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View Full Version : Helium 8K Fire Test - PROTECT HIGHLIGHTS / CLEAN SHADOWS



jacob.schwarz
09-03-2016, 05:41 PM
Can't say enough good things about the Helium 8K Sensor, it was the fastest $70K i think i've ever spent but so so worth it.

Anyways my wife and I threw together really quick a last minute shoot to test the DR and Low-Light Levels of our Helium Stormtrooper. Figured we mind as well shooting something interesting than sit in a studio and shoot chart (which ewe eventually still plan to do :-) ).

I won't lie — we sucked at exposing for the fire on this shoot and clipped the highlight quite often beyond recovering. The biggest thing i've learned about helium sensor from this shoot and some other small shoots that i've done is this;

You need to really expose for your highlight!

With the dragon i was always tried to not underexpose the images and was careful about never getting traffic lights in my shadows unless I wanted them to be pure black as dragon sensor had quite a bit of noise in the shadows. However with the Helium I'm having to reverse my philosophy and make sure I don't clip my highlights because if they clip – they are gone gone because unlike with the traffic lights on the Dragon if i clipped i could typically still recover the highlight quite a bit still. I don't really ever have to worry about shadows really with the Helium because if the traffic lights show them as under expose i can still recover a lot out of the shadows since they are so clean with the Helium.

Having said all this currently there is no RedHeliumColor or RedHeliumGamma I only have Dragon color science and gamma metering firmware on the camera so all of this might be fixed with Red actually release the Helium and more updated firmware to go with it.

Anyways enjoy this little piece we threw together and let me know if you'd like to see any r3d Stills.

Jacob

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygqzQ8XlHTM

Mike P.
09-03-2016, 05:46 PM
Rad stuff... (also didn't realize youtube supports 8k).

jacob.schwarz
09-03-2016, 05:47 PM
Yeah Youtube has supported 8K for actually about a year now, which is crazy since the only thing that people really could and did post were 8K time lapses.

sam windell
09-03-2016, 07:40 PM
The shadows are so clean....wow! Did you have a filter on front of the lens? Notice the green orb flare quite a bit. Wasn't sure if it was sensor thing or lens.

jacob.schwarz
09-03-2016, 07:48 PM
We did wear a hot mirror filter for some shots to protect our otus lens.

Marc Wielage
09-03-2016, 08:31 PM
One problem with clipping out fire is that you miss the hundreds of shades of yellow and red and orange that are in there. Just seeing sheared-off white is not right.

I would strongly recommend you fill the shadows more and reduce exposure by at least a stop and see if that preserves more detail. It can be done -- I've worked on many film shows that only had ISOs of 500 (at most), and they were able to get all the fire detail in there. In some cases, soft clip may be able to help retain a little more detail.

Akin A
09-03-2016, 08:53 PM
Very cool!

How did your channel/videos become so popular?
Were you one of the first to post 4K YouTube footage back in the day? Your description on the video page says you've been uploading 4K for 6 years. Was that the initial draw to your stuff?

Joel Arvidsson
09-04-2016, 01:45 AM
Everything look supergood but the flame. Its to blown out (my opinion). The rest looked amazeing! Was this a creative decision in the gradeing or when you recorded it?

Jaimy Soares
09-04-2016, 01:57 AM
How is rendering?
Used resolve?
How much FPS do you get on what setup?

Tommaso Alvisi
09-04-2016, 06:37 AM
How is rendering?
Used resolve?
How much FPS do you get on what setup?

Yeah I'm curious too!

jacob.schwarz
09-04-2016, 06:53 AM
Everything look supergood but the flame. Its to blown out (my opinion). The rest looked amazeing! Was this a creative decision in the gradeing or when you recorded it?


Read my first post. Yeah wasn't a creative decision as much as poor exposure on my be half when i was filming.

Christoffer Glans
09-04-2016, 07:25 AM
Why is the video named HDR? It's not HDR if the fire is clipped. How much of the dark environment could be pushed into visibility without too much noise?

