Friday, 1 June 2012

Using a Custom Profile for best DSLR Video Results

One of the oddities involved in shooting video with a DSLR is that there's no obvious RAW file format. For this reason, shooting using a default mode creates all sorts of contrast and dynamic range problems - highlights blow out and noise plagues the shadows.

For the best results you can load a special colour profile that drops the contrast, sharpness and colour values captured in the raw clip dramatically. This profile produces what initially appears to be a fairly useless looking result - the contrast is dead flat and colour almost non-existent. BUT, it gives you nearly two added stops in dynamic range, and because of this, there's less need to crank the ISO values through the roof. And less need to worry unduly about contrast (although this is always relevant when shooting video).

Where do I get one of these special profiles? From the Technicolor website.

So this is what the Cinestyle profile looks link once loaded into the Canon's firmware. You can have up to three different shooting styles should you wish. You can also reduce the sharpness, colour and contrast in the settings - as seen here, to give an even flatter looking tonal response. This then requires the addition of an S-Curve in post-production to add contrast and brightness to bring the visuals back into line with what we want from the image file.

Although this is not a true RAW file for video, it's close to it. Cinestyle is a colour profile designed specifically for Canon DSLR cameras. To use this profile, first download off the Site then follow the instructions. This has to be copied onto a memory card and uploaded into the DSLR - once done it appears in one of the free User Defined Picture Style slots (Canon DSLRs have three spare slots). From this point you can further adjust the contrast and sharpness and colour settings to produce a truly flat looking result.

This is then edited in the normal way using any of the video editing applications on the market. I use Adobe Premiere Pro because it does everything. The clips have to be graded (a video term meaning editing). You can use tools such as Curves to add a slight S-curve back into the clip to boost the highlights and shadows. Doing this turns your not-so-interesting-looking clips to something a lot more visual.


  1. This tutorial is indeed useful. I have just downloaded it. Thanks againcustom video productions

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