RobsonDRMax - 7D - 320ISO
Technicolor Cinestyle - 7D - 320ISO
RobsonDRMax vs. Technicolor Cinestyle
Off to NAB tomorrow morning so I’ll expand on this later. This is my preferred 7D picture profile when I need to capture maximum dynamic range. It’s the result of a lot of testing and revisions over a few months using my backlit 16 stop Gamma & Density Trans-1 dynamic range chart. It reveals a usable 11 stops on the 7D in movie mode with HTP off. (1080p24 used for testing) I haven’t tried it on a 5D or other Canon cameras.
Settings are based on what yielded the best results (especially chroma upsampling) after transcoding the test files into Prores4444 using the 5DtoRGB app. (link below) I find 5DtoRGb does a better job than even Cineform’s Remaster app in this regard. I used my Leader 5330 fed by a Kona 3G from Premiere Pro CS5.5 for evaluating test results.
The goal was to simply use all of the available 8bit values in the codec and give roughly equal weight to each stop throughout the available dynamic range of the 7D. To achieve this I had to stretch out the blacks substantially which means this profile definitely needs grading, not unlike the Technicolor profile. This profile does give you better colour and black detail (less banding) than the Technicolor profile in my opinion. Obviously test for yourself and use what works best for you but on my 5330 waveform / vectorscope there was less banding (especially in the shadows) with my profile.
It’s important to note that there is no more dynamic range captured with this profile than the Technicolor profile. It matches it in overall DR but takes advantage of the entire luminance range in the compression unlike the Technicolor profile. I also found that leaving the chroma at centre in the 7D settings rendered less banding and noise than setting the chroma at minimum like other profiles recommend. Sharpness looks better when added in post so that is set to minimum as well as contrast. If you are shooting a highly saturated environment you should reduce the saturation by 1 (to the left) in the chroma setting to avoid chroma peaking.
This profile will change how you rate the camera’s sensitivity. I used this profile on a recent Warner Bros. pilot whenever the 7D was used and at 320 iso it rendered an exposure very close to the Alexa at 800 iso (same lens / shutter settings.) Skin tones fell very close to where the Alexa placed them on the waveform using the Arri 709 LUT after minor grading to the 7D file using a luma correction curve that felt right visually. On the 7D, 640 iso placed the skin tones higher and 160 placed them lower than where the Alexa had them which was 40 IRE. This was carefully determined in prep and verified throughout the project in a wide variety of shooting conditions.
The disclaimer: when I want to give more weight to skin tones (portraits) I still use the latest Marvel’s Cine v3.4 picture profile as it dedicates more room to midtones than my RobsonDRMax profile. No need to mess with a good thing. There is definitely not one perfect profile for all shooting conditions. As I mentioned earlier I highly recommend the 5DtoRGB App for converting native 7D files to something more robust for grading, especially when my profile is used.
Enjoy the profile, it’s free. If you pass it around please mention where you got it.
EDIT: Check out this post comparing the Flaat picture profiles to RobsonDRMax as requested by some of you.