December 18, 2015 at 10:12AM

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Do I need to shoot flat if...

Do I need to still shoot a flat color profile if I am shooting with a higher end camera? Canon C300? I just rented it for this weekend, and I was wondering if I still need to shoot flat and color grade or will the color coming out of the camera be okay and able to be manipulated?

14 Comments

Ignore, for the moment "the color coming out of the camera". Instead, think about what you want to see as a finished product. Do you want crushed blacks? Milky blacks? Are you shooting high-key or low-key? Are you going for high contrast or low contrast? High saturation or low saturation? Think about all the creative decisions that are already in your own mind about the scene you want to shoot. Think also about all the creative decisions that may be changed, for whatever reason.

If you know pretty clearly just what you want, and you are confident that nothing's going to change between the time you shoot the scene and the time you deliver your product (to YouTube, NetFlix, the local TV station, whatever), then you can light your scene accordingly, dial in the exposure, the white balance, and the look, and you'll have enough room for minor corrections, but nothing too major.

On the other hand, if you don't yet have a theory about where your blacks, highlights, and middle gray are going to fall, you will be well-served to shoot some kind of LOG gamma. And if you don't know whether you are going to balance to the warm side or the cool side, you will be well-served to shoot some kind of RAW format. But it neither case are you excused from lighting the scene properly, nor from exposing it properly. I know you are asking about a C300, but there are thousands of threads on REDUSER.net where people expected that the advertised 16 stops of DR would allow them to be sloppy or negligent when it came to lighting and exposure, and they were all sadly disappointed to learn that they were wrong. And if the RED DRAGON cannot rescue badly lit and badly exposed footage, the C300 cannot, either.

To summarize: crystalize your vision. Light and expose accordingly. If you need flexibility (because your client's vision and yours may not be agreed), shoot LOG and/or RAW. If you need flexibility (because your vision goes beyond what you can dial in with the camera), shoot LOG and/or RAW. If your vision, lighting, and exposure are all within the happy range of your camera's color matrix and REC 709 gamma, shoot a nearly finished product in camera, and tweak as needed the final footage.

December 18, 2015 at 10:56AM, Edited December 18, 10:56AM

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From my knowledge you can change the red color profile i.e redgamma or redlog film in REDCINE-x after the fact...

Clark McCauley

March 4, 2016 at 4:22PM

Thanks very much. For flexibility later, shoot in a flexible format/settings and if I have a vision, make it happen with lights and a chosen color setting on the camera is what I took as a general idea???

Thanks again

December 18, 2015 at 1:46PM

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Nathan Karimi
Writer/ Director
245

You really cannot do anything if you don't start with some concept how how you want to light and expose your scene. Doing nothing at the start is not a recipe for the most flexibility in the future; rather it's a recipe for all options being equally bad. But, if you want lots of options around your initial decision, shoot LOG/RAW. If you're pretty settled on exactly what you want in the first place, and you can dial it in, then there's no reason to force a grading step on yourself. (And it may save you a lot of extra data management, too!)

Michael Tiemann

December 18, 2015 at 2:28PM

Thanks. Here is another question for everyone, I rented a c300, shot my footage and it looks phenomenal but, there is no audio coming from it at all. I have audio from the boom and from a computer that we recorded microphone audio on, any suggestions on how to most easily sync this? Or do I have to watch every clip with every bit of audio and match them up that way?

December 21, 2015 at 11:46AM

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Nathan Karimi
Writer/ Director
245

hopefully its as simple as this, I own a c100 and for some reason, the in camera audio from the avchd file does not play in windows until I put it into premiere, then it plays no problem

Griffon Jacobs

December 26, 2015 at 9:45PM

Oh, boy.......... How about changing things up. And instead of going: "I rented a camera, what do I do?" say -- I am doing XYZ project, going for ABCD look, what camera and post do I need to get there?

So far, you got your things really upside-down. And I mean it in a supportive way.

December 21, 2015 at 9:09PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3725

It would be nice if people would provide information rather than judgment and theoretical advice. I ran into some issues, and need help please focus on the question if you plan to answer, the footage is shot, I am very happy with it. However, having shot with this camera for the first time I messed up and didn't record audio, if there is a step by step solution that could simplify this process I'd love to hear it, please save the theoretical stuff, it's not welcome and I'll figure that out as I go, for now, I would appreciate an answer instead of a judgment.

December 21, 2015 at 11:15PM

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Nathan Karimi
Writer/ Director
245

Shoot flat if you plan on manipulating the color/tonality of the footage later. Bake in the look if you don't. Always properly expose and white balance. Record audio if you need it..or just always record it because you can get rid of it in editing very easily.

Simple as that. Not judging, but in the future it's a good idea to do some test shooting with a camera before using it on any important shoot just to nail down what you need to do. Hope that helped!

December 22, 2015 at 2:56AM

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Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
760

About the audio:
you didn't 'clap' in front of the lens have a clear visual and audio que to sync with?
Did you call the shots like: "scene 1 shot 2 take 3"?

If the anwsers are no, no, then you have quite some work to do.

Put your shots in the order you shot them.
Put the audio in the order you recorded it.
Match them one by one.

PS.
Next time check the audio meter on the camera.
I believe a C300 has no internal mic, so it need a mic to record sound.
Had you recorded sound on camera it would be much easier to sync images and sounds with Plural Eyes.

About shooting flat or not:
if you don't shoot flat you can still grade, but you'll have less range.
On the other hand, you'll have more bits of info per stop. (Especially important to realise when shooting with an 8 bit codec. I'm not sure C300 has an 8 bit or 10 bit codec. Anyway, I've seen quite some crappy footage full of banding of 8 bit footage on a 14 stop log...)
Always get the image as close to the result you want.

PS.
For corporate work I've shot with C300 multiple times without C Log and did subtle grading afterwards. (The clients are happy.)

December 23, 2015 at 12:17PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8716

Thanks. I didn't even think about putting them in order, I'll do that this week, it's gonna take a while but, oh well. And I shot in Cinema mode which I read was rather flat, I'm color blind so this is not and has never been a strength of mine. Thanks for the help, I did clap and call scenes but I didn't set the c300 up for audio so it will be mouth to sound syncing. I was hoping for a short cut but nothing doing, my fault for not triple checking, I only had 12 hours to shoot everything and prioritized elsewhere. Payback. Thanks very much. And merry Christmas.

Nathan Karimi

December 24, 2015 at 10:13AM

When I record sound seperately I always 'clap' in frame, so there not only a audio but also a visual queue, just in case the audio in camera in rubbish.

Good luck!
Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2015 at 10:30AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8716

Let me push my luck with one more question, what is the best format to convert my .xmf files to? I have MIRO Video Converter. There is ProRes1080 and AVCHD. Or is there a better converter I should download ? Thanks again

December 24, 2015 at 11:44AM

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Nathan Karimi
Writer/ Director
245

Why do you need to convert?

December 25, 2015 at 9:35AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8716

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