Useful Photography Tip #20: Best Profiles For Color Grading Video

For still images we have RAW which provides us with incredible dynamic range but when it comes to video it’s quite lacking. This comes from the fact that the images being recorded in a video are essentially really small JPEGs. When in video if we apply too much saturation, contrast or sharpening this will limit and decrease the amount of grading we are able to do to a video file. There are picture/color profiles out there now that allow very neutral gradable color. These profiles will not only make editing easier but they will also show more detail in the shadows and the highlights. 

Canon has had the Technicolor CineStyle for quite some time now and it has become the standard for cinematographers working with the 5D. The profile has been developed with close teamwork from Canon and was made specifically for the 5D although it will work on their other cameras.

Samuel from has also developed picture profiles for the Canons as well as the new Nikon D800. Samuel claims that the Flaat profile will have less noise in the final images than the Cinestyle. Also he claims that the profile will provide nicer skin tones and more dynamic range than others. There are multiple versions of the Flaat profile in which each one provides more dynamic range than the previous. The profile claims to be capable of up to 12 stops, although with more dynamic range the image also gains noise. Samuel states that using the Flaat profiles 12 and 13 should be “used with extreme care” because of the added noise.

These profiles give a very neutral color profile but should only be used if you are going to post process or grade your final work. If you are shooting for direct output to it’s final destination you will want to shoot with one of the provides profiles that appear most pleasing to your eyes. These of course are not the only profiles, every cinematographer out there has their own spin but Phillip Bloom has a great article on his blog going over many of the popular profiles with video examples.

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