The 1DC

So, time for some tech mumbo jumbo.

The Canon EOS 1DC is on the horizon, and the first native footage has appeared online courtesy Nigel Akam. http://vimeo.com/44552135 (Download link to the native file is on the Vimeo page).

My first concern when I heard about the 1DC was that it was going to be an 8-bit format. Got a sinking feeling, but then Shane Hurlbut stood up and claimed that the material graded like nobodys business. So, I decided to bring the footage into Resolve and see how it holds up.

Now, since I feel 2K/1080 is all we’ll need for the foreseable future, I decided to scale it to 1080 in AE (32-bit float) before bringing it into Resolve.

First I just did a straight scale and transcode to ProRes HQ422, and brought that into Resolve.

First thing that was apparent was the flatness of the image, and that it was positioned quite a bit “to the left”. See pic 1 below from Ultra scope. From what I understand, this footage was shot in “Canon log” and while it certainly lifts the blacks and protects the highs, in an 8-bit format it’s not necessarily a good thing to shoot flat (the underlaying math we’ll save for another day). A better “spread” and shooting more “to the right” is usually better with an 8-bit format.

And, when spreading the image in Resolve (and pushing the mids a bit) to get some kind of base grade, the Ultra Scope histogram shows quite a bit of banding. Pic 2 below. Now, my subjective impression of the image was still that it it was holding up pretty nicely on the grading monitor.

So, to look a little bit further into this, I decided to do the “spread” in AE using “levels” (Yes it keeps the 32-bit float) prior to the transcode to ProRes HQ422. Pic 3 below.

Now the footage has a better starting point in Resolve. Pic 4 below. And when graded to match the previous grade, the banding situation is a lot better. Pic 5 below.

But, then to see if I could improve things even further, I decided to try transcoding to ProRes 4444 in AE with the same levels “pre spread”. Bringing that into Resolve and matching the previous grade results in a very smooth histogram. Pic 6 below.

The point of all of this is that I think we’ll see a lot of opinions about the gradability of 1DC footage, but the question will be if people have done their home work on their image pipeline…

The obvious last test was of course to bring the native 4K image into Resolve and see how that held up. Pic 7 shows the histogram of the native file with a matched grade. Interestingly enough, the histogram shows that this approach lands us somewhere in between the 422 and 444 “AE pre spread” images. It seems some good magic is going on in the AE to ProRes 4444 scale/transcode.

The downside of putting the native file into Resolve is of course also that it won’t play back in realtime.

So, my subjective impression…? It feels that the footage (especially in the 4444 transcoded version) holds up really really well. This may not be the best test image, and It would be interesting to see some skin tones, and some darker flat areas, but, I’d say things are looking rather good. And, I have a feeling it may hold up even better if shot a little less flat and more to “the right”.

Pics below.

Please feel free to re-post, but please name the source as “Way Creative Films, Sweden”

That’s it!

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About Kickstarter

Some people I know professionally a little bit is/was running a kickstarter campaign. I pitched in my $25, more because I’m curious about the process that intrigued about the film. It seems they’ve been running a very nicely managed campaign with some well timed press coverage. But, I have to say, there seems to be quite a lot of work involved – both at the front- and at the back-end of this. There may indeed be some intangible benefits, and I don’t know the in and outs of it all, but I’m left with a feeling that there must be an easier way to lay your fingers on $50.000. Or not?

Oh, and at 5% of the take, Kickstarter must surely be a pretty profitable website…