.com The Light the Heat – Autumn Eyes Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.comRead more
3 days ago Sony announced the new Sony Alpha 5100 mirrorless camera that has made some headlines on the film blogs as it brings the powerful new XAVC S codec as well as 1080p at 60 frames per second. At cinema5D we already had this new camera in our test labs today and we have some interesting things to share. We tested dynamic range, rolling shutter and observed sharpness and aliasing.Read more
This is a rolling shutter comparison between the new Sony A7S, the Arri Amira, Panasonic GH4, (Canon C300), Canon 5D mark III and Canon 1D C. In the first part in this series of tests we compared the usable dynamic range of the A7S and found that it comes surprisingly close to the dynamic range of the Arri AMIRA (find the dynamic range test here). Rolling shutter is a phenomenon where straight vertical lines look bent on moving objects, or a “jello effect” appears when the recording device itself is in motion. It is a common issue with CMOS sensor cameras that read out a frame line by line over a certain period of time. A sensor with a global shutter however reads out the entire image at once, avoiding the rolling shutter effect altogether. A severe rolling shutter can be disturbing in certain shooting scenarios.Read more
Back in 2011, Mosaic Engineering brought an interesting product to the table; a removable “anti-aliasing” filter that removes moiré from fine detail within your image. It was first made available for the Canon 5D mark ii, to which a handful more Canon DSLRs followed suit, and even one for the Nikon D800.Read more
All of Canon’s HDSLR cameras (except the 5D mark III) share a very inconvenient problem: They pollute your picture with rainbow effects on fine patterns and stepping in hairlines and details also known as moiré and aliasing effects. Mosaic Engineering has first developed an optical anti-aliasing and moiré filter for the 5D mark II (LINK) and now they have created an even better filter for the Canon 7D. You can see the test results in the video above. What you may or may not see in the video above is:Read more
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