Thread: "COOKED" images at high light levels and low ISO?

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  1. #1 "COOKED" images at high light levels and low ISO? 
    I have noticed for years with the R1, and now my epic that when you shoot with the image really hot, and low ISO settings you can never get back the nice "natural" look that you can when you shoot at 640 on the Epic and 320 or higher on the R1, the images always have this "cooked" look about them, the curves never respond the same, even the raw data seems to be different.

    My question is what is going on? I know how to shoot around this (higher ISO and expose down) but now and again I miss....and I hate the "cooked" look and can't seem to kill it in post....can it be done? and how?

    I want the soft look back.....thanks for help.
    Obin Olson
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member jimhare's Avatar
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    Hey Obin,

    Sounds like good old over exposure to me. The reason for raising the ISO and dropping the iris (or adding ND) is to make sure you don't overwhelm the sensor with too much light. When you do this you kill dynamic range by squishing everything in the top portion of the range, hence the cooked flat look.

    Yech, I hate it too and kick myself if it ever happens!

    Aplogies if this isn't the phenomenon you meant. I know you get supurb images and I'm always blown away by your results.
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  3. #3  
    It's not "blown" on the meters but it has this "digital" feel...I get this a lot on the beach shooting. It has always happened when I am "hot" but not "over" makes skin look "burned" and very contrast heavy in a bad way when trying to make it look good. I love a good round curve from top to bottom with just a nick out of the darks to make them dark....but with this type footage it just always looks.....well....."DIGITAL"
    Obin Olson
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  4. #4  
    If you like the look of the Epic at 640 ISO or the MX-R1 at 320 ISO, then why don't you shoot at those settings? You aren't going to get a nice roll-off into white at very low ISO ratings because you have so little overexposure headroom.
    David Mullen, ASC
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  5. #5  
    Ok so it's all about headroom then? I get it, was not sure if a "fix" could be had in post or not....I guess not....like I said, it's not "blown" just looks "bad" :)
    Obin Olson
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  6. #6  
    Forgot to mention...freaking LOVE this camera and it's images. hands down a dream machine. can't get over how easy it is to shoot great images when you don't have 40+lb your dealing with. So sweet!!!
    Obin Olson
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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obin Olson View Post
    Ok so it's all about headroom then? I get it, was not sure if a "fix" could be had in post or not....I guess not....like I said, it's not "blown" just looks "bad" :)
    Well, it really is just over exposure. But you are getting there an odd way.

    The native sensitivity of the R1 MX is EI320 and the Epic/Scarlet are at EI800. Despite the cute settings on the camera, you are always really exposing the native sensor speed of the camera.

    So, if you think of film, what if you take some Kodak 500 and rate it at 60? You light, filter and shoot as if you had 60 loaded. Then you pull the processing 3 stops. What does your image look like?

    Not the same as if you actually shot some old ISO 60 stock right? Even though everything about your process was set for the lower EI, the film still "sees" all the light.

    That's about what's happening if you shoot Epic and expose it for 100.

    So, the RAW exposure tools on the camera start to distort reality for you on these settings. You mentioned getting a decent result at 640 on Epic ... that's about all the over exposure it can handle smoothly ... after that it gets crispier and crispier. Sure, you won't be clipping and the meters will tell you that, but you are still letting way too much light onto the sensor. The system is just electronically limiting the amount of light read out of the sensor. (In most video cameras, this is done completely in hardware for RGB recording. In RAW systems, its done in hardware for video out, but the "real" limiting is left to software.)

    So, shoot the camera set up for 800, and drop in the appropriate ND. The only reason to drop the ISO below native is if you just don't have the ND. My advice is to put whatever ND you do have in front of the lens, then if its not enough drop the camera ISO as little as possible.

    Sorry, if I am babbling ... I've been up sneezing all night.
    Alexander Ibrahim
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Lauri Kettunen's Avatar
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    First a question, how do you know it's not over exposure? Do you mean you've checked that while shooting from the bar on the right of the histogram? If the image is not clipped, then you migth be able to recover with the Exposure setting in RCX-Pro by taking it bit downwards. Another thing which is worth of try, set the gamma to linear and adjust yourself the gamma curve. What you say seems to suggest you want to pull to upper part of the gamma curve downwards. If you posted a R3D frame it would be much easier to figure out what you mean precisely.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Harrison Diamond's Avatar
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    It would really help if you defined your "low" ISO settings as well... If you're shooting 250 or below you've overexposed the sensor... no two ways about it.
    Harrison Diamond | Commercial Director - Sports Photographer - Aspiring Cinematographer
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  10. #10  
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    I've only shot twice with my new Epic, so part of me feels very unqualified to comment in this thread with experienced (and renown) DPs. But I found this official explanation of exposure at red.com very helpful. Alexander's explanation is essentially stating what the article does in a slightly different way. But I don't think it's as helpful or accurate to state that you've simply "overexposed" if you shoot at a lower ISO as to say that you've decided to non-destructively allocate a higher proportion of the sensor's unmutable, fixed dynamic range to the darker parts of the image. There are occasions, I'm sure, where that may be desired (or at least necessary) because it's not possible to control the ambient lighting, and the most important information in the image is in the darker parts.
    Elizabeth Lowrey
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