Originally Posted by markr041
Thanks for the comments, most of which are useful. I disagree strongly with this statement: "To shoot flat is wisest, just to avoid letting "some dude in Japan" post process a look in camera and bake in settings you can't undo in your material.
Better to leave that to you and your computer."
You have many, many controls in camera to customize the look as well as custom looks you can download into the camera made by other than "some dude in Japan,", and you have the reality right there to compare. You also then do not suffer from re-compression artifacts and the limits of 8-bit color in making changes ex post in the computer. It's a trade-off. And you are simply wrong that if you shoot super flat and super soft you can always recover all color (8-bit again) and resolution in post. You cannot.
First; Lets different between super-flat and super-soft, that is two different things.
To shoot super-flat (depending on the camera) is just meta data without boost of in-camera colors and contrast setting. I have never heard anybody claiming that colors are not fully recoverable, and that goes against the principles of digital capture of data from a CMOS sensor.
You have to come up with some links to facts that prove you are right about this, and such facts would surprise everybody in the motion capture community.
If your claim was right then Technicolor should retract its Cine Style picture style settings for Canon DSLRs, as that is made to get most DR out of the capture files.
It is precisely the notion that shooting flat is "wisest" that I object to. Wisest for whom? - not your average user of cameras, not evidently for most of the more-intense users who post to video forums judging by the results they proudly display.
By shooting Flat it is easier to control that you don't blow highlights or underexpose shadows because you see what the camera is capable of in the viewfinder/EVF.
The problem is that the file you get is not RAW and has a baked in look where there is less possibilities to recover problems.
And if you are going to use one of the many pre-made plug-in looks, it is easier to make them work if the footage doesn't have a baked in look from the camera.
But you are probably right that many people should rather stick to the settings and look that "some dude in Japan" has set for them, just because they are bad at color grading.
If one could afford more expensive cameras with RAW capture, one would always have Flat files, and can in addition set a pre-set look for the shoot in the viewfinder like they do on those cameras.
And, what is the excuse for the lack of audio - laziness? incompetence? or is this art too? Or the "wisest" practice: just add some canned music in post and some sound effects.
It is just a choice. I am a little surprised you mention that, because I see pro-videos almost weekly that does this, everything from surfer videos to drama type of videos.
It is fun to disagree on the soccer video; looks to me like he can't focus on what he wants; looks to you like creative focus pulls. Given the camera used, I bet on the first.
He is shooting WFO which gives a shallow DOF to separate the actions focus point from everything around. He does it very consciously by starting (mostly) out-of-focus and reaching focus when the action he want to focus on happens.
He also does it with a good sense of rhythm and feel of the tempo of the action.
So I will disagree with you that it is a result of accidents or lack of ability to hit focus because of the camera.
The shallow DOF style, often overdone, comes from feature filming and the possibility for shallow DOF was very much the reason people got so excited about Canon 5D II video and started the DSLR video industry.
Very much thanks to Vincent Laforet's little short REVERIE.
Before that people had been using special adapters on video cameras to mimic the cinematic shallow DOF, as 35mm film (and some only for rent expensive digital cameras) was the only and more expensive alternative.
The big sensor in the 5DII did that, and you get acquire a similar look in the micro-four-thirds cameras, but not on the very small sensors of the video cameras.
You seem more of the deep-DOF shooter in the style more often used in Natural History documentaries, but you surely must be aware that the Shallow-DOF style is something probably a majority of photographers use and like for separation and dramatic effect in all kinds of projects.
Maybe you should be more daring and try out all of these techniques, that you dislike so much, in your own videos and see if some of them benefit the quality and artistic style of you videos.
Often a specific taste is something one has to acquire over time after trying them out repeatedly.
But at the same time I will do a shout-out to THEDEST for the video he posted in this thread, where the Look he use in that video, which is probably quite far from the Natural Look of the location, makes the video much more watchable (I believe without seeing the raw footage) even if it is a documentary.
And I truly do not get why a "nostalgia" coloring (one of the many pre-set "look's" plug-ins you can buy) is particularly relevant to the mood of a kids' soccer game. So I see use of the wrong camera and an inappropriate plug-in and no audio; you see art. But you are not wrong; it's just your tastes..
Call the plug-in look nostalgic or maybe sun-drenched, but yes it is a taste, but if you where shooting a similar scenario you would prefer more natural colors of a documentary style presentation with natural audio which all would tell how life was that day.
Lets revisit Vincent Laforet's Reverie which started the DSLR video industry and changed Vincent Laforet's life (and many other photographers and film-makers) forever.
The funny thing is that Canon's engineers had no idea what they where releasing, and hadn't it been for the fact that Laforet got hold of a preproduction 5DII and hurriedly made this little "kitschy perfume add spoof" it might have taken people much longer to discover the possibilities. The 5DII was not he first DSLR with video capabilities.
It even opens with a shot that goes out of focus.