Cinestyle/Exposure/Focus Questions

Viewing 3 reply threads
  • Author
    • #89376

      Hi, I have a few questions about shooting in cinestyle and setting proper exposure.

      I’d like to make a corporate video for my dad’s business using my Canon T4i + 18-55 kit lens. I’d like to shoot the video using cinestyle and then color grade in post.

      1. How do you set exposure with cinestyle? Some people say underexpose, others say to overexpose. Should I just do it normally, by aligning the exposure bar in the center of the meter?

      Focus question:

      2. I never seem to be able to get sharp videos. I don’t use Magic Lantern because I’m scared that it’ll brick my camera… The focus peaking and custom ISO features that come with ML would definitely help though. I focus manually on my subject, zoom in(digitally), adjust focus, and zoom back out, is this the correct way?
      Maybe the kit lens causes my images to be soft?


    • #213706

      I don’t use Cinestyle or any other presets.
      I prefer to expose properly and do any exposure changes/colour grading in post.

      To adjust focus, I stay zoomed out all the way. I then zoom in digitally, adjust my focus, and then zoom back out, again digitally. I always check my focus manually after doing this just to ensure that the camera didn’t trick me.

      Don’t worry about using Magic Lantern. The camera’s default settings always load if you don’t have Magic Lantern installed on the SD card that you’re using to record your video. I use it and LOVE it!

      I shoot with a Canon T5i and the stock lens is, to put it politely, a piece of junk and not worth using. The first I did was to buy a few good lenses (1 zoom and 2 prime) and the quality difference was night and day πŸ™‚


    • #213722

      I have found that the old camcorder focus stand by of zooming in – focus – zoom out and everything is in focus doesn’t always translate with DSLR video. The F-Stop on DSLR cameras play a bigger part in depth of field and a lot of kit lenses tend to be variable aperture zoom lenses. Meaning when you are zoomed out and set your F-Stop once you zoom in your F-Stop changes and so does your depth of field.

      I would frame up the shot and digitally focus. Also don’t set your F-Stop too low, I would start with around F8 to give a over all good depth of field. There are free apps out there to help determine the depth of field with your camera and lens. To help me focus on areas in video I took a thick white poster board and drew a grid of 1 inch squares on one side. The grid gives my camera something to focus on and the other side helps set the white balance.

    • #214741

      There’s no denying that using Cinestyle does make focusing all the more difficult. With such a flat profile, low contrast and no in-camera sharpening it does require more effort to achieve a sharp image. I think it’s worth the effort however as it gives more freedom during grading.

      You can see an example that I filmed below for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust of an Interview with Rob Law MBE, inventor of the Trunki ride-on suitcase. It was filmed using a Canon 5DMk3 with Canon 24-105mm L Series Lens:

      Cystic Fibrosis Trust

      Obviously lighting also comes into play here. There was a large window on the right, I used a Bowen 530 on the left and a Dedolight as a backlight (just off-screen on the right).

      When filming subjects at a fixed distance the digital focus is a must and I find works perfectly well. When running-and-gunning, filming free-hand, I find the ‘over-and-back’ technique works well. Simply shifting the focus one way, then back in the other direction, allowing you to find the middle (focus) point. A large aperture (shallow depth of field) makes it easier to see the shift in focus but obviously means you have to be more accurate.

      Regarding sharpness I think the first place to start is your choice of glass. My main lenses are the Canon 24-105 L Lens, 35mm f2.0 and 50mm f1.4 primes. These are way better than the 18-135 stock lens. When I first bought my 24-105 I couldn’t believe the difference… it was like owning a new camera!

      Having done some tests it’s far better to use sharpening in post production than within camera. Particularly using the Lumetri Colour feature in Premiere. I also have the Cinestyle profile installed in Lumetri which effectively allows you to ‘reverse’ the flat profile in post and achieve the original look, but with a greater range across your blacks and whites.

      Whilst focus peaking in Magic Lantern can be useful it can also be problematic at times. With a flat profile like Cinestyle you need to see the contrasting edges to define the correct focus, but the red focus highlights cover the edges and make it harder to find the correct focus distance. I use a Zacuto external viewfinder and the focus peaking uses a different technique to determine focus and I find this is more effective.

      Finally, regarding Magic Lantern… please don’t be afraid of using it! I’ve installed ML on countless cameras for friends who have also been fearful of the terrible ‘brick’ statement on the ML website. The histograms are great for ensuring correct exposure.
      My approach is to adjust exposure to keep the light range central throughout the histogram but take into account skin tones. So long as your skin tones are accurate, and you aren’t clipping the blacks or whites, you can easily grade the footage.

      In summary, a big thumbs up from me for both Cinestyle and Magic Lantern.

Viewing 3 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Best Products

The best audio and video recorders β€” 2021

In this article, we’ll cover the best external recorders for both video and audio recording. Then, we’ll go over the specs we considered when making our selections so that you can choose the best recorder for your specific situation. The...