Mark Toia
09-04-2016, 08:52 AM
Fire is very hard to expose for... very very hard.
huge burst of flame can be white most times. Its very easy to blow out highlights. Don't stress over it. :)

Luke Neumann
09-04-2016, 09:04 AM
Just key out the whites, use the eye drop tool and select a shade of orange just outside of the key and drop a color solid underneath the clip.

Bobby Farokhzad
09-04-2016, 09:24 AM
Jacob, what ISO was used for this video? I would love to see a R3D frame of the fire to see how much of the highlights can be recovered. Shadow detail looks absolutely amazing on this sensor.

Andy Roberts
09-04-2016, 09:28 AM
Was that the initial draw to your stuff?

I think the draw is that Jacob has always done top notch stuff :)

Dominik Bauch
09-04-2016, 11:26 AM
Little bit worrying about the highlight clipping... my biggest hope for Helium was a softer highlight roll off with improved retention. Shadows are great but I'd rather a more filmic highlight roll off ala Alexa than low light filming capability.
I bet this will all be made clear with official announcements. Can't imagine that the smart guys at Red would allow the new sensor to have worse highlight performance than Dragon.

Brad Grimm
09-04-2016, 11:49 AM
I hate to admit it but I am not loving what I am seeing here. I know this is not the final color science, exc. But why would RED send these out with these highlight issues? Its all about first impressions...

Mark L. Pederson
09-04-2016, 12:11 PM
I hate to admit it but I am not loving what I am seeing here. I know this is not the final color science, exc. But why would RED send these out with these highlight issues? Its all about first impressions...

It's all about shooting a test yourself. Everyone shoots and test differently.

ARRI ALEXA Mini clips highlights faster than my Helium 8K.

Why would ARRI send those Mini's out ...

Brad Grimm
09-04-2016, 01:05 PM
It's all about shooting a test yourself. Everyone shoots and test differently.

ARRI ALEXA Mini clips highlights faster than my Helium 8K.

Why would ARRI send those Mini's out ...

I would love to shoot some tests... want to send me your camera for a bit?:)

But Honestly, all I and most everyone else can go only by what we are seeing... and from what I have been seeing is less than pleasant highlights; information and rolloff.

The mini is shipping because its highlights look great, and most people seem to agree with that.

I don't care about test charts or even resolution anymore... I care about images that have a beautiful soul. I felt that from the dragon sensor... especially with the weapon upgrade.

I am a big RED supporter and the Alexa Mini takeover is real and its impacting us RED Owner/Ops more and more... Helium has to deliver and it just can't be about K's.

jacob.schwarz
09-04-2016, 01:07 PM
I hate to admit it but I am not loving what I am seeing here. I know this is not the final color science, exc. But why would RED send these out with these highlight issues? Its all about first impressions...


Um. No issues with highlights!

I have seen great highlight roll off and highlight retention with this sensor as well as DR, but the way we expose for helium sensor or arri sensor or dragon sensor is different. I'm going through the same learning curve that i went through when i went from MX to Dragon. You just need to shoot some extremes and play with the raw to figure the best ways to work with any particular sensor. I'm learning i can't apply my knowledge of the Dragon to the Helium, still figuring out how to make the Helium sing.

You can't expect a Honda Civic to handle like a Tesla, you got to get behind the wheel and see what it can do.

Jacob

Bill Totolo
09-04-2016, 01:41 PM
If the source of fire is very large it's easier to expose because it creates it's own fill light.
A small source as seen in the OP is very difficult to expose.

This image was shot with Epic M-X:
https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8462/29246508450_dc760def0b_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Lyq12G)

Patrick Tresch
09-04-2016, 02:04 PM
Little bit worrying about the highlight clipping... my biggest hope for Helium was a softer highlight roll off with improved retention. Shadows are great but I'd rather a more filmic highlight roll off ala Alexa than low light filming capability.
I bet this will all be made clear with official announcements. Can't imagine that the smart guys at Red would allow the new sensor to have worse highlight performance than Dragon.

Have you ever shot RED? You should know how exposure works on this camera. If you shoot RED at 50 iso you'll have problem it's not the camera but poor exposure experience with RED. There is NO soft highlight roll off with digital, but there are some post-curves than can be applied. This is NOT a sensor quality but how you handle your sensor data.

