First of all, before anyone start saying that I suck or that something is bad, I need to say that I have less than 1 year of experience with cameras and less than 6 months of experience with post processing.
The objective of that topic is to share what I've learned and also to learn and improve skills.
Since we are all entering a new era with RAW video at a consumer price, its interesting to discuss that. Mark was kind enough to share one of his DNGs so we can play.
The DNG is from the Blackmagic Pocket, a camera that features 4:4:4 color and 13 stops of dynamic range - and its important to take advantage of that.
He posted his first RAW video here: https://vimeo.com/79808736
And thats a frame grab from the video:
What my inexperienced but well trained eyes can see is:
- There are crushed shadows
- There are blown out highlights
- The midtones are too expanded
- The image looks soft
When the camera cooks the video for us, it tries to compress as much dynamic range as possible in the file. When we shoot RAW, the camera does nothing for us. It simply records all the sensor data in a file. So, to take advantage of that file, we have to know how to extract the information.
I am going to show how I use all the available dynamic range of a RAW file. If I had to guess I would say that in Mark's video you have something about 8 stops or less of visible dynamic range.
Once you get the hang of it, that process takes less than 30 seconds.
The first thing that I do with a RAW file is to play with the exposure slider to see how much dynamic range I have. You can increase your exposure to see how much shadow info you have. So thats the amount of shadow info that we have. If you push the exposure higher you will bring noise, and we dont want that.
After that I bring the exposure all the way down to see how much highlight detail I have.
So now we know our limits, and the objective is to have all those shadows and highlights in the same frame. To achieve that we have to optimize our available dynamic range.
The first step is to recover all the highlights. To do that, simply slide the "HIGHLIGHT" slider all the day down. Dont worry about the exposure.
After that, go to the "EXPOSURE" slider and bring it down until you have no blown out highlights.
To avoid having those dull ugly videos that look old, we have to create real whites and real blacks in that scene - because it has real whites and real blacks. Some scenes dont have them, so we have to pay attention.
To set a real white, we click on the "WHITE" slider while holding the "ALT" key. The screen will go black. If you slide it to the right you will see some white spots appearing. Those are the real whites. Dont push them too much, or you will blow out the highlights. Just some tiny spots will do it.
Now we have to recover our shadows, because they are crushed. To do that we have to use the "SHADOW" slider. Just slide it to the opposite side of the "HIGHLIGHT" slider, and you will see your shadows being recovered. Recovering shadows can be tricky. Sometimes you can recover 100% of the shadows. Sometimes if you do that you create an ugly HDR look.
And the last part is to set the real blacks. Its the same thing as setting the real whites. Just click the "BLACKS" slider while holding the "ALT" key. The screen will go white. Slide it down until you see your real blacks. Dont push them too much either.
And thats it!! Now you can see and make use of the 13 stops of dynamic range of the camera.
And thats my final adjust:
Expanding the dynamic range can also avoid that "oversaturated" look caused by the overload of the midtones. Here you can see less color bleeding.
Since I like to see detail, I have also increased the "local contrast". (sharpness)
* Remember that if you like to punch your videos with a heavy look, you can always increase your contrast, clarity etc after that.