New Tools, New Toys, New Tests

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  • I recently invested in the Cineplus Cinema Plugin (CCP) and FilmConvert’s Adobe plugins.  Below is are test videos comparing the looks capable through these plugins.  These are not thorough, side-by-side comparisons of all the looks possible with these plugins.  These videos have been done, and I’m not going to add to the saturation.  Instead, I wanted to challenge myself to capture the life and color of the Matthews Farmer’s Market.  For me, community events like these are all about texture and color.  What makes them so visually interesting is the different people that come, the colors that they bring, and the variations that they introduce into the environment.

    CINEMA

    I shot this test footage using my Canon T2i running Magic Lantern’s firmware.  Armed with my trusty Canon 50mm 1.8 lens and my Tiffen 0.9 ND filter, I dove into the community market.  I had previously adjusted the color balance of the camera to the recommended  specs on the Cineplus website.  My one wish would have been for a more overcast day to eliminate the shadows.  Previous to the shoot, I had already decided to use the CINEMA Picture Style designed by John Hope at Cineplus.  Optionally, I had the Lightform Picture Style loaded into my camera, which has become my alternate to most of the “neutral” styles I’ve tried in the past (I will address why in a different post).  This would have balanced the image well into the mid range, similar to the log look-alike profiles while maintaining skin tones and original colors (which is a much too simple explanation).  The first video here is what I shot with only color correction and image stabilization: in other words, I did not grade this image at all.

    The CINEMA picture style captures colors, shadows, and details in a way I haven’t experienced from any other picture style that I’ve used.  It also lends itself very way to grading.  Not in the way the Cinestyle profile did, but in a way that requires less leg-work in post production.  I also feel that the CINEMA picture style captures color more naturally than any of the flat picture styles that try to imitate LOG profiles.  A lot of the grading to these “flat” images comes out looking too digital.  The CINEMA picture style looks more analog to me, and that is something I was really looking for in this shoot.

    CCP

    The following video has been graded using Cineplus’s Cinema Plugin available for Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro.  I won’t go into too much detail how this plugin works, but I will show you the settings I used to achieve this particular look.  After dialing in this look across multiple photos and video clips, I used Red Giant’s LUT Buddy to create a LUT that I could quickly use in Adobe Media Encoder or port to another system that doesn’t have the plugin installed.

    The basic idea of the CCP is to emulate the color and contrast of film stocks (I noticed a particular similarity with Kodak stock emulations I’ve used before).  That being said, I used one of the presets and then tweaked it to my taste, mostly dialing down its extremity and making it match my style of shot composition.  The end result is still a little strong for my taste.  If I were to use this in a different situation, I would turn down the adjustment layer for the plugin to between 50 and 75 percent to compensate for the strength.

    FilmConvert

    Same video, different grading plugin.  This time, I used FilmConvert’s plugin for Adobe products.  Similar to LUT Buddy, FilmConvert remaps the colors of your footage to the colors of analog film stock.  Again, I won’t show you how to use the product, but I will show you the settings I used.

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