Brad Grimm
09-04-2016, 02:05 PM
Um. No issues with highlights!

I have seen great highlight roll off and highlight retention with this sensor as well as DR, but the way we expose for helium sensor or arri sensor or dragon sensor is different. I'm going through the same learning curve that i went through when i went from MX to Dragon. You just need to shoot some extremes and play with the raw to figure the best ways to work with any particular sensor. I'm learning i can't apply my knowledge of the Dragon to the Helium, still figuring out how to make the Helium sing.

You can't expect a Honda Civic to handle like a Tesla, you got to get behind the wheel and see what it can do.

Jacob

I get it totally, but I was making my assessment based off other tests I have seen as well... I am sure a lot will change in October with the color science and so forth.. I personally want Helium to be the game changer I know it can be.. and that means leaving no cracks for the naysayers.

scott devitte
09-04-2016, 02:25 PM
I get it totally, but I was making my assessment based off other tests I have seen as well... I am sure a lot will change in October with the color science and so forth.. I personally want Helium to be the game changer I know it can be.. and that means leaving no cracks for the naysayers.

There are Helium naysayers?

Nick Morrison
09-04-2016, 02:41 PM
Great test, thanks Jacob.

Love to know how easy it is to intercut Helium and Dragon...

Brad Grimm
09-04-2016, 02:59 PM
There are Helium naysayers?

Naaa... I am sure no-one will question the need for 8K...:)

Russ Fill
09-04-2016, 03:20 PM
I guess the question you have to ask your self is how would the Dragon sensor preform in the same situation with regards to the highlights and shadows?? With the adjustments to the exposure.
Thank you Jacob for the test looksee.

Steve Conry
09-04-2016, 08:19 PM
As the op said, this is just an exposure problem. Clearly he let the highlights go. This would happen on MX and dragon if you exposed this way. I shoot a lot of fire and it's always tough finding a balance between keeping detail in the fre and getting enough information for the rest of the scene. The real question is what would happen if you exposed for all of the highlight info? Could you still pull a reasonable amount of information out of the shadows. Seeing how clean helium shadows are so far, I would imagine it might fair better than dragon. Curious to see by how much...

Marc Wielage
09-04-2016, 08:47 PM
Just key out the whites, use the eye drop tool and select a shade of orange just outside of the key and drop a color solid underneath the clip.
That's a crutch at best. Real fire that's well exposed -- with the surroundings given enough fill -- has many, many different shades of orange and yellow and red (and occasional flickers of white). Keying it orange merely makes a brick of orange, which real fire isn't. It can be done -- it just takes some experimentation and careful exposure.


It's all about shooting a test yourself. Everyone shoots and test differently. ARRI ALEXA Mini clips highlights faster than my Helium 8K. Why would ARRI send those Mini's out ...
I did a feature about six months ago featuring a killer with a flamethrower, and we had quite a few stunts with people on fire running around, stuff like that. Zero overexposure problems with Alexa XT -- it all looked fine. But this was broad daylight. No flamethrower stuff at night.

It is possible sometimes to recover some highlight detail with soft clipping, but that's kind of a hail mary pass. I've seen Red Dragons clip even worse, particularly in extreme light/dark situations. But again, I think it's more of a key-to-fill ratio problem.

Michael Dalton
09-04-2016, 11:10 PM
Um. No issues with highlights!

I have seen great highlight roll off and highlight retention with this sensor as well as DR, but the way we expose for helium sensor or arri sensor or dragon sensor is different. I'm going through the same learning curve that i went through when i went from MX to Dragon. You just need to shoot some extremes and play with the raw to figure the best ways to work with any particular sensor. I'm learning i can't apply my knowledge of the Dragon to the Helium, still figuring out how to make the Helium sing.

You can't expect a Honda Civic to handle like a Tesla, you got to get behind the wheel and see what it can do.

