Canon users watch out! Technicolor Cinestyle profile steals your DR!

Posted: October 31, 2011 in colorbyjorg
Tags: , , , , ,

I know it might sound childish or even presumptuous, but i feel pretty uncomfortable by this whole Technicolor hype. The “Marvels Cine Style” profiles i’ve developed the past years are much more advanced, better balanced and actually delivering more dynamic range. I really am a modest guy and you’d hardly hear me bashing other software developers, but this whole Technicolor style is actually sad. It’s curve suspiciously follows our Marvels Cine Style, with the blacks dialed up (limited!) and the whites dialed down (limited too!).

Warning to all users of the Technicolor Cinema-style flat-profile! Using the Technicolor style will severely limit your dynamic range!
Blacks are lifted and whites are limited! With only 255 values between black and white for each color, snooping 10% off at both sides is simple “DR theft”! You remove another 10% of DR when using the Technicolor LUT (via LutBuddy); that’s probably two stops total!
With the Marvels profile 3.4 you use all available digital space. You can make the Marvels profile as flat as the Technicolor profile by altering it’s curve, dialing the contrast setting further down.

Marvels Film (Martin Beek, and others) have not commented on this and my opinion reflected here is my own and not that of Marvels Film. Nevertheless, the Marvels Cine Style picture profile for Canon DSLR cameras can be downloaded here: http://marvelsfilm.wordpress.com/marvels-cine-canon/

Jorgen.

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Comments
  1. Hi Jorgen
    I’ve heard mention of something similar, at least in the shadow side of the curve. Would be interesting to create some sort of controlled comparison test.

    • jorgescher says:

      Hello Jim.

      That’s a good idea and a simple test to do. If i find some more time this week i’ll look into it further.
      Also, the Technicolor LUT file reveals some of the “secret”. You can open it with a standard text editor; you can see the input and output values, and they are NOT 0-255, but fall into a far shallower range.

      Anyone that owns a gray strip/pin chart, or dynamic range testcard is cordially invited to perform such a test and report the results here.

      Cheers,
      Jorgen.

  2. Arcangelo says:

    Any news?
    What is correct way to use the Marvel Cine Profile for color correction?
    I have to use the LUT Curve?
    Or i can slide the settings of program like Colorista or After Effects?
    Thanks for the time you’ll spend to answer me.

    Kind regards from Italy!

  3. aombk says:

    jorgen, what you are saying makes sense, though it is not 10% off at both sides.
    they just dont use 0-16 or 0-17 of the 0-255 available values.

    it is a mystery why technicolor chose to do this.
    the only explanation i could think of is that maybe they found that the video codec could not handle these low values well and lost information in the compression. but i have not tested if this happens.

    another explanation could be that they ended up with a picture style that they thought was very good but it looked almost identical to marvels cine style so they did this for their picture style to look different than yours;)

    anyway, what i dont get is that:
    picture styles seem to be playing around with the resulting 8bit iformation (256 values) after the image is being converted to 8bit from 14bit. but picture stules were supposed to be a part of the 14 to 8 bit convertion proccess. so are they or not?
    what would make sense to me would be to map 0-16383 to 0-255 to have maximum dynamic range(and destoyed midtones, but who cares:P)
    is this possible? even just for testing. picture style editor is just not a tool for doing that.

    • jorgescher says:

      Sorry! Indeed, you are correct! And you have a point there.
      This kind of interpolation is going on in the alexa as well, at the point that HDMI output is required. It still looks amazing afterwards, but hey… that’s mostly hardware downscaling and interpolation. And an expensive camera….

      Cheers,

      Jorg.

  4. aombk says:

    i tested about the codec not handling 0-16 values properly and that is not the case.

    now that i think of it, technicolor didnt say or promise that they made a picture style to give more DR to canon eos dslrs, they just said that with their picture style, the footage shot with canon eos dslrs would be similar and more consistent with footage shot with professional cameras that map the colors non Linearly(logarythimcally)
    and they said this would make grading easier when you use footage from both cameras.

    anyway, the thing is that no picture style seems to produce more DR.
    it just remaps the 256 values in a different way.
    but 0 is always 0 and 255 is always 255
    so DR is always limited to this 8bit 0 and 255

    • jorgescher says:

      Sorry, but you are wrong.

      Just watch the scopes…

      Jorgen.

      • aombk says:

        what do you mean i am wrong?
        i dont argue that technicolor doesnt use 0-16 values. i agree with that.

        what i meant is that i tested to see if the canon camera codec cannot handle values 0-16 properly.
        that would be a nice excuse for technicolor to not use the 0-16 values.
        but that is not the case.
        so the only reason i can think of is they did it for consistency of footage with professional cameras and film scanners that map colors logarythmically.

  5. boyi says:

    where’s the test?
    we r in mid december

  6. hamza says:

    ok can u prove it?
    show us a video plz

    • jorgescher says:

      Nothing to prove here with a video; just measure the signals! Just watch them on your scopes in FCP or Premiere.

      Jorgen.

  7. gary m davis says:

    Jorgen,

    do you have a 1D LUT that could be provided for your version of the Marvel Cine style?

    • jorgescher says:

      Hello Gary.

      I usually apply a slight curve in FCP and stay away from LUTs in general. Just personal preference. If you choose to use LUTs, always open the LUT file with a text editor and look “inside” at the values. If the highest value is below 255 and the lowest value above 1, this is not a good LUT to use (loss of dynamic range); also if there are many values mapping to the same LUT value (range), this is also a bad sign.
      I don’t like using LUTs, because you’re never sure what it does to your signal.

      Jorgen.

  8. Brian Self says:

    I don’t know about that, I’ve done some tests and technicolor gives me a lot of data to work with.

  9. I’m glad you brought this up. I have stopped using the Technicolor profile precisely because it steals tonal range. Try shooting a plain wall with a spotlight that has a soft falloff and you will see just how bad the banding on the Technicolor profile is.

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