Digital innovations and Filmmaking -

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Technicolor CineStyle - My tests with a Canon 5D Mark II

It's been several weeks since I've tried using the new Technicolor CineStyle. I wanted to make a comparison between this new picture style and the others. Picture styles bring the ability to shoot in the colors of your choice. Most experienced DSLR experts recommend using a flat picture style to get more control during post-production. If you choose a specific look before shooting and if you later decide that you don't like the chosen picture style, it will be really difficult to change it afterwards. 

Wikipedia defines color grading as “the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture or television image, either electronically, photo-chemically or digitally”. In other words, Grading is when you choose a look for your film. It's better to choose the look in post-production and apply that throughout to get an unified artistic vision. So, you will have greater flexibility in color grading by shooting flat. Do not get me wrong, greater flexibility doesn't mean systematically greater quality. Other picture styles can also bring the same quality in post. It depends of what you want to do, what style you are following. Don't shoot flat if you don't have enough time in post-production. Remember that you can't ignore the color correction step if you shoot flat with the Technicolor CineStyle. On the other hand, in my opinion, if you have a cinema project, you should shoot flat.

Well, on Wednesday, I was shooting in Nantes with my friend Tug, and I decided to make a few pictures to test the new Technicolor Cinestyle.

(Place Saint-Pierre - Quick color correction)

(Château - Quick color correction)

(Palais de justice - Quick color correction)

CineStyle works with all Canon DSLRs but it was clearly aimed at perfecting the Canon 5D Mark II specifically. CineStyle optimizes the dynamic range in the image by leveraging the capabilities of the Canon imaging chipset. It is well-known that it helps to maximize shadow details without hurting tonal range.

So, I chose the castle of Nantes to make my benchmark and I wanted to show two things :
  • The Technicolor CineStyle helps to maximize shadow details in low light conditions
  • If shadow details don't matter, you can get more or less the same image quality in low light conditions after color grading whatever the picture style (so it's better to shoot flat because you can decide in post what is important or not)

The following pictures were shot in low light conditions with a 35mm lens, at f/2, 1/30 and 1250 ISO. Here is the default image I wanted to have for each picture style after color grading.

Let's make the comparison. The left column contains the shots with the different picture styles. The right column contains the graded pictures. All the pictures of the right column are more or less the same.

If you look very precisely the left pictures, the CineStyle picture is the one where you can see the most details in the dark.
The CineStyle shot

The CineStyle shot with the default color correction

The CineStyle shot with another color correction setting

The last picture is not really my favorite one but this is an example of what you can do in post if you need to highlight the details on the grass of the Castle. The Marvels Cine picture style allows also to get a good level of details on the grass, but the others don't, because the grass is too dark (since shooting).

Here is a short comparison between the Technicolor CineStyle and the Marvels Cine picture styles.

And if you want to learn from the masters :

To be continued...

Color correction for pictures in Canon DPP

Open Source color correction for videos in Avidemux

... and maybe color correction in Final Cut Pro X...


  1. Please post a tutorial on how to color correct RAW files(Technicolor Cinestyle) in DPP. The LUT file from the Technicolor website is so not helping.

  2. Very nice post. Similar to e1d, I'd like to see a tutorial on DPP color correction with respect to Technicolor Cinestyle. Thanks.

  3. Hi guys,

    Thank you for your messages on this old post, color correction with DPP is more or less an S-Curve Color Correction. It works only for an image or a set of images (but not directly for video files)... If you are looking for a tutorial, you can search "S-curve Tutorial" in google search and you will find many of them...

    Thanks a lot...