Jacob

Jacob, I have had the same thing. I shots some footage of Niagara Falls a couple of weeks ago, and a lot of it clipped. I was pretty sure I was always with the DR range, but there was a spike within the highlight area that clipped. It could be what we see on the histogram is not what we are getting from the sensor. Mind you I was shooting in some extreme harsh light, mid day with lots of white mist. I found with my forged, I could never get the it to touch the goal posts on both sides. I'm sure updates will sort this out, or helium colour and gamma

Luke Neumann
09-04-2016, 11:15 PM
That's a crutch at best. Real fire that's well exposed -- with the surroundings given enough fill -- has many, many different shades of orange and yellow and red (and occasional flickers of white). Keying it orange merely makes a brick of orange, which real fire isn't.

Yeah, but this example would have been fine. I have done it many times with smaller flames and it works like a charm. Add some alpha glow on top of it and very few people could tell the difference. Looks better than pure white, IMO.

Steve Conry
09-05-2016, 12:34 AM
That's a crutch at best. Real fire that's well exposed -- with the surroundings given enough fill -- has many, many different shades of orange and yellow and red (and occasional flickers of white). Keying it orange merely makes a brick of orange, which real fire isn't. It can be done -- it just takes some experimentation and careful exposure.


I did a feature about six months ago featuring a killer with a flamethrower, and we had quite a few stunts with people on fire running around, stuff like that. Zero overexposure problems with Alexa XT -- it all looked fine. But this was broad daylight. No flamethrower stuff at night.

It is possible sometimes to recover some highlight detail with soft clipping, but that's kind of a hail mary pass. I've seen Red Dragons clip even worse, particularly in extreme light/dark situations. But again, I think it's more of a key-to-fill ratio problem.

i am assuming you could have done this with a Red as well. Obviously much harder in the dark when you are trying to get your subject to expose properly too

Dominik Bauch
09-05-2016, 10:20 AM
Have you ever shot RED? You should know how exposure works on this camera. If you shoot RED at 50 iso you'll have problem it's not the camera but poor exposure experience with RED. There is NO soft highlight roll off with digital, but there are some post-curves than can be applied. This is NOT a sensor quality but how you handle your sensor data.

http://indiecinemaacademy.com/create-sekonic-dts-profile-light-meter-video/

around 26:24. Ryan did a Sekonic dynamic range profile of the Dragon sensor. It clearly shows a moderate highlight roll off. The M-X is a brick wall in comparison. Not sure if he compares them in this video (didn't watch all the way through again.) The Alexa had a softer roll off compared to Dragon also.
Sure he's using RG4 or similar to represent the sensor data but my point is that I would love to be able to have a softer, more filmic image out of the box without initially resorting to luts or grading to get there. If it's just CS then great, looking forward to October.

Marc Wielage
09-05-2016, 08:31 PM
i am assuming you could have done this with a Red as well. Obviously much harder in the dark when you are trying to get your subject to expose properly too
Yes, although the problem is that digital cameras tend to be noisier in the low-lights. If you can get a decent exposure with fill on the low-light areas, the fire can be preserved pretty well.

On the other hand: I just watched a Dragon campfire sequence from Fear the Walking Dead, and all the fire details were clipped. The people seemed to have tons of fill and they looked fine, so you wonder what happened. You can always make the argument that a creative decision was made to blow out the fire, but that's the kind of thing I always try to work a little bit to fix when possible, and it doesn't take that much effort to do if the details survive in the camera file.


Yeah, but this example would have been fine. I have done it many times with smaller flames and it works like a charm. Add some alpha glow on top of it and very few people could tell the difference. Looks better than pure white, IMO.
We did it for real on Lost (lit by the great John Bartley), and never had to resort to any tricks. All the visual information was there, and this was on Kodak 5219 negative -- just 500 ISO. It just takes effort, skill, and experience.

Dan Kanes
09-05-2016, 08:55 PM
Marc - I thought they used Alexa on Fear The Walking Dead

Luke Neumann
09-05-2016, 10:05 PM
It just takes effort, skill, and experience.

I'm not saying it's impossible...I'm saying there were ways to fix it on this particularar video (that wouldn't have been too much trouble).

Brian Boyer
09-08-2016, 02:59 PM
...let me know if you'd like to see any r3d Stills.

Yes, please.